Thursday, October 28, 2010

Updated Schedule

Here's a overview of our readings and work for the rest of the semester.

For Tuesday, November 2nd
Complete Post #6 (see below)
Read Young Lords, 13 Point Platform
Read Collection of poems from the Nuyorican Poetry Movement (following platform in your reader)

Thursday, November 4th
Continue discussion of Nuyorican Movement
Discuss Presentations of Research Projects
Introduction to Politics and Sports Discussion

For Tuesday, November 9th
Read Robert Lipsyte, "Clay Refuses Army Oath"
Read Dave Zirin, "Sports on the Edge of Panic"
Continue to post sources and drafts

Thursday, November 11th
Trip to Museum of the Barrio (meet in classroom)

For Tuesday, November 16th
Continue to Post Sources and Drafts of Staged Essay
Begin work on Final Blog Post: A Public Work of Art
Read Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow

For Thursday, November 18th
Work with Drafts of Research Essays
Continue discussion of Alexander and songs by Public Enemy

For Tuesday, November 23rd
Turn in or post Drafts of Research Essays
Read Anna Deveare Smith, Twilight, Los Angeles.

Weeks of November 30th and December 7th: Presentations of Research Projects, Final Drafts of Research Essays, and Final Blog Posts (Public Art Projects)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Post 6 and more extra credit posts

For Thursday, October 28th, read the collection of poems from the Black Arts movement from your packet along with Alice Walker's essay "In Search of Our Mother's Gardens" Think about how each present an argument about what art is and what it should do.

For Tuesday, November 2nd, post on the sources you've found so far for your research essay. Describe each one, link to it if possible, and describe how it will help your topic. Keep in mind you can use wikipedia for backgound and to lead you to other sources, but it's not one of your final four.

Also begin to do some early drafting on your essay. Begin with the questions in Part I of the paper outline:

Drawing on your sources, describe and analyze the political situation the text was mean to address. Some questions you might consider:
What was the artist/activist’s relationship to this issue?
What kind of analysis or argument does the text/act put forward?
Is your text an example of protest art? Or something else?
What did the artist/activist think needed to be done in response to the issue?
How does the text/act suggest alternatives and/or solutions?
What does the text/act ask of the viewer/audience?
How did the text/act draw on/connect to a larger social movement?
What was your first reaction to the text/act? Do you think you would have reacted different when it was first created?

Finally, some more extra credit topics. Please note: if you are behind on your posts, you may substitute one of these (or other extra credit topics found below) for your missing posts). Here's an interesting article about activism going on right now by young people and young women in particular. What techiniques are these activists using? Who has the power regarding this issue, and what do you think will be effective in helping these activists gain power?

If you attended the poet laureate reading, describe your experience. What struck you about Ms. Ryan's poetry and the presentation? How would you say it compares to some of the poetry we've been discussing?

And here is the website for the It Gets Better project, an activist project using social media tools to fight against homophobia. Watch some of the videos and describe your reaction. What is the purpose of the project? Which videos do you think will be more effective - those from leaders like Presiden Obama or from 'everyday people'? Do you see connections between this movement and the Civil Rights movement against racism we've been discussing?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Post #5: For Tuesday, October 26th

For Tuesday, October 26th, write a post that responds to one of the following topics. Be sure your post is at least 300 words. Use specific examples and direct citations from the readings to support your ideas.

1) As we've been studying the Civil Rights movement, we saw how civil disobedience, lawsuits and legislation (the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965) helped overturn some of the key injustices of the Jim Crow south, such as segregated businesses and literacy tests. In James Baldwin's essay "Fifth Avenue, Uptown: A Letter from Harlem," and the first chapter of Malcolm X's autobiography we see powerful descriptions of the different (but related) injustices that African-Americans faced in the north. What techniques do we see African-Americans using in these texts to resist injustice or to gain power? Do you think the techniques used in the south would be effective in the north? What other techniques do you think might have been or might be effective and why?

2) Art, music and other forms of cultural expression are often especially useful in changing people's consciousness about their own lives. In the first chapter of Malcolm X's autobiography, he discusses internalized racism: the way that African Americans have absorbed the ideology of white supremacy. Describe how this issue comes up in Malcolm's early life, how he analyzes these early expereinces, and the shift in consciousness you think he wants to create in readers. If you wish, you can also discuss other examples of how oppressed groups have internalized the messages of a dominant society, drawing on other texts and your own knowledge and experiences.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

For Tuesday, October 19th: Essay Topics Brainstorming

For October 19th: Select a political work of art or a culturally-based activist act. It should be a specific text or act – a song or album, a poem, a short story or a book, a play or a movie, a painting or mural, or a culturally-based act of protest – not the whole career of an artist or activist, and not a whole social movement.

You can use a text that’s in our reader, one that’s mentioned in Reed’s texts, or that you’ve come across through your own experiences and interests. It can be related to the Civil Rights movement, or another movement described in Reed, or another social movement (from any country or time period) that interests you. If you’re having a hard time finding a topic, do some brainstorming about the kinds of texts and the social movements that interest you. Post your thoughts on the blog and your classmates and I will respond with suggestions, so be sure you’re also checking your classmates’ blogs.

Begin by looking at/reading/listening to the text itself. On your blog, post a description of the text/act and the issue(s) you think it addresses of at least 300 words. Talk about your own responses: what does the work of art or act make you think about, make you feel? What do you want to find out about it? You can do a little poking around online for names and dates, but hold off on research: focus on your own reactions. If you can, include a link to the text or post an image or embed a video. Due Tuesday, October 19th.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

In-Class work and Links

In your groups, answer each of the following questions. You'll hand in one set of responses for your group.

1) What do you think is Malcolm X's overall argument in the speech "What does Mississippi Have to do With Harlem?" (This should be a complete sentence or couple of sentences, and it should be an argument, not a fact, event, or emotion.)

2) Who do you think is the audience(s) for this speech? Do you think he wants different groups to get different things from his argument?

3) What specific historical events and political figures does the speech refer to? Explain these events and figures and their importance to his argument?

4) How does Malcolm X's speech relate to Nina Simone's song "Mississippi Goddam"? Refer to specific passages of both texts to explain the connection.


Malcolm X describes one relationship between Mississippi and Harlem - North and South. We'll see more about this relationship in the first chapter of his autobiography and in James Baldwin's "Fifth Avenue, Uptown: A Letter from Harlem"

Some historical background about North and South:

Here are some links to materials you might enjoy and that might help us think about our issues in class in a new way. Feel free to share you thoughts in the comments, on your blog for extra credit, and to offer any links you find to related articles or political works of art we might enjoy.
As with regular posts, be sure your responses are well thought out, specific, make specific reference to the text, and at least 300 words.

This article talks about the 'strong social ties' that helped the lunch counter sit-ins we've discussed come about and be successful. The author also argues that the internet promotes 'weak ties' that don't lead to successful, organized political change. It might be interesting to think about the role of art, music, writing and so on in creating 'strong' or 'weak' ties and whether the ways we communicate ideas about change affects the outcome.

This article discusses a current case of injustice in Mississippi. What does this article tell us about the state of Missisippi forty-six years after Freedom Summer? What connections do you see between the issues faced by civil rights activsts and those Herbert describes?

Here is more of the interview with Isabel Wilkerson about the Great Migration. How does her research help us understand the situation in the North that Baldwin describes?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Post #3: For Thursday, October 6th

In class, we'll bring our story up until 1963-4 and begin our next installment of Eyes on the Prize. Be sure to bring your identifications on your syllabus up to date.

Keep in mind that your weekly posts are required and will count as 30% of your final grade.

For Thursday, we'll look at four short texts that respond to the events of 1963-4 depicted in the film. These include a short story (Eudora Welty's "Where is the Voice Coming From?",) a speech (Malcolm X's "What does Mississippi Have to do with Harlem?") and two songs (Bob Dylan's "Only a Pawn in their Game" and Nina Simone's "Mississippi Goddam")

In your post, choose one of these four texts and describe it as a piece of political art. What do you see as its purpose? Who was its audience? Does it make an argument? Produce an emotion? Something else? Do you think it was likely succesful. Remember that your posts should be at least 300 words.