ESSAY 1: 10pts 1000 words max
Read and listen carefully to the piece, which can be found here: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/27/magazine/life-expectancy-racial-gap.html (Villarosa, NYT 2021). Respond to the following prompt.
Write an op-ed (opinion editorial) piece for the UC Davis Aggie in response to the NYT article denouncing structural racism and the underlying racial caste systems that have reinforced it. In writing this piece you must pull on arguments made by Michelle Alexander in the “Introduction” and “Ch.1” of The New Jim Crow, Kramer, Remster, and Charles’s arguments in the Context piece “Black Lives and Police Tactics Matter,” as well as material from the infographics on Mass Incarceration (these can be found in the week 6 online reading folder) and material from the documentary 13th. You do not need to pull from all of these sources but you must pull from enough of them to form a solid, convincing, and powerful argument. Make sure you draw connections between the NYT article and course materials when making your argument. You will be graded on your ability to form a thoughtful and informed argument that is evident of your sociological imagination and political imagination.
ESSAY 2: 10pts 1000 words max
We read “The sociological imagination in a time of climate change” by Kari Marie Norgaard. In the introduction Norgaard writes “Imagination is power especially in a time of crisis” and “most Americans can imagine the ‘end of the world’ [rather] than switching from using fossil fuels or an economic order other than capitalism.” Briefly discuss Nogaard’s argument: Why is Global Climate change often difficult to imagine? How do the EI and the SI relate to imagining a way out of the ‘end of the world?’ What is the relationship or tension between these imaginations? Why does Norgaard see them as essential? What types of generative research questions might they enable? How does the article by Neil Smith (there’s no such thing as a natural disaster) illustrate the fruitful connection between these forms of imagination? What specifically in Smith highlights this relationship?
Then use the insights of Norgaard and Smith to interrogate the findings of the article “Study Finds Racial Gap Between Who Causes Air Pollution and Who Breathes It” (Lambert, NPR Mar. 11 2019), which can be accessed here: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/03/11/702348935/study- finds-racial-gap-between-who-causes-air-pollution-and-who-breathes-it. In what ways does this study confirm the discussion of Smith (be specific)? Does it illustrate the SI, IE, or PI if so how (be concrete)? Reflect on this discussion: how does this relate to causes and solutions of climate change – individual/cultural; technological; political/economic? At what level does the article suggest we need to make changes? Finally, at what level do you see these changes as most fundamentally important?