Need to Rant

I just (I know, I know, so irresponsible of me) read fully the essay assignment for the two essays that are due Wednesday afternoon for my Gender and Culture class. I wasn’t worried, because each essay is supposed to be 2-3 pages in length (I read that far into the assignment and then started other homework). However, here are the two essays we are supposed to write:

  1. Imagine that you go to sleep one night and mysteriously travel back in time. You are still here on the Prairie-Plains of North America but you wake up in Waterlily’s camp circle. Describe your new role as a man or woman in this society. What is most striking to you about this new way of life? What activities would you expect to participate in? How would you relate to others? What obligations would you feel most strongly? Tell me about your family relations. Describe your hopes and fears. Now consider your life as you are living now. What are the biggest differences? What aspects of life are most familiar?
  2. Choose the article in Applying Anthropology which interests you the most. What was it about this discussion which caught your attention? Briefly (in one paragraph or less) summarize the main points made by the author of this article. Now, think about extending this discussion to some similar experience of your own life. Write an analysis – similar to the one offered in this article – to a parallel aspect of your own culture and experience. Describe your own experience and demonstrate how an anthropological perspective can shed light on what this experience signifies. For instance, if you were intrigued by the article on baboon friends, or Tibetan polyandry, you might reflect upon your own attitudes about and experiences with family and married life. You might discuss how the form of family you have experienced FITS (or not) with the demands of the social world in which you live – its values, economy, gender role expectations, etc. If you were interested in the article about male-female communication, you might make observations of your own at work or home and reflect on those. You might contrast “Venus figurines” (ch 14) to Bratz dolls or Picaso nudes. Use the article in Applying Anthropology to help guide your discussion of your life experience. (You may use any article in the book but keep the focus on gender.)

Overlooking the grammatical issues that are often present in our handouts…. Right… in 2-3 pages? Double-spaced with 12 point font and 1.25″ margins? Each of those could easily be 10-page papers! Did I mention that in the Applying Anthropology textbook we’ve read about 20 different articles, though there are about 40 that she says we can choose from.

Talk about open-ended, ambiguous, impossible assignments. I’m so frustrated with this.