Week of 12/2: (Night Class) Final Exam Review

Thanks to Baba Zayid Muhammad for his visit! You can find (and follow) him on Facebook. He mentioned a book party Look for Me in the Whirlwind, collected writings of  political prisoners. It’s this Saturday (12/9) 7:30 PM in Brooklyn. Details here. He also mentioned the Jericho Movement, an organization that does ongoing work to support political prisoners in the US. Their website has addresses to send letters to prisoners.

Announcement:

  • Remember that the last paper is due Tuesday December 18 by email. No extensions or exceptions. See the Assignments page if you’ve lost your copy of it.
  • I’ll have special office hours next Wednesday (12/13) from 6-8 PM. You can just stop by Carman 398.

Tuesday 12/12 is our last class meeting. 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). Think about major themes that we’ve been talking about all semester and bring questions to the class. We’ll spend the last class reflecting on the semester and have an open prep/ study session for the final exam. Be sure to show up: I’ll present a more detailed exam overview and some prep strategies that should be helpful.

As a reminder, the final is scheduled for Thursday, December 14, 8-10 PM in the regular classroom. 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.

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Week of 12/2: (Day Class) Final Exam Review

Announcement:

  • Remember that the last paper is due Tuesday December 18 by email. No extensions or exceptions. See the Assignments page if you’ve lost your copy of it.
  • I’ll have special office hours next Wednesday (12/13) from 6-8 PM. You can just stop by Carman 398.

Tuesday 12/12 is our last class meeting. 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). Think about major themes that we’ve been talking about all semester and bring questions to the class. We’ll spend the last class reflecting on the semester and have an open prep/ study session for the final exam. Be sure to show up: I’ll present a more detailed exam overview and some prep strategies that should be helpful.

As a reminder, the final is scheduled for Tuesday, December 19, 3:45-5:45 PM in the regular classroom. 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.

Week of November 7: (Night 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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Note: The next writing assignment, due Monday 11/20, is on the Assignments page. Please download it and start working on it if you missed class on Thursday 11/2. You can stream the film from the Video page on the course website. Usual password.

Reminder: Tuesday is election day. CUNY classes meet as usual, so be sure to vote early. See a voter guide with info on your local races (courtesy of public radio station WNYC) here.

On Tuesday November 7th, we continue with Soledad. Read chapters 4-5: up to page 111 in the new paperback edition.

For Thursday November 9th, read pages 112-180, chapters 6-8 of Soledad. Continue tracking the themes we’ve identified and how characters develop in the book.

Presentation by Manny, Kliomarggy, and Yolanda

 

  • 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 November 7: (Day Class) Angie Cruz’s Soledad, continued

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

cvr9780743212021_9780743212021_lg

Note: The next writing assignment, due Monday 11/20, is on the Assignments page. Please download it and start working on it if you missed class on Thursday 11/2. You can stream the film from the Video page on the course website. Usual password.

Reminder: Tuesday is election day. CUNY classes meet as usual, so be sure to vote early. See a voter guide with info on your local races (courtesy of public radio station WNYC) here.

On Tuesday November 7th, we continue with Soledad. Read chapters 4-5: up to page 111 in the new paperback edition.

For Thursday November 9th, read pages 112-180, chapters 6-8 of Soledad. Continue tracking the themes we’ve identified and how characters develop in the book.

Presentation by Joel, Sonia, Marie, and Marfre.

  • 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 October 31 (Night class): Do the Right Thing and Soledad

On Tuesday 10/31, we’ll wrap up Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing with a discussion of the film and the readings assigned for it. To prepare, catch up on the readings if you missed any.

  • Pay particular attention to 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.
  • Then (re)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 see covered in the film

On Thursday, 11/2, we turn to Angie Cruz’s novel of Dominican immigrants in Washington Heights, Soledad.

Angie Cruz, author of "Soledad"
Angie Cruz, author of “Soledad”

Read the first 47 pages (chapters 1-3). 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?

Student presentation by Angela and Veronica.

Week of October 31 (Day class): Do the Right Thing and Soledad

On Tuesday 10/31, we’ll wrap up Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing with a discussion of the film and the readings assigned for it. To prepare, catch up on the readings if you missed any.

  • Pay particular attention to 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.
  • Then (re)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 see covered in the film

On Thursday, 11/2, we turn to Angie Cruz’s novel of Dominican immigrants in Washington Heights, Soledad.

Angie Cruz, author of "Soledad"
Angie Cruz, author of “Soledad”

Read the first 47 pages (chapters 1-3). 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?

Student presentation by Elaine, Chris, and Stephanie.

Thursday May 18: Assata conclusion and final exam review

 

This week we finish the autobiography of Assata Shakur. For Thursday 5/18, 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 Lyna, Shonsaya, Rayne, and Jarissa.

We’ll have a structured review session for the final exam at the end of the class.

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 25 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.