1. So I’ve really been enjoying the open discussion format we’ve been doing this week. I think one more day of that before we finish Declaration will be helpful. For Monday, please read chapter 3 of Declaration.
Also, a number of people have asked about assignments. Thank you! I’ve been trying to think up what kind of writing assignment will best fit with the tone of the course. Here is my current idea for Track 2 folks:
2. Track 2 Final Essay (DUE FRIDAY, APRIL 25): Please select (at least) two readings from the course that you have found especially helpful/interesting/challenging.
Part 1: the mainstream view. In 2-3 pages, try to summarize, as best you can, your own thoughts about the theme of the reading that you held at the start of the class, or that you think are common among people like you in our society. For example, if you were to choose Angela Davis’ “Prisons and Globalism,” you would use part one to write about what “most people think” about prisons, and elaborate on why you thought (or still think!) this way. How did you come to the assumptions you have? Through personal experience? Through media images? Through simple reflection? Try to identify what the core assumptions of the position are: for example, you might suggest that one core assumption about the mainstream view of prisons is that “breaking the law always means one has done something wrong.” Try to identify as many core assumptions about the mainstream view of your selected topic(s) as possible.
Part 2: summary of the reading. In 2-3 pages, give a clear, concise summary of the argument of the reading. This should answer the following questions: what is the author’s thesis in the piece? What are the arguments the author deploys to defend that thesis? What facts or statistics does the author use to support those arguments? How do these arguments challenge (or confirm) the mainstream view?
Part 3: Critical reflection. In 2-3 pages, please reflect on how this reading (or our class discussions of it) either challenge or confirm your own position. To what extent has your own way of thinking about this issue changed over the course of our readings and discussions?
Part 4: Action. What do you want to do about it?
3. Track 1 Projects: By next Friday, April 18, please provide me with some written summary of your project so far. For most folks, we’ve discussed a writing assignment. Please have something for me to show you have been reflecting on these issues. If your assignment was not written, please write me up a summary of what you’ve been doing and how you’ve been thinking about it. NOTE: if you haven’t done anything at all, do not beat yourself up and freak out! Just write what you wanted to do and why you think you haven’t done anything. Its cool, just be honest and thoughtful.