Week of May 1: (Night class) Assata Shakur’s Autobiography, continued

220px-AssatabioAnnouncements

  • Keep working on the last written assignment of the semester. Download yours from the assignments page if you’ve misplaced yours. It’s due Tuesday May 8.
  • For anyone interested, I’m teaching Intro to Africana Studies (AAS 166) in the fall on Wednesday nights from 6-8:40 PM. Section XW81. Search by my name or the course/section in CUNYFirst. It satisfies the “World Cultures and Global Issues” core requirement and is a gateway to a major (or minor) in Africana Studies.

This week we continue with our last book of the semester, the autobiography of Assata Shakur. For Tuesday May 1, read chapters 4-7 (70-130). Again, make sure to pay attention to the various poems she includes in the story on page 130 (“Love”). Think also about the themes that you should now be able to identify that we’ve been working on all semester. Note specific places in the book where they appear and mark them in your text.

Presentation by Scarlet, Leonor, and Jon

For Thursday May 3 

For Thursday May 3 Read chapters 8-12 (pages 131 to 194).

Pay close attention to the following:

* Poems “Stranger” (140), “Leftovers” (147), “Culture” (159), and “To My Mama” (193). Again, what do they add to the narrative? What insight do they give you about Assata’s inner thoughts?
* Also think about her Fourth of July address on pages 167-170.
* What spaces/ neighborhoods does she move through? Note them and how each of them either shapes the story and what it means to Assata.
* Keep track of major themes that emerge in the story as you read. It’s a good idea to mark examples of them in the text and make a small note in your notebook.
* Finally, go back through your notes and start making a list of all the themes that we’ve seen this semester. It will be a good start to preparing for the final.
* Doing a good job of reading/notetaking here will pay off when it comes to the final exam. This will be one thing you know well and won’t have to study for.

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Week of May 1: (Day class) Assata Shakur’s Autobiography, continued

220px-AssatabioAnnouncements

  • Keep working on the last written assignment of the semester. Download yours from the assignments page if you’ve misplaced yours. It’s due Tuesday May 8.
  • For anyone interested, I’m teaching Intro to Africana Studies (AAS 166) in the fall on Wednesday nights from 6-8:40 PM. Section XW81. Search by my name or the course/section in CUNYFirst. It satisfies the “World Cultures and Global Issues” core requirement and is a gateway to a major (or minor) in Africana Studies.

This week we continue with our last book of the semester, the autobiography of Assata Shakur. For Tuesday May 1, read chapters 4-7 (70-130). Again, make sure to pay attention to the various poems she includes in the story on page 130 (“Love”). Think also about the themes that you should now be able to identify that we’ve been working on all semester. Note specific places in the book where they appear and mark them in your text.

Presentation by Yash and Kisha

For Thursday May 3 Read chapters 8-12 (pages 131 to 194).

Pay close attention to the following:

* Poems “Stranger” (140), “Leftovers” (147), “Culture” (159), and “To My Mama” (193). Again, what do they add to the narrative? What insight do they give you about Assata’s inner thoughts?
* Also think about her Fourth of July address on pages 167-170.
* What spaces/ neighborhoods does she move through? Note them and how each of them either shapes the story and what it means to Assata.
* Keep track of major themes that emerge in the story as you read. It’s a good idea to mark examples of them in the text and make a small note in your notebook.
* Finally, go back through your notes and start making a list of all the themes that we’ve seen this semester. It will be a good start to preparing for the final.
* Doing a good job of reading/notetaking here will pay off when it comes to the final exam. This will be one thing you know well and won’t have to study for.

Week of April 24: (Night Class) Def Poetry Jam and Assata

def-poetry-jam

Notes:

  • I gave out hard copies of the last written assignment of the semester. Download yours from the assignments page if you missed class. It’s due Tuesday May 8.
  • For anyone interested, I’m teaching Intro to Africana Studies (AAS 166) in the fall on Wednesday nights from 6-8:40 PM. Section XW81. Search by my name or the course/section in CUNYFirst. It satisfies the “World Cultures and Global Issues” core requirement and is a gateway to a major (or minor) in Africana Studies.

For Tuesday April 24 the assignment is to watch the Youtube videos of various poets from Russell Simmons’s Def Poetry Jam, which ran for several seasons on HBO. Also read Ben Brantley’s New York Times review of Def Poetry on Broadway.

Questions to think about:

  • How does being in front of a live audience change the perception of the poetry?
  • In the Pedro Pietri interview I posted, Pietri was critical of slam poetry and thought it relied too much on people’s personalities and being performers–do you agree?
  • What do their stories say about the urban experience?
  • What, if anything makes them “urban” or ties them to urban themes?
  • Lastly, choose 2 poems you like, watch them a few times, take some notes, and be prepared to discuss in class.

Here are the poems. There are several, but they’re mostly short. It’s less than a half hour, total.

For Thursday April 26, read the first 69 pages (chapters 1-4) of 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 physical spaces and places does Assata describe in the story? What is the significance of them?

We are not primarily concerned with figuring out guilt innocence here (and in any case don’t have all the court documents to review): the goal is to read her story as we would any other autobiography and focus on how the story develops and how she develops into the person she is today. Look for clues of these things in the story.

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

 

Week of April 24: (Day Class) Def Poetry Jam and Assata

def-poetry-jam

Notes:

  • I gave out hard copies of the last written assignment of the semester. Download yours from the assignments page if you missed class. It’s due Tuesday May 8.
  • For anyone interested, I’m teaching Intro to Africana Studies (AAS 166) in the fall on Wednesday nights from 6-8:40 PM. Section XW81. Search by my name or the course/section in CUNYFirst. It satisfies the “World Cultures and Global Issues” core requirement and is a gateway to a major (or minor) in Africana Studies.

For Tuesday April 24 the assignment is to watch the Youtube videos of various poets from Russell Simmons’s Def Poetry Jam, which ran for several seasons on HBO. Also read Ben Brantley’s New York Times review of Def Poetry on Broadway.

Questions to think about:

  • How does being in front of a live audience change the perception of the poetry?
  • In the Pedro Pietri interview I posted, Pietri was critical of slam poetry and thought it relied too much on people’s personalities and being performers–do you agree?
  • What do their stories say about the urban experience?
  • What, if anything makes them “urban” or ties them to urban themes?
  • Lastly, choose 2 poems you like, watch them a few times, take some notes, and be prepared to discuss in class.

Here are the poems. There are several, but they’re mostly short. It’s less than a half hour, total.

For Thursday April 26, read the first 69 pages (chapters 1-4) of 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 physical spaces and places does Assata describe in the story? What is the significance of them?

We are not primarily concerned with figuring out guilt innocence here (and in any case don’t have all the court documents to review): the goal is to read her story as we would any other autobiography and focus on how the story develops and how she develops into the person she is today. Look for clues of these things in the story.

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

 

Week of April 17: (Night Class) Angie Cruz’s Soledad, continued

4532037658_c96e8fa3fa_o
Photo: “Washington Heights Piece” by Flickr user Aoife. Creative Commons licensed.

cvr9780743212021_9780743212021_lg

Announcements:

  • The next writing assignment is due Tuesday 4/17. It’s on the Assignments page if you’ve lost your copy and remember that you can stream the film from the Video page on the course website. Usual password.
  • New York City is involved in what’s called a participatory budgeting process, where you (and your neighbors) can actually vote to decide how some of your local city council rep spends their budget! (NYC residents on this only; sorry.) See details of what it is and how to vote at the city council’s page on it. Voting’s very easy: you can do it online and there are other options, too. Deadline is Sunday, April 15, however. Be sure to spread the word to family, neighbors, and on your social media platforms.
  • For anyone interested, I’m teaching Intro to Africana Studies (AAS 166) in the fall on Wednesday nights from 6-8:40 PM. Section XW81. Search by my name or the course/section in CUNYFirst.

On Tuesday April 17th, we continue with Soledad. Read pages 112-180 (chapters 6-8).

For Thursday April 19th, Read pages 182-230 (chapters 8-11). Continue tracking the themes we’ve identified and how characters develop in the book.

Presentation by Lizbeth, Waleed, Natalie, and Angie.

  • We’ve discussed the settings in class: the split between the East Village and Washington Heights and what each represents. Watch for locations as you read, how Cruz presents them, and what different urban spaces mean to key characters.
  • Point of view. Soledad comes from a female author and the P.O.V. the reader gets is primarily from women. What differences (if any) do you notice?
  • Following on the last point, one key subtext of the book are the various forms of violence against women. Think about this as you read and what it feels like for the various characters to move through urban spaces.
  • Culture. Another point of tension in the plot is the difference between the younger and older generations of characters and between more traditional Dominican culture and the different outlook that the younger, Americanized characters have. What are the differences between how characters see the world and their place in it?

Week of April 17: (Day Class) Angie Cruz’s Soledad, continued

4532037658_c96e8fa3fa_o
Photo: “Washington Heights Piece” by Flickr user Aoife. Creative Commons licensed.

cvr9780743212021_9780743212021_lg

Announcements:

  • The next writing assignment is due Tuesday 4/17. It’s on the Assignments page if you’ve lost your copy and remember that you can stream the film from the Video page on the course website. Usual password.
  • New York City is involved in what’s called a participatory budgeting process, where you (and your neighbors) can actually vote to decide how some of your local city council rep spends their budget! (NYC residents on this only; sorry.) See details of what it is and how to vote at the city council’s page on it. Voting’s very easy: you can do it online and there are other options, too. Deadline is Sunday, April 15, however. Be sure to spread the word to family, neighbors, and on your social media platforms.

On Tuesday April 17th, we continue with Soledad. Read pages 112-180 (chapters 6-8).

For Thursday April 19th, Read pages 182-230 (chapters 8-11). Continue tracking the themes we’ve identified and how characters develop in the book.

Presentation by Daniel, Lily, Wajiha, and Kevin.

  • We’ve discussed the settings in class: the split between the East Village and Washington Heights and what each represents. Watch for locations as you read, how Cruz presents them, and what different urban spaces mean to key characters.
  • Point of view. Soledad comes from a female author and the P.O.V. the reader gets is primarily from women. What differences (if any) do you notice?
  • Following on the last point, one key subtext of the book are the various forms of violence against women. Think about this as you read and what it feels like for the various characters to move through urban spaces.
  • Culture. Another point of tension in the plot is the difference between the younger and older generations of characters and between more traditional Dominican culture and the different outlook that the younger, Americanized characters have. What are the differences between how characters see the world and their place in it?