Emerson-Treska powerpoint

From Self-Reliance to
Civil Disobedience:
Guerilla Transcendentalist Projects
Aerie Treska
English Department
Roland Park Country School
Baltimore, MD
First, some context….
• AP English 11
• American Literature focus
• Begin year with units on The Scarlet Letter and the
American Transcendentalist movement
• Hawthorne : role of women in society (Hester Prynne)
• Emerson and Thoreau: dead white male (?)
• Students have already written one major essay at this point;
now it’s time for a more creative project.
Ralph Waldo Emerson’s
“Self Reliance” (1841)
alh Waldo Emerson
Henry David Thoreau’s
“Civil Disobedience” (1849)
Essential Questions:
• What do dead-white-Transcendentalist-males have in
common with modern artist-activists?
• How can students convey their knowledge of
Transcendentalist ideas to their peers?
• How can we use Emerson’s and Thoreau’s concepts to
encourage individuality and self-confidence in young
“Sometimes a scream is better than a
Ralph Waldo Emerson
“It is not enough to be industrious; so
are the ants. What are you industrious
Henry David Thoreau
Translating ideas (text)
into action (public art installments):
British street/graffiti artist who
uses guerilla art to convey his
political messages to the masses
Images from the West Bank
Barrier, 2005
Yarn Bombing (noun):
the activity of putting knitted coverings on statues, posts, seats and
other public objects, especially secretly and without official permission
Billboard Liberation Front
Stella Artois Billboard: Midtown Manhattan, 2010
BLF: “establishing a new paradigm in street marketing”
The assignment:
1. choose a quote from one of the essays we read.
2. create a visual response that conveys the meaning of
your quote.
3. craft an Artist’s Statement that explains your process,
your finished product, and what you hope to profess
through your project.
4. post/perform/install your project in a public space on
“The civilized man has built a coach,
but has lost the use of his feet.”
“The voyage of the best ship is a zigzag line of a hundred tacks.”
Images Cited
Banksy. West Bank Barrier Graffiti. theguardian.co.uk. n.d. Web. 4 Feb. 2012.
BLF. “Improved” Stella Artois Billboard. Graffiti. billboardliberation.com. 30
Sep. 2010. Web. 4 Feb. 2012.
Maxham, Benjamin. Portrait of Henry David Thoreau. Daguerreotype.
thoreau.eserver.org. n.d. Web. 4. Feb. 2012
Moore, Mandy. Yarnbombing. Photograph. yarnbombing.com. n.d. February
Southworth and Hawes. Photograph of Ralph Waldo Emerson.
eastmanhouse.org . Photograph. n.d. Web. 4. Feb. 2012.
With appreciation for my Roland Park
Country School AP English scholars
and my colleagues
Sara Rollfinke (Dean),
Ereni Malfa (Principal), and
Jean Waller Brune (Headmistress).

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