Womens Studies


1. Give a reading of Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings in light of Kimberlé Crenshaw’s idea of
intersectionality. According to the narrative she provides of her life and experiences, how do the various strands
of Angelou’s identity (female, African-American, intellectual, mother, daughter, granddaughter, sister . . . )
both disable and empower her? Discuss and cite both Crenshaw and Angelou in your paper.

2. The realities of transgendered behavior, homosexuality, and intersexuality in the human population means
that gender, sex, and sexuality don’t always align according to heterosexual norms. Discuss the way that gender,
sex, and sexuality align, disalign, and realign fluidly for Calliope Stephanides, the main character of Jeffrey
Eugenides’s novel, Middlesex. How does the figure of Calliope challenge normative understandings of sexuality and
gender? Use class readings on intersexuality and transgender as supports for your thought process. Cite all
sources used.

3. Discuss the radical differences in perspective between Deborah Lacks and the scientific community regarding
Henrietta Lacks’s “immortal” cervical cells, as narrated in Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.
Did these two perspectives grow closer together in time? If so, how and why? Use at least one scholarly article or
book as a support for your arguments. This can be a text we have used in class, or a source you have located
independently. Cite all sources used.



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