Ancient Near East 15
Assignment #1: Mann and Woman in Modern Society: Short Video or Podcast (5-8 minutes) – 20%
Despite the progress made toward gender equality over the last few decades, American society still suffers
from a palpable gender disparity. Why is that? The goal of this first assignment is to examine how power
is organized in society and what a woman’s relationship is to those structures. You will do this by
interviewing a woman from your own life, critically analyzing how her experiences reflect this power
The first portion of this assignment is to therefore select a woman from your own life or the community
to interview about her experience in the working world. She can be a family member, mentor, religious
leader, local politician–the list is endless. You will need to write out interview questions to structure the
discussion, exploring the broader issue of how the current power structure inhibits/allows women into
positions of power. The purpose of the interview is to establish where she fits within the power dynamic
and use her experience to shed light on how the patriarchy is perpetuated or in-flux. Note that it is
recommended you record this interview so that you have an accurate record of your interviewee’s
Some possible questions include:
• What industry do you work in, what is your role, and how did you get there?
• How long did it take you and what challenges, if any, have you faced?
• Do you feel your gender has inhibited you from other opportunities?
• How have you experienced gender inequality in your own life?
• What pushback, if any, have you faced and from whom?
• What do you think your experience reveals about the power dynamic in contemporary society
and what do you think it says about its development moving forward?
The second portion of this assignment is your analysis and commentary, delivered in the format of a short
video or mini podcast. Think of this as explaining the larger social dynamic and what your interviewee’s
experience reveals about the current social organization. In your analysis you may feel free to draw on
any of the readings from the first few weeks of the course, but you must analyze the power structure
through the lens of Michal Mann’s IEMP framework (and potentially incorporate/reflect on Professor
Cooney’s proposal to add Sexual Power to the framework). Your audience for this assignment is the
general public: thus, you should assume that the person listening to your podcast or watching your
video does not have prior knowledge of Mann’s sources of power, and you will need to briefly
explain his theory. Use the following three questions to guide your analysis:
How is power organized in contemporary society? Why is it so hard to achieve gender equality?
How does your case study demonstrate these broader challenges?
You will submit a short 5-7 minute video or 6–8 minute podcast as well as a document containing
the list of questions that you asked your interviewee and a transcript of your video or podcast to
Turnitin. Your video or podcast should achieve the following:
• Introduce your interviewee as well as the problem of systemic gender inequality in society
• Discuss how power is organized in society (Mann synthesis)
• Highlight portions of your interview that underscore key points in your analysis
Guidance for Assignment
1. This assignment asks you to examine how gender and power are structured in our contemporary
society. As a result of the present conversation in our society in regard to pushing back against
the gender binary (man vs. woman) as the status quo, new opportunities and challenges are
presented for transgender women and transfeminine individuals. Please feel free to reach out to
this community for this assignment, and make sure to read the following before interviewing a
trans* individual: https://www.glaad.org/transgender/allies
2. You will be graded on your ability to construct analytical questions for the interview and
evaluate how your case study reflects an aspect of the power dynamic in your society, not on
your audio-visual capabilities. We are interested in hearing your analysis of how society
systematically perpetuates gender inequality through the current power dynamic by using your
interviewee’s experiences as primary source data. As such, the format of your analysis (video or
audio recording) is flexible. We want this to be conversational in tone. We don’t want you to
stress out about making a professional documentary or podcast! You can make a short YouTube
style video of you just talking, or a simple audio recording on your phone or computer that
records your analysis. This is supposed to be your analysis of how your interviewee’s
experiences reflect her relationship to the power structure.
a. For those of you who wish to get creative with your project, please feel free to do so! See
your TA Section Website for resources on how to record videos, podcasts, and for
additional resources on and off-campus (e.g., renting equipment, training videos, how to
3. Start early! This is due at the end of Week 5 and people have busy schedules. You will need time
to contact your person, schedule your interview, record and edit your interview, analyze how
your subject’s experience reveals and reflects larger trends in the power structure, and think
about how to use Mann’s framework to discuss your points.
Different Readings and sources to include:
• Cooney, Kara, When Women Ruled the World (Washington, DC 2018)
• Diamond, Jared, The World Until Yesterday (Penguin Books 2013)
• Haywood, John, The Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Civilizations (London 2005)
• Many other required articles and book sections are available online through the course website, with
login. Some are required; some are just pertinent and interesting. I will add as the course continues.
**Does not need to record podcast just make the script/outline etc. written part only!