For this paper, you are going to use the epistolary (letter writing) genre as modeled by Ta-Nahisi Coates in “Between the World and Me.” Like Coates, you will write a letter to a child of your own – but for your paper, please imagine writing now so that your child can read your letter in the future. (This is probably an imagined child who is not born yet or (if it pertains) a child you already have as he or she will be in the future.)
The time period of “the future” is open.
Like Coates, please reflect on a social/cultural/political issue in society in terms of how it manifests in your own intersectional identity.
You can focus on a single aspect of your identity – “gender” for example – and allow other intersecting aspects to emerge in subtle ways.
Or you can explicitly analyze the intersections of two or more aspects of your identity.
The point is to think of your own life in a social-political context, and simultaneously to think of the personal stakes in social-political problems, as Coates asks us to. Like Coates, you will present the social and the personal as intertwined.
This paper has no right or wrong analysis, of course. Evaluative criteria:
the paper’s thoughtfulness and engagement
whether you present categories of identity — like gender, race, class, generation, etc. – in intersectional ways
whether you show the inseparable quality of the personal and the political, however this connection seems to you.
You are free to experiment with style, voice, opinion, etc. However, the paper should be proofread for spelling and stylistic errors. Creativity does not equal proof-reading mistakes or hasty, unedited writing.
Topics to explore MAY include (but are NOT limited to!)
Gender expectations in the family
Disability — physical, intellectual, or emotional
Incidents/anecdotes that seem unremarkable until you think of them in light of social expectations
Going to college
Rites of passage
Attitudes about strict or lenient parenting
Any form of social or cultural capital (check your lecture notes)
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