Thursday, December 16, 2010


Hi guys - I'm sorry to report that I'm currently out of town due to a death in the family. You can still get your grades from 10:30-12:30 tomorrow (Friday) in E264 - Prof. Johnson and Lindskoog will have your exams and a sheet for each of you explaining all of your 101 and 103 grades.

If you have any questions or concerns about these, you can contact me at 917 710-7341 before the final grades go in at the start of next week.

I'm sorry to not be there with you; I've enjoyed working with all of you. I'll be back in Fall II if you want to come stop by.

Thanks for your understanding.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Invitation for Submissions and Holiday Luncheon

Next, Wednesday, December 8th, during club hours - 2:15-4, the Creative Writing Club will be holding an end-of-the luncheon and celebration in M317. We will have hot and cold food and wonderful treats from club officer and master chef Jennifer Phanomrat. Come take a break from end of the semester studying, meet other creative writers and hear about our exciting plans for the future.

We're pitching in with a food drive being held by the Natural Science department and Nursing club to benefit a soup kitchen in South Jamaica, so please bring a canned good or small cash donation.

The Club is also taking submissions for a chapbook of work from club members. Short fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction are all welcome. If you'd like to submit, Next, Wednesday, December 8th, during club hours - 2:15-4, the Creative Writing Club will be holding an end-of-the luncheon and celebration in M317. We will have hot and cold food and wonderful treats from club officer and master chef Jennifer Phanomrat. Come take a break from end of the semester studying, meet other creative writers and hear about our exciting plans for the future.
We're pitching in with a food drive being held by the Natural Science department and Nursing club to benefit a soup kitchen in South Jamaica, so please bring a canned good or small cash donation.

The Club is also taking submissions for a chapbook of work from club members. Short fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction are all welcome. If you'd like to submit, send your writing as an attachment to

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

In-Class work: Thursday, December 1st

Congratulations on being almost through the semester and turning in your research essays! Today we're going to review and prepare for our work next week: your presentations on Wednesday, December 8th and your in-class exit exam on Thursday, December 9th.

PART I: First, write a post giving an overview of your presentation next week. Remember your presentation should be between five and ten minutes. Answer the following questions:

- How will you begin, in order to catch our attention and introduce us to your topic?
- What is the central argument you make in your essay and how will you present it to us?
- What are a few key pieces of evidence that support your argument, and how will you describe and present them?
- What is your visual element, and how will you work it into your presentation? Remember that you'll want to do more than just show us something - you want to talk about what it shows us.
- What do you think makes for an effective oral presentation? What makes you want to listen? What can you do to achieve these qualities?

After posting, read the responses of some of your classmates. In the comments, ask questions about anything in the post that is unclear and offer one concrete suggestion for strengthening their presentation.


After you've posted on your presentation AND given feedback to your classmates, you can use the rest of the time to do some reviewing for the final exam OR working on your revision of essay #2 or the research paper. (You can work on revisions of the research paper even though you haven't gotten it back yet - think about what you already know you need to do to make it stronger.)

Extra Credit Posts: Respond to one or more of these topics on your blog for an extra credit addition to your participation grade. This will be especially helpful if you have a lot of absences to make up. You can begin work on these posts today, and you can post as many as you like on your blog through Monday, December 13th.

1) Look at the Winter Soldier testimony from Iraq and Afganistan included in your packet. What
connections do you see between these soldiers' stories and the themes and ideologies we've been discussing all semester? How do they compare to the stories of soldiers we encountered during our unit about Vietnam?

2) Look at Moustafa Bayoumi's article "At the center of a sudden storm," about the controversy around the book from which we read an excerpt: How Does it Feel to be a Problem? Why and how did the book become an issue? What do you think this reveals about the ways racism works in the United States and the role of the media in creating and reporting on these issues?

We'll discuss Bayoumi's article in more depth next week. Be sure you've picked up a copy of the epigraph and the missing page.

(On a somewhat lighter note, here is Bayoumi's article about being an extra in Sex and the City 2 that he mentions at the end of the piece. And here is an interesting Tumblr using humor to combat the kind of racism Bayoumi describes.

3) Yesterday we discussed the idea that much media serves to defend the interests of the elite. We also talked about alternative sources that can give a different perspective. There's no one trick for deciding if a media source is useful or reliable. However, Chomsky's analysis suggests a couple things to look for.

First, because, as he notes, much media is owned by a handful of small corporations, it's useful to seek out indepent sources that work outside this corporations. Here are two: Democracy Now, a radio and TV show, and Indymedia, which produces the Indypendent, which I handed out in class.

Second, because the ideology of nationalism often influences the choice and framing of topics, it's useful to look at sources from different countries. Technology has made this much easier than it used to be. Here is the website for the Guardian, a British newspaper, and here is the website for the English language version of Al Jazeera, a large network serving the Middle East.

Choose one of the four sites linked into this question and notice what's on the front page and how it's discussed. In your post, compare this to what you see on the front page of the New York Times website. What differences do you notice in the kinds of stories that are covered? The way they are covered? What audience do you think each is trying to reach? How do you think these differences relate to the nationality of the source (ie where it is produced) or its ownership?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fragments and Run-Ons

Take a look at these three sentences and then answer the poll questions along the side of the blog.

1) Swofford describes watching films about the Vietnam War with his fellow marines before leaving for Iraq during the first Gulf War for them these films were not antiwar in fact they made them more eager to have the opportunity to go and fight.

2) In his speech "Beyond Vietnam," King critiques not only U.S. policy in that war, but also the ideologies of materialism and militarism that he says will put the U.S. "on the wrong side of a world revolution."

3) As Appy shows, even though the U.S. army during the Iraq War are all volunteers, with many different ideologies and with many different reasons for joining the army.

Then fix the sentences that need fixing in the comments.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

November 11th In-Class Work and Announcements

Here's an outline of what we'll do in-class, and then some important announcements about what's coming up:


1) Work with fragments and run-ons: look at the post below and answer the poll questions. We'll take some time to discuss the results and talk about how to fix this common problems.

2) Both post and print out your essay #2 draft. Take a few minutes to read over your work. I'll be responding to the posts, and your partner will respond to the written version.

3) Mark your partner's essay with check marks for something that made you think, question marks for something that was confusing, general, or not supported by the evidence. Also mark fragments and run-ons.

4) Use your partner's comments and mine to make corrections or additions to your draft. Ask them or me questions about their marks to help you with this.


- Monday we have another guest speaker. I'm very excited that award-winning journalist Tracie McMillan will speak to us about her work on food issues, including undercover investigations. She'll touch on many of the issues you've discussed in Professor Johnson's class. We'll be joined by students from an Ethics of Food cluster and we'll be in room C431D at our regular time. You can learn more about Tracie and her work at her website.

- For next week, read President Obama's speech about Afghanistan from your course packs. Think about the ideology you think it puts forward and how you think it compares to that of the neocons we read about in Engler?

- Next week we'll also talk about how to expand your Power Analysis II assignment into your full research essay. To give you time to do a great job on these, we're pushing back the deadline until Wednesday, December 1st, the week after Thanksgiving. However, if you haven't yet turned in the Power Analysis II assignment, you need to turn it in as soon as possible. Talk to me, Professor Lindskoog and/or go to the writing with your questions about this. You are of course welcome to post part or all of your draft before the deadline for feedback.

- We'll also talk next week about the presentations of your research topic you'll be doing after the break, and a little about the exit exam in 101. For now, just be aware that the exit exam will deal with the readings from the third part of the class ("From Vietnam to Iraq") and that it will be an in-class, open-book exam.

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Leave 'em in the comments!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

November 4: Peer Reviewing

Today, you'll have about 45 minutes to work on one of your essays. You can work on essay 2 for ENG 101, about Vietnam, or you can work on your power analysis assignments, which lead into your longer research assignments. If you have part of a draft in your notes or a word file, begin by posting that on your blog.

After about 45 minutes, you'll pick a partner and respond to their draft. Leave a comment that responds to the following questions:

1) Does the writing make sense? Note any places where you as the reader are confused.
2) What is the writer's argument? (If she/he doesn't have one, tell her/him!)
3) Does the evidence given (direct or indirect citations; specific facts from sources) support the argument?
4) Are sources for the evidence introduced and cited correctly?
5) What else do you notice? What more do you want to know?

You'll have about 30 minutes to read your colleague's draft and respond. Then you'll have another 45 minutes or so to work on your drafts, using the comments you received.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Working with Sources: Quotes within Quotes

We get evidence from sources. Those sources get evidence from other sources. This can lead to confusion: look at this sentence, responding to Mark Engler's "Visions of Dominance"

According to Engler the real reason for the war in Iraq was that neoconservatives wanted to have wars to make the country stronger. He says that war "creates a pool of leaders for the nation." (68).

Says who? The sentence makes it sound like Engler believes this. But he's actually quoting neoconservative thinker Michael Ledeen. So, this sentence is quotes Engler quoting Michael Ledeen.
So What we have here is . . . .

A quote within a quote. When you have a quote within a quote, you want to show the says who and also the how do you know. We want to show the reader that Ledeen said it, and that we know this because we read Engler:
According to Engler, the real reason for the war in Iraq was that neoconservatives wanted to have wars to make the country stronger. Engler quotes neoconservative thinker Michael Ledeen, who wrote that war "creates a pool of leaders for the nation." (68).

Thursday, October 28, 2010

In-Class work for 10/28

1) Report on what you found today regarding your event. Include a link if possible. Some questions to consider: were you surprised by how the Times covered it? What do you think your article reveals about how the event was viewed at the time? How do you think this view has changed? Is your article an editorial or a news article? If it's an editorial, what point of view does it represent and whom do you think it speaks for? If it's an article, do you think it succeeds in being objective, and why or why not? What does this article make you want to find out?

2) After you've posted, respond to some of your colleagues. Do you agree with their analyses of their sources? What have they missed?

3) For Monday, read Mark Engler's essay "Visions of Dominance." In your notes or on the blog, see if you can figure out Engler's core argument: what is he saying about the causes of the Iraq War? What groups had power in making this war come about? Can you figure out who he's arguing against?

Extra Credit: If you attended the poet laureate reading, describe you impressions. What interested you, suprised you? How would you describe Ryan's poetry?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Images of War

Eugene Delecroix, Lady Liberty Leading the People, 1830.

Matthew Brady, Harvest of Death, 1863.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Week of October 25th

Martin Luther King gave the speech "Beyond Vietnam" on April 4, 1967. Some reactions to his antiwar activism at the time (primary sources):

What do you notice about these responses?

A thought on similar ideas, from the writer James Baldwin.

“The American Negro has the great advantage of having never believed that collection of myths to which white Americans cling: that their ancestors were all freedom-loving heroes, that they were born in the greatest country the world has ever seen, or that Americans are invincible in battle and wise in peace, that Americans have always dealt honorably with Mexicans and Indians and all other neighbors or inferiors, that American men are the world’s most direct and virile, that American women are pure. Negroes know far more about white Americans than that; it can almost be said, in fact, that they know about white Americans what parents – or, anyway, mothers, know about their children, and that they very often regard white Americans that way. . . . " - James Baldwin


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Thursday, October 21st: Interview a Colleague

Tell me a story. Ask your partner these qusetions about their research topic. If you're confused by their answer, tell them. Add follow-ups if you want to know more. You can help your partner brainstorm possible answers to look for.

1) Tell me who the players are. What groups of people or individuals in both countries are using their power, or responding to power? What did they do? Be specific, ie 'industrial workers in Chicago," not "the average person"; "they had a sit-down strike," not "they protested.")

2) Tell me the key things that were going on between the United States and your country during the time you're going to write about. Try to be as specific as you can with dates and events.

3) Tell me what you think. Based on what you've found so far, what have you noticed about this relationship? Would you argue that the relationship between these two countries is an imperial one, or something else? If something else, how would you define that something else?

After you've interviewed eachother, write a 'revised brainstorm' that describes how you've narrowed your topic, the heart of the story you're going to tell, and what you need to find in your additional sources.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

In Class Work for Thursday, October 14th

In class today, use the databases we looked at yesterday - CUNY plus, Academic Search Complete, JSTOR, and google scholar to look for sources. You can also work with course materials. Be sure you keep track of your sources.

At the end of the course period, post your progress on your blog: what sources did you find, skim or read that you think will or won't be helpful? Are you finding a clearer focus for your essay? Think about our core question: what is the nature of the relationship between these two countries? Is it an imperial relationship, or something else? Think about the different groups you're discovering on each side.

For Monday, post a draft of your annotated bibliography, using the sources we've found so far. You'll have time to continue to revise this and find new sources throughout next week. You can find a sample annotated bibliography here.

You can also use this course period to work on your revision of essay number 1. Keep in mind the language work we did in class (see below). Also work with Chapters 1-3 of They Say for help with how to use your sources.

What do you notice about this sentence? How would you fix it?

The thing that I find most interesting about the article that we read for class which is called Global Realization by Eric Schlosser is the fact that someplaces people they are protesting against McDonalds you just wouldn't think that a fast food restauraunt would be worth the trouble it's just hamburgers but it turns out that for some people it's like it's about more than just the food.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Hearts and Minds: In-Class Work, 10/7

After watching the film Hearts and Minds, write a post of 300-500 words about your reaction to the film. Some questions you might consider:

1) Peter Davis gives us the voices of a wide range of people affected by the war. Which voices seemed to you particularly striking or important? Who said something that you didn't expect to hear?

2) The film also mixes different kinds of sources: interviews, news footage, scenes from old movies. We see scenes from football games, and a scene in a brothel. Davis is also very careful about placing very different scenes next to each other. Describe some of the choices he made as to what to include and how to put it together. What do you think he wanted to achieve with these choices?

3) In Professor Johnson's class you've been discussing ideology. Based on the film, what ideologies do you think led to U.S. involvement in Vietnam? How do we see these ideologies being passed on?

4) In the film we see many graphic scenes of war. Many were shown on the news in the United States while the war was being fought. In more recent wars, fewer of these images have been seen by the public. Do you think these images serve a purpose? Should they be shown?

As you can see, there's a lot to talk about. Take the time to read each other's responses, to reply, and we'll continue the discussion next Tuesday, bringing in your reading of interviews from Appy. Also for Tuesday, read "On the Rainy River" by Tim O'Brien, thinking again about the ideology that leads this particular American to the decision that he makes.

If you're revising your essay #1, you can also work on this for next week. Revision of essay 1 are due on Thursday, October 21st.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

In-Class work for 9/30: Brainstorming

In a post of at least 300 words, answer these questions about your selected country:

- Why are you interested in this country and its relationship to the U.S.?
- How do you think have people from this country and the U.S. come into contact with each other: through immigration, migration, war, cultural exchange, economic exchange, or something else?
- Talk about what you noticed in your Wikipedia entry. What kind of information was your Wikipedia entry good at providing? What information did it have that wouldn’t be useful? What doesn’t it tell you that you’ll want to find out?
- Also, find one source that you think might be useful from the notes to your Wikipedia entry. Print it out and bring it to class on Monday, October 4th.

If you don’t finish your prewriting in class on the 30th, post on your blog by Monday October 4th.

Also for Monday, read Howard Zinn, "The Impossible Victory: Vietnam" (coursepack). Think about what you've learned about the Vietnam war prior to this class and how this essay compares.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

In-Class work for 9/23: Prewriting and Drafting

Does this look familiar? In working towards your drafts, we're going to try something a little different this time. Try following these steps, and see where they take you. Over the course of the semester, you'll have the chance to figure out the techniques that work best for you.

To start off with this time, DO NOT write an outline. DO NOT start by writing your thesis and sketching out three supporting paragraphs.
Instead, let's start a conversation between you and your text. This is where They Say, I Say comes in.

1) Begin with They Say: write a paragraph that summarizes the text(s) you're working with. Be sure to talk about ideas or argument as well as the facts or what happens. Look at chapter 2 "The art of summarizing," from They Say for ideas about how to go about this.

2) Now, for I Say: write a paragraph that gives your initial reaction the text and the question. You can draw on your own personal expereinces or your experiences as a reader.

3) The money quotations: choose the quotation that you think is most important in answering your question. Write the sentence of your essay that will come before and after the quotation. See chapter 3 "The art of quotation" from They Say for more about how to go about this.

Draw on these three paragraphs when putting together your draft. Still don't do an outline. Don't set a given number of paragraphs. Just make sure your draft makes sense.

HW: For Monday, post a draft of your essay to the blog and read Eric Schlosser's "Global Realization" from the packet. While you're reading, think about what kind of encounter between America and the World is being described in the essay.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Welcome to the Blog for America in the World, ENG 1 and 3. Soon, you will be setting up your own blogs, where you'll work informal writing assignments, drafts, ask questions, post links, and more!

Here you'll find writing prompts, announcements, links and more.

Once you've set up your blog, leave the address in the comments to this post. Then, you're ready to start posting!

Post #1 (In-class) on 9/16: Choose ONE of these topics and respond on your blog in a post of at least 300 words. Use any format you want. Be as specific as you can including referring to the text. You need not answer each part of the question in order; let it go where it takes you.

1) In Lucy Jamaica Kincaid describes Lucy's impressions on first arriving in the United States. What kind of things does she notice? How would you describe her first impressions of the U.S.? How does this compare to other immigration stories that you've heard or read?

2) In his essay "I Choose Exile," Richard Wright writes, "It was only in America where so much freedom is lacking that one hears long and impassioned arguments about freedon . .. It is like listening to a starving man tell of his need for food." Do you agree? In your expereince, what freedoms do Americans lack? What do they/we mean when they/we talk about freedom? Do you think people from different parts of the world have different ideas about what freedom means? What might account for the difference?
3) Or, choose something else specific from the writings that you'd like to respond to. Again, be specific: make direct refernece to the text.

Feel free to revise and edit your posts; post them by the end of the class. Once posts have started to appear on our blog list, you can begin to comment on their posts.
Homework for Monday: From the course pack, read the excerpt from A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid (pages 3-37 and 77-81) and the article "Slumdog Tourism." Think about the argument each is making about the relationship between tourism and power.