You will write a 1200-1500 (minimum) word reaction/position paper. There is no maximum. You will be watching the movie HOTEL RWANDA and following the instructions below. Make sure to CITE your sources. You CAN ONLY use class material to make your case. NO OUTSIDE SOURCES! (Unless we are using FACTS (like the video below, you cannot use outside opinion or analysis unless you have run it by me first.) The link to the movie description on the internet movie database is below but you must find access to the movie yourself. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0395169/
1. Introduction/Thesis: State your Thesis and introduce your paper!
- the sketch of your primary claim with relevant supporting ideas (do you lean towards a universal or relativistic model of morality?)
- mention the movie and how it’s relevant
- here you should be making specific but not detailed (think of your introduction as your table of contents) claims/points
2. SUMMARY/SYNOPSIS– What are you reacting to? THIS SHOULD ONLY BE A SHORT SUMMARY. It should not be more than a few hundred words.
Goal: Present what you are writing about.
Identify all of the basic information: about the book/movie/documentary that you will be relating to your argument and explaining in more detail later in your paper.
- the author of the piece, the title of the piece, the title of the book or journal from which it was taken (if relevant), the publisher, and the year of publication;
- the topic or subject of the piece—for example, “The Triangle Shirt-Waist Fire” or “Revitalization efforts underway in Roxbury’s Codman Square.” In other words, tell what the piece is about in a word or a phrase.
- Ex? In-class.
3. What is Cultural Relativism? How does the movie relate?
- Explaining Cultural Relativism, the argument(s), give elaborations in terms of the movie, and how does CR arise in different circumstances in the movie?
- You should be using scenes from the movie and class materials (books, lectures, etc…) to explain what CR is, including the argument(s) for it.
- You should be citing class materials and quoting when appropriate (from both the book and the movie).
- Give examples that parallel the scenes in the movie to back up your interpretive analysis.
- Ex. ? In-class.
4. .Thought Prompts/Analysis/Personal Response—
You will be choosing a side: Pro Relativism or Pro Universalism (weak or strong).
Goal: You should be writing about your naive* views as they relate to the possibility of a universal morality versus a relativistic model. You should use the movie as an entry point.
*Naive? Let’s talk about it….
I have listed a few questions below that should help you think about the case you want to make and how to relate it back to the movie. You should be connecting our discussion about cultural relativism (esp, the cultural differences argument [ie, the argument for CR) and criticisms of CR) with the themes and ideas in the movie. The questions below are NOT the writing prompts for this assignment. They are meant to get you brainstorming.
+What goals does the United Nations pursue? When, if at all, is UN intervention or involvement morally permissible?
+Tatsi tells her husband (scene 17, roughly 1:20:24 into the film): “You are a good man, Paul Rusesabagina.” Does she mean he is a good Hutu? If not (or if not merely that), what does it mean to be a (morally) good person?
+How do you react to the piece on a (moral) personal level? Why?
+How does the piece relate to your experience or your own “naive” moral perspective?
+what questions does the piece raise for you — about the material, about other things?
+does the piece remind you of other readings you’ve done for the class? compare and contrast the piece to those readings.