Recent Changes

Monday, May 6

  1. page Current Syllabus 3 edited ... 5/7 “D”DAY Final Project Due Hip Hop Woodstock 5/8 “E” DAY 5/9 “F” DAY Ghetto Stories…
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    5/7 “D”DAY
    Final Project Due
    Hip HopWoodstock
    5/8 “E” DAY
    5/9 “F” DAY
    Ghetto StoriesRise of
    Hip Hop

    5/10 “G” DAY
    World of Terror or World of Hope?Final Class
    "Disco and Dragons"

    (view changes)
    6:23 am
  2. page Current Syllabus edited ... HW: Final Project due Tuesday 5/6 “C” DAY Hip Hop Work on Projects HW: Push/ Decoded F…
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    HW: Final Project due Tuesday
    5/6 “C” DAY
    Hip HopWork on Projects
    HW: Push/ DecodedFinal Project
    5/7 “D”DAY
    5/8 “E” DAY
    Ghetto StoriesWoodstock /
    Hip Hop

    5/9 “F” DAY
    World of Terror or World of Hope?Final Class
    "Disco and Dragons"

    5/10 “G” DAY
    (view changes)
    6:22 am

Thursday, May 2

  1. page Current Syllabus edited ... 5/3 “B” DAY Work on Imovie Project ... Project due Monday Tuesday 5/6 “C” DAY Hip Hop…
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    5/3 “B” DAY
    Work on Imovie Project
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    Project due MondayTuesday
    5/6 “C” DAY
    Hip Hop
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    5:10 am

Thursday, April 25

  1. page Current Syllabus edited ... Finish O’Brien Present: Postmodern Art HW: Watch Hip Hop Videos Personal Journal for Final…
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    Finish O’Brien
    Present: Postmodern Art
    HW: Watch Hip Hop VideosPersonal Journal for Final Project
    4/26 “D” DAY
    4/29 “E” DAY
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    6:26 am

Tuesday, April 23

  1. page Final Project edited AS Final Assessment: IMovie Project Requirements: a 4-7 minute IMovie and an accompanying script …
    AS Final Assessment: IMovie Project
    Requirements: a 4-7 minute IMovie and an accompanying script
    Grade Value: 10% of final average
    Due Date: beginning of last week of classes before exams (May 6 or 7)
    Goal: to connect your personal, first-person story to America’s larger story through the lens of one of our seven AS themes
    Here are the ingredients of your project:
    1. The 4-7 Minute IMovie
    Voice over: You are the narrator. Your voice will guide us through your movie.
    Images: personal photographs; historical figures/events; artistic works (paintings, photos, sculptures); buildings/landscapes
    Passages from literary works: Use the literature we’ve read as a way of highlighting your experience and telling America’s story
    Musical Soundtrack: Whether you love classic rock, rap, jazz, or country, include multiple genres that reflect America’s diverse musical heritage. This is not simply an occasion to showcase your favorite tunes. Use music to create the emotional context you want to convey in each part of the movie. The tone of the songs should match the tone of your commentary. By the way, don’t be afraid of silence. Music doesn’t always need to be playing in the background.
    Optional: embedded videos
    2. The Script: Your script is a written record of your voice over narration, as well as the images, literary passages, and musical soundtrack you’re using to communicate your ideas. Here are a few specifics:
    Your script should contain every line of your voice over narration.
    Whenever we see a new image or hear a new sound, you should insert notation of the change in the script of your voiceover.
    Your script should provide a written record of every voice over, image, literary passage, and musical transition in your movie.
    Suggested Movie Structure:
    Act I. Personal Story: Tell us about your life in relation to one of our seven themes. Make sure to explicitly identify the theme. Which specific events show how your life illustrates the theme? Remember: going into detail about a single well-chosen incident is more effective than merely skimming through a hundred events.
    Act II. Reflection on how your story places you and your experiences in the larger context of America’s story: Use your personal experience as a bridge to America’s story. How has this theme evolved through America’s past? Which historical events, cultural movements, literary works, and artistic productions provide an opportunity to view yourself in relation to our nation’s past? Don’t just give us a 400-year summary. Strive to tell America’s story as a way of expanding your story from Act I.
    Act III. Personal Story: Bring your story full circle by returning to it in the new context of America’s larger story that you’ve just told. Now that we’ve reviewed America’s past through the lens of the theme, how do we see your story with fresh perspective?
    Here are some questions about our seven themes that might help students brainstorm ideas for the project. The first few questions ask students to reflect on their ideas or personal experiences in relation to the themes. The rest open up the theme to allow students to think about how the their experience applies to America on a larger scale.
    American Dream: What is your American Dream? Is it only yours, or is it ours? How have your life circumstances contributed to your vision of the dream? Is it tangible or intangible? What do you have to do to achieve it? How will you know when you’ve attained it? What are your chances of attaining it?
    -The American Dream has often been reduced to the generic “House with a white picket fence, 2.3 children, two cars, a dog, a cat, etc”. Is this a relevant model for the 21st century?
    -What is the essence of the American Dream?
    -To what extent is the dream material vs philosophical?
    -Is the dream a collective dream or an individual one?
    -Do geography, social status, cultural/spiritual affiliations dictate the dreams we aspire to attain?
    -To what extent is the American Dream contingent upon freedom and, in turn, to what end is freedom tangible and real in America?
    -Are we free to choose our American Dream or has it been predetermined for us?
    -Can we experience true freedom while living within the constraints of our modern, globalized world?
    -Just because some people have attained the American dream, does that mean that everyone can?
    -Are all Americans entitled to the American Dream, and if so, what does that mean?
    Individualism: In what ways can you claim to be an individual? How much power do you have to express your individuality? How much power do you possess in relation to the group? Have your attempts to act as an individual been rewarded or punished? Is society for you or against you?
    -America is often seen as a place where an individual can thrive. Consider historical and media representations of American heroes: The cowboy, the CEO, Bill Gates, Michael Jackson (formerly known as the King of Pop), the Presidents of the US, Warren Buffet, Michael Jordan, Serena Williams, etc.
    -Who are America’s most important individuals and how has their importance been determined?
    -What are the positive effects individuals can have on American/Global society?
    -What are the negative effects individuals can have on American/Global society?
    -Are there any individuals whom history has remembered differently than one’s contemporaries?
    -How does the individual define his/her relationship to the world around his/her?
    -Along what lines do we consider ourselves individuals (what factors allow us to individuate each other from one another)?
    -To what extent is our identity based on our ability to stand out vs. conform or fit within a certain group?
    The Frontier: What are your personal frontiers? Are they geographical or conceptual? Which have you conquered? Which have you failed to reach? When you reach a frontier, do you savor it or immediately start searching for another? Which traits are essential for reaching your frontiers?
    -When we think of a frontier, we often think of a physical boundary dividing two geographical spaces or we think about the relationship between the tame, cultivated world and the wild.
    -What different manifestations of the frontier can you conjure up? Consider physical, social, religious, and cultural frontiers. To what extent have they been overcome?
    -Where do we see frontiers evolving in art, music, literature, sports, food, business, technology, space, etc?
    -How have various frontiers (physical spaces and social practices) evolved over time? Have the effects of these changes/shifts been positive, negative, or both?
    -How would you assess America’s general attitude regarding frontiers and how does this help to establish American values or character?
    -What are the biggest obstacles to Americans in overcoming the various frontiers we face?
    -What are the frontiers facing individuals and are they different from those that face the community?
    Nature: What role does nature play in your life? How do you define nature? When nature and progress conflict, which do you usually choose? Does nature possess spiritual properties? How has your use of technology affected your relationship with nature?
    --When William Bradford arrived in what is now referred to as Plymouth, Massachusetts, he described the nature he saw as “hideous and desolate”. Today the US is home to thousands of national and state parks that attempt to preserve nature and instill an appreciation of the outdoors. As Americans, we depend on nature for sustenance, shelter, leisure, and energy.
    -To what extent is nature a hindrance that creates inconvenience or danger and to what extent is it a resource that we can utilize?
    -How has America’s attitude toward nature changed over time? How are these changes represented in art, literature, government policies, and varying lifestyles of Americans?
    -To what extent is nature a communal resource versus a private sanctuary?
    -What are some of the most powerful examples of nature’s power?
    The Melting Pot: In what ways have you assimilated? To what degree is your identity a composite of other ethnic, religious, cultural, racial, or social influences? Has this mixture helped or harmed you in the creation of an identity that feels like “you”?
    -America has often been considered a great social experiment and from our earliest origins going back to Europeans’ encounter with Native Americans, America has been a pluralistic society where different religious, ethnic, cultural, racial, and social groups have attempted to coexist. Some have said the US is a melting pot, implying that Americans from different backgrounds assimilate in order to encompass one common culture. Others have said the US is more like a salad bowl or gumbo, where despite our commonality as one nation, individuals and groups retain separate identities and characteristics even though we ultimately comprise one large, diverse nation.
    -What are the key moments of history that have brought diverse Americans together?
    -Who are the important individuals that have attempted to unite Americans and across what lines did they do so?
    -What obstacles have hindered Americans from uniting (historically and presently) and to what extent have those obstacles been overcome?
    -Is the melting pot more prominent in some regions of the US than others and if so, what factors contribute to that phenomenon?
    -The melting pot is a food metaphor—how do we see this concept represented in American cuisine?
    The Other: In what sense are you an Other? Where are you in the circle of American culture—near its center or near its margins? Are you ‘other’ in some ways but in the ‘center’ in other ways? What factors have contributed to your status in the ‘center’ or near the ‘margins’? Have you been compelled to strive to become less ‘other’? Have you been successful or unsuccessful in your attempts to move toward the center?
    -The Other is a term referring to an individual or group that has been involuntarily excluded or disenfranchised from American society in some way. This theme acts as a counterpoint to the concept of the melting pot.
    -What groups have been excluded from American society and to what extent? What were the factors that served as the motivation or rationale for these exclusions?
    -How do we see the concept of America’s freedom challenged by the history and acknowledgment of these others?
    -Are there are groups that currently suffer from any sort of stigma and why is that?
    -To what extent do we see potentially offensive words like “Redneck”, “Nigger”, “Bitch”, or “Queer” appropriated by each respective group in order to give those terms a positive connotation?
    City Upon A Hill: In what ways do you consider yourself an example or model for others? What responsibilities or obligations come with this status? Are you a perfectionist? Do you feel an expectation to excel? In your interactions with people of other nations, have you felt compelled to represent America in a certain way? Were there rewards or repercussions for your behavior?
    -According to John Winthrop, ”for we must Consider that we shall be as a City upon a Hill, the eyes of all people are upon us; so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken and so cause him to withdraw his present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword through the world, we shall open the mouths of enemies to speak evil of the ways of God and all professors for Gods sake; we shall shame the faces of many of gods worthy servants, and cause their prayers to be turned into Curses upon us till we be consumed out of the good land whether we are going”
    This excerpt, referring to the theme of the City Upon A Hill, is often misquoted and taken out of context. Consider what John Winthrop’s words say about the idealism of America acting as a city upon a hill.
    -What visual image does that suggest and what connotations does the image promote?
    -What about the repercussions we can expect to face if we are hypocritical in our actions?
    -To what extent does the US act as a model to the rest of the world?
    -What American values emerge as defining characteristics of our society?
    -To what extent is religion at the core of our society and our collective value system?
    -When have “external” groups attempted to bring “the city” down and with what did they take issue?
    -What various manifestations of “Cities Upon a Hill” can you identify?

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    6:48 am
  2. page space.menu edited ... Current Syllabus 7 Thematic Questions Final Project Summer Reading UNIT 1: Colonialism
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    Current Syllabus 7
    Thematic Questions
    Final Project
    Summer Reading
    UNIT 1: Colonialism
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    6:47 am
  3. page Tim O'Brien Lecture edited {http://americanbookreview.org/images/authors/O'Brien_50.jpg} When I began preparing this litt…
    {http://americanbookreview.org/images/authors/O'Brien_50.jpg}
    When I began preparing this little talk, I was very quickly reminded that one of the reasons I became a fiction writer is I don't know anything. I don't mean this in a falsely humble sense. I mean, quite literally, that I have very little to offer you in the way of abstraction or generalization; the sort of thing that can be communicated in a President's Lecture. I'm not a literary historian, I'm not a critic, I'm not a teacher. I spend my days, and a good many of my nights, writing stories. And I don't devote a lot of time or a lot of energy worrying about the hows or the whys of it all, instead taking a kind of lazy man's conviction in the belief that stories require no justification; they just are. It's a conviction, too, I suppose, that abstraction and generalization are precisely the reverse of what I do as a storyteller. Abstraction may make your head believe, but a good story, well told, will also make your kidneys believe, and your scalp and your tear ducts, your heart, and your stomach, the whole human being. In any case, after, I don't know, twenty aborted attempts to compose a lecture for tonight, I finally gave it up, and decided to spend my time with you doing what I do best, which is to tell stories. I did, however, save a few nuggets from my original efforts at a lecture. I just want to share them with you; it'll only take about four seconds:
    Number one: writing never gets easier, it gets harder. You can't repeat yourself. Unlike, say, a professional surgeon, you cannot perform precisely the same operation with the same protocol in case after case, and even for a surgeon, this would be risky, if one's first patient happened to end up in a mortuary. Number 2: use active verbs. Avoid ridiculous similes. For example: do not write, "her neck was like a swan's, long and graceful." Instead write, "she honked." Three: avoid unintentional puns. Do not write, "she came in a Jeep." Four (I did that in the Atlantic monthly, believe it or not): Four: avoid alliteration. Do not write, quote, "The red, rollicking river of his tongue rubbed me the wrong way." Instead write, "He kissed me with conviction," or, perhaps, more simply, "He kissed me. I gagged." Finally, as my last salvageable little jewel, I thought it might be helpful to begin by stating the obvious, or what should be obvious, a writer must, above all, write. Joseph Conrad, in a letter to a friend, describes his daily routine: "I sit down religiously every morning. I sit down for eight hours every day, and the sitting down is all." Note Conrad says he sits down to write every day. Saturdays, Sundays, religiously, he says. Beyond anything, it seems to me, a writer performs this sitting-down act primarily in search of those rare, very intense moments of artistic pleasure that are as real in their way as the pleasures that can come from any other source - the rush of endorphins, for instance, that accompanies the making of a nice little bit of dialogue. And this isn't to say that writing isn't painful - and it is, most of the time - but at the same time, there is no pleasure without the pain. As much as writing hurts, it carries with it, at times, content, satisfaction, which, in part, I think, is what Conrad is getting at when he says, "The sitting down is all." In my own case, I get up at about six-thirty, seven o'clock every day, try to be at work by eight, work until about one o'clock in the afternoon, work out for a couple of hours -. Uh, lifting weights is my hobby, but even when I'm doing that, I'm still writing in my head, going over a bit of dialogue, kind of mumbling aloud, or trying to come up with just that right word that's been eluding me during the morning hours. Take shower, go back to work, and write until about six o'clock at night. I work on Christmas, I work at New Years, my birthday, my girlfriend's birthday - it's all I do. And yet, as monotonous as it might sound to you, it gives me great, great pleasure. . . . .
    (view changes)
    6:44 am
  4. page Tim O'Brien Lecture edited When I began preparing this little talk, I was very quickly reminded that one of the reasons I bec…
    When I began preparing this little talk, I was very quickly reminded that one of the reasons I became a fiction writer is I don't know anything. I don't mean this in a falsely humble sense. I mean, quite literally, that I have very little to offer you in the way of abstraction or generalization; the sort of thing that can be communicated in a President's Lecture. I'm not a literary historian, I'm not a critic, I'm not a teacher. I spend my days, and a good many of my nights, writing stories. And I don't devote a lot of time or a lot of energy worrying about the hows or the whys of it all, instead taking a kind of lazy man's conviction in the belief that stories require no justification; they just are. It's a conviction, too, I suppose, that abstraction and generalization are precisely the reverse of what I do as a storyteller. Abstraction may make your head believe, but a good story, well told, will also make your kidneys believe, and your scalp and your tear ducts, your heart, and your stomach, the whole human being. In any case, after, I don't know, twenty aborted attempts to compose a lecture for tonight, I finally gave it up, and decided to spend my time with you doing what I do best, which is to tell stories. I did, however, save a few nuggets from my original efforts at a lecture. I just want to share them with you; it'll only take about four seconds:
    Number one: writing never gets easier, it gets harder. You can't repeat yourself. Unlike, say, a professional surgeon, you cannot perform precisely the same operation with the same protocol in case after case, and even for a surgeon, this would be risky, if one's first patient happened to end up in a mortuary. Number 2: use active verbs. Avoid ridiculous similes. For example: do not write, "her neck was like a swan's, long and graceful." Instead write, "she honked." Three: avoid unintentional puns. Do not write, "she came in a Jeep." Four (I did that in the Atlantic monthly, believe it or not): Four: avoid alliteration. Do not write, quote, "The red, rollicking river of his tongue rubbed me the wrong way." Instead write, "He kissed me with conviction," or, perhaps, more simply, "He kissed me. I gagged." Finally, as my last salvageable little jewel, I thought it might be helpful to begin by stating the obvious, or what should be obvious, a writer must, above all, write. Joseph Conrad, in a letter to a friend, describes his daily routine: "I sit down religiously every morning. I sit down for eight hours every day, and the sitting down is all." Note Conrad says he sits down to write every day. Saturdays, Sundays, religiously, he says. Beyond anything, it seems to me, a writer performs this sitting-down act primarily in search of those rare, very intense moments of artistic pleasure that are as real in their way as the pleasures that can come from any other source - the rush of endorphins, for instance, that accompanies the making of a nice little bit of dialogue. And this isn't to say that writing isn't painful - and it is, most of the time - but at the same time, there is no pleasure without the pain. As much as writing hurts, it carries with it, at times, content, satisfaction, which, in part, I think, is what Conrad is getting at when he says, "The sitting down is all." In my own case, I get up at about six-thirty, seven o'clock every day, try to be at work by eight, work until about one o'clock in the afternoon, work out for a couple of hours -. Uh, lifting weights is my hobby, but even when I'm doing that, I'm still writing in my head, going over a bit of dialogue, kind of mumbling aloud, or trying to come up with just that right word that's been eluding me during the morning hours. Take shower, go back to work, and write until about six o'clock at night. I work on Christmas, I work at New Years, my birthday, my girlfriend's birthday - it's all I do. And yet, as monotonous as it might sound to you, it gives me great, great pleasure. . . . .
    . . . Now, what I have told you is, is a war story. War stories aren't always about war, per se. They aren't about bombs and bullets and military maneuvers. They aren't about tactics, they aren't about foxholes and canteens. War stories, like any good story, is finally about the human heart. About the choices we make, or fail to make. The forfeitures in our lives. Stories are to console and to inspire and to help us heal. Stories are for those late hours in the night when you can't remember how you got from where you were to where you are. And a good war story, in my opinion, is a story that strikes you as important, not for war content, but for its heart content. The second reason I told you this story is that none of it's true. Or very little of it. It's - invented. No Ellroy, no Tip-Top Lodge, no pig factory, I'm trying to think of what else. I've never been to the Rainy River in my life. Uh, not even close to it. I haven't been within two hundred miles of the place. No boats. But, although the story I invented, it's still true, which is what fiction is all about. Uh, if I were to tell you the literal truth of what happened to me in the summer of nineteen sixty-eight, all I could tell you was that I played golf, and I worried about getting drafted. But that's a crappy story. Isn't it? It doesn't - it doesn't open any door to what I was feeling in the summer of nineteen sixty-eight. That's what fiction is for. It's for getting at the truth when the truth isn't sufficient for the truth. The pig factory is there for those dreams of slaughter - they were quite real inside of me. And in my own heart, I was certainly on that rainy river, trying to decide what to do, whether to go to the war or not go to it, say no or say yes. The story is still true, even though on one level it's not; it's made up.
    The point was not to pull a fast one, any more than, you know, Mark Twain is trying to pull a fast one in Huckleberry Finn. Stories make you believe, that's what dialogue is for, that's what plot is for, and character. It's there to make you believe it as you're reading it. You don't read Huckleberry Finn saying "This never happened, this never happened, this never happened, this never happened-" I mean, you don't do that, or go to The Godfather and say, you know, no horse head. I mean, you don't think that way; you believe. A verisimilitude and truth in that literal sense, to me, is ultimately irrelevant. What is relevant is the human heart.

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    6:43 am
  5. page space.menu edited ... Early Postmodernism Questions Vietnam Questions Tim O'Brien Lecture Hip Hop Song/Video Li…
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    Early Postmodernism Questions
    Vietnam Questions
    Tim O'Brien Lecture
    Hip Hop Song/Video List
    Writing Guidelines
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    6:42 am

Wednesday, April 17

  1. page Current Syllabus 3 edited ... Andy Warhol’s SoupCans -Beat Literature HW: MLK “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” passages -…
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    Andy Warhol’s SoupCans
    -Beat Literature
    HW: MLK “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” passages-On The Road
    Theme Questions
    HW: Finish Theme Questions

    4/22 “G” DAY
    Discuss MLK, Malcolm X, and Black Power
    (view changes)
    4:07 pm

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