Post Assignments

Each student is responsible for completing four posts: at least one textual analysis (close reading) post; one contextualizing research post; and one creative response post. For additional assignment details including learning objectives, guidelines, and grading rubrics, check the “Post Assignments” page.

Click here to check whether you’re in Post Group A or Post Group B.

Journal Assignments

While you will not be responsible for posting every week, you will be responsible for journaling every week. For approximately half the weeks, I will provide you with specific prompts that will encourage if not require a variety of different types of responses (analytical, evaluative, reflective, creative, etc.). The remaining time you will create and respond to your own prompt. You may use previous weeks prompts as models for your response, but you should make sure your prompt is adopted to the particular texts you’re reading. For more information about the Journal assignment, please consult the “Journal Assignment” page.

Final Project

The default final project for this class is a 7-10 page paper. You should begin by selecting EITHER a primary OR a secondary source from the syllabus that you wish to further engage. You should articulate your interest in this text in the form of an appropriately focused analytical question. Then if you selected a primary text from the syllabus, you should select a secondary text that you believe resonates with the text and the question you’re examining about that text. If you selected a secondary text, you should select a primary text from the syllabus that you believe resonates with the text and the question you’re examining about that text. The thesis of your paper should develop as a response to how the pairing of these two texts addresses your analysis question.

Your thesis statement should be a clear and cogent interpretive claimed that can be supported by close-reading analysis of specific aspects of the primary and secondary texts. The analysis with which you illustrate your claim should be attentive to the content, formal, and/or contextual particularities of your main (primary or secondary) text about which you’re making a claim. Your paper should not attempt to illuminate everything about the primary source you’ve selected, nor should your claim purport to take on the entirety of the argument/theory in the secondary source. Your engagement with both the primary and secondary sources should demonstrate an awareness of the overarching objectives of both texts, but you should limit the scope of your actual claim to portions of the texts that can be decently discussed within the limits of a 7-10 page paper.

In addition to referencing our in-class discussions about argument scope and related feedback on students’ posts assignments, you should avail yourself of the optional thesis draft assignment as a way of getting feedback on the viability of your scope as well as the clarity and cogency of your argument. When you submit your thesis draft, make sure you also submit the analysis question to which your thesis statement responds. Note: Student may wish to share their analytical question on the class blog and/or with the instructor as a way of receiving feedback on the analytical question itself before submitting a draft thesis statement.

Students who submit a draft thesis, may also submit a 250-500 word proposal in which they describe a form/medium other than the traditional analytical paper form that they believe would be more conducive to the exploration of the question they are asking and the explication of their potential hypothesis. Proposals should include: the tentative thesis; the question such a thesis answers and/or the conversation to which it contributes; the proposed medium (i.e. collage or youtube video) and form (e.g. discarded junk food wrappers and vogue pictures OR presidential campaign add); and an explanation of what the proposed medium and/or form aids your project question and/or tentative claim in a way the traditional paper form does not.

The point of this alternative option is to recognize and make room for alternative ways of learning and knowing present not only in the diversity of our class but also as evidenced and called for in the black cultural texts and theories discussed in this class. It should not be regarded as an easy way of getting out of a paper. I will indeed assess the formal integrity and logical coherence of these alternative mediums/forms just as rigorously as I will examine the papers. Submission of a proposal is not guarantee of approval. Even if a proposal is (tentatively) approved, I may ask you to revise and elaborate on your proposal based on my feedback before giving you the go ahead. I will not consider proposals for alternative final projects after November 3rd. I will only grade alternative projects by those whose final projects were accepted.