Friday, April 30, 2010

Topics for Essay #3/Bonus Post

For Monday, May 10th, you'll do your first blog post about your topic for essay #3. For this essay you're going to select a work of art (a painting, song, film, poem, story, etc) that you think has some political meaning. Or, select a political act that has some cultural piece. You can use some of the works we've discussed in class. Or you can use one that was in our readings/packet but we didn't get to. Some examples -

Nina Simone's "Four Women" (lyrics in course pack)

Eudora Welty's "Where is the Voice Coming From?" (course pack)

The Black Power salute by John Carlos and Tommie Smith at the 1968 Olympics. (see David Zirin reading in course pack)

Some other possibilities connected to our course readings:

Bob Marley, "Redemption Song"

Bob Marley, "War" (If you're researching this one, don't miss Sinead O'Connor's use of the song in a different political context!)

Bob Dylan, "Masters of War"

Public Enemy, "Fight the Power"

Public Enemy, "911 is a Joke,"

Public Enemy, "By the time I get to Arizona," This one is timely! It would be interesting to see if people are referring to it in the new context of the current Arizona law.

Spike Lee, Do the Right Thing (1989 film)

If you're interested in graffiti, you could write about 5 pointz, or a similar space, or a particular work of public art.

If you're interested in the women's movement and the issues raised in Alice Walker's essay, you might look in to the quilts done by the women of Gee's Bend Alabama (see the example at the start of the post and google for more.)

And Here is a link to an interview with an Iraqi artist about his unique brand of political art that would make a great essay topic. At the end of the interview, he has an interesting response to the quesiton, "Do you consider yourself a political artist?"

And here is the myspace page for lowkey, and Iraqi-British rapper using this now-global form for political change.

Just be sure you're picking a specific text: you don't want to do a whole overview of Nina Simone's career, or you won't have time to do anything but summarize.

Your text/act need not be from the United States. It can touch on issues - like the environment - we haven't much discussed. If there's an issue or type of text you're interested in but can't think of an example, pose a question in the comments and we can help you find one: 30 minds are better than one.

Post your choice of topic and reflections by Monday, May 10th. Look at the posts by your colleagues for ideas. Look for my comments about your topic.


Bonus posts:

What did you think about 5 Pointz? Is the art there 'political'? Is it political art? Where in the city's landscape do you see public art of different kinds? What ideas does it contain? Here's an article about graffiti in another context - what connections do you see to our trip or your other experiences with graffiti?

And here is an interview with David Zirin, author of the chapter on Mohammad Ali and the '68 Olympics that we read, about the responses in the sports world to Arizona's anti-immigration law. Notice the comparisons he makes to Ali and Carmichael. Share your thoughts on this breaking story and whether and how you think sports can have a political impact.


  1. jesus I must have tried 4 times to post this blog lol. but 5th time is a charm. anywho I was hopeing if you can help me break my topic down. in essay 3 I was trying to see if the start of interracial sports( I.e baseball jackie r. roberto clemente ) and music (i.e hiphop because of the diffusion of it into other countries like japan etc.) help stop individual and institutional racism. even though it never really finished did sports and music atleast help the slow down of it. I would imagine that people of traditional viewing of baseball in the beginning notice how good roberto clemente was. mr 3000 hits .317 avg. 12 gold gloves 12 time allstar. or maybe I should go back pass the 60"s to Jackie rob. I feel that like in c.l.r's essay some people probably belive that sports like baseball in this example was "americans" past time. once they stared to notice the talent in jackie rob they just look passed his color and notive his skill and how it was now an assest for the team. to me I think sports stopped racism or slowed it down atleast. but now instead of worrying about what clolor are you we worry about what team your from Lets go yanks! lets go bx! lets go american league! . as for music I feel hiphop especially made urban life and the people more vivid. you have little iraqi kids saying "yo was gud son" or japans teens saying "was really goodie bro" and the whole culture that comes from hiphop; break dancing,beat boxing, raping, clothes etc. to me music also help stop racism. the music helped communication. micro cultures all can realate and link to this sub culture of music and way of life. it stared with maybe jazz then the blues im not sure of the order but it was a domino effect . but umm yea help me break that down into a 1 sentence thesis ;P

  2. as for 5 pointz there was lots of political art. I remember seeing 1 that had a futuristic cop about to hit a graffiti artists over the head. and in the sky smoke spelled out. " the truth can only be hidden for so long" also I saw a clown that showed in 1 eye £ or ¬ (euro) and other eye a $ to me that showed how the government was trying to make unversial currency. I dunno I guess art is just like poetry no wrongs or rights.

  3. Sorry about your difficulties with posting - do remind me in class to go over how to post to your blog rather than leaving comments.

    AS for your topics, I think you've got two good ones - to make this more doable, I'd pick one: either - the impact of the integration of baseball on civil rights OR hip hop as an international culture. If you pick baseball, you could start with the chapter from Zirin's book about this - remind me to loan it to you. Or, for hip hop, you'd want to start with a specific country. There are some good chapters from Duncombe about that, or again, I could lend you one - let me know.

  4. The topic am looking at is " The fight for freedom", am not sure if you would consider this a topic.But i would like it if you gave me your opinion. And if so there are two or more songs in the packet i would like to use. For example," oh Freedom" and " I'm on my way".And also there is this text also in the course packet, " Struggling to be Free".

  5. I have more then one idea for Essay# 3, read my blog and tell me what you think.