One Last Time…..

Federalists on Broadway

“[Hamilton] symbolizes as nothing else could that the history of the founding of the United States belongs to all Americans at all times and in all places and not simply to elite white Anglo-Saxon males who lived in the eighteenth century.”

Dr. M.


If you have a chance to see Moonlight during the winter holiday break, don’t miss it! I highly recommend it, especially in relation to our focus in Unit 3 on the emergence of the urban, Black gangster. In fact, I plan to add it to Unit 3 when I next teach American Gangster Spring of 2018.


Essay 3 Grades & Brainstorm Magazine

I have uploaded Grading Rubrics and Essay 3 Revisions with grading comments to the course site. For those of you who are considering submitting an essay to Brainstorm Magazine, you can follow the link provided here: Expository Writing Program webpage

If you do decide to submit your work, you should further revise (based on the revision feedback you received) and clean up (edit for minor issues relating to sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, and especially diction) your essay before submitting. The deadline for submitting an essay is Wednesday, December 21.

Decoded Reading Schedule & Discussion Question Notes

Decoded Reading List & Discussion Question Material 

Decoded Reading Schedule & Discussion Questions-Note

Part I: “One Eye Open”: *pages 4-19 + lyrics & footnotes for “American Dreamin’ ” &  “Early Morning”; *pages 38-42 + lyrics & footnotes for “Coming of Age” & “Coming of Age (Da Sequel)”; *pages 45-57 + lyrics & footnotes for “99 Problems.”Part II: “I Will Not Lose”: *pages 70-79; 83-87; 90-95 + lyrics & footnotes for “Most Kings,” “Renegade” & “Can I Live?” “Fallin’ “; *pages 128-131 + lyrics & footnotes for “Operation Corporate Takeover” Part III: “Politics As Usual”: *pages 153-164; 175-177 + lyrics & footnotes for “Young Gifted And Black”; *pages 202-205 + lyrics & footnotes for “This Life Forever”; *pages 218-223 + lyrics & footnotes for “Minority Report.”  Part IV: “Come And Get Me”: *pages 235-236 (top); 239 (middle)-245; 247 (bottom)-251; 254-255; 278; 292-295 (top).

Pay special attention to the following:

  • How does Jay-Z rework Braudy’s theory of the divided self of Celebrity: i.e. what happens to the “talked of self” & “unexpressed self”? Where do we draw the line between the personal & the performative? Persona & person? “TOS” & “UES self”). When do they converge?
  • How Jay-Z uses history, the past, & personal experience in the pursuit of “keepin’ it real” in both the personal narrative sections of Decoded & the song lyrics examples. What happens to the “talked of self” and the “unexpressed self”?
  • Does Jay-Z fit Martinez’s definition of “Rappin’ in Resistance”? Which songs? What issues?
  • Where you see examples of life in the Marcy Projects, the street, the game, the hustle, poverty, racism, etc. that relate to or paralle O’Kane’s descriptions and analysis about the plight of immigrants and the reasons they turned to the Crooked Ladde
  • Where you see examples that connect the experiences of ethnic immigrants and ethnic minorities being forced to take (O’Kane) or choosing to take (Lupsha) the Crooked Ladder.
  • In what ways is Jay-Z an “invented gangster”? How has he invented himself using clothing, fashion, braggadocia, etc.
  • Jay-Z’s use of corporate/business language, allusions, metaphors, etc. related to “being in the game,” “the hustle,” & music business: what do his references mean & what is their significance?
  • Allusions to historical, literary figures/works, the bible, musicians & artists, myth, early Rap/Rappers, etc. in the personal narrative & song lyrics. Parallels to Prohibition and/or contemporary gangsters, real and/or fictional gangsters.
  • Why/how are other art forms (graffiti, painting, etc.), important? Why is Basqiuat important?

Extra Credit Assignments

OPTION 1: If we had more time, I would have assigned an additional movie relevant to the the course in general, and Unit 3 in particular. Thus, and especially since it’s the holiday break, a time when people watch football and movies, you can receive extra credit of for writing a proposal review that recommends one of the following films for inclusion in the course. You can address your proposal review to me as instructor of the course, and explain the rationale for including this film using your cumulative and ever growing list of Keyterms from your PRELIM 2: Keyterm Catalog, and by making connections between course issues and themes and the film you choose. Whether or not you receive extra credit will be determined by the persuasiveness of your appeal (how well you strategize using diction and rhetorical structural moves), the logical connections you make to the course, and the strength and sincerity of your stance position. A half-hearted, last-ditch, sloppy effort will result in 0 points.

You can upload your proposal review to the Extra Credit folder on the course site.

Some possibilities include; Eight Mile, Mean Streets, A Bronx Tale, Goodfellas, Pulp Fiction, Boyz in the Hood, Set It Off, Dope, Road to Perdition, Youth of the Beast, and City of God (the last 2 are foreign).

OPTION 2: If you don’t have time to devote to watching a movie (which I also do not want to compete with Decoded, here is an alternative E.C. assignment: using the list of rhetorical strategies from the PRELIM 9 handout make a flow chart of the Rhetorical Structural Moves for your Essay 3 Introduction. You will be labeling each sentence with its corresponding RSM. If you get on a roll, you can continue the flow chart for another paragraph for an additional point of extra credit.

I wish you a peaceful and, most importantly, restful thanksgiving! Dr. Mintler

Essay 3 Conference Drafts

I am extending the deadline for Essay 3 Conference Drafts to 10:00am WEDNESDAY morning. However, you must still read Martinez’s article and be prepared to start discussing music as social consciousness raising in class.

Please create a a DOC, adjust the access settings for your section (012 or 013), and make sure that you put the doc in the ESSAYs folder. You can TAG your Conference Draft Essay 3. Please also both copy & paste your draft AND upload/attach a copy to the document window. Dr. M.