Photo: Still from the 1967 film version of Dutchman.
- 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.
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.