This module is a resource for lecturers

Student assessment

This section provides suggestions for post-class assignments for the purpose of assessing student understanding of the Module. Suggestions for pre-class or in-class assignments are provided in the Exercises section.

Assessment 1: What is organized crime and who is behind it?

Write a short (500) word essay that sums up your answers to the following questions.

  • When you think of organized crime what are the main ideas that come to your mind? Do you think of any specific crimes? Provide as many details as you can.
  • Look at the answers you provided. Were any of them tied to gender?
  • How did you come to learn about the crime? (In other words, what is the source of your perceptions and/or knowledge?)
  • Are there any differences in the way men and women engage and/or are impacted by organized criminal activity? Why? Provide examples.

Assessment 2: Two Spirit Traditions

"Traditionally, many Native cultures acknowledged and accepted greater variation in how individuals expressed gender identification, in contrast with the (…) strict binary (male/female) conceptualization. There are many modern constructions of Native masculinity and femininity today that reject variations in the binary gender roles that have been adopted over time.

Traditionally, Two Spirit people [the term broadly used in reference to the Native, indigenous belief that there are individuals that perfectly embody male and female spirits within] were revered as gifted and spiritual individuals who performed highly respected spiritual, medical and economic roles. They were ceremonial leaders; they performed the duties of shamans, priests who acted as advisors in conflict resolution, and as medical doctors; they were caretakers and teachers of children; and they served vital economic roles through cultivation, cooking, and weaving. Today, those who identify as Two Spirit see themselves as living in harmony with traditional Native values and beliefs, yet often face discrimination and encounter homophobia within their communities […]

The Diné (Navajo, i.e. one of the Native American tribes) language [identifies] more than two genders; in addition to having words for men and women the Diné used to name biological men who identified with female gender roles and women who identified with male gender roles nadleehi. A biologically male nadleehi might express his gender identification by dressing as a woman, or wearing the clothes of men and women, and/or participating in typically female social roles, such as weaving and cooking. Such lives that reflect the merging(s) and overlapping(s) of expressions and experiences of gender demonstrate an acceptance of life as being an ongoing process rather than a set of definite and distinct divisions, in line with Diné traditions."

Two Spirit text adapted from: Sheppard, Maia and J.B. Mayo (2013). The Social Construction of Gender and Sexuality: learning from Two-Sprit Traditions. The Social Studies 104(6): 259-270.

Write a 500-word essay on your own cultural tradition: How is gender defined within? What are the perceptions tied to gender? What are the consequences tied to not fitting in/not fulfilling specific gender roles?

Assessment 3: What are the perceptions tied to gender we bring into the classroom and to the study of crime?

You can implement each one of these activities separately, in groups or as an essay assignment.

  • Ask students to bring to class several examples of media representations concerning organized crime specific to your country and/or region - bring your own! Break them into categories, as many may be the same. How did the show/series/ movie/magazine/book, etc. represent gender/s? Select one character. How do he/she/they perform gender? Does it conform or not to social constructions and/or expectations concerning gender? Why and/or how are these important to the story?
  • Select a case involving a form of organized crime prosecuted in your country (you can consult UNODC's SHERLOC Case Law Database for that purpose). Read the overview as well as the documents that accompany the case if available. How is gender represented in the case? How is it performed and assessed? By whom? What are the words the court uses to describe the actions of men and women? How are they different/similar? Why?
  • Select a well-known, non-fictional character from the criminal justice system in your country (a prosecutor, a judge, a police officer, etc.) What are the qualities or flaws that are most often cited regarding him/her/them? Which ones have to do with gender?
  • Many organized crime lecturers have professional backgrounds in law enforcement. Draw from your expertise and use an example of a case in which the way your understandings of gender guided a specific investigation. How did you refer to men and/or women? What were the gender aspects that were important to you? Did you see them at the time? Looking back at your decision, would you do anything differently? Give this example to your students and discuss it with them in class.
Next: Additional teaching tools
Back to top