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Your Assignment & Research Suggestions
From your Syllabus:
Either by yourself or in groups of 2-3 (your choice), you will work on a paper focusing on the exploitative labor conditions faced by a particular group of exploited workers where most of the people doing the work are women, especially migrant women. This will be complemented by a discussion of the social/cultural/economic factors that pushed the workers to take on such dangerous work in the first place.
Try to choose a group of workers that fall under the broader categories of factory workers, farm workers, domestic workers, or reproductive laborers. (If you’re interested in a different category of workers beyond these, talk to me in advance about your topic and make sure you can connect some of the course material to their experiences.)
You will organize your paper into five distinct sections/parts:
- Section 1 should be a description of the problem/labor conditions for the workers and why this topic is both important to better understand and interesting to you.
- Section 2 should be a discussion of the role of globalization, political, economic or social unrest in contributing to the problem of forced migration and/or exploitable labor conditions.
- Section 3 should be a clear comparison of themes that emerge in how the issues/situation for these workers are being discussed/described within the 4-5 scholarly sources (academic journal/books) vs. 4-5 mainstream news articles vs. 4 relevant course readings.
- Section 4 should be a discussion of the (negative) impact/consequence of the lack of comprehensive attention to the issue (by the media) and the lack of understanding of these workers (by the broader public) on these workers’ lives. For example, how does the media’s coverage of the issue (or lack thereof) shape how the broader public perceives these workers/their communities as well as the need to fight for their rights (through policy/law)?
- Section 5 will include a reflection on the three primary strategies/tactics you would employ to improve these workers’ lives (if you had all the funding and political power you needed), beyond the approaches taken by the social justice organization that you focused on and in light of the class and/or external scholarly readings you have done.
- Minimum 8-page (individual) or 12-page (group) paper, double-spaced
- Separate your paper into five distinctly separated parts
- You should integrate at least 4-5 scholarly articles from either Sociology or Women’s Studies academic journals, 4-5 mainstream news sources and 4 different readings from the course.
- Please separate out all the sections (listed above) in your paper with clear headings.
- Please use Endnotes as you cite sources throughout the paper.
- You may use APA style or ASA citation style.
Sample Research Process
What's your research plan? Here's an example:
1. The migration piece: where are women migrating from and why?
a. You may already be familiar with a particular country from your course readings. A good library resource for getting an overview of the issues facing women arranged by country is: The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Women's Issues Worldwide.
b. Check for books on women and migration by searching by subject. Although books are not required sources, they will contain bibliographies full of excellent articles that you can use. Some subjects to try:
- women immigrants
- women foreign workers
- women in development
- Women in the food industry
- Women agricultural laborers
2. Issues faced by a particular group of migrant women through their work. Use the information gathered from your background research to hone in on specific issues:
- Search for journal articles in GenderWatch and in SocINDEX with Full Text.
- Use keywords gathered from background readings.
- Take advantage of indices/thesauri within the database
- Try looking for sex trafficking as a subject term in Women's Studies International - compare number of records indexed with human trafficking
- Instead of factory workers, try industrial workers
- Use geographical limiters, limit to peer-reviewed articles, limit by year
3. Finding a related social movement organization working on the cause - search through databases of social justice organization and ngo's (Activist Organizations tab)
Course prefixes: CYC - Child/Youth Care
, ENG - English
, ERS - Ethnic and Racial Studies
, GTL - Gerontology
, ITM - Information Technology Management
, NEU - Neuroscience
, PSY - Psychology
, SOC - Sociology
, SPA - Spanish
, SPY - School Psychology
, WGS - Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies