Language and Culture
Instructions: You must answer number a), and any other of the following 3 questions—b.c or d). Each question should not be more than a 4 page- type-written (nor a few paragraphs, or one- page) essay. Please begin each essay on a separate page (12 pt font size, double spacing is recommended). Note: clarity of expression, the appropriate use of examples from the assigned book and concepts learned in class will be taken into account in awarding points. Make sure that each essay has introduction, body and conclusion. Provide page numbers of cited quotations from the ethnography.
Section I (this question must be answered for 30 points)
a) Would you say that the positionality (as insider or outsider) of Norman-Denton among the homegirls helped or hindered her research efforts? Whichever position you take, support your answer with five specific examples from the book on her methodology, dealings with informants and the analysis of the book.
Section II (answer only one question for 20 points)
b) Discuss four main ways in which Homegirls transgress gender and societal norms in SJHS. What consequences do they suffer for these transgressions, and do you think these are justified or not.
c) What do you like about the book Homgirls? What aspects of it do you dislike? In each case give four specific examples taking into account the book’s contribution to linguistic anthropology, it structure, content and author’s subjective location in the analysis.
d) Norman-Denton has put forward two main hypotheses to explain the long-term impact of gang culture on Homegirls. Identify and briefly explain each of these hypotheses. Drawing specific examples from the book show four main ways in which either of the hypothesis best informs the author’s analysis of Home girls’ experiences.
Bauer, Laurie and Peter Trudgill (eds.) 1998. Language Myths. New York: Penguin.
Homegirls: Language and Cultural Practice among Latina Youth Gangs by Norma Mendoza-Denton. Blackwell Publishing.