Final paper (10 pages) | Literature homework help

CLL 139 Performance, Protest and the Arab World

Final Take-home Exam– Spring 2015


Your final exam will be a take-home exam, to be posted on Turnitin in Blackboard/Assignments by 5/14 at 6:30 PM. There will not be an in-class exam. The exam includes 2 parts, delineated below. The main focus will be a comparative essay. This is an opportunity to synthesize what you’ve learned, make connections and deepen your analysis. Do not repeat writing from your (or others’) journals or discussion posts. I’ve included extensive guidelines and examples below.


Part 1:

·      Define the following bolded terms; and choose 3 other terms or dates to define in your own words in 2-3 sentences, with examples where relevant.  

·      Also integrate the terms/dates below in your essays. You can either use the 6 you define here, or – for more credit – include others.

·      Make sure that your definitions are your own words and not simply copied/quoted. (18 pts)


1.     Intertextuality

2.     Richard Schechner, “restored behavior”

3.     Richard Schechner, “broad spectrum” approach to performance

4.     Richard Schechner, “maya-lila time-space”

5.     J.L. Austin’s theorization of the “performative” (include the main parameters of his theory; “infelicitous” speech; “parasitic” utterances, etc)

6.     Searle’s “speech acts”

7.     Jacques Derrida, on performative utterance and repetition (“general iterability,” contingent meaning)

8.     Reception communities

9.     1948 and 1967 – what happened/significance

10.  Foucault’s theories of power

11.  1991 and 2003 – what happened/significance

12.  #Jan25 Revolution – year, what happened/significance

13.  Jasmine Revolution – year, what happened/significance


Part 2: Essay question: write an essay from a precise thesis based on the following essay question, and 2-3 sub-questions.

·      Note which sub-questions you’re addressing on your exam.

·      Be sure to directly engage the bolded terms/texts.

·      Your essay must include at least 3-4 *primary sources, and at least 3 *secondary texts/theorists.

·      Your introduction should frame your thesis, including the names of all works you’ll be examining; and the essay should devote at least 2-3 substantive paragraphs of analysis per text, featuring at least 3 significant, and limited quotes per text (see Guidelines below)with a conclusion showing the new understanding developed through your argument. That should come to 7-9 pages using normal fonts/spacing. This is a minimum length – but what’s most important is to produce a thoughtful, thorough analysis. Avoid repetition or other superfluities that add length.

·      Remember to focus your analysis on the works themselves – rather than big general themes; and to cite precise quotes, always including author/source, and page numbers where relevant. (*See Guidelines below for more details and tips, including definitions of primary and secondary sources) (82 pts)


PART 2: ESSAY QUESTION: explore the following question and 1-2 sub-questions in a cogent, focused essay. Be sure to directly engage the bolded terms:


Consider the relationship that is shaped by your chosen texts/works and their reception communities. How do texts engage, addressor hail various reception communities – sometimes simultaneously and in exclusion of each other? How can we glean these relationships in the intertextual allusions of your chosen works, as works of protest? How do they constitute, relate to, imagine and situate themselves within particular socio-historical reception communities? What do specific choices of symbolic allusions tell us about the shared collective vision represented in the text/piece? Or the way it delineates a collective “inside” in resistance to an “outside?” How is our understanding of the text enhanced by our engagement with its multiple, often contradictory contexts of reception? (e.g. perhaps hailing local, regional and international audiences in simultaneous and different ways—sometimes even in exclusion of each other) Consider the performative quality of the works in relation to their audience(s). Your analysis should engage with at least 3 theorists including at least one from Slyomovics, Rowe & Jawad; and can also include others such as Carlson, Derrida, Bilal, Colla, or others to consider how their work enhances our understanding of these issues. Choose 3-4 primary texts to closely examine, (excluding class texts used in your presentation) from amongst: “Domestic Tension,” “The King’s Elephant,” 9 Parts of Desire, “Darkness,” Jahin, Haddad, Darwish, al-Abnoudi, al-Shabbi, “I Am Rachel Corrie,” or other relevant works.


Choose 2 of the following sub-foci to address in the context of this question:


a)     Consider the role of “address” in this context. How does the work address its audience, and how does this implicate them in the work? How are they called upon to close the circuit of meaning, completing the work? How does this change the work itself? Remember to focus on how the work reflects this. There were also a few works that talked about the ways that actual audiences received the works– e.g. Bilal, Jawad, Rowe, Slymovics, the #Jan25 chants/jokes translations.

b)    How does reception relate to the issue of censorship, and “codes” that may be legible to one community while hidden from another?

c)     How or why does the text challenge or adhere to traditional genre boundaries of performance? What are the particular contexts to which the works respond that drive those choices? How are they linked to the notion of reception?

d)    How is the audience engaged, directly or indirectly? Is the concept of the “invisible mirror” relevant? Is the fourth-wall being broken, and if so why? What else is important to note?

e)     Regarding the intertextual allusions, what do these specific intertexts contribute to the meaning and message of these texts/performances? What do these intertexts “perform?” How do they each constitute or reflect particular conceptions of community; national or collective identity; or collective resistance? What kinds of internal and external debates do they represent and reflect?  What kinds of identities are being challenged or reinforced?




·       Your essay should focus on the specific artistic, literary and/or performative features of your chosen texts/materials, contextualizing them historically & geographically.  Be sure to correctly identify where the material/author/etc is from, and the historical relevance, but avoid focusing only on (historical or social) context.

·       Avoid synopsizing plot. Include context, but focus on analysis of the above.



·       Your essay will build on precise close reading of specific quotes from your chosen texts, with properly formatted citations, including page numbers where relevant (review Citation handout on Blackboard/Course Documents). Cite carefully to clarify your argument; and to avoid plagiarism.


o   You must include at least 3 precisely trimmed quotes from each text, in context.

Condense your quotes to exactly the section you’ll be analyzing. Do not include an entire paragraph, or even a full sentence if the kernel of your idea is in just a few words. But always give just enough context to make the quote legible.


o   Follow the golden 2:1 rule for analysis: i.e. for each line cited, there should be at least 2 substantive lines of analysis. This is a general rule to help keep you on track. Have confidence that you have something original and interesting to say about these works. Don’t assume that it’s self-evident. Elaborate your ideas.


o   Your analysis will examine the texts through these specific quotations, rather than general statements about them. Choose quotes that represent ideas that are central to the work, not marginal.


o   Always provide full citation of sources with any quotations, including page numbers where applicable.


o   Focus on specific language and images, and their specific effects. Don’t say that the image is “strong” or “interesting;” demonstrate what it means and why it’s significant.  What are the connotations of particular images and word choices? How do they resonate with their historical and social context?


o   Remember not to simply state your citations, but to clearly demonstrate why each one is significant and how it relates to your thesis.This does not mean repeating the thesis statement: it means always relating your argument back to that core idea, to guide your reader.


o   Note: according to the paragraph/length requirements I included, your final should be 7-9 pages. Use regular 12pt Times font, 1″ margins, not more than 1.5 or double space, no extra/weird spacing on the pages. Avoid repetition or overly long quotes, or other padding for length’s sake. Focus on in-depth analysis of your points, connecting them back to your thesis, and you’ll have plenty of substantive things to say.



o   Remember: a thesis is an arguable statement. It is not self-evident. It can be argued for and argued against.


o   IMPORTANT: Include the names of the texts you’ll be examining in your thesis, which should be situated at or toward the end of your introductory paragraph.

This will help you to remain focused and specific, and it will strengthen your thesis. Your thesis and argument should hone in on the precise features of your chosen texts – for example rather than “I will look at poetry and protest,” include the names of the poems and/or poets, and try to introduce exactly what you’ll be looking at. (For example: “I will be looking at intertextual allusions in x, y and z poems [or plays, etc] and the ways that they contributed to the protest movements in [Palestine/Israel or Tunisia or Egypt, etc].”) The more narrow and defined your thesis is, the easier it will make it to write your argument to write. Of course, the thesis – and ensuing argument – must still be relevant to course themes. Choose relevant, central features on which to focus, rather than tangential details.


·       Remember our definitions of “primary” vs “secondary” texts.

o   A primary text can be a play; art piece; performed set of protest chants (at least 5); live or taped performance; a series of dances; a long poem or two short ones; two songs. Examples of primary texts: “Darkness,” “The King’s Elephant,” 9 Parts of Desire, the documentation of Wafaa Bilal’s work on his website, the videos of El Funoun and Sareyyet Ramallah’s dances, “I Am Rachel Corrie,” Mahmoud Darwish’s poems (including the ones in the presentation), Al-Shabbi’s poems, the songs of DAM, etc. The Jahin & Haddad poems in Radwan’s article would be considered primary texts; but her analysis and commentary on them would be considered secondary texts. If you use these, you would need to delineate between what Radwan says about the poems and what you say.

o   Use secondary texts to theorize your analysis of primary texts, and for context. Secondary texts include theory and socio-historical and political analyses. Historical-background material should be cited for context, but won’t be the focus of your analysis. E.g. The articles/chapters by Jawad, Colla, Bilal, MacDonald (the songs included in his chapters could be considered primary texts), Slyomovics, Carlson; the “Performativity” article, etc.




·       Always avoid generalizations and universalizing statements of any kind. Stay away from general statements like, “this is an example of protest and performance;” or “this is an example of x in the Arab world.”  You can’t support general statements about the entire Arab world throughout time and space. Stick to narrow, supportable arguments. The more specific your points, the stronger your argument. This will resonate into larger contexts.


·       Make sure that your supporting paragraphs and conclusion build on and develop your thesis rather than simply repeating it.  Your conclusion should not repeat your thesis. Rather it should clearly indicate the new understanding you’ve reached via your argument.


·       Remember to consider your examples in their context, not an outside context (e.g. the U.S.). Limit yourself to the texts and theories we’ve been discussing in class. You can also refer to the presentations, but that won’t be your focus.


·       You can build on the ideas you’ve been developing, but don’t repeat writing from journals or discussion posts by yourself or your classmates. 

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