Exams

I’ve graded this class in many different ways over the years.  Currently, I’m using a combination of class participation (25%) and an in-class 3 hour exam (75%).  Here are some questions I’ve asked in prior exams:

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In Fair Measures, Kang and Banaji argue in favor of “debiasing agents.”

First, describe what a debiasing agent is, and what she is supposed to accomplish.  In terms of psychological mechanisms, in what ways does a “debiasing agent” work differently from a “role model” and the “social contact hypothesis”?

Second, criticize the technique of “debiasing agents” and explain how it might produce negative consequences.  In this analysis, discuss whether there are any analogies, similarities, or thematic connections to the “cultural defense” debate.

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We have repeatedly asked:  “What is Asian American Jurisprudence?”  One aspect of that answer might deal with what we called “coverage”.  Do not discuss this aspect.  Instead, focus on the position(s) that Asian Americans occupy in current American racial hierarchy, which places Whites on top.  In the course of your answer, make sure to:

1. Identify what the Asian American position or positions may be.

2. Explain why analysis or critique from such a position might differ in the insights and politics generated as compared to those from the traditional Black/White paradigm.  Discuss the value of such analysis or critique—if any (again, do not focus on coverage).  Also discuss limitations or dangers—if any.

3. Consider whether there is any relationship between this “positional” analysis and the question of methodology, e.g., whether personal narrative or social science might be better suited for Asian American Jurisprudence.

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Read the excerpt of the 2nd Circuit’s Padilla opinion attached to this examination.  In light of everything we have studied in this class–especially regarding the Japanese American internment and the Supreme Court’s wartime opinions–comment on the 2nd Circuit’s work.

In the course of your analysis, make sure to address how the Padilla court makes explicit use of the internment cases as precedent.  Also, point out similarities and differences between the method of analysis represented here and the analysis employed by the wartime Supreme Court.

In a 3 hour exam, I might ask you to answer two questions like the ones above.

I also reserve the right to mix things up a bit to test a wider range of materials.  So I might include some multiple choice or short answer questions (something that should take no more than 3-5 minutes to answer).  An example might be:

** In some of our readings, “concepts” have been distinguished from “conceptions.” For the concept of equality, list the names of four possible conceptions.

** Why was Endo not a case decided on constitutional grounds?

For those who stayed current with the materials, these multiple choice or short answer questions should be easy and take little time. For those who did not do the reading, they will be eat into time that could be used for the essays.