Contemporary Political Theory

These papers are supposed to be analytic papers and NOT opinion pieces or book reviews.  You are not simply to summarize readings or give your opinion about the readings but rather to provide an argument and take a position.  The student should be sure to provide a clear, concise, and coherent argument for the position they take and not engage in demagoguery or political activist grandstanding.  The reader will not care about the student’s political views or which positions s/he takes, but rather how well that position is argued.  Finally, all papers should cite properly. APA or Chicago style is usually appropriate for the humanities and social sciences, but any recognized style will do.


Term-Paper Prompt: 

Frantz Fanon in Black Skin, White Masks and Judith Butler in Gender Trouble both challenges entrenched cultural stereotypes and categorizations that contribute to the political oppression of historically marginalized groups. Considering their basic arguments, do you think there is any overlap in how they approach the theorizing of either “women” or “race”? Do you think Butler’s problematizing of “women” as a gender/sexual/social/political category and Fanon’sinterrogation of racism in the context of colonialism have anything in common?

In your essay consider Butler’s thesis on the “performativity” of gender and Fanon’s consideration of black identity and the psychological effects of racism. Do these approaches resemble each other in any way? Is there a common thread running through the spirit of Butler’s and Fanon’s arguments?

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