The Movie “Trading Places”

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Required Viewing: Trading Places
Trading Places is a movie that executes a social science experiment to show how social, economic, and racial inequality is not natural. Rousseau, Marx, and Nietzsche also make arguments about whether or not inequality is natural. On the basis of your viewing and your readings, prepare a PS.TEN-TALK that does the following:
Compare and contrast Rousseau, Marx, and Nietzsche on the naturalness of inequality.
• How are their arguments similar and how are they different? • Do these thinkers offer solutions for overcoming inequality? • Choose a scene from the movie and elaborate how each thinker would respond to it on the basis of what you’ve argued.

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Assignment Expectations:
1. Remember that first and foremost, you are producing a lecture, and a lecture has an audience. You can imagine any audience, but maybe it helps to think of it this way: What are you going to tell your parents, or your siblings, or your best friends that you have learned? And how are you going to explain what you have learned to them? A lecture requires you to demonstrate authority of a knowledge field, and imparting your knowledge of that material to others in a clear and coherent manner. This requires planning, outlining, research, and critical analysis. How you chose to do this is up to you (not up to either the course instructor or the section instructors). First and foremost, you must be able to answer this question: “What do I want my students/audience to learn in my PS.TENTALK?”
2. Every PS.TEN-TALK, like every essay assignment, has a story to tell. Specifically, you are telling the story of what you want your audience to learn. So be aware that your PS.TEN-TALK should be structured like and essay – with an introduction; a body of insights, research, and evidence; and a conclusion.
3. In your PS.TEN-TALK you are expected to provide a clear and well-articulated interpretive argument that connects the passages from the readings (that you chose) with a scene of the film (also of your choosing).
4. Do not summarize either the scene or the readings. We have all read them and seen them and don’t need you to rehearse these for us.
5. Describe what is happening in the scene in a clear and precise language. This is NOT the same as summarizing. Describing requires you to account for the specific elements you wish to emphasize in the scene and explain how they matter to your argument so that your student/audience can pay attention to those things as sources of evidence for your PS.TEN-TALK. a. As you’re preparing your PS.TEN-TALK you should have the following questions in the back of your mind: i. Why are you pointing the audience to the scene you’ve chosen? ii. How does that scene matter to the prompts you are asked to address? iii. How does that scene relate to the passages from the readings you’ve selected? iv. How do the readings help you and your audience understand the scene?

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