Week Six Update


This week we have been thinking about the way that different cultures are visible in the United States through performance, architecture, art, music, and language. I’ve asked each of you to come to class on Friday with a one-paragraph description of a way that your home culture is visible in the United States.

Once again, I would like to thank the visitors that joined us in Monday’s class.  Aki, Shirley, and Kristen gave a wonderful performance of the little known Japanese performance art, Zeni Daiko. Before the performance, Aki shared the history of her family’s experience in the Japanese Internment Camps, giving us a better sense of what we saw in the documentary “Rabbit in the Moon.” Aki told us how her father taught her zeni daiko as a girl and what it means to her to perform it for other people today.

Here are two videos of the Diablo Taiko group at the 2012 Summer Festival:

1. A performance of Zeni Daiko: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPFGOzow3FM

2. A Taiko Performance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86ZarvHlGm8

Here are some links for the topics we discussed in Wednesday’s class.

1. The link to The New American’s website that I asked you to explore before class: New Americans

The New Americans

2. The link to the short You Tube video on “The Great Wall of LA”: Great Wall of LA


3. The link to the New York Times website’s interactive “Immigration Explorer”: Immigration Explorer

Immigration Explorer

4. The link to the PBS Faces of America “Becoming American” program: Faces of American: Becoming American

Becoming American

In Friday’s class you will be turning in the last journal entry, the one-paragraph description of a way that your culture appears in public here in the US, and the group questions we will complete in class.

Your final group project packets are due in class on Monday.

The two-page Reflective Letter is due in class on Wednesday. Please see the assignment page for more details on the Reflective Letter.

In Friday’s class you will be turning in the last journal entry, the one-paragraph description of a way that your culture appears in public here in the US, and the group questions we will complete in class.

Your final group project packets are due in class on Monday.

The two-page Reflective Letter is due in class on Wednesday. Please see the assignment page for more details on the Reflective Letter.




Week Five Update

Week Four Updates


This week we will begin to think about culture in the public sphere. To do so, we will discuss the importance, complexities, and challenges that arise from the freedom of speech. In Monday’s class we will discuss the First Amendment to the US Constitution:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

In Wednesday’s class we will discuss famous instances of free speech in twentieth-century American history. We will consider not only political speeches but also  expressions of dissent in the form of popular songs.

As part of the preparation for Project #2, in Friday’s class we will discuss cultural customs.

I have posted Reading Packet #2 to the Handouts page of the course site. In it you will find all the readings for the rest of the term. I expect each of you to come to Thursday’s study group with a printed copy of Reading Packet #2. Please note that a number of our “readings” will be online sites and videos. I expect each of you to take the time to explore those sites and watch those videos with the same close attention that you have been devoting to the assigned readings.

I will be handing out Week #4 Individual Study Questions on Wednesday and detailed instructions concerning Project #2 on Friday. I will also post those documents to the course site when they are available.

See you in class.

Images and Links for Monday’s Class:



UC Berkeley Free Speech Movement

UC Berkeley Free Speech Movement

Formatting Your Paper for Project #1

Here are two useful links with information on how to format your papers at DVC. Both of these resources explain proper MLA (Modern Language Association) formatting rules. These are the rules that you will use in almost all your college courses.

First, here is a web page with detailed instructions and a sample paper illustrating proper formatting:

Online Writing Lab: Paper Formatting

Second, here is a YouTube tutorial that explains the basic features of a properly formatted paper:

Tutorial on MLA Formatting



Class Update for 04/21/14

I’m sorry that our class meeting had to be cancelled due to the power outage. Here is an update explaining what you should do in preparation for tomorrow’s study session and Wednesday’s class.

For tomorrow’s study session, please read and annotate your copies of Gary Soto’s story “Like Mexicans” and Jamaica Kincaid’s story “Girl.” Andrew will be checking to see that you have thoroughly annotated your text. Annotation shows that you are completing the reading and thinking about it carefully. I have decide to cancel reading Anzaluna’s “How to Tame a Wild Tongue,” so you will not need to read that text. I have also posted a better version of Friday’s assigned reading, Cooper’s “A Clack of Tiny Sparks,” to the Handouts page (the version in the reader is too blurry).

Also for tomorrow’s study session, please bring a copy of your Project #1 draft to show to Andrew and to share with your peers. You will be working in pairs during the study session to complete the peer review. The goal of this activity is for you to ask thought provoking and challenging questions about your peer’s writing, questions that will help him or her develop key ideas in greater detail.

In Wednesday’s class we will discuss Soto and Kincaid in detail, and I will answer any remaining questions about Project #1.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me with questions or comments.



“I am really hungry now”


In class on Monday, I asked each of you to describe a family meal. Here is an (anonymous and slightly edited) example from the great descriptions that you submitted:

“When I went home from Singapore, my grandmother, who always cooks at home, would prepare my favorite foods to welcome me. As soon as I stopped in front of my house and open the door, I could already smell the aroma of the spices that are used in the most popular Indonesian dish called ‘Rendang.’ It is a spicy beef that is stewed with a coconut milk. As I entered, on the dining table beside the rendang beef, I could also see a plate of pan-fried eggplants with chillies and onions on top. A bowl of Indonesian salad served with peanut sauce called ‘Gado-Gado.’ A pot of chicken soup cooked with onions and vegetables. Last one would be steamed rice. Each person will be served a glass of cold lime juice.”

I’ll type up an post a few additional examples to the “Student Writing” page.

As one student wrote: “I am really hungry now!”

Week Two

Li-Young Lee

Li-Young Lee

I enjoyed reading your journal entries this weekend. Many of you wrote about important personal experiences of the power of language. A number of you shared about having a grandmother or grandfather who never learned to read; others shared about the experience of teaching poor children how to read. It was clear that each of you thought deeply about the reading we did last week. I know that reading Paley’s poem “Family” was challenging, but many of you successfully used that poem to think deeply about the way that family has shaped your own identity.

This week we will continue to talk together about family and identity. Our readings this week focus on aspects of the Asian-American experience as a way to think about the experience of immigration and second generation immigrants.  This week’s readings also share a theme of food, something many of your journal entries also discussed.

This week we will read the following essays and poems:

Chang-Rae Lee, “Coming Home Again”

Li-Young Lee, “Eating Alone” and “Eating Together”

Amy Tan, “Mother Tongue”

Eric Lui, “Notes of a Native Speaker”

In Monday’s class, I played a video of Li-Young Lee discussing poetry and reading. Here is that video:

Li-Young Lee Interview

Please watch the video again before our class on Wednesday.

See you in class.