Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Bluest Eye: Group Project PowerPoint Presentation Guidelines

Novelist, essayist, professor, and literary critic Toni Morrison (b. 1931)
Final Project: Group PowerPoint Presentation (20 points)

The members of each group are expected to agree on one of the major themes of Toni Morrison’s novel, The Bluest Eye, and explore that theme. The major theme should be considered as the central, controlling idea of your piece—again, if you find that other themes of significance are surfacing and converging with your major theme as you develop your project, please note them. 

You may also interweave some of the other relevant thematic discussions from our semester (the focus on the alien/outcast/outsider in literature and popular culture) into this group presentation.

Sample themes: aesthetics (beauty), alienation, childhood, class distinctions, colorism/color consciousness, community, corporeality, difference, equa lity, ethics/morality,  family, femininity, hypocrisy, identity, individuality, innocence, intellectualism, interracialism,literacy, loneliness, masculinity, monstrousness, morality, poverty, race relations, racism, rebellion, religion, responsibility, segregation, separatism, sexism, sexual exploitation, sexuality, violence. Some of these themes overlap—your thesis should reflect your theme in a clear, well-articulated manner.

You are encouraged to use video, film, photographs, text (including quotes from the text), and other documents to create a PowerPoint presentation of your work (maximum15 minutes in length). 

You must include a slide listing the “Credits,” i.e., the specific contribution made by each group member. In addition, you must create a Works Cited Page as the final slide of your presentation, using MLA-style. Refer to the MLA Style Guide on the course blog for MLA-style compliance. At our final class meeting, the group members will present their projects.  I encourage you to be as imaginative as possible with these presentations. 

Below is a list of the criteria for your PowerPoint, adapted from a rubric adapted from a former colleague.

Final Project Rubric for PowerPoint Presentation Photo-documentaries and Essay

The following categories provide a clear list of the elements that are expected in each group’s project, regardless of its form and purpose.  Use these criteria as a tool that will enable you, as the designer, to produce persuasive communication by means of innovation, creativity, and polished reflection.  Each of the categories is worth 5 points, for a total of 20 points of the final grade.

GROUP NAME_____________________________________

 Thesis and Purpose:                                                                               Points___

How clear is your thesis?  Is the topic compelling and relevant not only to your own interests but to an issue of larger significance?  How well do the images (photos, film, or other visuals) illustrate both the thesis and its related ideas in a cogent manner?

Composition:                                                                                         Points___

Does the project follow a logical flow of thought?  Do these ideas transition well and are they well-supported by both visual and interpretive qualities?  Is the project free of grammatical errors and does it show familiarity with simple, compound, and complex sentence structures?  Can it be used as a model for other students in the future? 

Technical Image and Quality/Audio Recording and Editing:                       Points___

How well have you operated your camera, produced high-quality digital files, or created high quality images?  This also includes how well you utilized the basic elements of photography, including lighting and composition, to make or choose the most interesting photographs possible.  Do the photographs demonstrate a variety of images and perspectives?  Do they seem to illustrate or create a pattern of thought?  How well have you recorded (or integrated) sound, including ambient sound and interviews, and how will have you edited the packaged product if sound is not provided?  How does the overall final project look, including captions, titles, transitions, audio, and image?

Caption Information and Presentation:                                                       Points___

Is there a clear integration of the visual and written composition of the final project?  How well have you complemented your images with written text?  How does the written text (approximately 350 – 500 words) act to amplify and enhance the quality of the project as a whole?  Are original insights supported by relevant research in your written text or is it merely expository? 


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Reflection Paper #4: Iterations of "Blackness"

 It's necessary to constantly remind ourselves that we are not an abomination. 
--Marlon Riggs
Franklin, from "Peanuts"

There's a phrase that many of you may have heard: "Race is a social construct," meaning, race is not biological--indeed, science has determined that true human variation (statistically speaking) is virtually non-existent--skin pigmentation is simply a matter of the amount of melanin one possesses. Racial difference is socially constructed--society determines it and creates categories/classifications called "race." We have seen, in many of our texts (as well as in many of the photos I have posted), individuals categorized as "black" but who, in terms of phenotype, are racially indeterminate. Why, then, do we persist in our use of phenotype to judge "blackness" in all its variations? Why do we add to that discussions of intellectual capability and moral rectitude? 

When Barack Obama was running for president back in 2008, there was a discourse (among many blacks) about whether he was "black enough" to be representative of African American struggle in this country, given his background as the child of a Kenyan father and white American mother. In addition, there was a focus on "class" distinctions, social mobility, elitism, and skin color. What did all this mean?

We say that race is "socially constructed...meaningless...we are the world.."and all that jazz--but the truth is, society does not live out the ethos of racial "blindness." Color prejudice persists, racism persists, and injustice persists. When I put your words on the blackboard the other day, what emerged was a medley of ideas of what constituted blackness. I want you to reflect on the meaning of "blackness" as you define it, but incorporating into your response one or two of the texts we have read during the course of the semester, including the Riggs film, Black Is...Black Ain't. 

Valerie, from "Josie and the Pussycats"
You may want to ponder the blackboard words as you consider this. As scholars, we are on a continual search for “meaning”—how do you interpret the meaning of blackness as delineated by the authors/speakers you have read/heard? How do those meanings converge with your own definitions? Is blackness a cultural identity? Can "blackness" be defined at all? 

I would like for you to have these reflection papers ready for me by Tuesday, 4/5. 

All best, 

Prof. Williams