Week of April 17: (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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Announcements:

  • The next writing assignment is due Tuesday 4/17. It’s on the Assignments page if you’ve lost your copy and remember that you can stream the film from the Video page on the course website. Usual password.
  • New York City is involved in what’s called a participatory budgeting process, where you (and your neighbors) can actually vote to decide how some of your local city council rep spends their budget! (NYC residents on this only; sorry.) See details of what it is and how to vote at the city council’s page on it. Voting’s very easy: you can do it online and there are other options, too. Deadline is Sunday, April 15, however. Be sure to spread the word to family, neighbors, and on your social media platforms.
  • For anyone interested, I’m teaching Intro to Africana Studies (AAS 166) in the fall on Wednesday nights from 6-8:40 PM. Section XW81. Search by my name or the course/section in CUNYFirst.

On Tuesday April 17th, we continue with Soledad. Read pages 112-180 (chapters 6-8).

For Thursday April 19th, Read pages 182-230 (chapters 8-11). Continue tracking the themes we’ve identified and how characters develop in the book.

Presentation by Lizbeth, Waleed, Natalie, and Angie.

  • 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?
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Week of April 17: (Day Class) Angie Cruz’s Soledad, continued

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

cvr9780743212021_9780743212021_lg

Announcements:

  • The next writing assignment is due Tuesday 4/17. It’s on the Assignments page if you’ve lost your copy and remember that you can stream the film from the Video page on the course website. Usual password.
  • New York City is involved in what’s called a participatory budgeting process, where you (and your neighbors) can actually vote to decide how some of your local city council rep spends their budget! (NYC residents on this only; sorry.) See details of what it is and how to vote at the city council’s page on it. Voting’s very easy: you can do it online and there are other options, too. Deadline is Sunday, April 15, however. Be sure to spread the word to family, neighbors, and on your social media platforms.

On Tuesday April 17th, we continue with Soledad. Read pages 112-180 (chapters 6-8).

For Thursday April 19th, Read pages 182-230 (chapters 8-11). Continue tracking the themes we’ve identified and how characters develop in the book.

Presentation by Daniel, Lily, Wajiha, and Kevin.

  • 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 April 10: (Night class) Angie Cruz’s Soledad

Announcements:

  • I gave out the assignment sheet for the the second paper on The Warriors and it’s due April 17. Details on the assignments page. You can view The Warriors (or Do the Right Thing which we’re not officially watching this semester) on the Video page: same password as everything else. I suggest watching it at least one more time and taking good notes while you watch.
  • I’ll be returning the first paper to you via the same email address you sent it from. Look for it tomorrow.
  • I probably don’t need to say this, but we’re off next week for spring break
  • There’s an important event on Wednesday April 11: former Black Panther Party member Ericka Huggins will be visiting Lehman! The event’s from 4-5 PM in the Music Building’s Faculty Dining Room (right inside the main entrance on the first floor). Event flyer’s here (PDF). Extra credit is available is you’re attending and want to write something up. The assignment sheet for the extra credit will be available on the assignments page the week we return from break.
  • Have a great spring break!

On Tuesday, 4/10, 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 (Chapters 1-3) 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?

On Thursday, 4/12, Read pages 47-111 (Chapters 4-5) in Soledad.

Presentation by Bryan, Anthony, and Justin.

 

Week of April 10: (Day class) Angie Cruz’s Soledad

Announcements:

  • I gave out the assignment sheet for the the second paper on Do the Right Thing and it’s due April 17. Details on the assignments page. You can view Do the Right Thing (or The Warriors which we’re not officially watching this semester) on the Video page: same password as everything else. I suggest watching it at least one more time and taking good notes while you watch.
  • I’ll be returning the first paper to you via the same email address you sent it from. Look for it tomorrow if you haven’t gotten it yet.
  • I probably don’t need to say this, but we’re off next week for spring break
  • There’s an important event on Wednesday April 11: former Black Panther Party member Ericka Huggins will be visiting Lehman! The event’s from 4-5 PM in the Music Building’s Faculty Dining Room (right inside the main entrance on the first floor). Event flyer’s here (PDF). Extra credit is available is you’re attending and want to write something up. The assignment sheet for the extra credit will be available on the assignments page the week we return from break.
  • Have a great spring break!

On Tuesday, 4/10, 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?

On Thursday, 4/12, Read pages 47-111 (Chapters 4-5) in Soledad.

Presentation by Tandy, Jennifer, Chris, and Emma.

 

Week of March 27 (Day class): Do the Right Thing

On Tuesday March 27, we’ll finish watching Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing and discuss the film and the readings assigned for it. To prepare, read the following:

  • Pay particular attention to the excerpt from from Murray Forman’s book The ‘Hood Comes First: Race, Space, and Place in Rap and Hip Hop (Wesleyan University Press, 2002) on reading urban space, which is a PDF on the Readings page.
  • Then 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
  • See my Do the Right Thing lecture notes on the lecture notes page
  • Continue preparing for the midterm, rescheduled for 3/29. See the outline in last week’s post

On Thursday, 3/29, we will have the rescheduled Midterm exam. Note that this is the last class before spring break, so do not miss it! Make-ups will not be offered.

Week of 11/14: (Night class) Soledad conclusion and Def Poetry Jam

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Announcements:

  • Continue working on the paper based on Do the Right Thing (posted on the assignments page) and remember that you can stream the film from the video page. Remember that it is due before the break, even though class doesn’t meet on Tuesday 11/21.
  • We start Assata over the upcoming break, so make plans to get your copy now if you haven’t already.

On Tuesday 11/14, [UPDATE: we’ll do this on Thursday because of the cancelled class.] we finish Angie Cruz’s novel Soledad. Read chapters 8-11 (end–page 230) in the new paperback edition. In addition to the points and themes we’ve been tracking all along, consider the following:

  • What changes do we see in Soledad’s attitudes toward her mother, Richie, and Flaca?
  • How do her feelings towards the Dominican Republic and Washington Heights evolve?
  • What is the role of the supernatural or spirituality in the book’s conclusion?
  • How do memory and trauma affect the characters?
  • What do you think of the conclusion? Is it realistic? What happens to Soledad at the end?

Presentation by Veronica and Angela

 

def-poetry-jam

For Thursday 11/16 [UPDATE: Follow Tuesday’s assignment instead. No Def Poetry Jam! You can still watch the videos on your own though.] the assignment is to watch the Youtube videos of various poets from Russell Simmons’s Def Poetry Jam, which ran for several seasons on HBO. Also read Ben Brantley’s New York Times review of Def Poetry on Broadway.

Questions to think about:

  • How does being in front of a live audience change the perception of the poetry?
  • In the Pedro Pietri interview I posted, Pietri was critical of slam poetry and thought it relied too much on people’s personalities and being performers–do you agree?
  • What do their stories say about the urban experience?
  • Lastly, choose 2 poems you like, watch them a few times and be prepared to discuss in class.Here are the poems. There are several, but they’re mostly short. It’s less than a half hour, total.

Week of 11/14: (Day class) Soledad conclusion and Def Poetry Jam

cvr9780743212021_9780743212021_lg

Announcements:

  • Continue working on the paper based on Do the Right Thing (posted on the assignments page) and remember that you can stream the film from the video page. Remember that it is due before the break, even though class doesn’t meet on Tuesday 11/21.
  • We start Assata over the upcoming break, so make plans to get your copy now if you haven’t already.

On Tuesday 11/14, [UPDATE: we’ll do this Thursday instead.] we finish Angie Cruz’s novel Soledad. Read chapters 8-11 (end–page 230) in the new paperback edition. In addition to the points and themes we’ve been tracking all along, consider the following:

  • What changes do we see in Soledad’s attitudes toward her mother, Richie, and Flaca?
  • How do her feelings towards the Dominican Republic and Washington Heights evolve?
  • What is the role of the supernatural or spirituality in the book’s conclusion?
  • How do memory and trauma affect the characters?
  • What do you think of the conclusion? Is it realistic? What happens to Soledad at the end?

 

def-poetry-jam

For Thursday 11/16 [UPDATE: Follow Tuesday’s assignment instead. No Def Poetry Jam! You can still watch the videos on your own though.] the assignment is to watch the Youtube videos of various poets from Russell Simmons’s Def Poetry Jam, which ran for several seasons on HBO. Also read Ben Brantley’s New York Times review of Def Poetry on Broadway.

Questions to think about:

  • How does being in front of a live audience change the perception of the poetry?
  • In the Pedro Pietri interview I posted, Pietri was critical of slam poetry and thought it relied too much on people’s personalities and being performers–do you agree?
  • What do their stories say about the urban experience?
  • Lastly, choose 2 poems you like, watch them a few times and be prepared to discuss in class.Here are the poems. There are several, but they’re mostly short. It’s less than a half hour, total.