Class Goals: Characterizing viewpoints and positions, synthesizing viewpoints, understanding context.
Connection to Course Goals: Writers write from a given context.
- Devise a discussion or some other activity to get at main points of essays, with the ultimate goal of not only characterizing the writers’ positions, but the assumptions they hold that would lead them to these positions regarding the rise of multiculturalism and the backlash against it.
- Main points of Cheney
- Educators today:
- "downgrade" U.S. achievements and "focus on the negative"
- teach at the "expense of the truth"
- hold a "pro-feminist bias"
- want to get away from "hierarchies" so much that they practice no "meaningful [forms of] grading" and present fewer opportunities for competition
- Compare to Sadker/Sadker (see especially page 269 of Cheney)
- Assumptions informing Cheney’s position
- There exists a single, detectable truth
- Feminism denies the importance of motherhood and housework
- Sexual harassment is overtly physical, not putdowns or "looks" that are more subtle forms of intimidation
- "excellence" can be defined objectively
- Main Points of Ehrenreich
- The backlash against multicultural approaches sees them as dogmatic, even "totalitarian"
- She argues for a middle ground, a "lighten[ing] up"
- We should look at what multicultural teaching replaced (the ignored achievements of women and everyone in a nonWestern culture)
- "PC" can be overzealous and pay more attention to symptoms rather than causes (as when she says that calling every woman "Ms." will not decrease the pay inequity between men and women
- Assumptions informing her position
- There were disturbing gaps on education before the adoption of a more multicultural approach to curricula
- Everyone really benefits from multicultural approaches
- There is room in any course, in any semester, for all of it, the Canon and the newer multicultural texts
- Comparing Ehrenreich’s and Cheney’s viewpoints
Focus on how the assumptions inform these differences. For example, because Cheney sees a feminist conspiracy behind the new multiculti, she sees the curriculum as disadvantageous to whites and men, whereas Ehrenreich’s feminist background leads her to see that everyone benefits from the opening of the canon to be more inclusive.
- Who would be most persuaded by these authors, given the assumptions behind their writing?
- Given the assumptions, who do you think the writers identify as their target audience?