Our final assigned reading this semester is President Barack Obama's Inaugural Address, delivered from the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. on January 20, 2009. Given the focus of our course on cultural diversity in America, and given the relatively recent date of President Obama's inauguration, this seems a fitting place to end our course. As the first African American President of the United States, and as the son of an African immigrant father and a European American mother, Obama also acknowledged the struggles of early settlers, later immigrants, slaves, and other diverse peoples to make a better life for themselves while at the same time making America what it is today:
"For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life. For us, they toiled in sweatshops, and settled the West, endured the lash of the whip, and plowed the hard earth. For us, they fought and died in places like Concord and Gettysburg, Normandy and Khe Sahn. Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions, greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction."
Even Obama's political opponents have recognized the historic nature of his presidency and his ability as a speaker to give voice to the aspirations of diverse groups of Americans while calling for unity across boundaries of race and culture. Few would doubt that Obama's presidency has changed the way Americans see themselves and their country. For our written work this week, please respond and comment on two classmates' responses to President Obama's inaugural address in the light of what we have read and discussed this semester on the diverse peoples who have contributed to the building of America. Whether or not you are a political supporter of President Obama, what are your thoughts on the historical and cultural significance of his election and inauguration as President of the United States at this moment in our history?
HUMANITIES 6 FINAL EXAM & SEMESTER PROJECT ------------------------------------------------------ Due Date: Sunday, July 22, 2012
FINAL EXAM Please respond to the following question in essay form. there is no specific length requirement, but a suggested length would be around 500 words. Exam essays should be submitted to the instructor by direct e-mail at: email@example.com. The due date for exam essays is Sunday, July 22. You may paste your exam into your e-mail message or attach it in MS Word format. Your semester project should also be submitted with your exam. Exam questions are based on course readings, accessible from the course homepage.
How have our readings from The Story of Virginia, American Slave Narratives, Angel Island Poetry, poems by Jimmy Santiago Baca, Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," and President Barack Obama's Inaugural Address changed or informed your understanding of the diverse peoples and cultures that have contributed to the story of America? What particular aspects of American cultures do you feel our readings have given you greater insight into or appreciation for? What details on American life from our readings did you find particularly interesting, surprising, or revealing; and why? How do these readings compare and/or contrast with depictions of early, modern, and/or contemporary American life you know from previous sources such as school textbooks, movies, and television shows? Please discuss at least three of our shorter readings in your essay, and provide specific examples from the readings for your major points.
SEMESTER PROJECT Due also during finals week is the semester project, based on the topic you submitted earlier this semester. Semester projects should be submitted to the instructor direct e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org. As noted on the course homepage, the suggested length for your project is the equivalent of 5-10 typewritten pages. There are no additional specifications for your project other than those that would apply to any standard college research paper, including citation of all sources and bibliography or "works cited" list.
Please feel free to e-mail me during finals week with any questions you may have regarding either the final exam or the semester project.