1. Author John Bowe makes a pretty damning portrait of Saipan. Discuss the main arguments that could be made in defense of Saipan and against Bowe’s condemnation of Saipan, and whether you agree more or less with Bowe or the arguments against him. (please lay out all arguments thoroughly).
2. Despite his criticism of the place, Bowe also seems to think certain stereotypes about Saipan are unfair (e.g., the Ms magazine article). He finds nothing to contradict the claim that guest workers are at least economically “lucky to be there,” and describes it as a “strange limbo between abuse, freedom, and desperation.” In short, he is ambivalent.
What’s your take on this? Can Saipan be justified in any way? How should we react to it, and therefore what governmental policy toward it would you support? Discuss these questions.
3. Bowe’s meditation on the state of sexual relations on Saipan focuses on men and their reaction to being “on the top of the sexual food chain.” He relates the “sexual politics” of the place to the guest worker program and the behavior of employers. Do you find this thinking to be convincing? Do societies exhibit a relationship between general civil and labor rights, and gender/sexual equality or inequality? Is it all “part of a whole” as Bowe thinks, or not? Discuss.
4. Appiah approves of globalization and the “contamination” of pure, pristine cultures with the culture of the U.S. and other advanced industrial countries. (Thus, he argues against those who see a type of “cultural imperialism” going on.) How does his argument apply to the Northern Mariana Islands and Saipan? What would he say? Do you agree or disagree? Why or why not?
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