Final Exam Study Guide
Academic Conduct: Use your own words, keep your eyes on your own work, and be sure to avoid
even any behavior or work that might look like cheating or plagiarism. Cite any sources fully,
whether you are quoting or paraphrasing or simply borrowing a general idea from a source. That
may be a source in one of our readings, or one located on the internet, or that you have borrowed
from a classmate – any idea that comes from a source outside your own head must be fully cited.
Failure to give appropriate credit (even by accident, such as from working too quickly and
forgetting to put source information into your paper) is considered plagiarism by academic
conduct policies. Any academic misconduct may result in a “0” for the exam and/or an “F” for the
Strive for excellent writing, clear expression of ideas, strong explanations, insight, and good grasp
of the meaning of the videos and text. Remember that the essay grades are based on the quality of
writing as well as the “content.”
As with your exams, pretend that your reader will be someone pretty unfamiliar with the
interviewees and concepts involved. Don’t assume that they will know the “jargon,” explain things
Remember that you need not agree with the text and interviewers. Your job is to engage
sympathetically to grasp their ideas, reasoning, and visions on their own terms, and to enter into
conversation with the text, stating your own positions and reasoning for them. As the required
components guide below notes, you also must do another thing – consider a potential objection to
your view and respond to it with fresh ideas.
Note: in Exam 2, the questions called on you to summarize main points from the
author/interviewee’s stories and thinking. In this final exam, you must go beyond this summary of
their ideas and story, to synthesize and relate across these stories - explaining the meaning and/or
Some of these final exam topics relate to the 5-page essay topics. It is ok if you write on something
you wrote your essay about it, but don’t just re-state the exact same points.
1. Choose Amína Mama, Aída Hernández-Castillo, Zillah Eisenstein, or Taveeshi Singh) of the last
four feminist scholar-activists featured at the end of Feminist Freedom Warriors, name the person
and explain the following:
• how/why each sees critiques of racism, capitalism, imperialism, homophobia, transphobia
(whichever each focuses upon) as crucial to feminism (I’ll call it coalitional, deeply
• how each imagines liberation/positive change, and their reasons why
• how each relates specifics of their life and work context to these issues.
2. Choose one of these authors and a meaningful quote (or related quotes) or concept/theoretical
point, develop it, explain it, and apply it – whether to a situation they describe or one you see in
your life or in the world today generally.
3. Explain Zillah Eisenstein’s points on how and why she used a hypothetical pregnant, poor Black
woman as a way to check policies or political theories for their adequacy.
4. Zillah Eisenstein states, “what is the responsibility of white women within the different women’s
movements – because we don’t have a unified one – in trying to negotiate an honest coalition that
asks more than for me to be an ally, that asks for me to be an active participant in the struggle.” (p.
136) (See also her comments on “ally” on pp. 137-138.) Explain this quote.
5. Describe some of Aída Hernández-Castillo’s work from pp. 114-119, explaining one of the
anecdotes and lessons she draws from it.
6. Describe some of Amína Mama’s work, explaining one of the anecdotes and lessons she draws
7. Relate the Feminist Freedom Warriors project to the Minnich text or to any of the videos we
have watched in class, such as Chimamanda Adichie’s TED talks “The Danger of a Single Story”
and “We Should All Be Feminists.” Explain at least two significant ways that the Feminist Freedom
Warrior project (or some element of it such as an interview or some points from the introduction
to the text) relate to one or more points in Minnich or in one of the Chimamanda Adichie videos.
8. Explain from Pratt’s narrative each of the following:
How Pratt describes her struggle as learning “to be in the world as it is.”
How she comes to learn that her eyes have “only let in what they have been taught to see.”
How she gains not only a different view of the world but also a clearer view, as well as a whole way of
looking which is more adequate to discerning the multi-layered world around her.
Explain, Pratt writes:
So this is one gain for me as I change. I learn a way of looking at the world that is
more accurate, complex, multi-layered, multi-dimensional, more truthful; to see
the world of overlapping circles, like movement on the millpond after a fish has
jumped, instead of the courthouse square with me in the middle...I feel the need to
look differently because I’ve learned that what is presented to me as an accurate
view of the world is frequently a lie...I’m learning that what I think I know is an
accurate view of the world is frequently a lie.
Note: Her language of truth and lies makes it explicit that her experiences have been not merely
shifts in perspective, but shifts to more truthful views.
Explain this example: Pratt gives as an example of taking herself to know something that is in fact a
lie, a case where she and three other Christian-raised women insisted to a Jewish woman that on
their march together through a cemetery they had seen rows of crosses. The Jewish woman
objected that there were instead headstones with names, some engraved with crosses and some
with stars-of-David. Pratt and the other Christian-raised women adamantly argued that the
markers were crosses, until the Jewish woman showed them photographs from the march, with
headstones, one clearly showing a star-of-David. Whatever difficulties we might have in
supporting general realist claims for moral attention, this case is one where the relevant evidence
makes it clear that in fact Pratt's initial view was false, however strongly she believed it before being
confronted with the photographs. Having learned from that experience, she might then go on to
exercise attention in such a way that she does not incorrectly see non-Christian symbols as
Christian ones, so that her attentive abilities have been improved beyond her Christian-centered
Explain, as Pratt comes to realize how much her identity has been built upon implicit
assumptions of and investments in institutional racism, she writes:
I was shaped by my relation to those buildings and to the people in the buildings,
by ideas of who should be working in the Board of Education, of who should be
in the bank handling money, of who should have the guns and the keys to the jail,
of who should be in the jail; and I was shaped by what I didn’t see, or didn’t
notice, on those streets.
Her worldview was a part of her, invisible to her until she gained distance from it and perspective
on it. In her case, it was largely through her involvement in political organizing that she was
confronted with threats to her assumptions. Encounters with those operating in different
contexts, with different worldviews, encouraged her to examine her own and develop capacities of
moral attention with which to experience the world.
Explain how Pratt generalizes from her own case to those of others, claiming that each of us
inhabits some remnants of our early worldview, that in which we happened to be raised before we
developed our powers to think more critically. She writes:
...Each of us carries around those growing-up places, the institutions, a sort of
backdrop, a., stage-set. So often we act out the present against a backdrop of the
past, within a frame of perception that is so familiar, so safe that it is terrifying to
risk changing it even when we know our perceptions are distorted, limited,
constricted by that old view.
Explain: Reading the Pratt narrative for their own project on the kind of agency they see Pratt
exemplifying, Chandra Mohanty and Biddy Martin write of the vertigo entailed by Pratt's coming
to understand the lies which her experience of home, and her role as a young white woman there,
were built upon. They write, “Pratt now remembers that home was repressive space built on the
surrendering of all responsibility. Pratt’s self-reflection, brought on by a consciousness of
difference, is nourished and expanded by thinking contextually of other histories and of her own
responsibility and implication in them.” Thus, Pratt's learning progress was based fundamentally
upon her coming to take a deeper sense of responsibility for herself and her part -- however subtle
and unintentional -- in the fabric of social problems in the world in which she lives.
Explain: as Pratt engages in this conscious practice of attention, her engagement with the world
ensures that there is a closer fit between her perspective and the world, when not mediated
through the distorting lens of unreflective whiteness. As Pratt writes:
In this city where I am no longer of the majority by color or culture, I tell myself
every day: In this world you aren’t the superior race or culture and never were,
whatever you were raised to think: and are you getting ready to be in this world?
And I answer myself back: I’m trying to learn how to live, to have the
speaking-to extend beyond the moment’s word, to act so as to change the unjust
circumstances that keep us from being able to speak to each other; I’m trying to
get a little closer to the longed-for but unrealized world, where we each are able to
live, but not by trying to make someone less than us, not by someone else’s blood
or pain: yes, that’s what I’m trying to do with my living now.
Pratt’s narrative gives real content to the view that how one engages in relationship with others, and
how one sees the world and intervenes into it, are part of one’s character, just as one’s set of
explicitly stated values are.
Explain: Pratt claims consistently that she is coming to see the world more truly as it is. In a world
divided so deeply along lines of race, sex, class, and other differences, opaqueness to the distortions
caused by that which holds those divisions in place cannot but breed blindness. She distinguishes
between truth and lies, between truth and denial. Pratt's vision of the headstones as crosses was
shown to be false by the evidence of photographs. Her vision of history was shown to be radically
interested and partial by other sources. We can think of cases where we first misinterpreted a
situation, because of the distorting effect of what we wanted to see. Pratt uses attention to speak
from her own position, specifically acknowledging the partiality of her perspective and the endemic
possibilities of distortion. Over time, she has developed an anti-racist perspective through which to
mediate her experiences and make sense of the world.
i Pratt, "Identity: Skin Blood Heart," 17.
ii Ibid., 17.
iii Pratt, "Identity: Skin Blood Heart," 17.
iv Ibid., 17.
v Mohanty and Martin, 198.
vi Pratt, "Identity: Skin Blood Heart," 13.
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