Week of November 6 (NIGHT class): Dutchman conclusion and Soledad

Photo: Still from the 1967 film version of Dutchman.

Announcements:

  • Election day is Tuesday November 6. CUNY classes (including ours) are still in effect. Find your local polling place and other info here.
  • I gave out the assignment sheet to the next paper, which is due November 20. 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.
  • Quasi-related, but I’ll be speaking on a panel about the 50th anniversary of Lehman’s Africana Studies department on Thursday 11/8 in Lovinger Theater from 12:30-2. Stop by!

For Tuesday November 6, we finish our discussion of Dutchman. Re-read Clay’s final speech at the end of the play and other key sections. Think about last week’s 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?

See my lecture notes on Dutchman

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

Watch the 1967 film version of Dutchman via YouTube. This production follows Baraka’s script closely and is one of the best productions you will see. It’s approximately 54 minutes.

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

 

 

On Thursday, 11/8, 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 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?

Presentation by Noemi and José.

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Week of November 6 (DAY class): Dutchman conclusion and Soledad

Photo: Still from the 1967 film version of Dutchman.

Announcements:

  • Election day is Tuesday November 6. CUNY classes (including ours) are still in effect. Find your local polling place and other info here.
  • I gave out the assignment sheet to the next paper, which is due November 20. 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.
  • Quasi-related, but I’ll be speaking on a panel about the 50th anniversary of Lehman’s Africana Studies department on Thursday 11/8 in Lovinger Theater from 12:30-2. Stop by!

For Tuesday November 6, we finish our discussion of Dutchman. Re-read Clay’s final speech at the end of the play and other key sections. Think about last week’s 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?

See my lecture notes on Dutchman

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

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

 

 

On Thursday, 11/8, 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 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?

Week of March 20 (NIGHT class): Baraka’s Dutchman and Midterm

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

Photo: Still from the 1967 film version of Dutchman.

For Tuesday March 20, we finish our discussion of Dutchman. Re-read Clay’s final speech at the end of the play and other key sections. Think about last week’s 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.

Also begin studying for the midterm.

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

Thursday March 22nd 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 (choose one from 2 options) on themes from Bodega Dreams, Dutchman, or Short Eyes and poems we’ve covered so far. Know: basic plot points and characters of the book and plays, be able to identify key themes, and the main points of 2-3 poems each from both Pietri and Piñero. Also know basic biographical info about Pietri and Piñero.

Exam resources: See the presentations page for your class as a quick overview of major points covered. Also see my own presentations on the lecture notes page.

Week of 3/27: The following week, we take a detour into representations of the city in film. Your choices are Walter Hill’s The Warriors (1979) or Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing (1989). You’ll get to vote on which one we see in class.

Announcements:

  • Lehman’s library has expanded hours for midterm exams. They’re open 24/7 during midterms. The IT Center (first floor, Carman Hall) has computers and tech help and usually have expanded hours during exam periods. Check their schedule for details.

Week of March 20 (DAY class): Baraka’s Dutchman and The Warriors [UPDATE!]

UPDATE: Midterm exam’s postponed to Thursday 3/27 because of the winter storm. Lehman will be open this Thursday. Scroll down for revised class plan.

Photo: Still from the 1967 film version of Dutchman.

For Tuesday March 20, we finish our discussion of Dutchman. Re-read Clay’s final speech at the end of the play and other key sections. Think about last week’s 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.

Also begin studying for the midterm.

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

 

For Thursday March 22nd, 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.

Thursday March 27th is the NEW MIDTERM EXAM DATE.  The exam’s been postponed because of the weather advisory. DO NOT MISS THE NEW DATE! It’s the last day before spring break. 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, Bodega Dreams, Dutchman, or Short Eyes and poems we’ve covered so far. Know: basic plot points and characters of the book and plays, 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.

Week of 3/27: The following week, we take a detour into representations of the city in film. Your choices are Walter Hill’s The Warriors (1979) or Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing (1989). You’ll get to vote on which one we see in class.

Announcements:

  • Lehman’s library has expanded hours for midterm exams. They’re open 24/7 during midterms. The IT Center (first floor, Carman Hall) has computers and tech help and usually have expanded hours during exam periods. Check their schedule for details.

Week of 3/13: (NIGHT class) Bodega Dreams conclusion and Dutchman

Announcement: The first paper’s due tomorrow (Friday 3/9) via email. Details on the assignments page. Double check my email address before you send it.

For Tuesday March 13th: Read pages 157-213 (end of book) in Bodega Dreams.

Presentation by Christina, Erica, Christine, and Chris

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 see the neighborhood that they live in?
  • What is the role of culture?dutchman-dvd-1967-shirley-knight-al-freeman-leroi-jones-e0aa.png
    Photo: Still from the 1967 film version of Dutchman

    For Thursday March 15th:, we take a sharp turn and read the classic play Dutchman from Amiri Baraka (then named LeRoi Jones). For Tuesday, read only the first half of the book: the play Dutchman. Even though it’s short, you need to read it slowly and carefully.

    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 3/13: (DAY class) Bodega Dreams conclusion and Dutchman

Announcement: The first paper’s due tomorrow (Friday 3/9) via email. Details on the assignments page. Double check my email address before you send it.

For Tuesday March 13th: Read pages 157-213 (end of book) in Bodega Dreams.

Presentation by Solo, Keishla, Eric, and Anthony Bucaj

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 see the neighborhood that they live in?
  • What is the role of culture?

    dutchman-dvd-1967-shirley-knight-al-freeman-leroi-jones-e0aa.png
    Photo: Still from the 1967 film version of Dutchman

    For Thursday March 15th:, we take a sharp turn and read the classic play Dutchman from Amiri Baraka (then named LeRoi Jones). For Tuesday, read only the first half of the book: the play Dutchman. Even though it’s short, you need to read it slowly and carefully.

    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 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.