Wednesday, February 17, 2010

"Words and Pictures" at the Institute for Visual Studies 2/9

The opening is from 11-1, Roop 208. This semester, the IVS studio seminar is “Writing and Illustrating Literature in which student writers and graphic designers are collaborating to create graphic novels, children's books, and other visual narratives. This exhibition is an introduction to the possibilities of these genres and will include original work by Rich Hilliard (School of Art and Art History) and guest artist, graphic novelist Julia Wertz. At noon on 2/10, Wertz will discuss her artistic process in the first IVS spring colloquium. Questions to Daniel Robinson at 568-5656 or

West African Film Series

The series spotlights a variety of social and cultural themes in Sierra Leone, Mali, Bourkina Faso, Liberia, Nigeria, Niger, Ivory Coast, Senegal, and Cameroon. Screenings are on Wednesdays at 7 pm, G44 Burruss Hall, throughout the semester. Faculty and other experts will be on hand to discuss each film. Details and schedules are here. Dr. Aderonke Adesanya will deliver a talk on "Cultural Elements in Nigerian Films" following the April 7th screening. Dr. Adesanya is an art historian at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan, Nigeria. The series is sponsored by: Africana Studies; Office of International Programs; Justice Studies; Cross Disciplinary Studies; Office of Diversity; African Student Organization; Center for Multicultural Student Services; and Department of Foreign Languages, Literature and Cultures.

"Lineage: The Margaret Walker Song Cycle" 2/27

Hosted by the Furious Flower Poetry Center and Center for Multicultural Student Services: Saturday, 2/27, 4:00p.m., Festival Highlands Room. "Lineage" combines Walker's poetry, Randy Kline's music, the JMU Chorale, Broadway artist Aurelia Williams, and a photographic montage of African American history.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Asian Studies Symposium, 2/15

History, Politics, and Food Security in Asia -- Festival Highlands Room, 6:30-8:30 pm

“Korean Food, Korean Unification: Cold Noodles vs. Choco Pie” -- Guest Presenter: Mr. John Feffer, Institute of Policy Studies

“How Columbus Transformed Asian Food” -- Dr. Abigail Schweber, Department of History, JMU

“Tainted Milk and Corrupted Bodies in the Wake of China’s Melamine Scandal” -- Dr. Megan Tracy, Department of Anthropology & Sociology, JMU

An Asian food buffet and refreshments will be provided beginning at 6:30 pm. Sponsored by: Asian Studies Minor, Taste of Thai, Saigon Café, Tsunami Sushi, The Oriental Café, and Indian and American Café.

All members of the JMU community are invited. For more information, contact Dr. Jonathan Walker at or 568-1742.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Extra Credit Quiz

I will raise the lowest commentary grade by one (1) letter for the first ten (10) people who answer any of the following questions about Death and the King's Horseman correctly. You can submit answers to all of the questions, but I will only raise one (1) commentary grade per respondent. Submit your answers as "comments" to this post. Answers must quote textual evidence and use proper citations. Here are the questions:

1. What does Olunde mean when he tells Elesin, "I have no father, eater of left-overs"? What is the significance of this line?

2. Who or what stops Elesin from transitioning to the realm of the ancestors at the proper moment? What is the significance to the community of this failure?

3. What is the central conflict of this play?

4. Soyinka goes to great pains to warn would-be producers against a "clash of cultures" interpretation? Why does Soyinka argue that such an interpretation is not only incorrect but impossible?

Please be ready to finish discussion of this play when we next meet, on Friday, 2/12.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Class Schedule Changes Due to Recent University Closings

Revised 2/11, 1:29 p.m.

Please note the following schedule changes to accommodate the recent university closings. I have made these changes to the online version of our course schedule, available on this blog (see the January blog archive).

1. Due: online commentary on Death and the King's Horseman. Please reply to my Death and the King's Horseman post by Friday, 2/12, by 5pm EST.

2. Remove Tlali, "Fud-u-u-a," from syllabus.

3. Move Kid's Stuff Learning Activity final paper due dates to: Monday, 2/15, for the 12:20 class; and to Wednesday, 2/17, for the 9:05 class. I will return drafts to the 9:05 class during our next meeting.

4. No commentary on Wednesday, 2/17.

5. Group Community Service Project proposals are due on Wednesday, 2/24. See the January blog archive for the assignment. I will distribute hard copies of the assignment and take questions during our next class meeting. You should begin thinking now about possible group and project forms.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Death and the King's Horseman: Online Commentaries

Please post your online commentaries for Death and the King's Horseman here. As with your Anowa posts, these commentaries may either initiate or continue an existing discussion thread. All commentaries must otherwise comport to assignment parameters. Please remember to include your full name in your post. I will assign a zero (0) to any post whose writer I can not immediately identify.

I have asked JMU Theatre and English major Robby Bassler to guest-direct a pivotal scene from Soyinka's play in the next meeting of my 12:20 section, in Burruss 36. Robby is an Honors student who extensively researched African theatre and Soyinka's aims for this play in a previous world literature honors course. To those in the 9:05 section, I hope as many of you as can make it will attend the 12:20 class so that you can take part in this exciting drama study.