For Thu: Read and re-read the final exam article handed out in class.  Look up any words you don’t know.  Brainstorm things you might write in response to the article: questions about it, critiques of it, ideas and experiences you’ve had on topics relevant to it.  At Thursday’s exam, you will be allowed to bring in the article and notes on it (but no full sentences of prose).  You will then be given the essay prompts to choose from.
For Friday: Email me your revised Essay 1 and Essay 2–as well as Essay 3 (extra credit) if you’ve done one.  ALSO, for your final blog assignment, post to the blog (under this post) a list of 3 things you revised in each essay (meaning 2 lists of three things you revised—one list for Essay 1, one list for Essay 2).  Your lists can be in note form (not necessarily complete sentences) but should be very specific and clear as to the feedback (from me and classmates, etc.) that you have used and the significant changes you’ve made to each essay.

HW for Thu 12/12

Read “MLA Citation Guide” in Packet II, pp. 5-7.
1) Add in-text citations to your Essay 2.
2) Write out your list of articles used in Essay 2—alphebatized by the last name of your authors.
3) Use this citation generator to create properly formatted entries for each source in your Works Cited.
4) Post your Works Cited list for Essay 2 to the blog and bring a revised paper copy of your Essay 2 to class.

Make-up/Home-work for Tuesday

Apologies for missing class today—this cold really knocked me out!  To make up for our classtime lost, please complete the writing we’ve begun this week on memes, Drake, and Caraminica’s article on “Hotline Bling”–a short assignment in which we are working on building connections between your own thoughts about memes, Drake’s music video, and Caraminica’s text.  I’m copying below the guidelines for this work.  Note that there are 3 steps, but the writing you produce doesn’t need to be a numbered list of responses to each step–you could, for instance, have 2-3 paragraphs of prose in which you touch on the prompts given below.
Please post your work on Drake and memes here.  In addition, prior to Monday’s class please be sure you’ve read Jace Clayton’s article on Vince Staples (handed out in class and available online) as well as K-Hole’s “Youth Mode” (p. 34 in Packet II).

HW for Thu 11/21

3 things:
1) Keep working on writing your text from today connecting your thoughts on memes to Drake’s video and/or Caraminica’s article on it.  Instructions below:

1) In 2-3 sentences, describe a couple details from Drake’s video that stand out to you (the background, the outfits, the lighting, the dancing, the facial expressions, etc.)

2) Find a quotation from Caraminica’s article that connects to what you wrote in #1.  In 1-2 sentences, write about the connection between the details you noticed in the video and the passage you’ve found in Caraminica’s article.  EX: This aspect of Drake’s video can be connected to Jon Caraminica’s analysis of it: ________ (explain the connection)

3) Now make a connection back to what you wrote about memes earlier.   How does Drake’s video and/or Caraminica’s text about it relate to what you said about meme’s earlier?
EX: Earlier I mentioned how memes ______(re-state something you said about the topic earlier).  This connects to ________(something you’ve noticed in Drake’s video or Caraminica’s text)____.

2. Read Jace Clayton’s text called “on rap and white noise” (handed out in class and available online).

3. Begin reading K-Hole’s “YOUTH MODE” in Packet II.

HW for Thu 11/14

1) Finish writing and post your responses to Zizek’s article on the blog by Thursday.  (I’ve copied the questions below.)  In your response, introduce and discuss at least one quotation from the article (we’ve been practicing this recently—see Course Notes for help).
2) Finish reading Michelle Nijhuis’ guide to bullshit prevention and come to class prepared to talk about what she’s saying and how it might be important for thinking about research strategies.
Zizek Response Qs:
—1) What is the argument Zizek is responding to? Where does it become clear that he agrees/disagrees with this argument?
—2) Which points in this argument does Zizek respond to with criticism?
—3) What are some of the strategies Zizek uses to critique the argument he disagrees with? (e.g. analogy/comparison, logical reasoning, rhetorical questions, etc.)
—4) What is YOUR response to all of this?  Do you agree with Zizek? Why/why not?  Do you have any life experience with any of the topics mentioned in the article (eg, video games)?  How does this experience influence your response to this topic?

HW for Tue 11/12

We will be thinking more in the weeks ahead about why it will be good for you to add information from another “more scholarly” article or two to your Essay 2.  With that in mind, in Packet II, read Nijhuis’ “The Pocket Guide To Bullshit Prevention.” 

Also read “Do Sex-bots Have Rights?” by Slavoj Zizek (in Packet II).

HW for Thu 11/7 // Library Database Links

  1. Post the title, author, and publication of an article you found using a library database.  Also tell us which database you used (see below for links).
  2. Re-read Lauren Duca’s “The Viral Virus” (Packet I).  Look up any words you need to know in order to understand this article and to write well about it.
Below are some Databases to Play With (for most of these, you need an activated City Tech ID/library card)
REFERENCE SOURCES (a good place to begin: big-picture info on a word/topic):
Gale Virtual Reference Library (encyclopedia/tertiary sources)
Google Trends (search usage of key terms in Google searches, from 2004–present)
Google Books Ngram Viewer (search usage of key terms in books, from 1500-2008)
RESOURCES FOR GENERAL/NON-SCHOLARLY ARTICLES (step 2: use non-scholarly sources for deepening your understanding of a topic)
CUNY OneSearch (search everything in CUNY’s library system)
Opposing Viewpoints (tertiary source on debates; especially good for topics in politics and news)
RESOURCES FOR SCHOLARLY ARTICLES (step 3: here is where you will find the most detailed, rigorous (challenging-to-read) academic work on a topic)
Google Scholar (general array of scholarly texts; not discipline specific)
Project Muse (humanities and social science articles; theory)
Academic OneFile (general academic articles; not discipline specific)
Applied Science & Tech Database (science & tech sources)
Academic Search Complete (general database of scholarly and non-scholarly articles)
Kanopy (full-length films and documentaries)
Underground & Independent Comics (comics and graphic novels)
JSTOR (literary criticism & theory)
MLA Bibliography (literary sources)

HW for 11/5 (library day–meet there!)

1) Finish the online library orientation (see link in assignment for 10/29).  

2) Write a paragraph consisting only of questions about your Essay 2 topic.  These can be all sorts of questions—both questions you think you can answer (and want to answer) using research and also questions that are rhetorical or which you have no intent of answering.  

    Post this series of questions here and bring it with you to the Library on Tuesday.  This is where our class will be held—meet us outside the library on the (4th floor of the Atrium (glass roofed) building.  


EX: Why do some people think that violent video games make people more violent in real life?  Do they think gamers identify too much with the characters and roles they play when gaming? What other theories might there be of how a violent video game could make someone more violent in reality?  Are there theories that propose the opposite—that violent video games might make people LESS violent in real life? What do psychologists say about violent video games? Is there psychoanalytic theory that might help explain the effects of violent video games?  Do computer scientists and game designers have answers to any of these questions? What role does mental illness play in the video-game-violence question? What role does mental illness play in the gaming community more broadly? Is gaming itself a kind of therapy—or could it also be a kind of illness in itself?

HW for Thu 10/31

Read Duca’s “The Viral Virus” in Packet I.  Complete the library orientation if you haven’t already (see links in HW for Tue 10/29).  Finish revising your Essay 2 article summary and post it here.  See the attached example of a creative & critical summary for help.  Make sure your summary includes:
—-at least 2 different signal verbs
—-1 quotation.
—-a creative response to the article
—-a critical response or question about the article

HW for Tue 10/29

  1. Write (and post below) a critical summary of 1 article you are discussing in your Essay 2.  Use Christopher Lane’s critical summaries of Bittman’s and Block’s articles as a model/inspiration for how you write your summary.  (Remember to include both descriptions of the author’s points as well as your own responses to them)

2. In preparation for our library session in a week and a half, review the Library Orientation page and complete the library orientation quiz.

HW for Thu (10/24)

Read Block’s “Issues for DSM-V: Internet Addiction” and Lane’s “Addicted to Addiction” (handouts).  While reading, underline and/or make notes on the following:

–Key Points for Summarizing Block’s View.  What do you think Block’s main points about internet addiction are?

–Key Points in Lane’s Critical Summary of Block’s View.  In Lane’s response article (“Addicted to Addiction”), which of Block’s points does the author address?  How does Lane respond? Does he agree with Block? What is his thesis?

HW for Thu 10/17

Read Jerry Salz’ “Art at Arm’s Length” in Packet I (p. 1).  As you read, underline and make notes that will help you answer the following:
–what is Salz’ thesis about the selfie?
–what are 1-2 arguments regarding the selfie that Salz discusses but doesn’t necessarily agree with?

HW for Tue 10/15

1. Find an image related to an argument/thesis you’re thinking of writing about for your Essay 2.  Post this image (or a link to it) to the blog along with a paragraph or more of description, including the following:
–the “context” in which you found the image: the way you searched, the website you found it through, the person who took/created it and/or posted it
–the “idea” or “message” expressed by the image and its significance (why this idea or message matters–and to whom)
–the “action” represented in the image and how it connects to the “idea” or “message”: where this action is taking place, who the characters of this action are, what they look like, what they are doing, what they might be feeling/thinking/etc. (Note: if your image has no “characters,” that’s fine–just describe the details of the image and the actions/ideas represented in it as best you can)
2.    If you want a provisional letter grade for your Essay 1 by the midterm, e-mail me a *revised* version of it by Tuesday.

HW for Thu, 10/10

A lot to catch up on, my apologies!
–If you haven’t yet, complete the make-up assignment from last week, as it will count as your “attendance” for both classes last Thursday.
–If your draft of Essay 2 is due on Wednesday, work on that!
–If you’d like me to give you a provisional letter grade (not a final grade) for your Essay 1, please send me a *significantly revised* version of that essay by Tuesday, 10/15.  See my separate post on Midterm and Essay grading.
–Read Mirene Arsanios’ “April-May-June” in Packet I (pp. 32-7).  Focus on: how does Arsanios move between narrative (action) and her own analysis (reflection)?  How does she reflect on the significance of the events she’s experienced without and turning her experience into an “epiphany” (a “look-how-much-I-learned-about-the-hidden-secrets-of-life moment”)?  Where and how does she bring in secondary sources—text or ideas by other writers that she has found through research and reading?
–Read Adrian Chen’s “Don’t Be A Stranger” in Packet I (pp. 62-6).  Focus on: what is Chen’s thesis/argument?  Where and how does she discuss research that supports her thesis?

Class Cancelled Tomorrow / Make-up Assignment (incl. HW for next Thu)

Hi all,
I apologize but something has come up, and I will be unable to make it to class tomorrow.
In lieu of class, I’d like you to post the following pieces of writing to the blog—just respond to this post.
1. Write a (brief) theory as to why Renee Gladman might have suggested in “Calamities” (starting on p. 49 in packet 1) that she be referred to as an “Eastern-European African-American.”  OR, if you don’t want to do this, write about something else you found interesting in Gladman’s “Calamities.” 🙂
2. 5 vocabulary words from Gladman’s “Calamaties.”  For each word, write your own sentence that shows its meaning.
3. Gladman’s text comes from a book of short prose pieces—some of which are basically short short stories.  All of these pieces begin with the phrase “I began the day…”  This writing strategy—of using a repeating phrase to begin a series of sentences, paragraphs, or sections—is called anaphora.  I want you to try this strategy by writing a paragraph in which all of your sentences begin with the same phrase—a phrase that you want to emphasize.  Your paragraph can be about your Essay 1 topic or something else.
4. In the “Essay 1 Feedback” section, write and post your feedback for Clemson Brown, Triston Brown, and Nazarah Celestine.  These essays should all have been emailed to you.  However, e-mail me if you need an extra copy e-mailed to you.  Come to class prepared to discuss your feedback for these 3 essays. co Write Feedback
HW for next Thursday (no class on Tue 10/1): Read Denis Johnson’s The Largesse of the Sea Maiden (excerpts, p. 41 in Packet 1).  Come to class prepared to discuss how you think Johnson uses voice/tone to create interesting characters (including his first person narrator).  We’ll be talking a bit about developing voice and dialogue in your essays, and Johnson’s work is a great model for how to work with voice and character.
See you next Thursday (10/3),

HW for Thu 9/26

  1. Complete today’s feedback for Pamela Alegia, Clemson Brown.
  2. Read Renee Gladman’s “Calamities” (excerpts) in Packet 1 (p. 49).  Notice the way she uses repetition. Look up a photo and bio of Renee Gladman.  Come to class prepared to discuss what you think Gladman is trying to do when she suggests, with a wink, that people think of her as an “Eastern-European African-American.”  Also bring in 1 sentence and 5 vocabulary words.

HW for Tue (9/24)

1. Finish writing up feedback and posting it to the blog for any essays you haven’t yet completed comments for.  This will be the LAST CHANCE to submit late work.
2. Read and print Junot Diaz’ “The Money” ( <– click link).  Come to class prepared to discuss one sentence and 5 vocabulary words from the text.
3. If you haven’t yet, print the following student essays (they should be in your e-mail; if not, email the class list to request a copy): (342) Triston Brown, Nazarah Celestine, Clemson Brown.

HW for Thu 9/19

1. Finish typing and posting to the blog any essay feedback you have not yet posted.  Late posts will not be accepted after this week.  Remember: your participation in providing other writers in the class with feedback is 30% of your grade for this course.
2. Pick one of the “scenes” from Serpell’s text that we discussed in class and write a detailed scene for your own Essay 1 in a similar style.  Come to class on Thursday prepared to share this work.
You can post your scene here or bring it with you to class–either way, just be prepared to share it on Thursday.  Thanks.

HW for Tues (9/17)

In Packet I (not the packet we’ve been reading out of so far), read Namwali Serpell’s “Triptych: Texas Pool Party” (pp. 53-60).  As you read Serpell’s narrative, I want you to think about 2 things: how does Serpell play/experiment with the perspective (and how might you do this in your essay)?  What is the conflict at the center of this narrative—and through what details does Serpell highlight this conflict?

HW for Thu (9/12): Post Responses to Prompts Below

Pick one of the following prompts and write a paragraph response to it (here, on the blog, under this post).
1. In “The Discovery of What it Means to be an American,” James Baldwin mentions the “hidden laws” that govern all communities.  It occurs to me that our class at City Tech constitutes a unique community with its own laws—hidden and not.  It’s still the beginning of the semester and we are in the process of figuring out what these “laws” are—and, more broadly, what the “community” of our class should be like in order to maximize learning.
  Respond below with a description or a list containing descriptions of what you want the “learning community” of our class to be like.  You can (but don’t have to) respond to any of these questions: What will help you learn in this class?  What might prevent you from learning?  What are the “hidden laws” of City Tech?  Are there any “laws” or rules that you think we should uphold in our in-class community?  Be honest!
2. Baldwin’s essay “The Discover of What it Means to be an American” leads us into an “educational experience” he has after he moves to Europe.  This experience leads him to a more complicated understanding of what the word “American” means (and doesn’t mean).  Write about Baldwin’s new understanding of what it means to be an American—and, perhaps more specifically—how living in Europe alters his sense of race and class.  You might also write about an educational experience you had while traveling to (or living in) a different place: how did this experience change your perception of the two places—the one you began in and the one you traveled to?