American Studies 58: Cultures of Dissent
Take Home Midterm
(12% of total grade; each question is 3% of your total grade)
Respond to each question using this word document, and print it out to be
turned in Tuesday March 6
As you answer each question, be sure to cite
sources, be they supplied in the course packet or obtained via your own research, but also
marshal those sources in defense of your own ideas.
There are four questions, with no length stipulation on each one.
Take as much space as
you need to answer each of them.
: Patricia Limerick notes that “[t]he border between Hispanic America and
Anglo-America has shifted over time, but one fact has not changed:
it is one thing to
draw an arbitrary geographical line between two spheres of sovereignty; it is another to
persuade people to respect it” (“America the Borderland” 222).
150 years ago Anglo-
American illegal immigrants flooded the Mexican northern territories and took them
over; today Anglo-Americans are afraid of a similar movement of Hispanic illegal
immigrants, who are coming to America for economic freedom and for a place less
encumbered by a dysfunctional political environment than their home countries south of
the U.S. border.
Here’s the question:
Do you believe that these Hispanic immigrants are wrong in
coming to the United States for economic freedom (the same reason most
immigrants have come to this country over its history), or do you think the pursuit
of their economic freedom should be curtailed here, perhaps to defend the freedom
of citizens (i.e. construction workers, unions, legal immigrants) or to protect our
country from, say, terrorist infiltration.
As you answer this question, try to
articulate some of the multiple perspectives, but come out clearly for one position.
In “Emigrants from Erin” Takaki traced the crucial shift for Irish
Americans as they transformed themselves from reviled outsiders (i.e. Catholics,
peasants) to full participants in the project of American whiteness.
The Irish, oppressed
in their home country, used the argument of whiteness to displace U.S. born African-
Americans – indeed benefiting materially from the repression of African-American labor
and civil rights.
African-Americans have been – even through the twentieth century –
prohibited from living in nicer residential areas and forced to live in ghettos, have been
denied access to high-quality education (even now), denied capital for small business
development and faced outsized scrutiny from the criminal penal system.
At the same
time, Non-African Americans have benefited tremendously from rising home values
(which provide the capital for bank loans that can pay for one’s children to attend a good
college, and so forth), well-funded public schools in their areas, “legacy” promotion to