What’s your positionality in this situation? Positionality doesn’t mean your opinion. It means how you are “positioned” with regard to the issue — Powerless?

Posted: February 25th, 2022

This assignment is one of our required USF General Education Assignments (that’s the “GEA1” part of the assignment title) and deals with marginalization ( that’s the “MARG” part of the assignment title). Marginalization is when someone is “on the margins” or not part of the “center” or not part of the dominant culture. We’ve been thinking about issues of marginalization, exclusion, oppression, and the like since our class began.
What to do for this discussion board assignment
Start by thinking about our USF campus community (both the physical campus and the virtual campus), where we all strive to create an environment that is respectful of difference and diversity and inclusive of all people in our common learning mission. Consider the various identities that come into play at different times in different ways at a large university like USF with three different campuses – race, class, sex, gender, religion, nationality, ability, etc – and consider all the activities on campus, from F2F classes, online classes, laboratories, student events and organizations, textbooks, campus events, what majors/minors are offered and how they are suppported/promoted or not, sporting events, the buildings and green spaces and walkways, restrooms and lighting and building interiors, living in residential halls, commuting, and more.
I’m sure that this long list and our course materials so far are helping you identify several areas of campus life in which folx of different identities might be marginalized — that is, feel excluded or be excluded. Choose one area of marginalization or exclusion related to USF life. It may be one that affects you personally or it may be one that affects others. Remember, marginalization and exclusion and oppression are not about convenience. “There’s not enough parking on campus” or “The library is so crowded at nights” are really matters of inconvenience for most of us rather than issues of marginalization (although there may be some folx for whom these could be issues of marginalization).
In a short discussion post, answer the following question prompts. (A good length to aim for is about 200 words or maybe two sentences per prompt, but remember that quality is more important than word count. It’s a good idea to answer each one specifically and clearly.)
Briefly describe the situation (i.e., what exactly is the problem?). Be specific and share as many details as you can.
Who has privilege in this situation? Who’s marginalized or oppressed? What are the effects of those positions? Think outside of just yourself and people like you.
What’s your positionality in this situation? Positionality doesn’t mean your opinion. It means how you are “positioned” with regard to the issue — Powerless? Able to affect some change? Able to really make a huge difference? Which of your identities (gender, sex, race, class, age, etc) is or is not relevant in terms of privilege or oppression?
How is this problem currently being addressed, if at all? Yes, you might have to do a little research to find out if anything at all is being done. Use your own experiences on campus and what you’ve observed as well.
What realistic approaches or strategies would you suggest to our university community to address the problem? Be realistic. For example, the idea to “remodel all campus buildings” is not realistic because even the slightest changes might cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and where will that money come from?
Although not required, you can increase your learning by responding to the posts of others in your group and creating conversations.

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