Week of October 30 (Night class): Do the Right Thing conclusion and Dutchman

On Tuesday October 30, we’ll discuss Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing and  the readings assigned for it. To prepare, (re)read the following:

  • The excerpt from from Murray Forman’s book The ‘Hood Comes First: Race, Space, and Place in Rap and Hip Hop (Wesleyan University Press, 2002) on reading urban space, which is a PDF on the Readings page.
  • Then read this article from New York magazine (“The Tipping of Jefferson Avenue” ) on the intersection of race and Brooklyn gentrification.
  • Make a list of themes you saw covered in the film
  • Here’s the sheet of viewing notes (PDF) I gave out in class if you missed/lost it.
  • See my Do the Right Thing lecture notes on the lecture notes page

Photo: Still from the 1967 film version of Dutchman

On Thursday, November 1, we take a sharp turn and read the classic play Dutchman from Amiri Baraka (then named LeRoi Jones). For Thursday, read only the first half of the book: the play Dutchman. Even though it’s short, you need to read it slowly and carefully.

Presentation by Gordon, Nelson, Kevin, and Becca.

Pay attention to the following to guide your reading:

  • What are the key themes or topics that you think the play talks about?
  • How does the setting of the play affect the action? What role does the subway train play?
  • What does it say about life in the city or urban environments?
  • There are crucial points in the play where the plot (action) turns that decide the outcome. What do you think they are?

Read the final few pages of the play more than once. What’s the significance of Clay’s final speech?

Watch the following short YouTube video with Baraka discussing the context of the play and some of what influenced him to write it.

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Week of October 30 (Day class): Do the Right Thing conclusion and Dutchman

On Tuesday October 30, we’ll discuss Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing and  the readings assigned for it. To prepare, (re)read the following:

  • The excerpt from from Murray Forman’s book The ‘Hood Comes First: Race, Space, and Place in Rap and Hip Hop (Wesleyan University Press, 2002) on reading urban space, which is a PDF on the Readings page.
  • Then read this article from New York magazine (“The Tipping of Jefferson Avenue” ) on the intersection of race and Brooklyn gentrification.
  • Make a list of themes you saw covered in the film
  • Here’s the sheet of viewing notes (PDF) I gave out in class if you missed/lost it.
  • See my Do the Right Thing lecture notes on the lecture notes page

Photo: Still from the 1967 film version of Dutchman

On Thursday, November 1, we take a sharp turn and read the classic play Dutchman from Amiri Baraka (then named LeRoi Jones). For Thursday, read only the first half of the book: the play Dutchman. Even though it’s short, you need to read it slowly and carefully.

Presentation by Fabrice.

Pay attention to the following to guide your reading:

  • What are the key themes or topics that you think the play talks about?
  • How does the setting of the play affect the action? What role does the subway train play?
  • What does it say about life in the city or urban environments?
  • There are crucial points in the play where the plot (action) turns that decide the outcome. What do you think they are?

Read the final few pages of the play more than once. What’s the significance of Clay’s final speech?

Watch the following short YouTube video with Baraka discussing the context of the play and some of what influenced him to write it.

Week of October 23 (Night class): Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing

05_Flatbed_1 - JUNE

For Tuesday October 23:, we take a detour into representations of the city in film. Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing won the vote, so that’s what we’ll watch. We’ll spend the entire class on the first half of the film. DTRT is now a classic film, but was extremely controversial at the time. commenting on race relations, gentrification, police violence, and much more. We’ll focus on the aspects of race relations, police brutality, gentrification, and urban space as seen in the film.

Read the excerpt from from Murray Forman’s The ‘Hood Comes First: Race, Space, and Place in Rap and Hip Hop on reading urban space, which is a PDF on the Readings page.

dtrt_mookie_sal

For Thursday October 26:, we finish watching Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing.

Think about the various themes Lee’s dealing with in the film, especially in context of the time it’s set: Brooklyn in 1989.

Read this article from New York magazine on the intersection of race and Brooklyn gentrification. If you didn’t read the excerpt from Murray Forman’s The ‘Hood Comes First: Race, Space, and Place in Rap and Hip Hop on reading urban space (PDF on the Readings page), then please do so.

Optional Bonus: Watch the “Making of” documentary by Spike Lee and legendary, now deceased filmmaker St. Clair Bourne, via YouTube.

Week of October 23 (Day class): Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing

05_Flatbed_1 - JUNE

For Tuesday October 23:, we take a detour into representations of the city in film. Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing won the vote, so that’s what we’ll watch. We’ll spend the entire class on the first half of the film. DTRT is now a classic film, but was extremely controversial at the time. commenting on race relations, gentrification, police violence, and much more. We’ll focus on the aspects of race relations, police brutality, gentrification, and urban space as seen in the film.

Read the excerpt from from Murray Forman’s The ‘Hood Comes First: Race, Space, and Place in Rap and Hip Hop on reading urban space, which is a PDF on the Readings page.

dtrt_mookie_sal

For Thursday October 26:, we finish watching Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing.

Think about the various themes Lee’s dealing with in the film, especially in context of the time it’s set: Brooklyn in 1989.

Read this article from New York magazine on the intersection of race and Brooklyn gentrification. If you didn’t read the excerpt from Murray Forman’s The ‘Hood Comes First: Race, Space, and Place in Rap and Hip Hop on reading urban space (PDF on the Readings page), then please do so.

Optional Bonus: Watch the “Making of” documentary by Spike Lee and legendary, now deceased filmmaker St. Clair Bourne, via YouTube.

Week of October 16: (Night Class) Bodega Dreams conclusion, Midterm, and FILM VOTE!!

Announcement: be sure to scroll to the bottom to vote and choose the film we’re going to watch.

Also: there’s a graduate school advising workshop on Wed. 10/17 in the Gillet Hall auditorium from 3:30-5 PM. [Update: link added to event]

For Tuesday the 16th: Read pages 157-213 (end of book) in Bodega Dreams. The midterm will be on Thursday the 18th.

To guide your reading, think about the following things:

  • What are the key themes of the book? Mark specific examples of them in the text.
  • How do characters develop. What changes do you see? Are there any surprising changes? Again, note specific examples in the text.
  • What seem to be key turns of the plot?
  • How does Quiñonez present urban space and the urban experience?
  • How do different characters view the neighborhood that they live in and does this change over time?
  • What is the role of culture?

 

Photo credit: Columbia Spectator newspaper (columbiaspectator.com)
Photo credit: Columbia Spectator newspaper (columbiaspectator.com)

The Midterm will be on Thursday the 18th in class. You’ll have (and want) the entire class period for it. We started review in the last class, and here are some things to consider.

  • Exam format: 2 parts. Part 1 is short answer questions (3-4 sentences). 7 or 8 questions based on assigned readings. Part 2 will be an essay. You’ll have a choice of topics related to a major theme in “Puerto Rican Obituary,” Short Eyes, or Bodega Dreams.
  • Review all the readings. Make sure you have them handy and re-download anything you can’t find.
  • Know writers and the key plot points of the book and play we’ve read so far and be able to talk about the main characters in each.
  • Review the poems and writers. You don’t need to know everything we’ve done, but you should know a few key poems from both Pietri and Pinero and basic biographical info about their lives.
  • Think about key themes that we’ve been talking about so far this semester and how they occur in different works we’ve read. Think about how you would write an essay about one (or more) of them and examples of those themes in different things we’ve read/watched/listened to.
  • If you haven’t read or watched anything, now’s the time to do it! You’re responsible for anything that’s been assigned or posted here as an assignment.
  • Review the presentations for Bodega Dreams generated by your classmates
  • Be on time and do not miss it! I will not be offering make-ups unless you’re hospitalized and have proof. So be there. Set your alarm clock and leave earlier than usual. The exam is hard, but not tricky. If you’ve been in class, paid attention, and done the work, you should be fine.

FILM VOTE for next week’s classes:

The following week, we take a detour into representations of the city in film. Now for the fun part: I’m kicking the decision to you to vote for the one you want to see. What I’m looking for is something that shows NYC neighborhoods (or at least a neighborhood) with several outdoor shots, intersects with at least some of the themes we’ve seen, is in the time period we’re looking at but old enough to show a NYC that’s probably unfamiliar, and, honestly, I have or can get my hands on easily. It’s a quasi-scientific process with a heavy does of gut instinct. So here are the options: Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing or Walter Hill’s The Warriors. Lee’s now-classic film deals with issues of race, space, police violence, and neighborhood life in 1980s Brooklyn. The Walter Hill-directed The Warriors (1979) is almost pure camp: a fictional look at the (very real) gang life in early 1970s New York. The acting is over-the-top, plot is fairly simple, but there’s a lot of action and it’s a definitive New York film in many ways.

Here are trailers for both films, courtesy of YouTube. After that, make your choice with the poll below! One vote each (current students only, please). The poll will close next Thursday before class.

 

Week of October 16: (Day Class) Bodega Dreams conclusion, Midterm, and FILM VOTE!!

Announcement: be sure to scroll to the bottom to vote and choose the film we’re going to watch.

Also: there’s a graduate school advising workshop on Wed. 10/17 in the Gillet Hall auditorium from 3:30-5 PM. [Update: link added to event]

For Tuesday the 16th: Read pages 157-213 (end of book) in Bodega Dreams. The midterm will be on Thursday the 18th.

To guide your reading, think about the following things:

  • What are the key themes of the book? Mark specific examples of them in the text.
  • How do characters develop. What changes do you see? Are there any surprising changes? Again, note specific examples in the text.
  • What seem to be key turns of the plot?
  • How does Quiñonez present urban space and the urban experience?
  • How do different characters view the neighborhood that they live in and does this change over time?
  • What is the role of culture?

 

Photo credit: Columbia Spectator newspaper (columbiaspectator.com)
Photo credit: Columbia Spectator newspaper (columbiaspectator.com)

The Midterm will be on Thursday the 18th in class. You’ll have (and want) the entire class period for it. We started review in the last class, and here are some things to consider.

  • Exam format: 2 parts. Part 1 is short answer questions (3-4 sentences). 7 or 8 questions based on assigned readings. Part 2 will be an essay. You’ll have a choice of topics related to a major theme in “Puerto Rican Obituary,” Short Eyes, or Bodega Dreams.
  • Review all the readings. Make sure you have them handy and re-download anything you can’t find.
  • Know writers and the key plot points of the book and play we’ve read so far and be able to talk about the main characters in each.
  • Review the poems and writers. You don’t need to know everything we’ve done, but you should know a few key poems from both Pietri and Piñero and basic biographical info about their lives.
  • Think about key themes that we’ve been talking about so far this semester and how they occur in different works we’ve read. Think about how you would write an essay about one (or more) of them and examples of those themes in different things we’ve read/watched/listened to.
  • If you haven’t read or watched anything, now’s the time to do it! You’re responsible for anything that’s been assigned or posted here as an assignment.
  • Review the presentations for Bodega Dreams generated by your classmates
  • Be on time and do not miss it! I will not be offering make-ups unless you’re hospitalized and have proof. So be there. Set your alarm clock and leave earlier than usual. The exam is hard, but not tricky. If you’ve been in class, paid attention, and done the work, you should be fine.

FILM VOTE for next week’s classes: [EDIT: embedded poll isn’t showing up for some reason; trying to fix it]

The following week, we take a detour into representations of the city in film. Now for the fun part: I’m kicking the decision to you to vote for the one you want to see. What I’m looking for is something that shows NYC neighborhoods (or at least a neighborhood) with several outdoor shots, intersects with at least some of the themes we’ve seen, is in the time period we’re looking at but old enough to show a NYC that’s probably unfamiliar, and, honestly, I have or can get my hands on easily. It’s a quasi-scientific process with a heavy does of gut instinct. So here are the options: Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing or Walter Hill’s The Warriors. Lee’s now-classic film deals with issues of race, space, police violence, and neighborhood life in 1980s Brooklyn. The Walter Hill-directed The Warriors (1979) is almost pure camp: a fictional look at the (very real) gang life in early 1970s New York. The acting is over-the-top, plot is fairly simple, but there’s a lot of action and it’s a definitive New York film in many ways.

Here are trailers for both films, courtesy of YouTube. After that, make your choice with the poll below! One vote each (current students only, please). The poll will close next Thursday before class.

 

Week of October 9: (Night class) Bodega Dreams, continued

Announcement:

  • NY State’s voter registration deadline is approaching for the November elections. Download an application here (PDF). New applications must be postmarked by 10/12 and received by 10/17. Changes in political party affiliation deadline is 10/12. Address change deadline is 10/17. You can also register/change info in person. Full details at the Board of Elections website.

 

For Tuesday October 9, Read pages 55-107 in Ernesto Quiñonez’s Bodega Dreams.

  • Continue following the major themes of the book and refer to the questions from last week for guidance.
  • Also begin to look at how characters evolve and change over the course of the book.
  • Think about how characters feel about their neighborhood and how the environment affects the characters and the plot (storyline)
  • Finally, mark what you think might be key turns in the plot and significant developments.

For Thursday, October 11, Read pages 108-157 in Bodega Dreams. Continue following the key themes and characters outlined. Highlight/underline passages of the book that you think show good examples of these themes or changes in key characters.

Student presentation by Rita, Amy, Veronica, and Syntis