University of Western Gender

Research Paper Topics Choices:

Choose 1 of the following topics that most interests/inspires you and write a thoughtfully organized, position essay. A position essay requires you to formulate a thesis and to defend this thesis with reasonable argument and evidence. 

  • Create your own topic that is relevant to the course themes. Come up with your own topic, complete with argument, and let your passion guide you. Follow the instructions below.
  • Gender Performatives & Technology: Looking at AI and Gender: Four Proposals For Future Research (p. 8) there is a quote and a link made to Judith Butler’s notion of Gender Performatives. The statement reveals a mutual shaping of gender and technology happening: “Gender relations can be thought of as materialised in technology, and masculinity and femininity in turn acquire their meaning and character through their enrolment and embeddedness in working machines.” This mutual shaping seems to entrench binary and essentialist notions gender even firmer into us, but is there hope of reversing it and escaping it?  Are we trapped or can gender performatives free us? Is this the problem of living in a heavily established gender binary society that can only loosen up so far but not enough?  Offer your opinion on this issue and if we can move beyond it or not, and then support your position. 
  • Visibility & Vulnerability: Some of our authors have indicated that the internet produced valuable visibility for 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals and some have also indicated the increased vulnerability and trauma that has resulted. I want you to follow their lead. I want you to pick a category of 2SLGBTQIA+ (i.e., sex, gender, or sexual minority, and feel free to also bring in intersections like race and disability too) and pick an internet platform (i.e., FB, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Tumblr, Blogs, etc.) and discuss the prior situation of visibility/invisibility of this category, the type of visibility produced by the internet presence/how they accomplished it, and then the vulnerability created by such presence, and how we can effectively address the vulnerability going forward and maybe prevent it (i.e., you need to offer up your ideas of concrete solutions). Be sure to answer after your discussion if, in your opinion, the visibility benefits outweighs the risks vulnerability brings and why. 
  • Sex Robots:  Watch the short video “The Ethics of Sex Robots |  Kate Devlin, Brooke Magnanti, Shahidha Bari, Alan Winfield” https://youtu.be/dZGh-hzzJQo  and I want you to discuss and weigh in on the points made by either Kate Devlin or Alan Winfield (He starts talking around 4:25) in relation to sex/relationship robots.  Basically i want you to discuss what your chosen philosopher says, and if you agree or not with them, and then why/why not. [Research on sex robots by ethicists is an emerging field and there are some great resources available.]
  • Gendered Technology and Science Fiction: Pick your favourite Sci-Fi film, book, graphic novel, etc., that has what you feel is gendered technology and discuss how it exemplifies gender stereotypes and which ones, and how this affects the relationship with other characters, and then what effect these stereotypes have on the ideas about gender of the reader/viewer. Think about … did the technology need to be gendered?  is it okay to gender stereotype technology in Sci-Fi films and fiction?  Does it have negative affects?  Can it be positive for ideas about gender? Are there changes that could be made and if so what?  

Basic Instructions:

  • Ensure your paper has a title page with your name and student number on it. 
  • This is a formal academic paper, use proper grammar, punctuation, paragraphing, and good style. Try to avoid using contractions. You may use first-person pronouns when you are speaking of your positions, your beliefs or your arguments – I do want you to own those. 
  • Papers must be typed, double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman Font, with margins set to 1 inch. The format for submission MUST be either PDF or Word document. Turnitin.com struggles with google docs or anything other than these two. 
  • The 2000-word count minimum does not include footnotes, endnotes, works cited, bibliography, or title page. This word count refers to essay content. 
  • The citation style – MLA, APA, Chicago – is up to you. Use the one you feel most comfortable with and/or need to practice and be consistent.  
  • For indented block quotes, do a single return above and below it, and then single space the quote itself. Indent at least one side to make it clear it is a block quote. 
  • Single returns between paragraphs – don’t leave giant gaps. 
  • The format your paper takes on is up to you – if you want to use headings or sections, etc. 
  • There is no set number of supports for any thesis – some papers it is 3, some it is 2, some it is 4. Do what feels best & strongest for your unique paper. 
  • When you can, consider and address counter arguments to your position. 
  • If you want me to check your thesis statement or an outline before you compose the essay, I will so long as you send it to me 4 days before the deadline. 

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