Analysis of Angela Davis’s Blues Legacies and Black Feminism

Third paper assignment Assignment The third and final paper requires analysis of Angela Davis’s Blues Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday or Leanne Betasamosake Simpson’s As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom through Radical Resistance. It should be between 2000 and 2500 words (about 8-10 pages). You may choose one of the prompts or you may create your own. 1. In her chapter “Blame It On the Blues,” Davis writes, “Here, as in blues discourse generally, the personal relationship stands both for itself and for unrealizable social aspirations and failed dreams. The blues as aesthetic form and practice must be understood as a means of testifying to and registering the lack of real, objectively attainable possibilities of social transformation” (pg. 12 of pdf). What connection is Davis here making between the personal and the political in the blues? How were the blues a particularly important outlet for Black women like Ma Rainey to explore questions of freedom? 2. Choose any song from this playlist and analyze it according to the principles and arguments about the blues laid out by Davis in Blues Legacies and Black Feminism. (Note that this entails identifying those principles and arguments for your reader.) Attend to both the musical and the lyrical dimensions of the song. What idea(s) of freedom does the song convey? 3. What, according to Simpson, is grounded normativity and what is its connection to indigenous freedom? 4. Create your own prompt. In doing so, be sure that you are making an argument – i.e., that you are presenting a position that can be contested and disagreed with, that you are supporting it with evidence, and that you are taking seriously any counter arguments. The prompt must still focus on either Davis or Simpson’s work and the outline and paper must meet the other general requirements. Outline Your outline must include: • a draft introductory paragraph • a title • a thesis statement (a succinct summary of your argument) • three main points in support of your argument, with page references You are not bound by the content of your outline – you may end up deviating from it in the final version of your paper – but the more consideration you give it, the stronger the final paper will be. Due dates The paper outline is due to Blackboard by 10 AM on Monday, December 7. The paper is due to Blackboard by 10:00 AM on Friday, December 11. Office hours I will have office hours throughout the week of December 7 in order to discuss your outline/paper, if you would like to do so. You can sign up here: Extensions A two-day extension can be requested for the paper, as long as it is done at least 48 hours in advance of the regular due date, via email. No explanation is required. Formatting requirements and other details • 2000-2500 words means 2000-2500 words, not 1400 or 2900. • Papers must be titled (something other than “GRS Paper #3”). • Papers must be formatted in 12 point, Times New Roman font with 1-inch margins on left and right. • Papers must be double-spaced. • Pages must be numbered. • All references to texts – whether direct quotes or not – must be cited. In other words, “when DuBois describes his return to visit with his former students” also requires a citation, even though you are not quoting DuBois directly. You may use whatever system of citation you prefer (APA, Chicago, MLA, etc.). Just be sure to use it consistently and correctly. • Facts that can be confirmed on Wikipedia (the year an author was born, for example) do not need to be cited. • Neglecting any of these details will lower your grade. • Late assignments will lose one-third of a letter grade (i.e., an A- becomes a B+) for every day that they are late, including weekends. Assignments not submitted will receive an F. All assignments must be submitted in order to pass the course. Resources • Please feel free to make use of the Writing Center. • In developing your thesis statement, please read Professor Erik Simpson’s “Five Ways of Looking at a Thesis.” [PDF] • For writing mechanics, the Purdue Online Writing Lab may be helpful.

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