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IES 300: Valuing Difference in American Society
Spring 2019
SOCIOCULTURAL FAMILY HISTORY
Part 1: Tell the Family History
For this part of the assignment you will want to interview members of your family or those you
consider to be your family to learn more about their experiences first hand. Key questions include:





What city/geographic/region/country is your family from?
o My parents come from different cities, my mom is from al sharqiya and my dad is
from al Madinah but historically/originally my mom and dad both come from al
Madinah.
What is your family’s racial and ethnic heritage?
o Middle eastern muslims
How did your family come to where they are now?
o Both of my grandparents migrated to al sharqiyah because there was a lot of job
opportunities in the newly developed city.
What were the historical and cultural events that defined their generation (e.g. the Great
Depression, WWII, Civil Rights movement, Vietnam war, etc.)? What roles did your family play in
these events?
o One of the significant events was the Iraqi invasion into Kuwait. Even though
Saudi Arabia did not participate in the war but Saudis opened their homes for
Kuwaiti refugees and our house was one of them where we took in a family of five
and they lived at our house for 1 month.
List any notable individuals and/or accomplishments, activities or feats (Did they fight in a war?
Own a business? March in the civil rights movement?). Include special moments in your family’s
history such as movements, births, deaths, adoptions, and other family stories. Feel free to refer to
family audio or video recording.
o My father is the fourth generation in the family business which is for industrial
equipment and with a company with more than 3000 employees he had to drop
school and take on the business at just the age of 22, when his father passed
away. There was only three branches of the business across Saudi Arabia and
now there is more than 35.
Part 2: Interview Family Members about Family and Race
History is not a thing of the past; it is constantly present and is a part of our lives whether we know
it or not. For this assignment you will examine your family through the lens of race.
This is your opportunity to find out more about some of the people that have helped you to become
the person that you are today. During the interviews, you are asking them to reflect upon
themselves and their lives and to share that reflection with you so that you may learn from it. Those
who agree to be interviewed will be sharing a precious gift with you; please treat that gift
accordingly. Do not be afraid to dig deep into the history; you may be amazed at what you find.
Family histories are complex and compelling. During the interviews, you may come across a family
“secret,” i.e. a story or topic that is rarely mentioned or talked about in the family. It is at your
discretion whether to explore it or not; if you choose to do so, please do so with care and
Adopted from © Readings for Diversity and Social Justice, Second Edition, Routledge, 2010
compassion. Remember, history is not the domain of “everyone else”—we are all active
participants.
Possible key questions and areas of inquiry include:





1. What is your family’s (or the group being interviewed) racial background? Middle Eastern
To what ethnic group do they belong? Arab
Are there members of your family of another race? What is their story? How are they treated? No
they’re all Arab
2. Describe your family member’s (or the person being interviewed) socialization process around
race.
What was your interviewee taught about different racial groups? What were they taught about their
own racial group? From where did they receive these messages?
What are their attitudes, beliefs and feelings today? Why do they believe these things? Do their current
beliefs differ from their past beliefs? If so, how? What brought about the change? If not, why not? What
were the experiences that have led to the reinforcement of their socialization?
3. What are some of your interviewee’s critical or formative experiences around race?
What were some of the critical incidents that helped to form this person’s perspective on race or on
particular racial groups?
Part 3: Reflection
Be sure to conclude with your own thoughts on what you learned about yourself and your family.
Reflect on the context that brought you into being and how this new awareness has contributed to
how you will go forward with your life.
The Context
Our beliefs and experiences around race do not occur in a vacuum; the political, historical and
cultural contexts in which we live have a tremendous impact. So that you can better understand and
analyze some of the things that impacted and shaped the individual that you will interview, part of
your paper will examine the context of their lives and their experiences. By context I mean what
happened (or is happening) in the person’s life that may have had an impact on their experiences,
thoughts, feelings and beliefs regarding race. Your examination will explore what was happening in
the world, in the country and in the life of your interviewee as you reflect on their story. Be sure to
draw some conclusions about the significance of the blending of historical, cultural,
institutional, and individual/familial contexts in your conclusion.

Below are some examples of possible key questions and areas of inquiry. Please note that all of these
areas are interconnected. However, they are separated here so that you can go into greater detail in
any of these areas if you so choose.
1. Historical Context
During your interviewee’s life, what historical events have occurred (or are occurring) that have
impacted their lives and perspectives on race or particular racial groups (their own and others).
These events can be global, national, regional or local in nature. Examples include WWII, the
election of a local or state official, desegregating the local high school, etc.
Adopted from © Readings for Diversity and Social Justice, Second Edition, Routledge, 2010








How are these events related to your interviewee’s experiences and perspectives on race?
What role, if any, did your interviewee play in these events? What impact did it have?
2. Cultural Context:
Cultural context includes implicit or explicit cultural practices, music and song lyrics, language,
media (TV, news or radio commentators, etc.), patterns of thought or other things that shape or
influence the person in the context in which they live.
What was (or is) happening in the cultural context of your family member that may have shaped or
influenced their beliefs or experiences around race?
3. Institutional Contexts
What institutions played significant roles in shaping your interviewee’s perspective? Examples
include school, the military, real estate, the penal system, the legal system, media, religion (church,
synagogue, temple, etc.) What were these institutions like? How did they interact with these
institutions? How did it affect them? What role did they play in these institutions? What were those
institutions like at the time? What did they learn from them? How do they think those institutions
have changed?
Some specific examples include: What were some of the defining legal decisions that may have
impacted your family member? What were TV and radio like at the time—were there diverse
groups of people shown? How were different racial groups depicted? What jobs/positions did they
hold?
4. Individual and Familial Context
What was your interviewee’s immediate family like when they were growing up? What family
dynamics were present that may have influenced or affected your family member?
What kind of neighborhood did they live in? What other racial or ethnic groups, if any, lived there?
Be sure to draw some conclusions about the significance of the blending of historical,
cultural, institutional, and individual/familial contexts in your conclusion.
Adopted from © Readings for Diversity and Social Justice, Second Edition, Routledge, 2010
Sociocultural Family History Paper Rubric
Assignment Component
Tell the Family History: You
have interviewed members of
your family or those you
consider to be your family to
learn more about their
experiences first hand.
Emerging
Little
information or
detail of your
family
members
Competent
Some
information &
details of your
family members
Family and Race: You have
asked your family members to
reflect upon themselves and
their lives and to share that
reflection with racial
backgrounds, socialization,
and attitudes as the focus.
Context: You have described
the context of your family
members, describing what
happened (or is happening) in
that person’s life that may
have had an impact on their
experiences, thoughts, feelings
and beliefs regarding race.
Historical Context:
Little
information or
detail
Some
information &
details
Little
information or
detail
Some
information &
details
Little
information or
detail
Little
information or
detail
Little
information or
detail
Little
information or
detail
Little
information or
detail
Some
information &
details
Some
information &
details
Some
information &
details
Some
information &
details
Some
information &
details
Little attention
to the quality of
writing. Many
grammatical
errors and typos
are present.
Some attention
to the quality of
writing.
Grammatical
errors and typos
are present.
Cultural Context:
Institutional Context:
Individual and Familial
Context
Reflection: You have
concluded with your own
thoughts on what you have
learned about yourself and
your family and the
significance of the blending of
historical, cultural,
institutional, and
individual/familial contexts
Qualify of writing: You’ve
edited your work and have
proofread your final draft for
grammatical errors and typos, as
well as appropriate word choice
and tone for an academic paper.
Accomplished
A good description of
the history of family
members, including a
timeline, geographic,
racial, and cultural
heritage, and notable
accomplishments.
A good description of
racial backgrounds,
socialization, and
attitudes
Distinguished
A rich and detailed description
of family history includes key
components listed in the
assignment, including a timeline,
geographic, racial, and cultural
heritage, and notable
accomplishments.
A rich and detailed description
of your family members’
reflections upon themselves and
their lives, with racial
backgrounds, socialization, and
attitudes as the focus
A good description of
the context of your
family members,
including a description
of events and the
impact they may have
had on them regarding
race.
A good description of
the historical context
A rich and detailed description
of the context of your family
members, describing what
happened (or is happening) in
that person’s life that may have
had an impact on their
experiences, thoughts, feelings
and beliefs regarding race.
A rich and detailed description
of the historical context
A good description of
the cultural context
A rich and detailed description
of the cultural context
A good description of
the institutional
context
A good description of
the individual &
familial context
A good description of
what you have learned
about yourself and
your family and the
significance of the
blending of historical,
cultural, institutional,
and individual/familial
contexts
Attention to the quality
of writing is clear. Only
one or two typos or
grammatical errors are
present. You have
proofread your work.
A rich and detailed description
of the institutional context
A rich and detailed description
of the individual & familial
context
A rich and detailed reflection on
what you have learned about
yourself and your family and the
significance of the blending of
historical, cultural, institutional,
and individual/familial contexts
Scrupulous attention to the quality
of writing is obvious. No typos or
grammatical errors are present.
You have proofread your work,
there are no errors, and the tone is
appropriate to this academic paper.
Adopted from © Readings for Diversity and Social Justice, Second Edition, Routledge, 2010
IES 300: Valuing Difference in American Society
Spring 2019
SOCIOCULTURAL FAMILY HISTORY
The purpose of this activity is to connect personal with family narratives. Gather stories from those whom
you consider to be your family (this can include close friends and/or their family, or your family) and
write them down. You can illustrate them in some other way if you choose (be creative). Include a
chronological narrative account of the events that connect to your knowledge about the world. Reflect on
how these connections influence your perspective about the social world and about teaching, focusing
specifically on the diversity of our world, your experiences with difference, and how you perceive
yourself and others. And please note that this does not necessarily have to be with your biological family
members. It can be whomever you consider to be family, which can also include friends and their
families. This project will informative no matter whom you interview.
Due Thursday, March 14th by 1:00 pm. Page length for this assignment is 1,500-2000 words,
which is typically 6-8 double spaced pages in APA format, not including the cover page and
the References.
Creative opportunity: You have an opportunity to do a creative piece (e.g., collage, photo
album, detailed family tree, poem, etc). For instance, you can insert photos throughout your
paper. If you opt to do a creative piece, please note that you will still need to complete 6-8
pages for the assignment. BUT Doing the creative piece, e.g., adding photos and drawings,
will add immeasurably to your family history.
Part 1: Tell the Family History
For this part of the assignment you will want to interview members of your family or those you
consider to be your family to learn more about their experiences first hand. Key questions include:




What city/geographic/region/country is your family from?
o My parents come from different cities, my mom is from al sharqiya and my dad is
from al Madinah but historically/originally my mom and dad both come from al
Madinah.
What is your family’s racial and ethnic heritage?
o Middle eastern muslims
How did your family come to where they are now?
o Both of my grandparents migrated to al sharqiyah because there was a lot of job
opportunities in the newly developed city.
What were the historical and cultural events that defined their generation (e.g. the Great
Depression, WWII, Civil Rights movement, Vietnam war, etc.)? What roles did your family play in
these events?
o One of the significant events was the Iraqi invasion into Kuwait. Even though
Saudi Arabia did not participate in the war but Saudis opened their homes for
Kuwaiti refugees and our house was one of them where we took in a family of five
and they lived at our house for 1 month.
Adopted from © Readings for Diversity and Social Justice, Second Edition, Routledge, 2010

List any notable individuals and/or accomplishments, activities or feats (Did they fight in a war?
Own a business? March in the civil rights movement?). Include special moments in your family’s
history such as movements, births, deaths, adoptions, and other family stories. Feel free to refer to
family audio or video recording.
o My father is the fourth generation in the family business which is for industrial
equipment and with a company with more than 3000 employees he had to drop
school and take on the business at just the age of 22, when his father passed
away. There was only three branches of the business across Saudi Arabia and
now there is more than 35.
Part 2: Interview Family Members about Family and Race
History is not a thing of the past; it is constantly present and is a part of our lives whether we know
it or not. For this assignment you will examine your family through the lens of race.
This is your opportunity to find out more about some of the people that have helped you to become
the person that you are today. During the interviews, you are asking them to reflect upon
themselves and their lives and to share that reflection with you so that you may learn from it. Those
who agree to be interviewed will be sharing a precious gift with you; please treat that gift
accordingly. Do not be afraid to dig deep into the history; you may be amazed at what you find.
Family histories are complex and compelling. During the interviews, you may come across a family
“secret,” i.e. a story or topic that is rarely mentioned or talked about in the family. It is at your
discretion whether to explore it or not; if you choose to do so, please do so with care and
compassion. Remember, history is not the domain of “everyone else”—we are all active
participants.
Possible key questions and areas of inquiry include:





1. What is your family’s (or the group being interviewed) racial background? Middle Eastern
To what ethnic group do they belong? Arab
Are there members of your family of another race? What is their story? How are they treated? No
they’re all Arab
2. Describe your family member’s (or the person being interviewed) socialization process around
race.
What was your interviewee taught about different racial groups? What were they taught about their
own racial group? From where did they receive these messages?
What are their attitudes, beliefs and feelings today? Why do they believe these things? Do their current
beliefs differ from their past beliefs? If so, how? What brought about the change? If not, why not? What
were the experiences that have led to the reinforcement of their socialization?
3. What are some of your interviewee’s critical or formative experiences around race?
What were some of the critical incidents that helped to form this person’s perspective on race or on
particular racial groups?
Part 3: Reflection
Adopted from © Readings for Diversity and Social Justice, Second Edition, Routledge, 2010
Be sure to conclude with your own thoughts on what you learned about yourself and your family.
Reflect on the context that brought you into being and how this new awareness has contributed to
how you will go forward with your life.
The Context
Our beliefs and experiences around race do not occur in a vacuum; the political, historical and
cultural contexts in which we live have a tremendous impact. So that you can better understand and
analyze some of the things that impacted and shaped the individual that you will interview, part of
your paper will examine the context of their lives and their experiences. By context I mean what
happened (or is happening) in the person’s life that may have had an impact on their experiences,
thoughts, feelings and beliefs regarding race. Your examination will explore what was happening in
the world, in the country and in the life of your interviewee as you reflect on their story. Be sure to
draw some conclusions about the significance of the blending of historical, cultural,
institutional, and individual/familial contexts in your conclusion.







Below are some examples of possible key questions and areas of inquiry. Please note that all of these
areas are interconnected. However, they are separated here so that you can go into greater detail in
any of these areas if you so choose.
1. Historical Context
During your interviewee’s life, what historical events have occurred (or are occurring) that have
impacted their lives and perspectives on race or particular racial groups (their own and others).
These events can be global, national, regional or local in nature. Examples include WWII, the
election of a local or state official, desegregating the local high school, etc.
How are these events related to your interviewee’s experiences and perspectives on race?
What role, if a …
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