Final Exam: Thursday May 21

Updated Friday 5/15
Some quick updates this week:

  • Optional last paper deadline extended to Midnight EST Monday 5/18
  • Do The Right Thing is now embedded on the video page and most of the presentations are on the new presentations page. Same password for both as the the other protected pages on the site.
  • I’ll be on campus (Carman 398) from 3-6 PM on Wednesday the 20th.
  • The big news items for this week are papers and the final exam. The final is on Thursday the 21st from 1:30-3:30 in the usual classroom. Don’t miss it!!. It’s logistically difficult to do make-ups and that may not happen before the grade deadline. Note also that I won’t offer make-ups except for very good reasons. The last class was a formal review session for the final. I won’t post detailed notes for that online or answer e-mails on it since I’ve already spent a lot of time on prep, so please get notes from a classmate who was there if you missed it. Also don’t forget to fill out the course evaluation survey, which was e-mailed to your Lehman e-mail account. Thanks!

    A few quick notes on papers:

  • Due date has been extended to Monday 5/20. Papers are due by Midnight Eastern Standard Time via e-mail. (hank dot williams at lehman dot cuny dot edu). You’ll get a receipt from me by email that I’ve received it: probably Saturday morning if you send it very late.
  • If you’ve lost your copy of the assignment sheet, you can download another one.
  • You should go to Lehman’s Academic Center for Excellence (“ACE Center”) in Old Gym 205 for last minute help on revising your paper or issues with MLA citations or formatting.
  • Another resource to be aware of is Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab (“OWL”), which is the most comprehensive online source for citation formatting and questions.
  • About the final exam …

  • You’re encouraged to (re)read my guide to final exams, “Zen and the Art of Finals” (PDF) if you haven’t already.
  • Format is 3 essays around major themes we’ve seen in readings all semester. Refer to the handout of the sample exam and question handed out in class for specifics.
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    Thursday May 14: Assata conclusion and final exam review

    Remember that if you choose to do the optional final paper, it’s due Friday 5/15 by Midnight Eastern Standard Time via e-mail


    220px-AssatabioThis week we finish the autobiography of Assata Shakur. For Thursday 5/14, finish Assata. Again, make sure to pay attention to the various poems she includes in the story on pages 240 (“Current Events”), 259 (“To My Daughter Kakuya”), and 263 (“The Tradition”). Think also about the themes that we’ve been talking about so far and how Assata’s work fits into the context of urban narratives and themes of immigration/migration, return home, urban space, etc. What’s the significance of the story ending in Cuba and how does Assata adjust to her new home? Consider this prep for the final exam. If you read this carefully, it’s one less thing you’ll need to study.

    Presentation by Celestine, Jason, and Hipolito

    Again my guide to final exams, “Zen and the Art of Finals” (PDF), will help you begin to prepare for our final (and hopefully others as well). Think about major themes that we’ve been talking about all semester and bring questions to the class. We’ll have an open prep/ study session for the final exam.

    As a reminder, the final is scheduled for Thursday, May 21 1:30-3:30 PM in the regular classroom and you might want to check Lehman’s exam schedule (PDF file) for your other classes as well. Be sure to arrange for childcare/ time off work/ whatever you need to do now, as there will be no make-ups, except for extraordinary circumstances. Unless you can provide a hospital or arrest record (your own, not a family member’s), you get no make-up. “My family bought plane tickets to go on vacation” or similar is not an extraordinary circumstance in my book. Consider college a job and be up front with family, friends, etc. about what that commitment means.

    Thursday May 7: Autobiography of Assata Shakur

    220px-AssatabioThis week we move on to the our last book of the semester, the autobiography of Assata Shakur

    Announcement: If you missed it yesterday, I handed out the assignment for the final paper. It’s posted on the assignments page. This is optional and the grade will be averaged with your first 2 papers.

    For Thursday 5/7, read pages 1-130 (Chapters 1-7) in Assata Shakur’s Autobiography. Assata: An Autobiography. Be sure to read the foreward by Angela Davis and Lennox Hinds. Also make sure to pay attention to the various poems she includes in the story on pages 1,17,44, and 62.

    Questions to think about:

  • How effective is her style of storytelling? Does the non-linear narrative with flashbacks make the book more engaging?
  • How does Assata go about re-telling history?
  • What role do poems play in an autobiography? What do they tell you about Assata or the other people that the regular story does not?
  • What locations does she mention in the text? What does each one mean to her?
  • Finally, read my guide to final exams, “Zen and the Art of Finals” (PDF), which will help you begin to prepare for our final (and hopefully others as well).
  • Presentation by Roland, Jelani, and Jhoselyn.

    Extra: Listen to “A Song for Assata” by Common, from his 2000 Like Water for Chocolate release, featuring CeeLo Green.