Week of May 8: (Night class) Assata conclusion



  • The last written assignment of the semester is due Tuesday May 8. See the assignments page if you’ve misplaced your copy of the instruction sheet.
  • 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.

Also take a look at a general guide I’ve written up for final exams: “Zen and the Art of Finals” (PDF).

This week we finish our last book of the semester, the autobiography of Assata Shakur. For Tuesday May 8, read chapters 13-16 (pages 195-240) in Assata.

Pay close attention to the following:

  • Poems: Again, what do they add to the narrative? What insight do they give you about Assata’s inner thoughts?
  • 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.

For Thursday May 10 finish Assata: pages 241-end of book (chapters 17-Postscript). Be sure to read the Postscript with her reflections on Havana! (Skip ahead if you must.) 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 identity, survival, freedom, 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?

Presentation by Henry and Natalie

Consider this prep for the final exam. If you read this carefully, it’s one less thing you’ll need to study!