Post Colonial Lit Assignment, Part 1

Postcolonial Literature Class Coronavirus Assignment, part 1: Due Monday 3/30, midnight

All of us have been deeply impacted by the spread of Covid-19, often in ways we are only just beginning to see. For this class, a portion of your grade was the Personal History Project — in previous years, I asked you to research and consider how a major historical event affected you or your family, and then give a presentation on that material to the class.

Relevant events in previous classes might have included the 2009 stock market crash, 9/11, World War II, the Irish potato famine, the Depression, the colonial indenture system, etc. Perhaps your relatives moved countries in order to find work, for example?

This semester, I’m amending the assignment to focus on Covid-19. For today, your task is simple:

– either for yourself, a family member, or someone who you choose to interview (friend, acquaintance, or stranger are all fine), think about how the spread of coronavirus has affected them so far — has it affected their work, their physical or mental health, their care responsibilities, their schooling, their career aspirations, their relationships, etc. and so on?

– write up a short response (choosing whatever aspects you want to focus on) and hand it in to me electronically by the end of the day on Monday; bullet points are fine, or paragraphs — it’s entirely up to you. (Alternately, you can record a brief audio or video response to send to me; if you choose that, 2-3 minutes is fine, although you’re also welcome to go longer)

– please note on the response whether it’s okay to share this publicly; this won’t affect your grade one way or another, but if it’s okay to share with others, I may end up compiling those responses and sharing on social media. Just include at the end a note: “ok to share” or “prefer not to share”. If it’s “ok to share,” note “with my name” or “anonymously”. Thanks!

We’ll use this piece as the basis for the next stage in our project. It will be graded on a simple pass / no-pass basis — if you hand it in, that’s sufficient to get full credit for it.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This can be tough material. If you are finding Covid-19 writing emotionally difficult to work with, and would prefer to stick to the original assignment of a more distant historical event, I’m fine with that. Just let me know, please.

Stay safe, stay home, be well. More soon.


Side note: I teach at a state school (UIC), with a very mixed economic / etc. student population. Some students are bored and wanting more challenging work right now, some were struggling to keep their heads above water even before all this happened, so I tried to design this for flexibility and compassion. This is for a 100-level class.

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