Week of April 30: (Night Class) Assata Shakur’s Autobiography

Announcements:

  • 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 7.
  • Of course, next week’s spring break. See you all in 2 weeks.
  • Don’t forget that we have pop quizzes! Make sure to keep up with the reading!

For Tuesday April 30 read the first 79 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.

 

For Thursday May 2, read pages 80-147 (Chapters 5-9) in Assata Shakur’s Autobiography. 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 examples of them in your text.

Presentation by Diamond, Cariely, Tony, and Yvane

Announcement:

  • There’s a Dominican Writers Conference at our sister school, The City College of New York in Harlem on Saturday May 4. Angie Cruz will be there on one of the panels, though isn’t scheduled to speak about Soledad. You can probably ask her questions before/after her talk, though. Conference details here.
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Week of April 30: (Day Class) Assata Shakur’s Autobiography

Announcements:

  • 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 7.
  • Of course, next week’s spring break. See you all in 2 weeks.
  • Don’t forget that we have pop quizzes! Make sure to keep up with the reading!

For Tuesday April 30 read the first 79 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.

 

For Thursday May 2, read pages 80-147 (Chapters 5-9) in Assata Shakur’s Autobiography. 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 examples of them in your text.

Presentation by Adelaida, Neil, and Mislie

Announcement:

  • There’s a Dominican Writers Conference at our sister school, The City College of New York in Harlem on Saturday May 4. Angie Cruz will be there on one of the panels, though isn’t scheduled to speak about Soledad. You can probably ask her questions before/after her talk, though. Conference details here.

Week of April 16: (DAY Class) Angie Cruz’s Soledad, continued

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

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Reminder: The next writing assignment, due Thursday 4/18, is on the Assignments page. You can stream the film from the Video page on the course website. Usual password. Be sure to stop by the Lehman library now if you’re having trouble finding acceptable articles to use. Note that the NY Public Library uses the same databases and any location can help you also. Finally, don’t forget that if you need writing assistance fropm the ACE Center, make an appointment now so you have enough time. Remember that hard copies (only) are due. Make sure you have plans to hand the paper in before the break.

On Tuesday April 16th, we continue with Soledad. Read pages 112-164 (Chapters 6-7) of Soledad. Continue tracking the themes we’ve identified and how characters develop in the book.

  • 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?

For Thursday April 18th, Finish Soledad: pp 165-227 (Chapters 8-11). Turn in Do the Right Thing Paper.

  • Think about what changes we see in Soledad’s relationship with her family–especially her mother. Has it changed and how? Highlight/underline key passages in the book that show this and mark the page numbers in your notebook
  • Think about how Soledad feels about Washington Heights, her culture, and the Dominican Republic at the end of the book. Has that changed and how? Again, marks key passages
  • Read the last few pages of the conclusion slowly and carefully. What happens?

Presentation by Marlyn, Lara, Stephanie R, and Meosha

Announcement:

  • There’s a Dominican Writers Conference at our sister school, The City College of New York in Harlem on Saturday May 4. Angie Cruz will be there on one of the panels, though isn’t scheduled to speak about Soledad. You can probably ask her questions before/after her talk, though. Conference details here.

Week of April 16: (Night Class) Angie Cruz’s Soledad, continued

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

cvr9780743212021_9780743212021_lg

Reminder: The next writing assignment, due Thursday 4/18, is on the Assignments page. You can stream the film from the Video page on the course website. Usual password. Be sure to stop by the Lehman library now if you’re having trouble finding acceptable articles to use. Note that the NY Public Library uses the same databases and any location can help you also. Finally, don’t forget that if you need writing assistance fropm the ACE Center, make an appointment now so you have enough time. Remember that hard copies (only) are due. Make sure you have plans to hand the paper in before the break.

On Tuesday April 16th, we continue with Soledad. Read pages 112-164 (Chapters 6-7) of Soledad. Continue tracking the themes we’ve identified and how characters develop in the book.

  • 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?

For Thursday April 18th, Finish Soledad: pp 165-227 (Chapters 8-11). Turn in Do the Right Thing Paper.

  • Think about what changes we see in Soledad’s relationship with her family–especially her mother. Has it changed and how? Highlight/underline key passages in the book that show this and mark the page numbers in your notebook
  • Think about how Soledad feels about Washington Heights, her culture, and the Dominican Republic at the end of the book. Has that changed and how? Again, marks key passages
  • Read the last few pages of the conclusion slowly and carefully. What happens?

Presentation by William, Trendafile, Jennifer F, and Rosmil

Announcements:

  • There’s a Dominican Writers Conference at our sister school, The City College of New York in Harlem on Saturday May 4. Angie Cruz will be there on one of the panels, though isn’t scheduled to speak about Soledad. You can probably ask her questions before/after her talk, though. Conference details here.

Week of April 9 (NIGHT class): Angie Cruz’s Soledad

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

Announcements:

  • I gave out the assignment sheet to the next paper, which is due April 18. It’s on the Assignments page if you’ve lost/don’t have one. You can also stream Do the Right Thing from the course website on the Video page–same password as everything else. You can also watch it in the Lehman Library and it’s available to rent in all the usual places. I suggest watching it at least one more time and taking good notes while you watch. Be sure to stop by the Lehman library now if you’re having trouble finding acceptable articles to use. Note that the NY Public Library uses the same databases and any location can help you also. Finally, don’t forget that if you need writing assistance fropm the ACE Center, make an appointment right now so you have enough time.
  • Note for NYC residents: the Participatory budgeting process is going on until April 7! If you’re in one of the council districts (list here) participating, you can help decide how some of your district’s budget is spent! You can vote online (not the same as election voting). See the city council’s website for full details.
  • Remember that we also have unannounced pop quizzes, so keep up with the reading!

On Tuesday April 9 we turn to Angie Cruz’s novel of Dominican immigrants in Washington Heights, Soledad. Read the first 3 chapters: up to page 45 in the new paperback edition. Note: it starts slow and Cruz’s narrative is non-linear and slightly more challenging than what we’ve read so far, but the effort is worth it. It is also the first from a female POV and female author. Here are a few things to think about as you read:

  • What do the different urban spaces in the book (the East Village) and (Washington Heights) represent to Soledad?
  • What are Soledad’s feelings toward her family and the neighborhood and how do they change? (Spoiler: they do)
  • The narrative is “non linear” (i.e. it doesn’t proceed in chronological order, time-wise) and the narrator (person telling the story) changes. Try to track the characters and who is speaking.
  • What tensions are there between old school Dominican culture and the different strands of US culture?

Thursday April 11, we continue with Soledad. Read chapters 4-5: up to page 111 in the new paperback edition.

Presentation by Jeniffer G, Jason, and Raelyn

Week of April 9 (DAY class): Angie Cruz’s Soledad

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

Announcements:

  • I gave out the assignment sheet to the next paper, which is due April 18. It’s on the Assignments page if you’ve lost/don’t have one. You can also stream Do the Right Thing from the course website on the Video page–same password as everything else. You can also watch it in the Lehman Library and it’s available to rent in all the usual places. I suggest watching it at least one more time and taking good notes while you watch. Be sure to stop by the Lehman library now if you’re having trouble finding acceptable articles to use. Note that the NY Public Library uses the same databases and any location can help you also. Finally, don’t forget that if you need writing assistance fropm the ACE Center, make an appointment right now so you have enough time.
  • Note for NYC residents: the Participatory budgeting process is going on until April 7! If you’re in one of the council districts (list here) participating, you can help decide how some of your district’s budget is spent! You can vote online (not the same as election voting). See the city council’s website for full details.
  • Remember that we also have unannounced pop quizzes, so keep up with the reading!

On Tuesday April 9 we turn to Angie Cruz’s novel of Dominican immigrants in Washington Heights, Soledad. Read the first 3 chapters: up to page 45 in the new paperback edition. Note: it starts slow and Cruz’s narrative is non-linear and slightly more challenging than what we’ve read so far, but the effort is worth it. It is also the first from a female POV and female author. Here are a few things to think about as you read:

  • What do the different urban spaces in the book (the East Village) and (Washington Heights) represent to Soledad?
  • What are Soledad’s feelings toward her family and the neighborhood and how do they change? (Spoiler: they do)
  • The narrative is “non linear” (i.e. it doesn’t proceed in chronological order, time-wise) and the narrator (person telling the story) changes. Try to track the characters and who is speaking.
  • What tensions are there between old school Dominican culture and the different strands of US culture?

Thursday April 11, we continue with Soledad. Read chapters 4-5: up to page 111 in the new paperback edition.

Presentation by Antonio, Saabirna, and Joanna

April 2 (Both class sections): Do the Right Thing conclusion

For Tuesday April 2:, 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 read the chapter from Murray Forman’s The ‘Hood Comes First: Race, Space, and Place in Rap and Hip Hop (Wesleyan University Press, 2002) on reading urban space (PDF on the Readings page).

On Thursday April 4, 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

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