Weeks of 11/21-28: (Night Class) Assata Shakur’s autobiography

220px-Assatabio

Announcements:

  • Remember that the paper based on Do the Right Thing (posted on the assignments page) is due next week, even though class does not meet!  As a reminder, you can stream the film from the video page.
  • Tuesday 11/21 is a Friday schedule (PDF!) in the wacky world of CUNY, so we don’t meet again until the 28th.

After the break we move on to the our last book of the semester, the autobiography of Assata Shakur

For Tuesday 11/28, read the first 98 pages (chapters 1-5) 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.

Thursday, November 30th, read pages 99-147 (Chapters 6 to 9) in Assata. Again, make sure to pay attention to the various poems she includes in the story on pages 130 (“Love”), 140 (“Stranger”). 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 them in your text.

Presentation by Jarissa, Michael, and Steve.

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Weeks of 11/21-28: (Day Class) Assata Shakur’s autobiography

220px-Assatabio

Announcements:

  • Remember that the paper based on Do the Right Thing (posted on the assignments page) is due next week, even though class does not meet!  As a reminder, you can stream the film from the video page.
  • Tuesday 11/21 is a Friday schedule (PDF!) in the wacky world of CUNY, so we don’t meet again until the 28th.

After the break we move on to the our last book of the semester, the autobiography of Assata Shakur

For Tuesday 11/28, read the first 98 pages (chapters 1-5) 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.

Thursday, November 30th, read pages 99-147 (Chapters 6 to 9) in Assata. Again, make sure to pay attention to the various poems she includes in the story on pages 130 (“Love”), 140 (“Stranger”). 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 them in your text.

Presentation by Terrell and Giselle

 

Week of May 4: Assata Shakur’s autobio, part 1

220px-AssatabioThis week we move on to the our last book of the semester, the autobiography of Assata Shakur

Announcement: The deadline for the second paper has been extended to Monday May 8 by Midnight EST. See the assignments page for details.

For Thursday 5/4, read pages 1-98 (Chapters 1-5) in Assata Shakur’s  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?
  • How does the story deal with / describe urban space and the neighborhoods the story is set in. What locations does she mention in the text? What does each one mean to her?
  • Think about how Assata’s character develops and signs for what you think makes it an “urban” narrative.Think about how she deals with different themes we’ve discussed in class so far.Choose a few significant quotes from the text to show key points. Write down why they’re significant and what they show in your notes. Explain in your own words how you think the quotes relate to larger themes in the book or other things we’ve covered this semester.

    Presentation by Robert, Shan, Zain, Natalia, and Miriam.

    Extra: Listen to “A Song for Assata” by Common, from his 2000 Like Water for Chocolate release, featuring CeeLo Green.

Week of November 22: Assata Shakur’s autobiography

220px-AssatabioThis week we move on to the our last book of the semester, the autobiography of Assata Shakur
 
Reminder: Papers are due before the break on Tuesday 11/22 by midnight EST by email (no hard copies). You can download another assignment sheet if you’ve lost yours
 
For Tuesday 11/22, read the first 70 pages (chapters 1-3) 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?
  •  
    Presentation by Reggie, Phe-be, and Monique
     
    Extra: Listen to “A Song for Assata” by Common, from his 2000 Like Water for Chocolate release, featuring CeeLo Green.


     
    Thursday, November 24th we do not meet because of the holiday. Enjoy your break.
     
    Announcement: Former Black Panther Sam Anderson is scheduled to join us on Tuesday, November 29th to talk about Assata. Feel free to bring friends/family/classmates for the discussion.

    Week of May 5: Assata Shakur’s autobio, part 1

    220px-AssatabioThis week we move on to the our last book of the semester, the autobiography of Assata Shakur

    Reminder: Remember that the paper is due on Monday April 25 via email. Yes, I know it’s spring break. See the assignments page if you’ve lost it.

    Because of spring break, we don’t meet on Thursday 4/28. Enjoy! For Thursday 5/5, read pages 1-130 (Chapters 1-7) in Assata Shakur’s Autobiography. 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 locations does she mention in the text? What does each one mean to her?
  • Finally, 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).
  • Presentation by Kujagie, Abbby, and Minerva.

    Extra: Listen to “A Song for Assata” by Common, from his 2000 Like Water for Chocolate release, featuring CeeLo Green.

    Week of 12/1: Assata, continued

    220px-AssatabioThis week we continue with our last book of the semester, the autobiography of Assata Shakur. For Tuesday 12/1, read chapters 4-8 (70-140). Again, make sure to pay attention to the various poems she includes in the story on pages 130 (“Love”), 140 (“Stranger”). 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 them in your text.

    Class presentation by Marie, Kathy, and Christine.

    For Thursday 12/4 read chapters 9-13, (pages 141-208) in Assata.

    Pay close attention to the following:

  • Poems “Leftovers” (147), “Culture” (159), and “To My Mama” (193). Again, what do they add to the narrative? What insight do they give you about Assata’s inner thoughts?
  • Also think about her Fourth of July address on pages 167-170.
  • What spaces/ neighborhoods does she move through? Note them and how each of them either shapes the story and what it means to Assata.
  • Keep track of major themes that emerge in the story as you read. It’s a good idea to mark examples of them in the text and make a small note in your notebook.
  • Finally, go back through your notes and start making a list of all the themes that we’ve seen this semester. It will be a good start to preparing for the final.
  • Doing a good job of reading/notetaking here will pay off when it comes to the final exam. This will be one thing you know well and won’t have to study for.

    Thursday May 14: Assata conclusion and final exam review

    Remember that if you choose to do the optional final paper, it’s due Friday 5/15 by Midnight Eastern Standard Time via e-mail

    .

    220px-AssatabioThis week we finish the autobiography of Assata Shakur. For Thursday 5/14, 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 Celestine, Jason, and Hipolito

    Again 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 21 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.