Working with The Crisis

Class presentation on The Crisis magazine

English 216: African American Women’s Writing

Eurie Dahn (The College of Saint Rose)


The purpose of this assignment is to make you more comfortable with reading primary source documents and doing research on primary sources.  This is hard, so feel free to ask for help.  On March 1st or possibly earlier, I will give a brief a presentation on The Crisis, so you will have some general background on it.


Pick one early-twentieth-century issue of The Crisis from the Modernist Journals Project website, and look through the magazine for discussions of gender and women in particular.  Then choose an article, essay, work of fiction, photograph, or advertisement from the issue that you would like to discuss; it is not necessary to pick more than one text, but you do have the option of relating your text to other aspects of the issue. Your presentation about this text should take no longer than 8 minutes, and you should expect to answer questions in class about your subject.


This assignment will involve three tasks:


Task One: In the class period before the day of your presentation, tell me what issue you will be presenting on.  You may coordinate with the person who is presenting on the same day as you, and the two of you may even discuss the same issue—provided that each of you talks about different aspects of it.  Presenters on subsequent days cannot use issues that have already been presented.  If you like, you can run the subject of your presentation by me ahead of time.


Task Two: You should write out a specific and concise synopsis of the article, essay, work of fiction, photograph, or advertisement that you are focusing on, and then use it in your presentation to introduce your subject to the class.  This synopsis should be in your own words with quotations kept to a minimum, and it should be very brief.  As you present your synopsis, be prepared to show the class your article, essay, photograph, or advertisement on the projection screen.


Task Three: Then explain to the class what you think the article, essay, work of fiction, photograph, or advertisement is saying about gender.  How does the magazine discuss women’s issues?  Conservatively?  Radically?  What is the connection between gender and race?  Does it serve a political purpose?  Can you make any ties between the magazine and the novel we are reading for that day?  This is the most important part of the presentation, so be sure to spend the most amount of time with it.  Strive to provide creative analyses of your material.


This presentation will be worth 10% of your grade.  All three parts of the assignment must be fulfilled if you want to earn a passing grade on it. No late or delayed presentations will be accepted.

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