Class Notes, 4 April 2012







For your essay:



Intro: two paragraphs
long, second paragraph has “your argument”


treats college life in general, or what people expect out of college

this essay, I will argue that American representations of college . . . ” add
four to five more sentences that demonstrate how the representations you put
together support this idea . . .


–add subtitles to
your intro, body, and conclusion: these are the titles in the essay that separate
the sections:


Before your intro: something
like, College Life in America


Before the body of
your essay: something like, Three Representations from Films


Before the conclusion
paragraph: something like, Reconsidering College Films and the QC Experience


Conclusion: should be
one paragraph long, but end with application to
Queens College experience


ADD MLA citation to
your videos

“When you cite the
video, use the title of the video”




Please list your opinions on the physical qualities of a
beautiful woman


–skinny: healthy, tone body; 110 (petite)

–perfect skin: no acne, dry spots, or blemishes; clear skin,
smooth, like a baby

–straight, white teeth: pretty smile

–tall: 5’7” or 5’8”; 5’9”; 5’10”

–long legs

–eyes: hazel, blue, green (anything but dark eyes); light

–tan: not too white, but tan, maybe bronze

–BMI of 20-22 (not overweight, but not anorexic)

–soft voice, not manly or harsh

–brown or black hair: long and straight, clean, shiny

–red hair: wavy

–blonde hair: curly or straight

–clean nails: manicured

–young: 20-30

–nice, full lips

–well maintained toes; clean, cared-for

–freckles: some freckles, but not too many freckles


–small nose

–abs: muscle tone, fit abs

–not fake looking: doesn’t wear too much make-up, like a
clown; natural

–well-arched eyebrows: well-groomed, and not too scary high

–symmetrical face

–long neck

–curves: nice hips

–average breast size (not too big)

–a little bit over the average behind, but not too much
over the average


  1. We
    watched the beginning of A Girl Like Me
  2. We
    summarized the Doll Test in the film
  3. 15/21
    African American children preferred the white doll over the black doll:

Summary: study done on 21 African American children between the ages of 5-7 years of age, about what color of doll kids prefer to play with. They thought the white doll was
the prettiest and the black doll ugly.


The test was conducted by teenage African American young


The test is about kids’ perceptions about skin color in
general. The dolls were the same except for the skin color. The choices of the
children were based on that feature.


When asked which was the “nice” doll, she chose the white
one. When asked why, she responded “she’s white.”


The ethnographer wanted to see if the results from the first
experiment in the 1950s changed in the present. Not too much has changed since
then . . .


The last child, when asked which doll she resembled,
hesitated before she offered the black doll.





African American children are discriminating their own race.


The African American children preferred the white doll
because . . .

–parents and media: their parents have taught them that
whiteness is a mark of beauty; in the media, we are taught the same thing.

–They are exposed more to white dolls

–when they see African Americans with light skin portrayed
as more beautiful

–kids are keen observers: they see their parents, and how
they think of beauty

–models for products are often white

–for decades white race was portrayed as the dominant race

–2nd generation of African Americans enjoying
social equality, so they have been raised by the generation that had to live
through racism; the memories of their parents affect their children; social
circumstances still affect children in the present

–their neighborhood affects them: maybe


She didn’t want to be known as the “bad” doll. She

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Bourdieu Quote

Bourdieu, Pierre. “The Economy of Symbolic Goods.” Practical Reason: On the
Theory of Action
. Trans. Randal Johnson. Stanford: Stanford UP, 1998. Print.


These common dispositions, and the shared doxa they establish, are the product of an identical or similar socialization leading to the generalized incorporation of the structures of the market of symbolic goods in the form of cognitive structures in agreement with the objective structures of that market. Symbolic violence rests on the adjustment between the structures constitutive of the habitus of the dominated and the structure of the relation of domination to which they apply: the dominated perceive the dominant through the categories that the relation of domination has produced and which are thus identical to the interests of the dominant.


Because the economy of symbolic goods is based on belief, the principle of its reproduction or crisis is found in the reproduction or crisis of belief, that is, in continuity or rupture with the adjustment between mental structures (categories of perception and appreciation, systems of preference) and objective structures. But the rupture cannot result from a simple awakening of consciousness; the transformation of the objective structures of which they are the product and which they can survive. (121-122)

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The “Best Of” Questions for Essay 2

The second essay has posed many interesting problems for some folks. I blame this on that test you took the week before. At any rate, I’ve compiled here the list of great questions for review:

Q. For the upcoming essay I wanted to know if I would be able to use three different representations of college, for example, college is a party, college is about joining a fraternity or sorority, college is a do over of high school and to get a high gpa for the future. Would these representations be okay to use?

Q. I’m confused about how to cite sources in the essay. After quoting the song lyrics/phrases from the video, do we put the title of the video in parenthesis, like would I put it as (asher roth-I love college). ? On the purdue OWL site it only shows how to cite sources in the Works Cited page, not the essay.

Q. I have been reading the instructions to write the essay and I am confused about the topic. I am not veru sure about if we have to write about the intructions that are written on the silabus or we have to write about the post that you wrote(pick the three videos from youtube…) Can you clarify the essay homework, please?

Q. I don’t understand what’s the meaning of “institutional advantages and disadvantages you notice operating in your life”.Could you please give me a hint about that ?

Q. I know you said we need 5 pages minimum, but I see that my first page would already contain the first video for my “I” section as per your example in our blog, so does that mean that I’ll have to insert the same video in the blog more than once? Or should we use a whole page to talk about one video? But I know that I would never be able to write a whole page for the introduction and then a whole page for the conclusion. You also said from my first paper that we should keep one quote per paragraph, am I right?

Q. How many E paragraphs can I have for one video? I’m sure there will be more than one keyword from each one. What do I do then? I followed your example in our class blog, but now I’m confused about having to use the same video again as part of the “I” section. For example, I started with a movie trailer about college and wrote a very short summary of the main plot of the movie as the “P section, then I inserted the video for the “I” section and then took one sentence out of it for the “E” section, but now I have more sentences or keywords I’d like to use in different paragraphs, but I’m not sure I should insert the same video again as the “I” section, that was my first question in my last email.

Q. I’m still confused about getting the same video in the blog more than once (for example, each paragraph is a PIE paragraph, so I should insert the same movie in as many paragraphs as I write? If I find 4 keywords in the same video, will I have four paragraphs with that same video?

Q. On the class website, you told us to either compare/contrast the representations presented in the videos with our own college experience in the conclusion of the essay. In my essay, I have established a thesis and the videos that I have selected show different aspects of college that tie in with the thesis. The comparisons that I have made with my own college experience in response to each video are all one paragraph long. Instead of having three paragraphs of comparison at the end of my essay, would it be okay if I placed my comparisons directly after the video that I am comparing my experience to?


Remember: you can use material you already wrote on your blog to help compose this essay. You might be able to use some of the material about things you dislike about QC, or even the cliques around campus. Do the cliques resemble any of the representations?

You might even consider what a QC film might be, for example. What would be the “commuter college” representation? What would it look like?


Keep up the great work!

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Essay Questions

Dear Class: be brave, and write your next essay. Read over the guidelines in the Intro section of the syllabus. Pick three videos from YouTube (cite them in the essay body and works cited MLA format), and use them as the I sections for PIE paragraphs. For your conclusion you should introduce how these representations compare/contrast with your QC experience.

IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS, RESPOND TO THIS THREAD. Feel free to ask questions and answer one another too!




In the film A Girl Like Me, African American teenage women come to understand their “place” with the racial hierarchy of theUnited States.  . . . . 5 more sentences . . . about how they identify with their skin color in relation to the dominant mode of “whiteness”. An experiment conducted in the film asked 20 African American children to choose between a “good” doll and a “bad” doll:




According to the film, “15 out of the 21 children chose the white doll.” This goes on for some more E section, looking at key words or something from the text for analysis. Another 10-15 lines of E sentences.


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Class Notes, 28 Mar. 2012

 REMINDER: No Class on Monday (Just this class). Check the course syllabus. Also please watch this video, and pay particular attention to the “doll scene”.


“For-profit” and not-for-profit schooling:

branded American representations: very “to brand” and noun, “the brand”

Brand: company ; Kors (clothing, fashion): style, shirt $100

Hanes (clothing) $4.00

Representation: portrayal; stereotypes; picture; to show;



Politicians: represent different groups of people


Gap between:  Culturally encouraged aspirations (what people think about education and success are; family . . .)  AND Institutionally provided means of achievement (confusion)


–Two different meanings of success: students think they have to go to school,





“soft” denial: dumbing down standards for students . . .



Aspirations: get a degree; get a good job (high salary; insurance); have a family; have a home/house (car);


idea of a cooling-out process: steps or methods to arrive at something; set of stages


“A major problem of democratic society is inconsistency between encouragement to achieve and the realities of limited opportunity”


“situations of opportunity are also situations of denial and failure”


“democratic societies need not only to motivate achievement but also to mollify those denied in order to sustain motivation in the face of disappointment and to deflect resentment.”


In the film, Sgt. P said, “they deceived me” (“Pansky’s life”).

Not-for-profit College:


For-profit college: profit = money; business; business model of education:


Work on commission:


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Class Notes, 26 Mar. 2012

Sorry for the delay posting the notes: Qwriting’s been having some issues I think.


Standardized test: formal test; not a free-write; same amount of time for everyone


Standard: given the same always, procedure always the same;

Meant to fit types of students

Meant to categorize students: demographics: state born; state taking the test; age; ethnicity/race; gender (identity, how you identify yourself sexually) /sex (biological)


One of the effects of standardized testing: What teachers should be teaching more of or less of

–another: categorize students’ performances

–hierarchize students

–assess students


Measures: designed to measure knowledge, skills, and how you follow instructions; state wants statistics

Q. Are standardized tests true measures of your intelligence? Why or why not?

–not everyone can think under pressure: pressure

–should use grades to measure to intelligence

–sometimes the tests are dumbed down

–they don’t measure your real-life experience

Fair or not fair

Evelyn: the test was fair, everyone had the same amount of time (90 minutes)

“Topic”: non-fiction article; newspaper articles;

–everyone has the same test; no one has an advantage;

–highly unfair: have to learn how to take the test, tests on how to take the test; a money-making system; take “their” course to pass “their” test . . .

–doesn’t fit every student: questions could be misleading; tests are out to trick students;

–made to measure your knowledge and skills, but standards cannot measure everyone’s skills

–every student is different: some students might have English as a second language


Their: DOE; Writing Dept; College Board (Corporation), and ETS


Also comment on the students’ blogs whose videos we saw if you haven’t please.

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FOR CLASS 3/21 (Weds)

Hello everyone, the CUNY folks finally sent me some more info to pass on to you about the Weds practice exam. Though I will not be there, the proctors will take attentdance. The test does not affect your grade in the class, but your attendance will be noted.

For more about the CATW test, please see this attachment, which is addressed to you all, the students:

COMP student letter

Since I will not see you Monday, I should point out a few things here. First, your participation in the exam will help in choosing reading passages for this future assessment test. You will not receive a grade on your performance. The results will be used for comparative purposes across CUNY schools.

The test is 90 minutes, and you will be asked to prepare a multiple-paragraph essay responding to a brief passage. Your writing will be evaluated using the following criteria: ability to demonstrate understanding of reading passages; addressing all assignment directions; organizing and developing ideas; correct sentence structure and grammar.



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Class Notes, 14 Mar. 2012

Remember: NO CLASS ON MONDAY. You will have class on Wednesday, however, a “practice” exam. 


Responding to the NY Times article, “CUNY Adjusts Amid Tide of Remedial Students”


Students enrolled in “remedial” courses


CUNY spending too much money on remedial students



students have “deficits”: debt; burden; lack


Economic metaphor: commodifies students; defines or categorizes student abilities in the “economic” marketplace after schools



“Most students have serious challenges remembering the basic rules of arithmetic. The course is really a refresher, but they aren’t ready for a refresher. They need to learn how to learn.”


“know yourself”


“most students”: more than half

“serious challenges”: legitimate, dire, something to be looked at soon

“basic rules”: basic, primary, foundational, rudimentary, elementary

“refresher”: remember what you learned before; additional practice; assumption is that you already learned this material, and you forgot

“they aren’t ready for a refresher”: they (CC students) are not “prepared” for this additional practice with material they should already know

–they need to be trained how to be in a school environment; listen; study; memorize; to understand material to apply in their lives; being in the class physically and mentally; to concentrate, to focus; taking notes; participating in class; using material from examples to solve later problems; respecting rules; self-discipline; knowing what “type” of learner you are; how to experiment to figure out problems; to process material; how to take a test (budgeting your time, process of elimination)



–skills: how to memorize things; condense things; flash cards

–to students react to the material

–HS teachers aren’t doing their jobs

–“tests”: what they need to learn . . . SAT   ACT




argument: Responsibility falls on schools and not student

–USA HS students think HS is a waste of time

–USA HS could be a waste, but maybe not out of his experience or how


AND: an “old” representation of College, the film College (1927) starring Buster Keaton


popularity: well-known by your peers, peers follow you: could be good or bad; you draw attention; you have charisma


jocks: strong; more manly; people are afraid of them; if they win, they add to school spirit; social people;


pretty girl




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Class Notes, 12 Mar. 2012

Q. What are the differences between community colleges and 4-year


Angela: CC takes two years: Associate’s degree


Sylwia: CC classes are easier: the material is easier


Margarita: QC/NYU: more prestige from certain 4-year
universities; more prestige associated with Bachelor’s.


Stefany: less credits for CC (for your major)


Supreet: QCC; more interaction with professors, smaller
classes; give lots of homework and go over it until everyone gets the point; at
QC professors assign homework, but they don’t follow up on it.


Mariam: CC like HS because smaller classes and checking
homework; CC students have relationships with their instructors; CC students
get portrayed as “slackers”; they go to schools to improve their academic


Nathalie: stereotype of CC students is because they “slacked”
in HS, and now they want the easy way out; immigrants go to CC to improve their
English; low-income students can get financial aide (“amazing financial aide”)


Mollie: Open admissions; anyone can attend; 4-year schools
are selective


Yvonne: Some students go to CC to save money; cheaper
alternative to paying for 4-years at the University


Tina: 4-year University requires recommendations; 4-year
universities also require a personal statement


Michele: not all students are “slackers”; some students don’t
think they can take on the 4-year degree; some students take off time

CC Stereotype:

“Face of shame”: they know the connotations of attending CC;
to make themselves look better by saying what they will do





Danna: stereotype of students who can’t score high grades on
test; students at CC are not the smartest; but in the end they still get
accepted; “stupid” rules with the “no cape” rule;


Tina: he earned a 0, but still got in to college; instructor
says anybody can get it


Evelyn: funny because not a good idea to accept everyone;
crazy for students to earn a zero and get still in; there should be limits for
low-scoring students, but at CC they should be allowed to go, maybe improve
themselves so they can be better students later


Ulian: CC is a great business because students can get it,
they have to pay, and most students drop out; CC students aren’t always aware
of what they are getting themselves into; CC still make money


Nathalie: some schools have expensive tuition; students
sometimes drop out for the same reasons


Supreet: funny, but stereotyped CC students; when I first
arrived, I didn’t know they were looked down upon; if there with no CC, imagine
how many students would be without a degree


Whose responsibility is it to prepare students for college?

–responsibility of the student: they can go to other
schools, find sources to learn, be self-motivated, or if you have money to
learn . . .


–responsibility of school: offer more remedial classes;
lower standards.

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Class March 21st (Weds)

Please note everyone, you don’t have have class on March 19th (Mon) but you do have class March 21st. On that day, you will take a practice exam for the CUNY Assessment in Writing (CATW). You don’t have to prepare for the exam, as it’s mostly to see if it’s a good test or not. Do not get stressed out about it, and it does not affect your grade for this class in any way. To read more about the test, check this out:

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