(Read And Initiate Discussion)

UNST 220C: Understanding Communities

Dr. Martha J. Bianco

Spring 2006

RAID No. 1
due in Mentor Session Week of 24 April 2006

General Instructions:

Next week you will be doing your first RAID in mentor session.  

We will practice a RAID in the main session of class on Tuesday, as well.  The practice RAID will not be drawn from the questions below, but will be based on the reading notes you bring to class.

Read the guidelines for doing a RAID at  http://www.marthabianco.com/Courses/Cities/RAID.html.  Be prepared to be randomly selected to lead and/or actively participate in discussion about any one of the questions during your mentor session.  

As for main session, the practice RAIDs will be led by the E-G people who are leading the current panels.  DO NOT WORRY:  this is practice.  

I find that students really like the RAIDs.

In the "real" RAIDs (those in mentor sessions), if you are a leader, you will be graded on how prepared you were to lead the discussion, how well you succinctly presented your responses and arguments, how professionally you handled the process of facilitating group discussion, and your overall response to the question.

If you are a participant, you will be graded on how attentive and responsible you were during the leader's initial presentation, how well (extent of preparedness, ability to respond, etc.) you engaged in dialogue about the topic after the leader finished, how professionally you participated in discussion (not taking up too much time or interrupting), and your overall grasp of the subject matter.  

Each student will also be graded on the written RAID response: MLA format, content, thoughtfulness, professionalism, etc.

Please include each question (you can just copy and paste from here) or a short (paraphrased) version.  Your discussion points for each question should not be much longer than one page (per question).  Remember a Works Cited page and MLA format if you paraphrase, cite, or refer to material to substantiate your assertions.  

Though not required, it is usually best to type up your RAID as discussion points or an outline, rather than in narrative text format.


    Having just begun our ethnography, you may be feeling unsure about what to focus on.  Review Ch. 3 ("Posing the Question") in Phillips to address the following with respect to your neighborhood cluster:

A.    Construct at least two research questions or hypotheses that relate specifically to your neighborhood(s). For example:
    1. Why is the minority population so high in these neighborhoods? (research question)
    2. The percentage of minority population is positively correlated with the percentage of residents below the poverty level, the percent who qualify for free lunches, and the percent who rent (rather than own) their homes. (hypothesis)
    3. How does neighborhood design and architecture reflect residents' sense of community? (research question)
    4. People who live in neighborhoods with tree-lined "walkable" sidewalks, on-street parking, houses with shallow setbacks (not too far from the sidewalk) and porches have a stronger sense of community than people who live in neighborhoods without these characteristics. (hypothesis)

B.  Keep in mind the issues listed on p. 74 in Phillips under "What Questions to Ask" and discuss the following with respect to the ethnography:
    1. How might your own values and biases affect what you choose to observe and how you choose to interpret any findings?
    2. What sorts of questions regarding "community" seem to you to be underexamined, and how might you address some of those in your research?
    3. So what?  Are you going to be looking at something that will be interesting and meaningful? (I once had a student do a report that consisted of counting trucks that crossed a bridge; with some context, that could have been interesting, but as it was -- not so much :-)

II.  Most of us have at least two different national/ethnic/racial backgrounds.  For example, I am half Italian and half French.  However, I clearly identify most strongly with my Italian side.  I know the villages in both Italy and France where my family comes from.  In France, we come from Réallon, which is in the Alsace region in Southern France.  In Italy, we come from a town called Guardia Lombardi, which is in the province of Avellino in the Campania region of Southern Italy.  

A.    Speak with your relatives, particularly those with whose national/ethnic/racial background you identify the most strongly.  Try to narrow down as far as you can the city, town, or village from which that side of your family comes. For the purposes of this exercise, we will refer to this as your home town.

If you absolutely cannot find out the name of your historical, familial home town, then you can use one of the following:

B.  Using Internet resources, try to find out the following information about that location.  I will use Guardia Lombardi as an example:
C.  Discuss your experience in doing this Exercise No. II (talking with your relatives, finding out things you may not have known about your past and your people, etc.)

Note:  Some students already have a very good grasp of their background.  Some religious denominations, for example, place a special value on geneology.  So, you may already have done this. Even so, see what else you can get from this exercise.

III.    Pick one of the following concepts we've been discussing or reading about and discuss aspects about it that you find the most interesting.

IV.    Check out this news story: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060421/ap_on_re_us/foiled_plot.  What aspects of this story do you find the most interesting with respect to any topic related to our course (either that we've covered or that we will cover)?