Critical Analysis Exercise

The purpose of this assignment is to provide students with the opportunity to hone their critical thinking skills in the social sciences. It should also help students generate possible questions or issues to be discussed in class. The mark assigned for this exercise reflects students ability to grasp an academic text both as an independent piece and as it relates to key course concepts.


For this exercise, students must submit a critical analysis of one text listed below from an anthropological perspective. Your critical analysis must: 1. include a summary of your chosen texts argument (thesis), 2. discuss it in relation to other course readings/films, and 3. provide critiques and/or thoughtful questions in response to the article. See page two for more detail:

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A) Shim, Doobo. 1998. From Yellow Peril Through Model Minority to Renewed Yellow Peril. Journal of Communication Inquiry, 22(4):385-409.
B) Reese, Ashant. M. 2018. We Will Not Perish; Were Going to Keep Flourishing: Race, Food Access, and Geographies of Self-Reliance. Antipode, 50(2): 407424.
C) Harvey, David. 2005. Introduction and Freedoms Just Another Word… In A Brief History of Neoliberalism. Toronto: Oxford University Press. Pp. 1-38.

Given the breadth of possible formats for each assignment, your work should aim to address three core components: i. a description or portrayal of your chosen articles thesis/main point; ii. possible connections to broader course themes; and iii. your thoughts, reflections, and/or critiques of the article. How you incorporate these elements into your project will depend on the format you choose and your article. In other words, you have the flexibility to determine your assignments final form so long as it clearly incorporates these three elements. To complete this assignment, students should only use materials (e.g., readings, lectures, and films) from the course; external research is not expected for this assignment.

Part One Overall Thesis/Main Point (approximately 40% of content)
In this section, students are expected to concisely describe one reading from the approved list (see above). This explanation should include a brief summary of the key points that the article/chapter is making. The most successful answer should also clearly identify the authors underlying argument. To do this, look for the authors thesis statement (usually in the introduction) and pay attention to how the author demonstrates or supports this thesis (main point) with evidence (examples).
Part Two How does the article relate to broader course themes? (approximately 40% of content)
The chosen readings are assigned to complement several key anthropological concepts discussed in class. In this section, students must demonstrate how their chosen text fits within these broader course themes. A successful answer will analyze the text in relation to specific films and readings from the weekly modules. They may address, for example, how the author discusses social class in a unique way, or how class in the article may relate to ideas of race and racism as discussed in the course.
Part Three Your relevant questions and concerns with the article (approximately 20% of content)

In this section, students are asked to provide their own questions, thoughts, and/or critiques in response to the article. Your questions should demonstrate that you understood the article and should go beyond general summaries. These are questions and concerns that should highlight any theoretical gaps, related issues, or problems that you may have found in the article. Some of these questions may also be raised in the lecture videos, so pay close attention when these themes are being discussed. Good questions should relate the article to larger class discussions.

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