2020 Summer Reading Assignment

A summer read book has been part of the Wagner Tradition for many years.  Offering a stimulating and enjoyable discussion point for students, faculty, and the entire Wagner community, the summer read serves as a resource for all to learn about each other and the world around them.  When students come to campus for the first time as Wagner students, they will become part of the Wagner community and part of the city. This book will be a wonderful way for the students to become part of both.  Particularly as we navigate the challenge of the pandemic this spring and summer, we know that this book will offer our students a chance to immerse themselves intellectually and imaginatively in the city they will come to know and love!

Your First Year Program faculty carefully selected Nonstop Metropolis (https://nonstopmetropolis.com/about) as your summer reading book because it touches upon the experiential learning in all Learning Communities and is a resource about the very city in which you will spend the next four years. This is the second year this title has been the summer read, and we are excited it is becoming a tradition at the college.  The book is part history, part geography, part social commentary, and offers visually and intellectually stimulating material for you to think about as you get excited for the college experiences ahead of you. Learn about New York City through the diverse eyes and minds of musicians, ethnographers, urbanists, journalists, scientists, and others. Your First Year Program faculty will select particular chapters for you to focus on, but we encourage you to read the book in its entirety. As you move through the Wagner plan during the next four years, and engage with the many boroughs of New York City, Nonstop Metropolis will be a useful resource.

You can order your copy from our Bookstore here: wagnercollegeshop.com.   Click on books (textbooks), choose the term ‘Summer 2020,’ and department ‘Default.’ and Course ‘SR 101 (Summer Reading 101) section 01. Enter submit and it will bring up the book along with instructions on how to order online so you can have it mailed to your summer address.

Below you will see the specific reading guidelines for each LC.  Now that you know which LC you will be taking, you can focus on the relevant parts. Enjoy the book!

 

FIRST YEAR PROGRAM 2020 Summer Reading Assignment

Take detailed notes as you read through the chapters below, focusing on the questions following.

Chapter 4: “Riot! Periodic Eruptions in Volcanic New York”

Chapter 8: “What is a Jew?”

Chapter 12: “City of Walkers”

Chapter 18: “Mysterious Land of Shaolin”

  1. Write one paragraph describing something that you discovered from these chapters and maps that piqued your curiosity.
  2. How do you think ethnic, racial, cultural, gender, economic and/or religious diversity have shaped New York City neighborhoods described in the readings, such as the Lower East Side or Park Hill (on Staten Island)?
  3. Explain this quote: “If you live in New York…you are Jewish. It doesn’t matter if you are Catholic, you’re Jewish…Jewish means pumpernickel bread, black cherry soda and macaroons. Goyish means Kool-Aid, Drake’s cakes and lime jello.”–Lenny Bruce, 1957.
  4. Is there another chapter you are tempted to read?

Introduction

Solnit (2016) describes New York City several ways. Choose one of her descriptive sentences and use it as a model to describe your home town or a place you have visited.

Chapter 2 Capital of Capital

Jelly-Shapiro (2016) provides several cause-and-effect explanations for why New York City became a center of capitalism. Identify one of these and describe one of the sentences from the chapter in your own words (paraphrase) or summarize one of the paragraphs into a single sentence in your own words.  Identify at least one place listed on the map that you would like to visit and briefly describe why it interests you.

Chapter 3 Crash

Taylor’s (2016) perspective is controversial; some thoughtful scholars may agree with her and others are likely to passionately disagree with her. Identify at least one statement in this chapter that might be controversial and quote it. Place quote marks before it and after the last word, and then follow with an APA-style citation (name of author, year of publication, page number).  Example with APA-style citation: “We were dressed in blue and would soon parade uptown to symbolize the rising tide and to protest the financial sector’s profiteering from an antiquated energy policy at the expense of the public good” (Taylor, 2016, p. 39).  Examine the map of the Wall Street area. Our plan is for Learning Community 2 to visit this area on Orientation Sunday.

Chapter 4 Riot!

Select one of the riots mentioned in the chapter and use your own words to summarize the description of it in a single sentence.         Choose one of the riots listed on the map and conduct a quick internet search to learn more about it. Summarize what you found in a sentence.

Chapter 8 What Is a Jew?

Identify at least one word that you did not previously know that seemed critical to understanding the sentence. Look up the definition of the word and then paraphrase the sentence in your own words to explain the meaning of the sentence.  Identify at least one word that you did not previously know that you were fairly confident you understood from the context of the sentence. Look up the definition of the word to check whether you were correct in the assumption you made.  Which four of the five boroughs of New York City are featured on the second page of the accompanying map? Which borough of the city is not depicted on the map? A survey in 2011 reached out to Jewish people in eight counties, including all five boroughs of New York City and three additional nearby counties. https://www.silive.com/news/2013/04/staten_island_jewish_leaders_c.html

Chapter 10 City of Women

Select one of the women mentioned in the chapter or listed on the map and look up bibliographical information about her in a quick online search. List her name, briefly describe her biography, and make a short argument for an ideal way to commemorate her, such as with a statue, or by naming a street or a bridge after her.

Chapter 16 Makers and Breakers

Identify an aspect of the chapter that you found surprising or alarming.

Select an additional chapter

For our first meeting, please choose one map that we have not assigned that intrigues you or that you find interesting and prepare to tell the class why you chose it.

(No LC 3 for Fall 2020)

Take detailed notes as you read through the chapters below, focusing on the questions following.

Introduction: “Centers and Edges”

Chapter 6: “Water and Power”

Chapter 16: “Makers and Breakers”

  1. Why was, and why is Central Park an important part of New York City?
  2. How did the need or desire to control water help to shape the landscape of the city? How did it ultimately shape the inhabitants of the city?
  3. How do you think the personalities and beliefs of Olmstead, Moses, and Jacobs inform their motivations for their lifework? What is the most important legacy of each?  How do you think each would define the ideal city?

Please take detailed notes as you read through the chapters below, focusing on the questions following each chapter title. Imagine yourself walking along the streets on each map and seeing or hearing each of the songs, things, or people named at various locations. We will discuss these when we meet together in August!

Chapter 1: “Singing in the City: The New York of Dreams”

What types of music does this chapter talk about?

If you were to make a film about the city, which of these songs might you put on the soundtrack?

If you were writing a poem about the city, what type of music would you sing it to?

Are there types of music not mentioned in this chapter that also reflect life in the city?

Chapter 5: “Carboniferous: Climate Change and the City”

How do the people mentioned in this chapter—the Rockefellers, the Koch brothers—relate to climate change? to New York? to the arts?

What is the author’s “vision” mentioned toward the end of the chapter? how could the arts help to achieve it?

Chapter 7: “Harpers and Harpooners: Whaling and Publishing in Melville’s Manhattan”

Who was Melville? where in New York did he live and work? when?

What did it mean to publish something in Melville’s day? what does it mean now?

Imagine yourself producing a film based on one of Melville’s books. Where in New York could you set the opening scene, and what type of music would you use to underscore it?

 

Take detailed notes as you read through the chapters below, focusing on the questions following.

Introduction: “Centers and Edges”

Chapter 2: “Capital of Capital: The New York of Dreams”

Chapter 5: “Carboniferous: Climate Change and the City”

Chapter 6: “Water and Power: The Reach of the City”

Chapter 10: “City of Women”

Chapter 17: “Trash in the City: Dumping on Staten Island and Beyond”

  1. Describe one interesting fact or idea that you learned reading each essay. Why do you find this interesting?
  2. Use Google to research the author of each essay.
    1. Who is the author?
    2. What is their educational background, training and experience?
    3. Why do you think the author was chosen to write this essay?
    4. How does the author’s training and background affect how you view the information you read?

Take notes as you read through the chapters below, and come with questions to ask and discuss about each of them. We have also provided prompts under the chapters for you to answer as you read.

Introduction: “Centers and Edges”

Chapter 2: “Capital of Capital: How New York Happened”

  • Chapter 2 begins by saying that New York City’s story is ultimately one about capital. Provide two details from the chapter that demonstrate this. Be sure to explain.

Chapter 6: “Water and Power: The Reach of the City”

  • Robust infrastructure is key to the proper functioning of a city. Provide at least two concrete examples from chapter 6 that capture this.

Chapter 24: “Mother Tongues and Queens: The World’s Languages Capital”

  • Chapter 24 estimates that there are potentially 800 different languages spoken in NYC. It also talks about how language takes a long time to evolve but it can take only two generations for a language to die out. Why is it so easy for languages to become extinct? Why does the loss or destruction of a language matter so much?

Chapter 26: “Oscillating City: Manhattan, Day and Night”

  • As you read this chapter, take notes on the moments in which it discusses the sheer volume of people who go in and out of the city. Provide at least three examples that demonstrate the author’s claim that NYC is a place of profound “oscillation.”

Take detailed notes as you read through the chapters below, focusing on the questions following.

Introduction: “Centers and Edges”

Chapter 8: “What is a Jew?”

Chapter 12: “City of Walkers”

Chapter 14: “Our Latin Thing”

Chapter 24: “Mother Tongues and Queens”

Be sure to spend some time looking at the maps and thinking of how each gives a very different view of life in NYC. For our first meeting, please choose one map that we have not assigned that intrigues you or that you find interesting and prepare to tell the class why you chose it. Please also think about the following questions as you go through the book:

  1. What can a map tell us or show us that prose writing cannot?
  2. If you could add one of your own maps of NYC, what would it be? Why? (This can be anything, i.e. “Film Lovers’ New York”, “Sports NY”, “Hip-Hop NY”, “Fashion NY”, anything!)
  3. What are the two most important things you feel you have learned about the city by reading and looking at this book?
  4. In many ways this book could function as a travel guide for someone who is visiting New York City for the first time. What kind of a traveler are you? Do you prepare for trips by reading guides and looking at maps, or are you more spontaneous and adventurous?

Take notes as you read through the chapters below. Be prepared to discuss the following questions.

Introduction: Centers and Edges

Chapter 1: Singing the City

Chapter 2: Capital of Capital

Chapter 4: Riot!

Think about the following questions:

  1. For Chapter 1: Singing the City
    1. Is there a specific song listed on the map or in the chapter that you are familiar with or relate to? Why? If not, select a song from the map and listen to a performance on the internet. How does it make you feel?
  2. For Chapter 2: Capital of Capital
    1. What is one reason that New York City became the capital of capitalism? Does any specific area on the map stand out to you? What do you think the future of capitalism will look like in New York City?
  3. For Chapter 4: Riot!
  4. Focus on a specific riot discussed in Chapter 4. Briefly discuss why this riot was relevant to the area it affected.
  5. OR: Luc Sante, the author of the essay, argues that riots in New York have always been rooted in race, class and property and can erupt at any time. However, he wrote the essay before the city experienced the Black Lives Matter protests of this summer. Do you think he would still make the same argument now?  Have you ever participated in a protest/riot that was suppressed by the police?

Take some notes as you read through the chapters below, and come with questions to ask and discuss about each of them.

Introduction, p. 1-13

Chapter 8: “What is a Jew?”

Chapter 10: “City of Walkers”

Chapter 14: “Our Latin Thing”

Chapter 15: “Burning Down and Rising Up”

Chapter 25: “Black Star Lines”

Chapter 26: “Oscillating City”

Take detailed notes as you read through the chapters below, and come to our first session with questions to ask and discuss about each of them.

Chapter 5: Carboniferous: Climate change

Chapter 6: “Water and Power: the reach of the City”

Chapter 13: “Wildlife”

Chapter 17: Trash in the City: Dumping on Staten Island and beyond

Welcome to the first-year learning community LC 12. This LC combines Dr. Shaohua Hu’s course on international politics and Dr. Steven Thomas’s course on world literature.

The book Nonstop Metropolis, a summer read for incoming students, offers a variety of perspectives on New York and covers a lot of different topics. Over the summer, please read as much as you can and feel free to skip around to sample the different points of view.

We have two activities for you over the summer to prepare for the first weeks of school.

First, everyone should read chapter (map) #2 titled “Capital of Capital.” We have prepared a short “virtual” field trip of the financial district of New York and several sites mentioned in that chapter “Capital of Capital.”  Before the semester begins, please read that chapter carefully and make a note about anything that interested you, surprised you, or confused you. Does it mention things you’ve heard about at school or elsewhere?

Second, find at least two chapters (and maps) that interest you the most. At the beginning of the fall semester, you can tell the rest of the class about one of them and maybe add additional information or perspectives on that topic.

We look forward to welcoming and meeting you in person. In the meantime, we wish you a safe and happy summer!

 

-Drs. Shaohua Hu and Steven Thomas

Please take detailed notes as you read through the chapters below, focusing on the following:

Introduction:  “Centers and Edges “

Chapter 16:  “Makers and Breakers “

Chapter 13:  “Wildlife”

1.  Why is Central Park an important part of New York City—both now and in the past?

2.  How do you think the personalities of, and the beliefs of, the NYC Makers and Breakers (namely, Olmsted, Moses, and Jacobs) inform the architecture found in their parks or projects in NYC? What are their most important legacies?

3.  Do you think that the humanized habitat of Central Park, along with its Zoo, benefits or harms the animals? Do you think that the horse drawn carriages have a place in the Park?

Take notes as you read through the chapters below, and come up with questions to ask and discuss about each of them.  Note how each chapter provides context for the sites you will visit in your virtual fieldtrip.

  1. Introduction: “Centers and Edges”
  2. Chapter 2:  Capital of Capital:  How New York Happened….

(A history of the industries that built New York’s economy)

  1. Chapter 3:  Crash:  Crises and Collisions in 21st Century Lower Manhattan

(A contrast between 9/11 and Occupy Wall Street)

  1. Chapter 4: “Riot! Periodic Eruptions in Volcanic New York”

(a chapter on riots, inequality, and activism)

  1. Chapter 16:  Makers and Breakers:  Olmstead, Moses, Jacobs Shape The City

(A chapter contrasting Moses’ “Urban Renewal” versus Jacob’s “Urban Preservation”

 

Take detailed notes as you read through the chapters below, and come with questions to ask and discuss about each of them.

Introduction: “Centers and Edges”

Chapter 2: “Capital of Capital: How New York Happened”

Chapter 3: “Crash: Crises and Collisions in 21st Century Lower Manhattan”

Take notes as you read through the chapters below, and come with questions to ask and discuss about each of them. Write your notes and questions down and bring them to our first RFT (Reflective Tutorial).

Introduction: “Centers and Edges”

Chapter 9: “Archipelago: The Caribbean’s Far North” and “Of Islands and Other Mothers”

Chapter 16: “Makers and Breakers: Olmsted, Moses, Jacobs Shape the City” and “Ways and Means”

Chapter 20: “Brooklyn Villages” and “Free but Not Free”

Chapter 24: “Mother Tongues and Queens: The World’s Languages Capital” and “Tower of Scrabble”

Chapter 26:“Oscillating City: Manhattan, Day and Night” and “Schleptropolis”

 

Take detailed notes as you read through the chapters below, focusing on the questions following.

Chapter 4: Riot!: The Violence of Inequality

Chapter 11 – Love and Rage

Chapter 15 – Burning Down and Rising Up/Seeing Through the Ruins/Interviews

  • Why did they choose to illustrate the book with maps?
  • Why are there so many chapters focused on immigrant experiences in and of New York?
  • How do our racial, ethnic, religious, gender, immigrant, etc. identities shape the way we experience and understand New York? The world?

In an essay respond to the following question: How do you think ethnic, racial, cultural, and religious diversity and immigration have and continue to change New York City neighborhoods?  How does the city’s history of protests and social movements affect this? Do you think there are similarities between these changes in New York and your hometown?

 

Format: 3 pages, double-spaced, 12 pt font, 1-inch margins

NYC is your new home, and the borough of Staten Island specifically.  We are asking you to read Non Stop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas to learn about the history and geography of the city you now call home.  As a Learning Community focused on art and theatre, your reading will focus on a few key chapters related to arts, culture, and change-makers. We encourage you to take notes as you read through the chapters listed below, to read more of the book that peaks your interest, and to come with questions to discuss.

Map 1: “Singing the City: The New York of Dreams” and “Our City of Songs”

Map 4: “Riot! Periodic Eruptions in Volcanic New York” and “The Violence of Inequality”

Map 16: “Makers and Breakers: Olmsted, Moses, Jacobs Shape the City” and “Ways and Means”

Map 18: “Mysterious Land of Shaolin: The Wu-Tang Clan’s Staten Island” and “Breathing Space”

Introduction

  1. Solnit (2016) describes New York City several ways. Summarize her viewpoint, using at least one specific quote from “Introduction” to support your point in explain what she means. Place quote marks before it and after the last word, and then follow with an APA-style citation (name of author, year of publication, page number).  Example with APA-style citation: “We were dressed in blue and would soon parade uptown to symbolize the rising tide and to protest the financial sector’s profiteering from an antiquated energy policy at the expense of the public good” (Taylor, 2016, p. 39).
  2. Then, explain how you would describe New York City, providing as specific an explanation as you can.
  3. Finally, what are at least two reasons you decided to attend college in New York City?

Chapter 12 City of Walkers

  1. Identify at least one place listed on the map, mentioned in this chapter, or that you know of otherwise that you have visited or would like to visit. Explain what that place it and provide at least two specific reasons for why it interests you. When do you plan to visit this place?

Please submit your completed assignment to Dr. Matt Kubacki, Dean for Academic and Career Engagement by emailing him at matthew.kubacki@wagner.edu.