Week of October 24 (Night class): Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing

05_Flatbed_1 - JUNE

For Tuesday October 24:, 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.

Announcement: If you’re following the paper syllabus, note that the assignment due dates have changed. There is no assignment due next Tuesday. Next one will be based on the film and given out after we’re done with that.

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.

Watch this short summary of Spike Lee’s “rant” about gentrification that caused a lot of controversy and discussion in 2014.

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

Highlights from Dutchman class discussion:

  • See the student presentation (password protected page: same as the rest)
  • See my lecture notes on the play
  • The full film version is on YouTube. Be sure to watch the scene with Clay’s response to Lula’s insults and his final speech (starts @ about 40 minutes.)
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Week of October 24 (Day class): Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing

05_Flatbed_1 - JUNE

For Tuesday October 24:, 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.

Announcement: If you’re following the paper syllabus, note that the assignment due dates have changed. There is no assignment due next Tuesday. Next one will be based on the film and given out after we’re done with that.

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.

Watch this short summary of Spike Lee’s “rant” about gentrification that caused a lot of controversy and discussion in 2014.

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

 

Highlights from Dutchman class discussion:

  • See my lecture notes on the play
  • The full film version is on YouTube. Be sure to watch the scene with Clay’s response to Lula’s insults and his final speech (starts @ about 40 minutes.)

Week of 10/17 (Night class): Baraka’s Dutchman

dutchman-dvd-1967-shirley-knight-al-freeman-leroi-jones-e0aa.png

Photo: Still from the 1967 film version of Dutchman.

For Tuesday October 17th, we take a sharp turn and read the classic play Dutchman from Amiri Baraka (then named LeRoi Jones). Read only the first half of the book: the play Dutchman. (We’re not reading the second half of the book, a separate play The Slave.) Even though it’s short, you need to read it slowly and carefully.

Presentation by: King, Clavel, Kelvin, and Juliette.

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?
  • What makes it an urban play?
  • 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.


Optional: Watch an interview I did for The Queens Grapevine on Amiri Baraka’s life and legacy.

For Thursday October 19, we continue our discussion of Dutchman. Re-read Clay’s final speech at the end of the play and other key sections. Think about the discussion questions and what makes it an urban play. Also think about how you might stage it as a play. How might characters act? How would you imagine them? We’ll watch clips of performances and compare them. Read Baraka’s short essay “The Revolutionary Theatre” (download the PDF here) and relate it to Dutchman. Does the play do what he proposes here?

Extra: Listen to Baraka reading the essay in 1965 in the WNYC Radio archives.

Next Week:
The following week, we take a detour into representations of the city in film. I usually choose the film by class vote, but this time we’ll look at Spike Lee’s Crooklyn since it was chosen as the selection for One Film New York.

Announcements:

  • Lehman’s library (and tech center with computers) have expanded hours for midterm exams. They’re open 24/7 during midterms.
  • Lehman has short term emergency loans available for students. See the Office of Student Affairs for details and an application.

Week of 10/17 (Day class): Baraka’s Dutchman

dutchman-dvd-1967-shirley-knight-al-freeman-leroi-jones-e0aa.png

Photo: Still from the 1967 film version of Dutchman.

For Tuesday October 17th:, we take a sharp turn and read the classic play Dutchman from Amiri Baraka (then named LeRoi Jones). Read only the first half of the book: the play Dutchman. (We’re not reading the second half of the book, a separate play The Slave.) Even though it’s short, you need to read it slowly and carefully.

Presentation by: Ruth, Bria, and Oma.

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?
  • What makes it an urban play?
  • 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.


Optional: Watch an interview I did for The Queens Grapevine on Amiri Baraka’s life and legacy.

For Thursday October 19, we continue our discussion of Dutchman. Re-read Clay’s final speech at the end of the play and other key sections. Think about the discussion questions and what makes it an urban play. Also think about how you might stage it as a play. How might characters act? How would you imagine them? We’ll watch clips of performances and compare them. Read Baraka’s short essay “The Revolutionary Theatre” (download the PDF here) and relate it to Dutchman. Does the play do what he proposes here?

Extra: Listen to Baraka reading the essay in 1965 in the WNYC Radio archives.

Next Week:
The following week, we take a detour into representations of the city in film. I usually choose the film by class vote, but this time we’ll look at Spike Lee’s Crooklyn since it was chosen as the selection for One Film New York.

Week of October 10: (NIGHT Class) Bodega Dreams conclusion and Midterm

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For Tuesday, October 10th, Read pages 157-213 (end of book) in Bodega Dreams. Highlight/underline passages of the book that you think show good examples of key themes or changes in key characters. Take brief notes in your notebook of specifically good points.

We’ll start the class with a presentation by Maya, Adnan, and Carmen

To guide your reading, think about the following things:

bodegaDs

  • What are the key themes of the book? Mark specific examples of them in the text.
  • How have characters developed or changed over the course of the book? 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? What’s the status of Bodega’s dream at the end of the book and what effect has the story had on the neighborhood and people?
  • What is the role of culture?

For Thursday, October 13th is the Midterm exam. It will be given in class and no notes or books will be allowed. Do not miss it! Makeups will not be offered. Format will be short answer questions plus one essay on themes of the Juan Flores essay, books, play, and poems we’ve covered so far. Know: basic plot points and characters of the book and play, be able to identify key themes, and the main points of 2-3 poems from both Pietri and Piñero. Also know basic biographical info about Pietri and Piñero.

Scholarship opportunity:

The mission of the New York City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (NYCHCC) is to represent and advocate for Hispanic businesses in New York City.  They assist new entrepreneurs, strengthen existing businesses and assure the growth and success of Hispanic businesses.  The NYCHCC is also committed to helping Hispanic students succeed academically and to effectively achieve their professional goals.  To this end, the $2,000 NYCHCC Scholarship Award is designed to assist students of Hispanic heritage to obtain a college degree.  Scholarships are available on a competitive/need basis.

Qualifications include:

  • United States citizens/residents of Hispanic descent
  • DACA students are encouraged to apply
  • Must live in NYC
  • Undergraduate students attending accredited University
  • Proof of 3.0 GPA or higher
  • One letter of recommendation from a Professor
  • Submit a 500 word essay
  • Resume

The deadline to apply is November 1, 2017.  Candidates must apply via their website, http://hispanicchamber.nyc/nychcc-scholarship-awards/.  If you have any questions, please feel free to stop by the Office of Academic Testing, Scholarships & Awards, located in the Apex Building room 240.  You may also contact one of our Scholarship Advisors via email at: scholarship [dot] office [at] lehman [dot] cuny [dot] edu or at 718-960-8156.

Announcement: The Black Panther Party film festival is at Maysles Cinema in Harlem until 10/7.

Week of October 10: (DAY Class) Bodega Dreams conclusion and Midterm

4253359676_431c046328

For Tuesday, October 10th, Read pages 157-213 (end of book) in Bodega Dreams. Highlight/underline passages of the book that you think show good examples of key themes or changes in key characters. Take brief notes in your notebook of specifically good points.

We’ll start the class with a presentation by Brandon, Deondre, William, and Nami

To guide your reading, think about the following things:

bodegaDs

  • What are the key themes of the book? Mark specific examples of them in the text.
  • How have characters developed or changed over the course of the book? 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? What’s the status of Bodega’s dream at the end of the book and what effect has the story had on the neighborhood and people?
  • What is the role of culture?

[EDIT: The first presentation on Bodega Dreams is now online here. Usual password.]

Thursday, October 13th is the Midterm exam. It will be given in class and no notes or books will be allowed. Do not miss it! Makeups will not be offered. Format will be short answer questions plus one essay on themes of the Juan Flores essay, books, play, and poems we’ve covered so far. Know: basic plot points and characters of the book and play, be able to identify key themes, and the main points of 2-3 poems from both Pietri and Piñero. Also know basic biographical info about Pietri and Piñero.

Scholarship opportunity:

The mission of the New York City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (NYCHCC) is to represent and advocate for Hispanic businesses in New York City.  They assist new entrepreneurs, strengthen existing businesses and assure the growth and success of Hispanic businesses.  The NYCHCC is also committed to helping Hispanic students succeed academically and to effectively achieve their professional goals.  To this end, the $2,000 NYCHCC Scholarship Award is designed to assist students of Hispanic heritage to obtain a college degree.  Scholarships are available on a competitive/need basis.

Qualifications include:

  • United States citizens/residents of Hispanic descent
  • DACA students are encouraged to apply
  • Must live in NYC
  • Undergraduate students attending accredited University
  • Proof of 3.0 GPA or higher
  • One letter of recommendation from a Professor
  • Submit a 500 word essay
  • Resume

The deadline to apply is November 1, 2017.  Candidates must apply via their website, http://hispanicchamber.nyc/nychcc-scholarship-awards/.  If you have any questions, please feel free to stop by the Office of Academic Testing, Scholarships & Awards, located in the Apex Building room 240.  You may also contact one of our Scholarship Advisors via email at: scholarship [dot] office [at] lehman [dot] cuny [dot] edu or at 718-960-8156.

Announcement: The Black Panther Party film festival is at Maysles Cinema in Harlem until 10/7.

Week of October 3: (NIGHT class) Bodega Dreams, continued

Announcement: don’t forget that the first paper is due next Tuesday 10/3 by Midnight EST. See the assignments page if you need another copy. Note that the ACE Center in Lehman’s Old Gym is open from 10-2 on Saturday if you need last minute help with your paper. For help formatting sources, Purdue U’s online writing lab (OWL) is one of the best, most trustworthy sources. For the visually inclined, see their YouTube playlist.

For Tuesday, October 3, 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. Finally, mark what you think might be key turns in the plot (storyline) and significant developments.

Student presentation by Stanley, Angela, and Veronica

Below: Highlights from today’s class. Major themes and character sketches. (If you’re curious, you can see the lists developed by the day section here.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Thursday, October 5, Read pages 108-157 in Bodega Dreams. Continue following the key themes and characters outlined. Highlight/underling passages of the book that you think show good examples of these themes or changes in key characters.