Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Post #5: Working with Interviews/Links and Bonus Posts

For the week of May 3rd, you'll visit the archives to look at some documents I've put together from the collection. There are some photos, Mayor Wagner's speech that we looked at during our visit, and the trasncripts of interviews.

Choose one of the interviews from the packet. In a blog post of at least 250 words, respond to the following questions:

- What is the interviewer trying to find out?
- How much insight do you think you get into the personality and experiences of the interviewee?
- What can you figure out about the historical context of the interviewee's experiences?
- How do the interviewee's experiences relate to the themes we've been discussing? Refer to at least one other course text.

This will be an important step in your work towards essay #3.
What can interviews do? Here are some recordings by the master, Studs Terkel.

Following up on our class discussions, here is an interview about how some are talking about standing up to the new anti-immigrant law in Arizona.

And here is a recent news story about the sex discrimination case against Wal-Mart.

For an extra credit/make up post, discuss either of these links and what the tell us about the themes we've been discussing in the comments.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Announcements and Links!

Looking for scholarships? Did you know that you can apply online for scholarships from the CUNY foundation, and that international students are eligible to apply? Go to the foundation website
to apply.

What can be done to address some of the issues of discrimination and inequality we've been discussing?

Next Monday LaGuardia will be having a day-long event about community organizing: what people do to make change about the issues that are affecting them day to day. Here is the schedule. If you can attend any of the events, post your thoughts for extra credit.

One of the issues touched on will be the DREAM act - one proposal to credit more equity in education. Learn more about it here.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Please note: Wednesday 8AM tutoring is currently not taking place as that time didn't seem to work for people.

Tutoring is still taking place on:

Wednesday at 1 PM (C415)
Thursday at 3:25 (C410)
Friday at 2:15 (C410)

If you would like to go to tutoring but can't make any of these times, please email Nilo at nabermeo@netzero.net.

Remember that attending tutoring will raise your parcipation grade, and is very like to improve your grade on our essays.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

In-Class Work: Week of 4/19

Working with evidence:

Look at the New York Times article you read for today and especially the chart that goes with it.

With your group, based on the chart, is each one of these statements TRUE, FALSE, or is there not enough information to tell?

1) Regardless of your race or gender, graduating from high school and/or college helps your chances of getting a job.

2) The recession of '08-'09 has made it harder for all groups to find work.

3) The recession of '08-'09 has affected all groups equally.

4) As of '09 women, are doing better and making more money than men.

5) Currently in the United States blacks face higher unemployment because of differences in education, not because of discrimination in hiring.

Turning evidence into writing: Rewrite the following paragraph with a sandwich to make it make more sense:

Another way that discrimination happens as Luo says on page 1, "There is also the matter of how many jobs, especially higher-level ones, are never even posted and depend on word-of-mouth and informal networks, in many cases leaving blacks at a disadvantage." It's really not fair to have job and not even post an ad this just shows Luo's point.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Post #4: Working Towards Essay #2

During the week of April 19th, post at least two paragraphs from your draft of essay #2 (feel free to post more, up to a full draft). Include your thesis paragraph and a paragraph from the middle that has at least one sandwich - that introduces and gives the so what for either a direct quotation or a statistic.

Then, look at your colleagues' paragraphs and leave a comment. Tell them where the paragraphs make sense and where they don't. Remember to look at chapter 3 of They Say for help with sandwiches.

A number of you have asked if you can make up old blog posts - absolutely. You don't want to get behind, but making up the posts and adding any reflections on course materials or related ideas will help not only your participation grade but your understanding of the class and what you're able to take from it.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


You may have noticed some changes to the reading schedule from our syllabus, made in accordance with the evolution of our work and your interests as a class. Here's an overview/review of where we are in the readings:

For the week of April 5th: "Who Built the Pyramids" from the preface to Working by Studs Terkel.
For the week of April 12th: "Confronting Inequality," by Paul Krugman (pages 322-340 in They Say, I Say)
For the week of April 19th: "In Job Hunt, College Degree Can't Close Racial Gap," by Michael Luo (handout) and Barack Obama, "A More Perfect Union" (pages 360-376 in They Say, I Say)
For the week of April 26th: A Pecking Order section from Working.

Chapter 1 of Ehrenreich, originally listed on your syllabus, will be an optional reading that may be useful to you in your final, researched essay in which you will use a range of primary and secondary sources.

Important Reminder: Monday/Wednesday class will meet in the archives (E238 on Wednesday, April 14th.)

A couple folks asked for a more detailed grade breakdown. Here it is:
25% participation
20% essay 1
20% essay 2
20% essay 3
15% final exam

Please note that if you revise your essays, the new grade replaces the old. Your participation grade is based on attendance (including being on time), in-class participation, and your blog posts.
If you regularly attend tutoring (at least three times), I will raise your participation grade by one letter grade.

Tutoring times are:
Wed morning (8:00) - C415
Wed afternoon (1:00) - C415
Thur (3:25) - C410
Fri (2:15) - C410

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Post 3: Class and Identity: Readers Choice

For Monday, April 12th or Tuesday, April 13th, post on one (or both) of the following topics.

1) Monday/Wednesday Class: In "Who Built the Pyramids," Mike Lefevre talks about his experiences as a steelworker. In Born Rich, a number of young people talk about being born into wealth. Talk about the connections you see between these two texts. What does being working class mean to Mike? What does being rich mean in the kids we see? What do the two texts together tell us about class in America?

Tuesday/Thursday Class: Describe Mike Lefevre's thoughts about his job, being "working class," or "a laborer." How do you think his thoughts in 1972 about class differ from what many workers feel today? (This class will watch the film next Tuesday).

2) At the beginning of his essay, "Confronting Inequality," (They Say, I Say) Paul Krugman asks "Why should we care about high and rising inequality?" What is his answer? Do you agree? How do you think inequality has affected you and the people around you?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Archive Visits

This week we're starting to read Terkel's Working, a collection of interviews about how people feel about their jobs.

Along with this reading, we'll be looking at materials from LaGuardia's archives about New York labor history. We'll get an introduction to the archives this and next week.

IMPORTANT: Tuesday/Thursday class will meet in the archives, E238, on Thursday, April 8th. Monday/Wednesday class meets there on Wednesday, April 14th. It is very important you be on time at 10:30 as the archivest there are giving us their time.