Big Idea Challenge

CHALLENGE LOGO

All students are required to complete two “Big Idea Challenges” this semester. The purpose of these challenges is to encourage you to apply the big ideas and theories you are learning in this course to the world outside of our virtual classroom. You will find a list of challenges below, and at the end of each module when you see this star logo. You will share your responses to these challenges in the appropriate forum on eClass.

Below you will find some exceptional responses to the Big Idea Challenges from previous semesters, included with permission of former students. You may use these as inspiration, and you may cite their work in your own.

NOTE: For some modules there are multiple challenges from which to choose, whereas there is only one option for other modules. Choose only one!

Requirements

Format

For this assignment, you can choose from a variety of formats. This course encourages you to connect theory with practice, so think about how to share information about gender & social justice issues in a way that reaches wide audiences effectively. I encourage you to get creative — if you have an idea that isn’t listed here, please book an office hours appointment with your Instructor or TA and we can discuss it! Here are some ideas:

  • record a video with slides and visuals and post it to YouTube. You may post your video as an unlisted video, meaning only those with the link can view it. Review some tips on how to use slide decks effectively. You may not submit a slide deck without an audio or video presentation accompanying it. The recommended length is between 5-7 minutes. Your response should not be any shorter, and not significantly longer. Any more than 10 minutes is too long!
  • Try digital storytelling! Create a short digital story explaining your response to the challenge. Your video should be no more than 5 minutes.
  • Create an infographic. These are most effective when they are not dominated by text, so do not write an essay and then put it on an infographic.
  • Create a photo essay. Here is an example by an award-winning photo-journalist, Amber Bracken. Do not worry — your photo essay doesn’t have to be this spectacular to be successful in this course! Recommended length: approx. 750 words, plus photographs.
  • Create an instagram story featuring a set of instagram slides. Before you begin, look up some examples of social media influencers or organizations creating content about social justice. One example is Climate Justice Edmonton. You can submit a short, 500-word description of your instagram story if your post requires more context to meet the assignment requirements.
  • Write a short essay of between 800-1000 words. You should consult the slides on eClass for writing tips about how to cite, how to paraphrase, and how to use quotations effectively.

Integrating Assigned Resources

  • You must integrate a discussion of at least two assigned resources from the course. At least one of these must be from the particular module from which you’ve chosen your challenge. For example, if you are completing a challenge from Module One, you must integrate a discussion of the assigned resource from Module One by Iris Marion Young, and choose at least one other assigned resource from the course.
  • Remember, assigned resources are those texts listed on the assigned resources page from each module. It is not enough to refer to the lessons alone.
  • You should include a list of references with your response. You can add a slide at the end of your video, for example.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do I submit a video file? You can upload your video to YouTube using your UAlberta email address and log in credentials. You can make the video unlisted, meaning only people who have the link can view it. This is the best way to submit your video to ensure that everyone can open it. You may also use Google Drive. Make sure to check your sharing settings so that everyone who has the link can open your video.
  2. Can I make a power point and add audio? Yes you can do this, but I find a video tends to be a more effective format, because you can introduce your presentation and we can follow along with you.
  3. How will I be assessed? You are being assessed based on the ways you incorporate a discussion of the big idea for the module and the assigned resources for this module into your response to the challenge. No matter the format you are using, you must incorporate a discussion of at least two assigned resources from the course. Make sure you incorporate specific examples from the lessons and assigned resources into your response. Every time you make a claim, you should support this with an example. Be sure to define key concepts with some depth and with reference to lessons and readings. For example, if you say, “Indigenous languages are vital to the pursuit of social justice”, you should explain how you understand the concept of social justice, using the lesson from Module one and the assigned resources by Iris Marion Young. There is a rubric available on eClass.
  4. Will I receive a lower mark if I do an essay instead of something more creative? No, you will not receive a lower grade for choosing to do a more traditional essay as opposed to a video or Instagram story. Just like all students, however, you will be assessed on how effective your communication style is. So, if your writing contains spelling mistakes or sentence fragments, for example, this will impact your grade. Please consult the writing slides on eClass for tips.
  5. Where do I submit my assignment? You will submit a link or file in the Big Idea Challenge discussion board for that module. You should not submit in the assignment drop box. Make sure you introduce your response to the challenge.
  6. How do I reference assigned texts? Here’s a guide to using Chicago style to cite sources. You may use another citation style as long as you use it consistently.
  7. Can I review other students’ challenges as examples? Of course! You should engage with your colleagues by reading their responses or watching their videos. Feel free to leave comments, ask questions, and discuss each other’s posts. You might find inspiration from your colleagues. If so, be sure to acknowledge them! For example, “I was really inspired by Holly’s video on her ‘gender reveal party’ so I decided to follow her approach using my own insights as well as specific examples from the module.”
  8. What if I need help? Book an office hours appointment with your Instructor or TA (see eClass). We recommend coming to office hours at least one week before your challenge is due, but preferably sooner. This means you should try to book an office appointment by mid-January for your first challenge or mid-February for your second challenge.

More questions about the Big Idea Challenge? Post them on eClass!

MODULE ONE: GENDER & SOCIAL JUSTICE

Remember! For some modules there are multiple options from which to choose, whereas there is only one option for other modules. Choose only one!

1) LEARN & SHARE ONE CREE WORD

Learn and share a Cree word that can help inform a social justice approach to gender studies. For example, you might learn the Cree word for ‘Edmonton’ and tell us why learning this word help inform a social justice approach to gender studies. You must share the pronunciation of the words as best you can. Remember to relate your response to the big idea for Module One, which is “social justice”. Use course materials, including lessons, lectures, and assigned resources to do this. Here are some links to help you get started learning some Cree words:

Ashlynn’s discussion of wahkohtowin

To cite: Dennis, Ashlynn. 2022. “Wahkohtowin.” Big Idea Challenge 1. wgs102: Gender & Social Justice. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvvMqx-xEKI

2) LEARN ABOUT THE PLACE YOU CALL ‘HOME’

Check out this map at native-land.ca. Find your home on the map do some research online to learn a bit about the territory’s history. What’s the traditional Indigenous name for the place you call home? Learn how to pronounce it. Go for a walk. Take photographs or a video of things you notice about your surroundings. For example, what do you notice about the street names, the name of your neighbourhood, your neighbours, the landscape, river, or trees? Are there monuments nearby? Schools? Community centres? Do you think about your location differently after learning a bit about the territory you’re from? How might your new understanding inform your approach to studying gender and social justice? Share your reflections with your classmates. You can upload a video, a poem, a short story, a photo essay, or an audio recording — you can be creative! Remember to incorporate material from readings, lectures, and lessons, and link your response to gender and social justice.

GET INSPIRED! Check out Ayla’s reflection on what it means to think about social justice on Treaty 6 territory through her “treaty walk” (Fall 2020), Mya’s discussion of St. Albert (Winter 2022), or Mikayla’s reflections on Viking, AB (Winter 2022).

Mya’s analysis of St. Albert

to cite: Baumle, Mya. 2022. “Learn About Your Home: St. Albert, AB.” Big Idea Challenge 1. wgs102: Gender & Social Justice. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDLff5s0LzA

Mikayla’s discussion of Viking, AB

To cite: Carrington, Mikayla. 2022. “The Place I Call Home.” wgs102: Gender & Social Justice. https://youtu.be/7arYtW-Dt8o

MODULE TWO: WOMEN’S MOVEMENTS & FEMINIST THEORIES

1) PLAN YOUR OWN GENDER REVEAL PARTY

Plan your own gender reveal party. How would you reveal your gender to your family and friends? How would you convey complex information about your identity through a gender reveal party? How might your party engage in what Judith Butler calls “gender trouble” by disrupting sex/gender binaries? Reflect on the phenomenon of gender reveal parties and the process of distilling your gendered self into one big “reveal”. What feels inadequate or limiting about that process? What is liberating? Can feminists, queer, and trans folks ‘take back’ gender reveal parties as a form of resistance to gender binaries? Or, do gender reveal parties tend to reproduce binary ideas of sex and gender as either masculine or feminine?

REMEMBER! You must define the big idea for the module and reference assigned resources in your response. Be sure to include specific examples from at least two assigned resources.

This image is decorative. A group of friends of varying genders take photos at a party.
Photo by Zackary Drucker as part of Broadly’s Gender Spectrum Collection. Credit: The Gender Spectrum Collection. Made available to media outlets via Creative Commons. See guidelines here: broadlygenderphotos.vice.com/guidelines

GET INSPIRED! Below is a short story by Kat (Winter 2022), followed by Holly’s description of her gender reveal party (Fall 2020).

to cite: Kat. 2022. “Gender reveal party.” wgs102: Gender & Social Justice. https://wgs102.org/big-idea-challenge/

MODULE THREE: INTERSECTIONALITY & BLACK FEMINIST THOUGHT

Remember! For some modules there are multiple options from which to choose, whereas there is only one option for other modules. Choose only one!

1) RESEARCH BLACK WOMEN TRAILBLAZERS

Research one of the following Black women trailblazers. Teach your colleagues about her. Who is she? What did she do? Why is her story important?

  • Sophia B. Jones, the first Black woman to graduate from the University of Michigan’s Medical School
  • Bernice Redmon, the first Black Canadian woman nurse
  • Edmonton civil rights activist Lulu Anderson
  • Violet King Henry, the first Black woman lawyer in Canada
  • Rosemary Brown, the first woman elected to a provincial legislature in Canada
  • Jean Augustine, the first Black woman elected to Canada’s House of Commons

Get inspired! Read about Dr. Malinda S. Smith’s research on Black women trailblazers here. Check out Dedi Nyong’s discussion of Sophia B. Jones here (Winter 2022)

To cite: Nyong, Dedi. 2022. “Sophia B. Jones.” wgs102: Gender & Social Justice.

2) STUDY BLACK FEMINIST SOCIAL MOVEMENTS

Choose either the Black Lives Matter movement or the #MeToo movement. Explain why the movement is an intersectional feminist movement that is connected to Black feminist thought.

Checkout Abbie’s instagram post here.

To cite: Raza, Abbie. 2022. “Feminist Voices Within Black Lives Matter.” wgs102: Gender & Social Justice. https://www.instagram.com/p/CZkYflWvlp_/?utm_medium=copy_link

REMEMBER! You must define the big idea for the module and reference assigned resources in your response. Be sure to include specific examples from at least two assigned resources.

MODULE FOUR: INDIGENOUS FEMINISMS & 2S IDENTITY

1) “OHTISIY” STORIES

Watch this digital story by Dr. Lana Whiskeyjack about “ohtisiy” or belly button teachings, shared by Alsena White. Do belly button teachings reflect Indigenous feminist theory? If so, how? If not, why? Remember to use examples from assigned resources and lessons to support your points.

2) DISCUSS THE WET’SUWET’EN MATRIARCHS

Review Amber Bracken’s photo essay for the Narwhal, “In photos: Wet’suwet’en matriarchs arrested as RCMP enforce Coastal GasLink pipeline injunction“. Discuss Bracken’s photo essay using the Indigenous feminist framework of land/body consent, as outlined in the NYSHN & WEA Report (one of the assigned resources for this module). Provide examples from the photo essay, the assigned resources, and lessons from the module.

Read Jessica F’s discussion of Bracken’s essay below!

REMEMBER! You must define the big idea for the module and reference assigned resources in your response. Be sure to include specific examples from at least two assigned resources.

MODULE FIVE: QUEER POLITICS

1) STUDY THE EDMONTON QUEER HISTORY APP USING A QUEER INTERSECTIONAL LENS

Download the Edmonton Queer History App. Analyze the app using a queer politics/queer intersectional lens. Provide specific examples from the app, from the lessons, and from the readings. 

MODULE SIX: REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS & JUSTICE

1) REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE IN THE NEWS

Find a news article that discusses a local, national, or international issue of reproductive justice. Make sure the article you’ve identified is no more than 12 months old. Explain the issue and how it relates to the concept of reproductive justice. Remember to refer to assigned resources and lessons to help you distinguish between reproductive rights and reproductive justice.

2) APPLY A REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE LENS TO THE CASE OF MS. G

Do some research about the case of Ms. G, featured in the lesson on reproductive justice. Is Ms. G’s case a question of reproductive rights or reproductive justice, or both? Explain your response. Make sure to include references to assigned resources and lessons from the module.

Note: you may wish to refer to additional resources, such as this report from Asian Communities for Reproductive Justice, or the Women’s Earth Alliance and Native Youth Sexual Health Network’s report, featured in Module 4 and posted to eClass.

MODULE SEVEN: ECOFEMINISMS & ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE

Remember: you only have to choose one of the options below!

1) THE GREEN NEW DEAL

What is the “Green New Deal”? Discuss the Green New Deal using an ecofeminist approach. Is the Green New Deal a form of ecofeminism, or do you think it reflects values of environmental justice, or a different form of environmentalism? Explain your argument.

2) AN ECOFEMINIST ANALYSIS OF CARBON TAXES

What is a carbon tax? Are carbon taxes ecofeminist? Why or why not? You may consult additional research to explain your response, but you may also construct your own argument based on what you’ve learned about ecofeminism.

REMEMBER! You must define the big idea for the module and reference assigned resources in your response. Be sure to include specific examples from assigned resources.

MODULE EIGHT: THE WEST AND THE GLOBAL SOUTH

1) APPLY A POSTCOLONIAL FEMINIST LENS TO NEWS MEDIA

Find a recent news article or podcast, from within the last 60 days, on women or girls in the Global South. Make sure you define the term “the Global South”. Use a postcolonial feminist lens to analyze the article or podcast. You must define postcolonial feminism. Make sure you refer to assigned resources in your work!

MODULE NINE: WOMEN, GENDER, & WORK

1) REFLECT ON YOUR OWN WORK HISTORY

Using what you’ve learned in this module, reflect on your own history of paid and unpaid work. Make sure you apply the big idea from this module “neoliberalism” to your discussion of your own work history. You should include references to assigned resources.

MODULE TEN: GENDER & DISABILITY JUSTICE

Remember: you only have to choose one of the options below! You must define the big idea for the module and reference assigned resources in your response. Be sure to include specific examples from assigned resources.

1) THINK ABOUT PUBLIC SPACE THROUGH A DISABILITY JUSTICE LENS

Visit a public space. This could be a library, public building, university building or classroom, transit system, or park. Make sure you follow COVID-19 protocols! Think about the space using the lens of disability justice. You may use the following questions to guide your analysis. You do not need to answer every question — these are just meant to inspire thought. How did you get there? Who is included within and excluded from the space? How are individuals and groups meant to use the space? How is the space structured or designed to include or exclude people? Which access needs are met in the space and which are not? When can people access the space and when must they leave? In short, how does the space facilitate or impede principles of disability justice?

2) IDENTIFY AN ACCESSIBILITY RESOURCE OR PROGRAM ON CAMPUS AND DISCUSS IT USING A DISABILITY JUSTICE LENS

You may wish to discuss the OnCampus program, academic accommodations, the testing centre, mental health/illness resources, or some other program on campus.

MODULE ELEVEN: SOCIAL JUSTICE & THE JUSTICE SYSTEM

1) DISCUSS A SOCIAL JUSTICE MOVEMENT EMERGING FROM WITHIN A CANADIAN PRISON.

Find an example of a social justice movement emerging from within a Canadian prison. What are the people who are incarcerated fighting for? Why? Make sure you connect your discussion to the big idea for the module, and include references to at least two assigned resources.

2) DISCUSS ALTERNATIVE APPROACHES TO CRIME & PUNISHMENT.

Identify an example of an approach to justice that deviates from the retributive prison system. You may choose an example from a different national, provincial, or local context. For example, you could explain the Norwegian approach — does this provide an alternative to the retributive model? Why or why not?

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