Katrina Language Analysis

Learning Objective: Critical and Analytical; Social Responsibility

Your response must pertain to the article, Why Katrina’s Victims Aren’t Refugees: Musings on a “Dirty”


Assignment summary:
 Article Reading Language Analysis on “Why Katrina’s Victims Aren’t Refugees: Musings on a “Dirty”
 Due through Safe Assign Plagiarism Check on Wednesday, 10/27 by 11:30 AM
 Counts 15% of final grade
 Times, New Roman 12 point font
 Two complete pages, not to exceed three pages
 One-inch margins all around, double-space
 Cover letter with your name, course and section number, and “Katrina Language Analysis”
 No headers on pages
 You will submit your paper on the plagiarism check Safe Assign on BB. This must be done by 11:30AM
on the due date.
 Spell check and grammatical check required before submission.
 No quotations—this assignment asks you to use your thoughts on the topic questions.
Points will be deducted for not complying with the above format


Engage this assignment from an anthropological perspective: Your goal is to gain an emic* perspective of
those who found the word “refugee” offensive. Your discussion/responses must be based on the definition for
refugee that is defined in this reading (pg 738). (High Commissioner for Human Rights definition)
Answer four of the topic questions below and critically engage what is asked in your response.
Write to the point and specifically answer what is asked, IN YOUR OWN WORDS!
 Everyone must complete question #4 and #7 you will choose an additional two questions.
 You will not retype the question, simply type the question number you are responding to beside each
 Your answers must be written in complete sentences. You will write in paragraph format. (One (or
more) paragraph/s for each question).

Points will be deducted for not complying with the above format

Topic Prompts

1. “The word refugee …carries a heavy semantic load.” Give a detailed explanation of what this statement
means and provide an argument from an emic* perspective that this word reflects relations of power in
American culture. (Here you should think about the ‘stigma of charity’ and how it contributes to unequal power
2. How did Katrina threaten the vitality of the “American dream” How could the dismantling of the American
dream potentially challenge the American capitalist economic system?
3. What does it mean that the media (when reporting on Katrina) “help[ed] to naturaliz[e] social inequality?
Explain and provide specific examples.

4. Required: Discuss the parallels between the language of Katrina and the language of hurricane Maria in
Puerto Rico. In addition you should also discuss the similar cultural factors that contributed to the outcome for
each hurricane. (This will require research on your part, you must provide a citation for your source at the end
of your paper. The citation format can be MLA or CMS.
5. What are some of the arguments in the “refugee vs. citizens categorical debates? “To many of the storm
victims themselves…the word refugee proved unacceptable” Why? State the arguments for why this word
was unacceptable and explain how the definition, when applied to the storm victims compelled them to label
the word ‘dirty’—what did it take from them? (Consider the American experience with the concept of
6. When placed within the context of Refugee Secretary Melaku Kifle’s statement of the refugee, discuss how
the word refugee “carry within itself an indictment of the powerful”?
7. Required: Explain what structural violence is and provide at least two clear examples of where you see
structural violence in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina?