The New Deal: Extra extra credit

Today we discussed extra credit. Here’s the revised version:

1. If you make less than a B on one of your midterms you can bump your grade up a notch upon completion of 3 extra credit assignments.

2. You can enhance your seminar grade by the same measure if you complete 3 extra credit assignments.

There are two sorts of extra credit assignments:

1. The Civic Engagement Project. Go to a political event and write it up. 350-500 words. Examples of political events include a city council meeting, student goverment, a rally or demonstration, a political club or other organization (College Republicans, SQE, Socialist Workers’ Party– it doesn’t matter what the political content of the group is).

2. American Culture and History in Film. Write a smart, thoughtful film review (again, 350-500 words) on one of the following films, linking it to issues of American history and culture raised in this course:

Incident at Oglala

documentary about Pine Ridge Reservation, the shooting of 2 FBI agents, and the prosecution of Leonard Peltier.


Spike Lee’s acerbic satire on African Americans and the media.

Full Metal Jacket

Stanley Kubrick’s blistering and humorous film about marines in Vietnam.

Why We Fight (2005)

Fairly recent doc on US militarism.

The Power of Nightmares

Adam Curtis’s doc. on the rise of neoconservatism and political Islam.

Thousand Pieces of Gold

Historical romance about a young Chinese woman’s experience in the frontier west.

Forbidden City, USA

doc. about a nightclub in SF featuring an all-AsianAmerican cast of performers. Circa 1940s.

4 Little Girls

More Spike. This one’s about a church bombing during the Civil Rights Era.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956 version)

Pod people attack the USA! You can almost smell the anti-communist paranoia.

Norma Rae

A working-class heroine struggles to unionize the workers at her mill.

Weather Underground

This was assigned for class, right?


Amazing doc. about the racial cleansing of African Americans from their homes.


John Sayles, one of the most interesting US film-makers alive, directs this story of striking miners in W. Virginia.

No Logo

A short doc. on consumerism featuring Naomi Klein.

Scratch (2001)

Q-bert! Beastie Boys! Turntablism!

American Dream

Barbara Kopple’s doc. on American labor strife.

Ethnic Notions

Marlon Riggs’s creative doc. on representations of black people. It’s virtually one long montage.

Strange Fruit

About the song and the man who wrote it and the woman who sang it.

Where Do You Stand?

More labor.

Deep Blues

Robert Palmer (RIP) interviews some down-home, collard greens-and-hominy blues artists.

George Washington (2000)

A compelling film about young kids in the US south.

Mai’s America

Great doc. about a young Vietnamese woman who comes to the US to go to school.


Solidarity forever.


Award-winning doc. on two bands: the Dandy Warhols and The Brian Jonestown Massacre. Crazy.

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room

doc. on the implosion of Enron.

There Will Be Blood

Based on an Upton Sinclair novel titled Oil, this film contains the memorable declaration “I drink your milkshake!”

Mystery Train

Jim Jarmusch’s love letter to Memphis, Tennessee and rock-n-roll.

Boulevard Nights

Late-70s coming of age flick about life in el barrio.

They Live

I showed you a clip for the the Adorno lecture.

Double Indemnity

We watched this already.

The Cradle Will Rock

An homage to the cultural ferment of the Great Depression.

North Country

Charlize Theron uglies up a touch to play a blue collar woman forced to confront entrenched misogyny in the workplace.

Lone Star

Another Sayles flick. This one’s a murder mystery and the Tex-Mex border.

All Over Me

Groovy coming of age film. Sexual identity, city life, punk rock.

Chan is Missing

one of the first US films that treats Asian American characters like real people rather than dragon ladies or coolies. Wayne Wang directs.

Glengarry GlenRoss

David Mamet, who is a great writer with questionable politics, wrote the screen play. “1st prize is a cadillac. 2nd prize is a set of steak knives. 3rd prize is you’re fired.”

Salt of the Earth

Black-listed for its lefty ideology. Miners on strike in New Mexico.


Lars Von Trier is a troubled, beautiful film-maker. When Roger Ebert saw this film he declared it “anti-American.”

The Eyes of Tammy Faye

doc. about a dotty, tenacious televangelist who watches her multi-million dollar tv empire collapse amid charges of salaciousness and excess.

Home Movie

doc. about people’s houses. one guy lives in a missile silo. pretty neat.


Red Dawn

Nicaraguan paratroopers drop into the cornfields of Iowa! The commies are coming!

American Gangster

Denzel Washington as the title character. Enough said.

Hearts and Minds

Oscar winning doc. about the American War in Vietnam.

Ride with the Devil

My favorite Civil War film. Based on real people and events. Tobey Maguire looks like he’s about 12.

6 thoughts on “The New Deal: Extra extra credit

  1. BrighterThanSunshine

    i wanted to know if we can do 3 extra credit to bump up the midterm AND do another 3 for the seminar grade .. or is it just one or the other like i can shoose to bump up the midterm grade OR the seminar grade but not both .. if that makes sense

  2. BrighterThanSunshine

    i have anothr question .. when is the last day to turn in the extra credits because the last day of instruction is tuesday which means we only have class on monday .. so is it ok to turn in extra credit on the day of the final too? thanks!

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