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Exam Forum

Hesston College
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
California State University, Dominguez Hills
Latest update: October 10, 2000
Faculty Team.

Essay Exam Questions
and Forum Discussion on Exam Questions

The exam questions represent issues that I think you should be able to discuss, based on your readings and on class lectures and discussions. These are not meant to be simple questions that you answer from a text. They are meant to make you think, and are my translation of ways to measure whether we have met the behavioral objectives of the course. In keeping with my educational philosophy, they are meant to be answered by us collectively in interactive format on this discussion forum. For an example, please see Reports of Learning.

  1. All classes: Art as Expression of Mutuality
  2. Added October 7, 2000.

    Based on Hunt's The Scapegoat.

    Notice that George Landow disagrees with Herbert Sussman's interpretation of the Scapegoat as a representative work. How would an essay such as Landow's support Jonathan Lear's insistence that we must remain open-minded and resist "knowingness?"

    Consider what the theorists we cite suggest about "circles of certainty," about "codes," about our shutting off the hearing of further information in good faith. Do these concerns apply to the academy? Explain.

  3. All classes: Moving from Certainty towards Openness
  4. Added October 7, 2000.

    Based on Hunt's The Scapegoat.

    Look again at Landow's essay on the Scapegoat and why he says it fails. Contrast the little sheep at the bottom of the Strayed Sheep painting with the goat. I happened to come across the Strayed Sheep in planning Mind Candy. It reminded me so much of the Scapegoat, I went looking for the Scapegoat. What parallels and what differences do you see? I happen to dislike the Scapegoat. Why do you think I went in search of it? (Consider my discomfort with "knowingness.")

    Consider Landow's assessment: "Unfortunately, however effectively such a program might work within Victorian sermons and poems, it does not do so in The Scapegoat. For one thing it is a very realistic painting, and Hunt's image of a suffering goat is far too obtrusive: it commands our attention too much, distracting us from precisely those spiritual ideas it was supposed to convey. Part of the distraction arises in Hunt's realistic technique which renders so well every detail of the animal's wool, for this detailed portrayal of visual fact really has no iconographic significance and hence dilutes the picture's intended meaning."

    Does Landow's explanation of why he thinks Hunt's Scapegoat fails help you understand the difficulty of communication through art? How does that difficulty work in our favor in terms of avoiding "knowingness?"

  5. All classes: Relating Fellman to Theory in General
  6. From Gordon Fellman's Rambo and the Dalai Lama:

    Compare critical theory and postmodern theory. Contemporary Social Theory, pp. 13-17and pp. 23-27. What issues do critical theory and postmodern have in common? Look to what each field wants to accomplish: a world with greater justice and less suffering. What issues keep them apart? Look to their presumptions about Enlightenment and the possibility of an over-riding universal theoretical position. (Recall "Deutschland uber alles.")How does this comparison fit into Fellman's paradigm of adversarialism and mutuality?
    • Link the theories to distributive justice.
    • Link the theories to the importance of theory to measurement in statistics.
    • Link the theory to the issues in creating a peacemaking identity.

    Conceptual Linking to Distributive Justice:

    Consider the postmodern concern with Enlightenment and the discontent with Imperialism that failed to bring prosperity to the whole world, and resulted in ever-deepening gaps between the haves and the have-nots. Lyotard wants to reject all meta-narrative as failing to deal with these primal issues of local narrative. Consider critical theory's concern to understand the unstated assumptions, to examine why the system works, and what doesn't work.

    Conceptual Linking to Theory:

    Modern Social Theory needs to answer some of today's questions on race, on gender, on power and resources and how they shall be shared. To do that theory must answer some of the criticisms of Enlightenment, positivism, and the impossibiliity of science to "control" and "make the world better."

    Conceptual Linking to Love and Peace:

    Consider the difficulties of maintaining the tentatively understood mutuality paradigm in the midst of a world overrun by the adversarial compulsion. See Tina Juen's comments.

    Conceptual Linking to Measurement in Statistics:

    Consider the problem of our seeing what we expect to see. Fellman says that part of the reason we have difficulty in seeing the alternatives that might lead to mutuality is that we come to believe that the way we see the world is inevitably the "right" way, the "only" way. That means that what we see, how we measure, what we conclude from what we have measured is all governed by our "worldview." Draw an example of this from the Yanomami Controversy.

  7. All Classes: Understanding how to use alternative sources.
  8. Why couldn't we find adversarialism in the dictionary? Is that a fault of the dictionary? Where do you turn when such problems arise?

    See When Dictionaries Don't Work.

  9. All Classes: The importance of linking ideas across classes, across disciplines, across experiences.
  10. What is conceptual linking, and why do we want it?

    See examples in question 1 above.

  11. Theory, Distributive Justice, and Love and Peace Classes
  12. From Constitutive Theory, Stuart Henry and Dragan Milovanovic

    Two main components of constitutive theory are agency and structural context. Explain how this satisfies Henry and Milovanovic's postmodernist explanation of interdependence between individuals and the "social system."

    See Agency, Structural Context, and Postmodernism.

  13. Love and Peace Class: Adverarialism and Mutuality Up Front and Personal
  14. This is a follow up to the USC Professor e-mail that Tina sent in. The Teacher Who Practiced Loving is another one that Tina sent us. It deals very directly with the importance of mutuality in our lives and the lengths we sometimes go to to meet those needs. We have an academic forum for the discussion of exam questions. Be sure to take advantage of this forum for clarifying the questions and for help in interpreting the resources. You can do that by e-mailing your comments and questions to jeanne.

    How does "The Teacher Who Practiced Loving" story illustrate our searching for the paradigm of mutuality?

      References and Suggestions:

    • "The Teacher Who Practiced Loving" Online.
    • Fellman, Rambo and the Dalai Lama, "The Mutuality Alternative," pp. 25-28. Hardcopy text.
    • Fellman, Rambo and the Dalai Lama, "The Range of Possibilities within the Two Paradigms," p.28. Hardcopy text.
    • Fellman, Rambo and the Dalai Lama, "Paradigm Shift," pp. 34-36. Hardcopy text.
    • Fellman, Rambo and the Dalai Lama, "Two Compulsions," pp. 37-55. Hardcopy text.

  15. Statistics Class:
  16. Does the "Withholding Compliments" paper deal with quantitative or qualitative data? What difficulties of analysis does this kind of data present?

    References: Qualitative and Quantitative Data

  17. Theory Class:
  18. Some of the classic theorists to whom Ryave et al. trace their study are: Hobbes, Rousseau, Durkheim, and Cooley. Who are these classic theorists, and how does Goffman come in here?

    Consider what Ryave et al. mean when they say " Seminal thinkers, such as Hobbes (1965), Rousseau (1969), Durkheim (1933) and Cooley (1922), all focused on the normative structures which maintain the social bond in the face of competing and hierarchically generated interests."

    Consider also how Goffman's emphasis on how we manage identity in relationships is like how actors perform front stage and relate to each other when the audience is not there backstage. Farganis offers a reading from Goffman's Presentation of Self in Everyday Life on pp.359-368.

  19. Distributive Justice Class:
  20. Is the compliment a scarce resource? Would it be a scarce resource withint the mutuality paradigm? What does this suggest about the scarcity of resources? How does "The Teacher Who Practiced Loving" illustrate the scarcity of resources?

  21. General:
  22. How do you think Henry and Milovanovic would interpret "agency" and "structural context" in connection with the "Withholding Compliments" paper? Recall that they describe agency and structural context as interdependent in the construction of reality.

  23. Statistics Class:
  24. Added October 2, 2000.

    In statistics we make a number of mathematical assumptions about our data. Babbie and Halley explain this in Chapter 14, but it is important that you make this connection early. One of these assumptions is that data may be nominal, ordinal, interval (or ratio). Explain how this assumption matters in your measurement and collection of data. Discussed in lectures.

  25. Statistics Class:
  26. Added October 2, 2000.

    Causal analysis suggests that one variable causes variations in another. What are the mathematical assumptions we need to worry about in causal analysis? Be sure to mention time sequencing, spurious relationships, interdependence. Discussed in lectures.

  27. Statistics Class:
  28. Added October 4, 2000.

    Statistics Lab Material on the Yanomami for the week of October 2, 2000.

    • Exam Question
    • jeanne would have bolted as a kid if a stranger had approached her to measure her subcutaneous tissue. Even if it had been a stranger sanctioned by adults in her tribes. jeanne was not a trusting child. Maybe she was one of the orphaned Yanomami. Jeanne Anderson would not have bolted. As a future nurse she trusted the adults more. Perhaps she wasn't one of the orphaned ones. (jeanne and Jeanne are fantasizing their reactions, based on what they remember of their childhood. Jeanne says "It doesn't hurt!" jeanne says "Don't touch!" People, including children, react differently.

      Will these different reactions affect the results of the Yanomami study from the Cejal Project? Consider the qualitative results and the quantitative results.

  29. Statistics Class:
  30. Added October 5, 2000.

  31. Theory Class: The Significant Part of Social Theory that Durkheim Saw
  32. Added October 8, 2000.

    • Contemporary Social Theory emphasizes the loss of metanarratives and the promised Enlightenment of modernism. Postmodernism speaks of interdependence. Fellman speaks of our need to merge adversarialism and mutuality in a new paradigm that does not compulsively assume that the way things are is invevitably the way they must be. Lear speaks of "knowingness" and the dilemma which such obsession confronts us. Where in all this contemporary theory can we trace the contributions of Durkheim?

      Refer to Emile Durkheim: Approach to Theory.

    • Do you think that Durkheim was grappling with some of the same concerns a century ago that some social constructionists are grappling with today? Explain. Added October 8, 2000.

  33. Theory, Distributive Justice, Love and Peace Classes: Transforming Discourse through Exercising Agency
    • How does Lear's concept of "knowingness" help you to understand how the students' work here has broken the constraints of the system? Recall that Fellman says that one of the problems with adversarialism is that we tend to view the way the world is as inevitable. These examples show that students are doing things in ways that defy the inevitable. Would that satisfy Henry and Milovanovic's concept of transforming discourse?

      Will put up guides later. jeanne