Unlike the typical academic English essays that compel students to discuss texts
Unlike the typical academic English essays that compel students to discuss texts through a detached position, this assignment is meant to encourage the opposite: respond to texts from an involved (implicated), even subjective perspective. Students are required to write a 3000-word critical diary/reflection in response to at least three texts of their choice on the required reading list. The three texts must include at least one book and one film studied in the course. The diary/reflection essay presents an opportunity for each student to respond to texts from their own personal experience of engaging with the materials so selected. It is also an opportunity for students to consolidate their thoughts and impressions of the stories they have read/watched through a close, critical reflection. Each student may reflect on what they find to be enjoyable, annoying, remarkable, memorable, terrible, traumatic, etc. in their selected texts, and explain why. Please, note that reflections that unfold as follows—this XYZ scenario/incident made me feel very uncomfortable; or, her experience of violence and abuse made me realize how privileged I am; or, I feel really sad right now after reading this story—will not be considered as demonstrating a critical reflection. A critical reflection will use feelings/thoughts/impressions as a basis for thoughtfully examining or making a profound statement on (or elaborating on specific aspects of) the subject of black liberation struggles in selected texts. Also, your diary/reflection must be focused on your selected texts and not be a pretext for talking exclusively about your life or some other unrelated experiences. I will also appreciate it if students engage texts directly and not cite secondary materials (except very nominally).
In addition, you are welcome to be creative in their critical reflection/diary response. The diary could take any conventional or creative prose form that each student finds most convenient and useful. It could take the form of a casual informal diary entry, a letter, a blog post, a formal/serious [yet personalized] essay, a creative non-fiction, etc. No poems are allowed unless they are used as elements in a larger prose work.
Paying close attention to how black liberation struggles are addressed in any THREE texts on the list* , provide a critical reflection/diary that responds to the historical and present conditions of black struggles.
Brand, Dionne. Land to Light On. McClelland & Stewart, 1997.
Cole, Desmond. The Skin We’re In: A Year of Black Resistance and Power. Random House, 2021.
Coogler, Ryan, director. Black Panther. Walt Disney Video, 2018.
Peele, Jordan, director. Get Out. Universal Pictures, 2017.
Rankine, Claudia. Citizen: An American Lyric. Graywolf Press, 2014.
Soyinka, Wole. Death and the King’s Horseman. 1975. Turtle Back Books, 2002.