studying + music
We had a good music discussion at the beginning of the 10am section this week. We'll definitely talk more about music within the larger realm of pop culture in a couple of weeks, as the syllabus turns toward art-vs.-industry studies and the maddening correctness of Adorno & Horkheimer. But here are two purely extracurricular follow-up thoughts ...
Anzaldua & Tan follow-up
1. Some of you requested the extra essay by Gloria Anzaldua, "La conciencia de la mestiza / Towards a New Consciousness," from which I used the quotation at the beginning of this week's classes. You can download the PDF here ...
2. We watched a few minutes of these clips from comedian Margaret Cho's stand-up routine; here are the full video clips, if you'd like to see the full pieces.
These segments discuss race from a similar point of view to the characters you encountered in Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club. Cho's parents came to America from South Korea, and in these segments you'll hear many of the same issues Tan illustrated, such as assumption based on race and the power dynamics between mothers and their first-generation American-born daughters.
Check out this interesting article, which nicely follows up our class discussions last week about the evolution of language. "Folks" — a word that somehow transitioned from "us" to "them"!
Participation! Try looking up the word in the OED, via the library database links here, and see what history they show for the word. Use the comments here to post any results/thoughts.
Deno/conno description practice
This film clip above is the first nine minutes of "Mystery Train" (1989) by indie writer-director Jim Jarmusch. I recently wrote an analysis of this film's use of composition; let's use this segment as an exercise for extracting denotative elements from a communication object — in this case, a film — and ferreting out their connotations.
Participation! Watch the clip above, or a sizable chunk of it. (Nine minutes would be too large a slice for your Part 1's; but here you can at least have more to work with for practice.) Use the comments section below to:
— Focus on a small segment, and then write down a sequence of 5-6 denotative elements from the scene. Look for the action, the dialogue, the costumes, the settings, the framing of the shots, the movement of the camera, etc. (For film/video analysis, it really helps to include time stamps with your denotations!) Ask yourself: What's in the script here?
— Then discuss the corresponding and contextual connotations for each of those. Ask yourself: What are each of these conscious choices by the filmmaker meant to convey?
Project part 1: An example
Below you can read/download an A-grade paper from a student in the course from a previous term.
Those of you who had questions about the formatting, this should make very clear how to set that up: text for the intro, then a two-column table for the denotative vs. connotative descriptions. (Never made a table or used columns in Word before? It's easy.)
Pay attention to how this student telescoped the denotative elements into connotative possibilities.
Remember: Part 1 of the project is due by 3 p.m. Jan. 21 emailed as a PDF to this address!
How to read. No, really.
We'll talk next week about some strategies for reading effectively — and taking notes about what you read (very important to do!).
For now, check out these excellent tips for "How to Read in College."
Participation! Use the comments here to post helpful examples and tips from your reading process, things you've learned by experience thus far. Feel free to include screenshots of annotated pages, notes, etc.
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