15. Final Announcment

Hey all,

This Wednesday we will have our final Zoom call in which we will loop back to Gloria Naylor’s text on “A Word’s Meaning…”–the one we read at the beginning of the semester.  This time we’ll be scanning it for tricks it can teach us for writing a better Essay 3.  Please have a look if you can, before the Zoom.  It is quite short.

Also, as mentioned last week, final portfolios are due this week by the end of the day Wednesday.  Let me know if you need an extra day or two of time to finish.  I’ll be looking here for a link to your Google folder containing the below items; please be sure you’ve clicked on that link < and shared your Google Folder with me (otherwise, you run the risk of my thinking you dropped the class).  Here’s the stuff to make sure is in your Google folder:

–Essay 1 (2-3 drafts, meaning 2-3 different files)

–Essay 2 (2 drafts, meaning 2 different files)

–Essay 3 (optional grade boost, but most of you will want this if you’ve missed work)

–3 Revised OpenLab Friday Prompts (this can be one document but be sure to include your original post, my comments, and your revised post)

–Revision Reflection (~1 page: at least 1 paragraph describing the *specific* revisions you made to Essay 1; at least 1 paragraph describing revisions to Essay 2; at least 1 paragraph describing how your writing has changed this semester and/or how you’ve begun to think about writing—and/or reading—differently since the summer)

As always, email me with questions.   Good luck!



14. For Fri 12/11

Mining OED for Multiple Definitions of a Word

Many of us arrive in college thinking that there is only one “right” definition for each word, and that the dictionary provides us with this “proper” definition. This is far from accurate.

Essay 2 asks you to play with multiple ways of defining and understanding the word “virus,” in light of your experiences during the 2019-2020 Covid pandemic. For this assignment I want us to take inspiration from Jesse McCarthy’s essay on the different meanings of the word “trap.” McCarthy turns early on in his text to the Oxford English Dictionary in order to locate interesting and obscure ideas relating to the meaning of his word of interest (“trap”). Similarly, I want us to “mine” (meaning “look for”) different definitions of the term “virus” from the OED

What I want you do is simple:

–Go to the OED (log in using your City Tech info)

–Find and copy in your response below two or more odd definitions related to the word “virus”

–Discuss anything unusual, interesting, funny, or otherwise bizarre that you notice about these different meanings related to “virus”—as well as any questions or points of confusion you experience in reviewing these meanings.

–Lastly, discuss how looking through the different definitions of the term virus has changed the way you think about this word—and, perhaps, the 2019-2020 pandemic.


13. For Friday 12/4

For Friday:
One Last Addition to Essay 2

Recall that Essay 2 asks for you to include a quotation from one article you’ve found on your own and one quotation from a text we’ve read together—and to connect these to your discussion of your Essay 2 song. For Friday I want you to find a text we’ve read together (from the Google Drive folder of readings) that connects to your Essay 2 song or social issue. I want you to do several things with this text, creating a paragraph of your own writing about it as you do:

–Find a quotation from this text that you can connect to your Essay 2

–Write a paragraph: begin by explaining the connection to your song/social issue, then introduce the quotation using the names of the author and title. Finish your quotation with an MLA-formatted in-text citation (see below) and a transitional phrase that leads into your discussion of the quote’s wording and significance (eg This quote shows… / What this passage suggests…). Finish your paragraph by tying back to the connection to your social issue/song that you began with.

–Below your paragraph, use Bibme to create an MLA Works Cited citation entry for your text you’re quoting from. Refer to the MLA Citation Guide I’ve created as well for additional help.

EX: (I did two paragraphs—the first is a transition and recap for context and then my second paragraph is where I quote from a text we’ve read and link it to my demo “Essay 2 song”)

As I’ve been suggesting so far, the theme of deception appears in several different ways in the video and soundtrack of Beyonce’s “Partition.” Not only does Beyonce routinely present herself as a shadowy silhouette in the video, but her suggestion in her lyrics that “I just want to be the girl you like… the girl you like is right here with me” suggests there to be a kind of “twoness” in her which leaves us guessing: who is she really—the woman wanting to be the girl or the girl herself?

While it may seem something of a stretch, this theme of deception in Beyonce’s work can be thought of as a kind of provocateurship that is linkable to the online phenomenon of trolling. As an artist in the age of the internet, Beyonce knows that part of going viral is provoking her audiences in ways that may offend many viewers (see, for instance, my earlier discussion of Bell Hooks and Bill O’Reilly). Beyonce’s willingness to provoke her audience in certain ways is what links her to what might be called “troll culture.” As Noah Berlatsky notes in “Beyonce, Sex Terrorist,” if we observe Beyonce’s work carefully, we notice that “what she says is quite pointed” (Berlatsky). For Berlatsky, Beyonce’s “Partition” is aware of “the pressure to be respectable” coming from critics like Hooks and O’Reilly, and the song actively subverts this pressure. He continues: “the video is a fantasy about steamy married monogamous sex, which works deliberately to make O’Reilly’s conservative values look sexy and illicit. It’s also a re-imagining of black female eroticism as linked to power rather than subservience, which turns hooks’s respectability politics into a self-aware sensual tease” (Berlatsky). As this quote makes clear, Beyonce’s work manifests a kind of critical intelligence even as it may appear to be just one more form of overly sexualized pop media garbage. There is a logic to this garbage, Berlatsky reminds us, and in Beyonce’s unabashedness—not only her exposing of her body and sexuality for the camera but also for the subtler details in her work such as dropping a napkin for a white servant to pick up—there is something of a provocateur, perhaps even something of a troll. Berlatsky’s point is basically that, beyond the play of light and shadow that is part of Beyonce’s Sasha Fierce schtick, she could be thought of as admirably trolling—that is, challenging and critiquing—the demand for women’s “respectability” on both the right and left.

Works Cited

Berlatsky, Noah. “Beyoncé, Sex Terrorist: A Menace for Conservatives and Liberals Alike.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 12 May 2014, www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2014/05/beyonce-sex-terrorist-a-menace-for-conservatives-and-liberals-alike/362085/.


No Zoom class or New work due this week (Holiday!)

Please use this week to rest, catch up (virtually if need be) with fam, and catch up on work for this class.  You might:

–FInish missing blog posts and comments on OpenLab

–Revise Essay 1

–Revise Essay 2

–Begin Essay 3

I will be in touch in the days after Thanksgiving with info on readings etc. for next week.  Enjoy break!


12. For Friday, 11/20

NOTES: Essay 3 Assignment posted–please read!  No class next week; stay tuned for what to do over Thanksgiving break!

For Friday, 11/20

Re-reading to Re-Write

The following prompt is designed to help you rewrite the beginning of your paragraphs in your Essay 2 so that your points become clearer to your reader.

Re-read a paragraph from your Essay 2 and as you read, think: what is the big picture of what I’m saying here? Based on the various things I’m saying in my paragraph, what is one word, phrase, or sentence that captures most it?

Write the following after reading:

–1 word, phrase, sentence that captures the main ideas:

–1 sentence that will introduce your paragraph to your reader—that is, the “big picture” of what you’re writing about in it. Your purpose in this sentence is to prepare them for what they are about to read (and to get them to want to read your full paragraph).

Last: put the sentence you just wrote at the BEGINNING of your paragraph. This is your TOPIC SENTENCE.

Share all of the work including your rewritten paragraph below.


For Tuesday 11/17

For Tues 11/18

Reading this week is optional:

Bell Hooks, “Madonna: Plantation Mistress or Soul Sister?” (in “Readings” folder)

Instead, I want us to focus on reading and providing feedback on each other’s Essay 2s.

For Tuesday, read two other people’s Essay 2s and share your feedback on these essays as a comment responding to their Essay 2 posts.

In your review of the other person’s Essay 2, I want you to look for and comment on the following:

  1. Has the writer clearly introduced the song title, artist name, and what inspired them to write about this song? If not, point out what additional points of introduction the writer should add.
  2. Has the writer made a clear link between a specific song and a specific social issue? If this is not yet clear, make some notes on what social issues you could see them connecting their song to.
  3. Has the person vividly described the sounds of the song they are writing about—its instrumentation, its rhythms, its repetitions, etc.? If not, where in the essay would you recommend they add details of this sort?
  4. Has the person made a clear connection between their song and a text found through the Research Resources? If not, suggest they do this!
  5. Has the person included a quotation and discussion from the text they’ve found through the Research Resources? If not, ask for a quotation! If so, what additional points might they add to their discussion of this quotation?

11. For Friday 11/13

For Friday 11/13

Watch Zoom 11 if you missed it. It may help you with the below:

Connecting Details (from Song to Research to Song)

Points from Zoom lecture on Sanneh’s text about Jay-Z, pp. 9-11

  • Connecting Jay-Z’s biographical details (research) to his lyrics: the Glock
  • From content to style (connecting Hip Hop website research to the style of Jay-Z’s words. Comparing his style of “everyday speech” to historical lyrical styles in rap.
  • Close reading and walking us through Jay-Z’ “D’evils”

Reading & Writing Assignments:

1. Read one of the articles you found in your research for last Friday’s assignment using one of our Research Resources. Following Sanneh’s example (above, explained in Zoom), write 1-2 paragraphs where you connect a single detail from your Essay 2 song to a single detail in your research source.

2. Beyonce and the Politics of Listening and Interpretation

When we listen to a song, we are already interpreting it. Even if we listen to a track and say “this is totally meaningless”, this is an interpretation. One of the historical problems in the interpretation of popular musics (from rock and roll to rap to hip hop) has been the tendency to interpret such music in a moralizing way (“are the values espoused in this work good or bad?” “will the children listening to this music be negatively affected?”). In my view, this problem continues to get in the way of listeners’ ability to appreciate the full breadth of meanings available in popular musics. The series of texts on Beyonce we’ve read for this week (by Bell Hooks, Bill O’Reilly, and Noah Berlatsky) highlight this problem:

Below I’ve summarized the background of the three Beyonce commentators and the what they’ve claimed about her work. Then, I’ve posed a question asking you to provide more detail. For Part 2 of your response, I want you to choose A, B, or C and respond to the question I’ve provided and use a quotation from the text to support your response (so, for instance, if you choose “A”, you’ll explain WHY Bell Hooks thinks Beyonce is harmful to young girls and find a quote from her text/interview where she talks about this).

A. Bell Hooks is a self-proclaimed radical intersectional feminist (meaning her politics are very far to the left); she finds Beyonce’s work to be harmful to young girls: why?

B. On the other end of the political spectrum is Bill O’Reilly, a far-right former TV show host for Fox news; he too finds Beyonce’s work to be harmful to young girls: why?

C. Noah Berlatsky is a journalist who cares about Beyonce’s work as a form of art; he notices that although Hooks and O’Reilly are on opposing sides of politics that there are similarities in how they interpret Beyonce’s work: what similarities between them does he notice? What alternative, non-moralizing way of interpreting Beyonce does Berlatsky offer us?


10. For Fri 11/6

Close-reading & Asking Questions about Lyrics, linking to Social Issues…

  1. In the two brief close-readings of songs we read for last week—Reese Okyung Kwon’s “There Must Be More” (an analysis of Christian rock musician David Ruis’ track of the same name) and Jeremy Schmidt’s “The Full Retard” (a dissection of Jaime Meline’s eponymous track)—the writer tunes in quite carefully to something puzzling in the song’s lyrical content, opening up a series of questions about the artist’s lyrics that the writer then tries to answer:

Kwon wonders about Ruis’ awkward use of the word “because” in the chorus of his song: “Why not employ and or as or for or since?” She wonders, adding “any one of which would better suit the song’s metrical requirements” (Kwon).

Meanwhile, Schmidt questions Meline’s use of the phrase “you should pump this shit like they do in the future,” asking: “What does it mean to pump, promote, or even love something right now, knowing that it—the song or the idea or the meme—will be ubiquitous in the future?”

Using these texts as inspiration, return to the lyrics from your song that you shared on 10/23, and read them in search of something baffling, confusing, or otherwise questionable.  Write a series of questions—that is, a paragraph of 3 or more sentences that are questions—about one or more lyrical choices in your Essay 2 song that you find questionable.

  1. Re-read the lyrics and your questions. List 2-3 social issues you notice in the lyrics and/or your questions.
  2. Play around with several of the Research Resources I’ve shared (see link in menu above). List one article or source you’ve found on your song and/or social issue that you might read. Include the author, title, publication and resource in which you found it (e.g. Genius.com, Google Scholar, etc).

9. For Fri 10/30

Jace Clayton deftfully opens his essay on Vince Staples with a description not of the TOPICS he intends to write about—Vince Staples, noise, violence—but with a description of a SOUND, the sound (and corresponding silence) that ends Staples’ debut record.

For this week (Friday), I want you to try writing an opening to your Essay 2 that is inspired by the way Clayton opens his essay on Staples & noise.  Focus on 1 sound in particular and describe it as carefully as you can in order to get your reader to “hear it” (imagine they’ve never heard this song/sound before).  I suggest you listen to your song at least three times to choose your sound (like we did during the Zoom exercise).  Strategies for describing your sound:

compare this sound to something else the reader may have heard (does this beat sound like a “robot,” a “machine”? does this singing sound “angelic” or like “birds” or like “yelling”?

–consider the length of this sounds: does it go on for what seems like a long time?  or is quite short?  somewhere in the middle?  Time it on your phone: how many seconds does it last?

–does this sound repeat throughout the song?  is it repeated in an ongoing way throughout the song (like a drumbeat) or is it only repeated a couple of times (like the lyrics in a song’s refrain/chorus)?

Lastly, notice how Clayton includes his own emotional (and intellectual) experience of listening to this sound for the first time and then for a second time (“When I learned this tear…was intentional, I was shocked…”).  Include a short paragraph describing your own experience listening to this sound for the first time and then re-listening to this sound a second, third, and fourth time.  Write about differences you notice in your experience.

Share your new beginning to Essay 2 as a comment below.


8. For Friday 10/23

1. Next week we will be focusing more on how to listen to and write about music more carefully—a skill that will be key for developing your Essay 2s. For Friday, I want you to work on close-reading the lyrics of your selected song (e-mail me if your song has no lyrics). Specifically, what I want you to do is to write out the lyrics line by line and identify a social issue in at least five lines (using your own words).

EX (from Drake’s “Hotline Bling”):

“You used to call me on my cell phone”
possible issues: loss (used to…), love, friendship? Trust?

“Late night when you need my love”
possible issues: love, sex (late night), dependence (you need)

2. In the text we’ve read this week, “Drake: Rapper, Actor, Meme,” Jon Caraminica creates a thesis about Drake’s “Hotline Bling” that connects this song to a key contemporary “social issue,” the meme. In a few sentences, unpack (using your own words) the connection Caraminica makes between the aesthetics of “Hotline Bling” and the issue of memes and meme-making. If you’d like, you can also add your own response to this article—ideas or opinions you’ve had while reading.


For Wed 10/21

Hey 1101ers,
And, after a week or so away…we’re back! As mentioned previously, for this coming week I want you to focus on the two big pieces of writing we’ve been working on this Fall: Essay 1 and Essay 2.

By the end of the day on Wednesday, please complete a second draft of your Essay 1 and post a link to it as a reply to your note on the feedback you’d be using to revise.

Also for Wednesday, please share a link to your rough draft of Essay 2 as a post under the category “Essay 2 Feedback”.

Before we Zoom on Wednesday at 11am, please read the following:

Kate Crawford’s “The Anxieties of Big Data”; and…
Jon Caraminica’s “Drake: Rapper, Actor, Meme”

No need to do a Media Analysis post for this week on top of everything else.  In the Zoom, we will begin talking about strategies for creatively and interestingly using research—including, notably, building unexpected connections between seemingly quite different (possibly even unrelated) topics.  This will come in handy as you continue to develop your Essay 2s…

Welcome home—’see’ you Wed morn!



7. For Friday 10/9

For Friday:

–(re-)Watch our Zoom as a reference for thinking about what a scholarly article is.

  1. Briefly compare Lane’s “Addicted to Addiction” and Griffiths et al’s “The Evolution of Internet Addiction.” One of these is a scholarly article, published in a scholarly journal; the other is not. In your response, tell me which of these articles you think is a “scholarly” article and explain to me how you know this.  (You do not need to read much of the articles to answer this.). BONUS: Tell me which of these texts you prefer and why.  MEGA-BONUS: How are these two texts making a similar argument about IA?  (You’ll have to read carefully to answer this latter question.)
  2. Look at your list of social issues you began thinking about working on for Essay 2 a week or two ago. Choose one social issue and find (don’t read…yet) TWO ARTICLES on this social issue—one scholarly article and one non-scholarly article—using two different resources linked in Essay 2 Research Resources. Share links and publication info (Author name, title, etc.) for these two articles under #2 in your response.
  3. Briefly paraphrase in your own words the thesis of either:

K-Hole, on “Normcore” (pp. 27–41); OR

Jerry Salz, on the selfie, p.1, 2, 3 (bottom), 6,

Explain how K-Hole tells us what Normcore is by telling us what Normcore DOES; OR
Explain how Salz tells us what a selfie IS by telling us what a selfie DOES (ie what does a selfie SHOW us; how is it MADE?  how does it IMPACT us?).

NEXT WEEK WE ARE ON BREAK: USE THIS TIME TO REVISE ESSAY 1 & DRAFT ESSAY 2.  Your revised Essay 1 and your draft of Essay 2 are both due the following week (10/21).


For Tue 10/6

For Tue 10/6

During our Zoom this coming week, we will loop back and finish up a discussion of the scholarly and non-scholarly texts on Internet Addiction that we began looking at this past week while continuing to talk about thesis-/theory- based essay writing. In the meantime, as far as new readings, go, I’d like us to begin shifting our attention from internet addiction to a more nuanced view of online culture.

To that end please read: K-Hole’s “Youth Mode”, a tract on 2010s fashion trends, virality, and youth culture and also Jerry Salz’ “Art at Arm’s Length”, an art-theoretical text on the selfie.

For Tuesday, read and post a Media Share related to one of these two texts just mentioned (by K-Hole and Jerry Salz). Hold off on writing a draft of Essay 2 for Tuesday; the Course Syllabus/Calendar says it’s due then, but let’s give ourselves some more time to get into thinking about social issues and music. (We will begin looking at texts on music over the following week—10/14—which we have off (no new work).


6. For Friday 10/2

For Friday 10/2

If you missed our Zoom today, please view the recording and post a summary in the Zoom summaries category.

  1. For Friday, let’s begin wrapping up our work with Essay 1, the second draft of which will be due in your Google Drive portfolios on Wed, October 21. Read and/or re-read the feedback you received for the draft you posted under Essay 1 Feedback and share here a paragraph or so of writing that describes the changes you intend to make to your draft: additions you might make, things you might delete, paragraphs you might put in a different place. Please be as detailed as possible in describing the changes you’ll make and explaining why you want to make said changes. See if you can write 7-8 full sentences.
  2. As we began working on in the Zoom call today, we will be shifting from thinking about narrative writing (Essay 1) to thinking about analytic and thetic (thesis-based) writing as we advance toward Essay 2. To that end, we talked about what a thesis statement is and two different types of theses—definition based theses and critical/theoretical theses.I don’t want you to worry about having your own thesis for Essay 2 yet… That will come much later. What I want you to focus on for now is understanding what other writers’ theses are in the texts we are reading. To that end, using the Zoom call as a reference, what I want you to share below under #2 are

2A) what you think Jerald Block’s thesis is in “Issues for DSM-V: Internet Addiction”—and what kind of thesis this is;

2B) your own brief summary of how Christopher Lane responds to Jerald Block’s thesis in his text titled “Addicted to Addiction”—does he agree? Disagree? How/why?; and

2C) in light of these readings, whether you consider yourself to be an internet addict—and why you do or don’t think you are.


For Tue 9/29

Finish reading :

Lauren Duca, “The Viral Virus” + Christopher Lane, “Addicted to Addiction” + Jerald G. Block, “Issues for DSM-5: Internet Addiction” + Griffiths et al. “The Evolution of Internet Addiction”

Post a Media Share (#6) related to one or more ideas you encounter in these texts.

Continue reflecting on social issues you might write about for Essay 2.  Are there any ideas in the above texts that resonate with ideas you get from a song you’ve heard and might like to write about?


5. For Friday 9/25

We worked on the various uses of listing today—including the use of anaphoric lists to generate new thoughts and the use of sub-lists (what you did when responding to other people’s Media Share #4).  What I want you

For your comment below, please:

  1. Post your list of anaphoric sentences from today’s Zoom 5. (If you didn’t attend, please watch the recording and do the prompt highlighted in yellow on the link to the Zoom 5 agenda I emailed you earlier today; also, for those who missed, please post a creative summary of the meeting.)
  2. Post a quick note on how you might connect your list above (in #1) to something in your Essay 1—did it occur to you to expand on a thought that came out in your list? Do you think you can find a place to include anaphora in your Essay?  If so, where?
  3. Post a list of 5 social issues possibly relevant to Essay 2.
  4. I studied with a writer in college whose mantra was “Every good text is a list, but not every list is a good text.” Connect this to what Lauren Duca is saying in “The Viral Virus.”  What are some of the critiques she makes of texts that are only lists?  (Bonus points if you catch the word she uses to describe this genre of online text.)

For Tuesday 9/22

For Tuesday 9/22, 5p:

  1. Read Lauren Duca, “The Viral Virus” and Christopher Lane, “Addicted to Addiction.”
  2. Post a Media Share (#5) related to any of our three most recent readings: Serpell’s “Triptych: Texas Pool Party” or Duca’s or Lane’s texts…

That’s all for now—will try to catch up on reading, responding and grading in the coming week, I promise!


#4. For Friday 9/18

For Friday 9/18

OK, so I’d like to take this week to catch up on several things, including Essay 1 feedback and revisions to last week’s writing assignment related to Serpell’s text (#3, for Fri 9/11). We will speak more about this text in our Zoom meeting this week, and I’d like you to re-think and re-write what you wrote in response to it for last week (or, if you’ve yet to complete last week’s work, you lucked out and now have a second chance ;). Please share your revised responses as comments on the original prompt post.

In addition—also for this Friday (9/18)—please read 3 Essay 1s and share feedback for each of them as a comment responding to each person’s post.

Lastly—and still for this Friday (9/18)—please read at least 1 other person’s Media Share #4 (their list of weird stuff they’ve seen online) and comment on it in the following way. I want us to keep working on identifying patterns in lists, as this will help us to establish connections between different parts of Essay 1 and also to begin topics to research and write about for Essay 2 (more on this in the weeks to come). So what I want you to do is this: read the person’s Media Share #4 list; then make 2 sub-lists, each containing a few of the things on the original list that have something in common. Title each sublist using a word or phrase that describes what each of the items in the sublist has in common. Here’s my example from last week:

Original List of weird shit I’ve seen on the internet – > What have I learned from the internet? (question to connect this to Essay 1 assignment)

–an owl eating a man’s rooftop strawberries
–a gaping butthole, sent via anonymous link
–a hog galloping through a city
–a semi-nuclear explosion in Beirut
–video of the Twin Towers falling
–a polar bear cuddling a dog
–a Trump supporter being shot in Portland OR
–George Floyd being asphyxiated by a police officer

SUBLISTS (based on topics/patterns/themes I’ve noticed in my original list above)

–a semi-nuclear explosion in Beirut
–video of the Twin Towers falling
–a Trump supporter being shot in Portland OR
–George Floyd being asphyxiated by a police officer

–an owl eating a man’s rooftop strawberries
–a hog galloping through a city
–a polar bear cuddling a dog

AGAIN: what I want you to do is read someone else’s original list and comment on it with two sublists organized in terms of patterns, topics, themes that *you* notice in their original list.


For Tue 9/15

1. As your Media Share (#4) for Tuesday (9/15), please share your lists of things you’ve seen online that we worked on toward the end of our last Zoom meeting.  Include a link to at least one of these things.

2. Read & comment on one other person’s Media Share (any of them—a post with no comments or only a few comments, preferably).

3. Read & comment on one other person’s Essay 1 (scroll down and choose carefully). In your feedback, tell them what you think the conflict they should try to develop is as well as a moment in their essay that they should expand into a scene (a “movie in the mind”).


3. For Friday 9/11

1. Read & comment on one other person’s Media Share #3 (someone with no comments or only a few comments).

2. Read & comment on one other person’s Essay 1 (scroll down and choose carefully). In your feedback, tell them what you think the conflict they should try to develop is as well as a moment in their essay that they should expand into a scene (a “movie in the mind”).

3. Namwali Serpell’s “Triptych: Texas Pool Party” is the next on our reading list, and what I want you to pick up on here is not only the conflict at the heart of this essay—racism, police brutality, and so on—but also the extremely creative way in which Serpell plays with perspective in this experimental narrative. You’ll notice that she tells the story in three parts, hence the title. Each part re-tells the same story from a different perspective. Here’s what I want you to respond to in this text and how:

A. First, tell me why Serpell may have titled this text “Triptych” (hint: click the link above). Then I want you to describe to me the perspective—the point of view—from which each of the three parts is written. For each part, consider: is this one or more than one person narrating and how do I know? Is this even a person narrating—and how do I know? If this is a person, can they be identified—and how do I know or not know? If so, who is this person—and how do I know?

You’ll notice I just said “how do I know” about five thousand times. This is because I want you to get into the habit of asking yourself this question when you interpret texts you are reading. To that end, in each of your responses—to parts 1, 2, and 3 of Serpell’s text—I want you to include one quotation to serve as evidence of who you think the narrator is (who the perspective of each part belongs to). This will be fun…and probably hard!

A1. Part I

A2. Part II

A3. Part II

Optional/Extra-credit: How does Serpell’s telling this story through these three different “lenses” lead us to think differently about the main conflicts—racism, police brutality, etc.—that are at stake in this text? What, moreover, do you think of Serpell’s work?

B. I want you to write two versions of a scene for your Essay 1 (a scene, remember, is a description of action that allows your reader to form a “movie in the mind”). In the first version, I want this scene to be written from your perspective (using “I”). In the second version, I want you to experiment (like Serpell) with writing the same scene from another perspective. You can write from the perspective of another person present in the scene, from the perspective of an animal present in the scene, an object present in the scene (a desk, a phone, a car), and so on…

B1. Scene for Essay 1 from your perspective (“I”)

B2. Same scene, told from the perspective of another person, animal, or object


Work Due Tue 9/8

  1. Respond creatively to someone else’s Media Share (1 or 2).
  2. Read & post a Media Share (#3) related to Dayna Tortorici’s “My Instagram” (in readings).
  3. Read & comment on 2 classmates’ Essay 1s. Guidelines for commenting:

In your feedback, please comment on at least 1 specific passage in the essay you’ve learned something from (and explain what you’ve learned) and make 1 specific suggestion about one passage in the essay that you think could be improved (and explain how to improve it).  Please quote from the essay at least once in your post.

NOTE: Please scroll to the bottom until you find someone who has yet to receive a comment from someone else—or someone who has only received 1-2 comments.  We have to make sure everyone gets feedback!


Zoom Summaries

Zoom Summary Guidelines

If you miss a Zoom meeting, please write a 250-300 word summary, including at least one paragraph, one direct quotation from the conversation, and as many bulleted points as you like.

You are encouraged to make your summary interactive, responsive, and —NOT simply informative.  What did you learn from watching & listening to the recording?  What would you have said or asked if you’d been present at the meeting?  Would you have used Zoom emoji reactions to any particular moment in the Zoom?  Would you have used the Chatbar?  Would have wanted to do a Screenshare—and, if so, what would you have shared?

These are just a few questions to get you going with the creative part of the summary—don’t feel obligated to respond to all of them or in order…  Basically, I just want your summary to indicate what you learned from the Zoom (the important stuff related to the course) and also how you responded to it, the ideas it gave you, etc.

Note: When posting, please title your post using your name and the meeting # (i.e., Monroe Street Zoom Mtg 1 Summary) and remember to check the box next to the “Zoom Category” before posting.

You can test that you posted correctly by clicking this link; if you can’t see your post there, then go here, scroll down and look for post (you can search for your name as well), and click “Edit” then make sure you’ve selected the right category.  Rinse and repeat.


1. For Friday 8/28


  1. Read the Essay 1 assignment (see link above under “Student Work” à “Essays”).
  2. Finish reading the first two reading assignments (#1 and #2, by Gloria Naylor and Ta Nehisi Coates, in “Readings”).
  3. Respond by Friday evening to the following two prompts. Share your response as a comment below (see “OpenLab Bible” under “Course Info” for instructions on how to comment).I. On reading Naylor. This is a narrative-based essay, like the one you’ll be producing for Essay 1.  Let it be an inspiration to you all.  Write a response to it, considering some (if not all) of the following questions.  Please write your response in paragraph form; please do NOT simply answer the questions in order.  It’s better for you to follow your own train of thought than to try to answer my questions as though they were a test (they are NOT a test).

    II. On definition in Coates. Whenever one declares what something IS, one is making a definition. In essay 1, you will (somewhere but not everywhere in the essay) formulate and argue for your own definition of what “education” is.

We’re looking at Ta Nehisi-Coates text for inspiration regarding how definition can be used. In Ta Nehisi-Coates’ Between the World and Me he forms a powerful definition to frame the story he tells his son about living as a black man in America in the 2010s.  He writes: “race is the child of racism, not the father.”  As you may have gleaned, this is no ordinary dictionary definition of race; this is one of the ways Coates wants to define race.  I want you to do two things with this:

A) Unpack the implications of Coates’ definition of race. Why does he think this?  What impact does it have on how you think about race?  How is it related to current events that you are aware of?  Again, begin with 1 or more of these questions and see where it takes you.  Don’t feel obligated to answer all of them in a row.

B) Write your own definition of “race” or “education”—up to you. Explain why you’ve defined the term as you have.


Assignment 0: Syllabus Notes & Question

By the time we Zoom on Wed morning at 11a, I want you to carefully read our  course syllabus.  Be especially careful in reading the “Core Course Assignments & Grading Section” (from the bottom of p. 1 to the top of page 3).

After reading, write a response below (shared as a COMMENT), in which you

A) list at least 10 core course assignments and the % of the final grade for each, and…

B) pose 1 question you have about the syllabus, to be discussed in our Zoom call.


0. Welcome / OpenLab Setup

Hey everyone,

Welcome to the course.  Now let’s get setup (be forewarned: bc this is an online coures, there is *a lot* of setup to be done—please be patient with this process and read carefully!).  Luckily for you, I’ve prepared for you a CityTech Online Setup “Bible.” < — go here and begin (or just scroll down)!

Monroe (a.k.a. Professor Street, but you can call me “Monroe”—or whatever you’d like; just don’t “call me” an hour after an assignment is due asking how to do it 😉


City Tech Online OL Course Setup “Bible”

The following are instructions for doing everything you need to do to complete the required online work for this course.  Please read everything carefully and don’t forget to go all the way to the bottom (the last step is CRUCIAL).

HOW TO SET UP CITY TECH E-MAIL & OPENLAB (Required to pass this course!)

EMAIL SETUP (Required to join course on OpenLab):
Look up your email address here. (Usually it’s firstname.lastname@mail.citytech.cuny.edu)
Go to the CT Email Login Page. Enter your email address (above) and password (below).
At first your CT PASSWORD is: First initial of first name UPPERCASE + first initial of last name lowercase + MMDDYYYY + last 4 of your EMPL ID

HELP? See: Guide to getting your City Tech e-mail activated  // First-Year Student Guidebook

Email: StudentHelpDesk@citytech.cuny.edu // Phone: 718-260-4900

Video: Getting Setup with CT Email and OpenLab

OPENLAB SETUP (Yes… Required for this Course)
Create an OpenLab Account (use your CT email if you have it; if you don’t, see below)
Check your CT email for verification code to login to OpenLab with.
Join this course by clicking here, then clicking “Join Course”
Go to main course site here and begin clicking everywhere to explore!

HELP? See: Guide to setting up an OpenLab account and then sign up for this course here.
If you don’t have CT Email working, email the OpenLab HelpDesk for help

HOW TO SHARE YOUR WORK ON OPENLAB (Required, as usual… 🙂

Video: Sharing work on OpenLab as a COMMENT (you will do this for ALL assignment EXCEPT Essay 1 and Essay 2—for those assignments see below video on POSTING)
Video: Sharing Essays on OpenLab as a POST (ONLY do this when posting your Essay 1 and your Essay 2; do NOT do this with all other assignments)

Create a Google Drive folder (with link-sharing enabled) for sharing Essay drafts and other assignments with me (if you don’t have a Google account, I apologize, but you’ll have to create one of those first).
–> Please NAME YOUR FOLDER using your LAST NAME and the COURSE (e.g., my last name is Street, so I’d title my folder “Street_ENG92”)

–> see: create a folder // –> see: move a file or a folder

How to Create a Google Doc

How to Upload a Document from your device to your Google Folder

How to Create/Change the Name/Title of a Google Doc
–> Please name each Google Doc according to the assignment (e.g., for one of your second article summary, you’d title the document “Summary 1”; for your first draft of the Essay 1 assignment, you’d name the document “Essay 1 Draft 1”; for your final draft of the same essay, you’ll name the document “Essay 1 Final Drat”)

TO SUBMIT YOUR PORTFOLIO FOR MY REVIEW (psst… required to pass!)
Make sure you’ve shared your Google Folder with “Anyone who has the Link”
Copy your Google Drive folder link/URL
Fill in your info on this Contact/Info form I need you to complete; paste your Google Folder Link at the end.


Nahid Ali Media share 11

In “Bill OReilly”, “Bell Hooks”, and “Beyonce: Sex Terrorist” shows that Beyonce is not good influencer for teen women because her behavior. Basically, it means that she is a celebrity and she can’t act the way she wants, she has to put a filter on. Therefore, young girls can follow her as a role model. That is not right for our society. Everyone has a right to behave the way they want and show their real self. No one has the right to judge you for who you really are but for her people always take it in a negative way whenever she does something. I choose this picture for this media share because the society wants celebrity to behave perfectly so others can follow them as role model. However, no one is perfect unless you put fake mask on and hide your true self.

April | 2017 | Everyday Contemplative

Nahid Ali media share 10

I choose this article because it talks about hip hop from the old days. If you look in the old days, hip hop wasn’t just about music. It also referred to art, style, dance, and philosophy. In the text the author talks about how hip hop began as a culture and art movement in the Bronx, where demographics were rapidly shifting in the early 1970s. In this article shows how white people left the cities and African American and Latino American were left behind. They faced many lack of economic opportunity, as well as rising crime and poverty rates. The young people in the Bronx and nearby communities began creating their own kinds of cultural expressions. These forms of expression would come together to form the four pillars of hip hop. The first major hip hop deejay was DJ Kool Herc. Mixing percussive beats with popular dance songs, Kool Herc was instrumental in developing the sounds that became synonymous with hip hop, such as drum beats and record scratches. His peers were influenced by Kool Herc and hip hop deejays developed new turntable techniques, like needle dropping and scratching. This article shows by the turn of the century, hip hop was the best selling music genre in the United States.

Lubna Mojumder Share Media 11



Many Fingers Pointing At Stressed Businesswoman Over Light Grey.. Stock  Photo, Picture And Royalty Free Image. Image 39631998.


Bell Hooks,” “Bill O Reill” and “Beyonce: Sex Terrorist” speak about how Beyonce was no longer treated as a role model because of what she does and post. The problem is that when it comes to celebrities, people still seem to get the most attention. She was judged for her appearance on account of what she had written. Hooks said, “I see a part of Beyonce that’s actually anti-feminist, that’s attacking—a that’s terrorist. Especially in terms of the effect on young girls.” This is how OReilly thinks, “Why would this woman do that on earth? Why would she do it because she knows that devastation that unexpected pregnancies that we’re going to deal with in a moment, not with you, but in another chapter, and broken families, why would Beyonce do that?