Contemporary Social Issues: Analyzing Critically, Arguing Persuasively

Fall and Winter, 2004-05

Study Questions for Fall Quarter Exam.
(Date of Exam: Dec. 10, 11am - 1pm; Place: seminar rooms)

Essay questions:
What were the critical factors that caused the promise of the 1950s public housing projects to collapse into the violence of the late 1980s as described by Kotlowitz? Is there evidence in any other of our readings to support or modify this view?
In her article “Poverty Knowledge,” O’Connor outlines at least four explanations for urban poverty, especially among African Americans. Please compare and contrast three of these explanations, and explain which ones are supported or disputed by other authors we have read.
Authors in the Notion at Risk suggest a variety of reforms for improving public education. Describe and assess at least four of these suggested reforms, drawing on other class readings to support your view of how necessary or possible they are.
What would Magnet say to Snow and Anderson about their study? What would Snow and Anderson say to Magnet’s theories about the cultural causes of poverty?
Describe how Bell, Magnet, Conley, and Shipler might interpret some of the events in Kotlowitz or “Hoop Dreams.”
If you had the chance to brief our state legislature on issue of how to understand the causes and consequences of poverty, what are the main points you would make and the evidence you would use to back it up?

Ids (Who, What, When, Where, and equally important, Why Significant?)
No Child Left Behind

The “normalizing gaze”
An etic vs. emic perspective                           

The “strength of weak ties”
The dark figure                                                   

Simpson’s Paradox
Interest convergence theory                            

Earned Income Tax Credit
Family “caps” 

Affirmative Action              

The Bakke case
Serrano vs. Priest                                                  

A spurious association
The “Reagan Revolution” 

John Locke                                   

Racial fortuity 



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