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Nelson Mandela, writing from his prison cell

“You may find that the cell is an ideal place to learn to know yourself, to search realistically and regularly the processes of your own mind and feelings. In judging our progress as individuals we tend to concentrate on external factors such as one’s social position, influence and popularity, wealth and standard of education …. but internal factors may be even more crucial in assessing one’s development as a human being: honesty, sincerity, simplicity, humility, purity, generosity, absence of vanity, readiness to serve your fellow men – qualities within the reach of every soul – are the foundation of one’s spiritual life …. at least, if for nothing else, the cell gives you the opportunity to look daily into your entire conduct to overcome the bad and develop whatever is good in you. Regular meditation, say of about 15 minutes a day before you turn in, can be fruitful in this regard. You may find it difficult at first to pinpoint the negative factors in your life, but the tenth attempt may reap rich rewards. Never forget that a saint is a sinner that keeps on trying.”

Nelson Mandela 1975

Letter to Winnie Mandela from Kroonstad Prison

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Schedule for Teaching One Another What We Are Learning (Dec. 10 and 12)

each group can figure to take up to about 20 minutes....

Tuesday, 12/10
Kelly and Vaughn
Erin, Christina, Rachel and Emma
Elizabeth, Julia, Abby and Sam

Thursday, 12/12:
Esther, Ariana, Faith and Shaina
Caroline, Piper, Marian and Amanda
Erin, Sarah, Maya, Maggie, Lindsey and Kalina

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Schedule for Final Writing Conferences (Dec. 11, 14 & 15)

Wed, Dec. 11 Sat, Dec. 14 Sun, Dec. 15
10:30 Darcey
11:00 Hira 11:00 Shaina
11:30 David, Jody 11:30 Emma                
12:00 Erin M 12:00 Vaughn 12:30 Maggie
SWIM 12:30 Sam 1:00 Maya
1:30 Sarah M 1:30 Sarah S 1:30 Rachel
2:00 Esther 2:00 Marian 2:00 Lindsey
2:30 Ariana 2:30 Erin P 2:30 Kalina
3:00 Faith 3:00 Christina 3:00 Piper
3:30 Colleen 3:30 Julie 3:30 Kelly
4:00 Faculty Meeting 4:00 Elizabeth 4:00 Caroline
             | 4:30 Abby
5:00 Amanda
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Notes from prison planning (= thinking towards next semester)


& we need to start talking about writing together!

Active reading/making connections
give them highlighters to mark the text
emphasize the process…
framing note-taking as a way of putting yourself in the text
things to write in the margins: connections/reflections/

From InClass/OutClassed notes:
A moment here to think-and-talk about interactive reading strategies:

not just highlighting, but marking while you read (what do you mark?),
writing on the text, making connections w/ experiences, other readings;
most importantly: asking questions of the text. You haven't read unless
you've written on/written back to the text.

also to note for further discussion: Sara’s observation that current social science practices
of representation “are not ethical” (or, “to make people anonymous doesn’t empower them”)

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Planning y/our final jaunt


By midnight on Wed, 12/3, please attach a comment here, describing your plans for your final trip into the city alone: when-and-where will you go, in search of what, using what modalities/methodologies/lenses/p.o.v's & forms of simple, critical and/or deep play? Before writing, spend several hours checking out various websites and possibilities:
Léger: Modern Art and the Metropolis, @ the Philadelphia Museum of Art. 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
KAWS @ PAFA. 118 North Broad Street.
Maxfield Parrish and Tiffany Studios. The Dream Garden. Curtis Center. 6th & Walnut (off Independence Square).
City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program.
"Particle Falls": Sensing Change. Public Art by Andrea Polli.

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My quotes for Friday's class

1) By now, Elaine was thirty-five years old, older than most of the other inmates. Angry young women reminded her of herself in her first years here. Often, she pulled them aside and dispensed advice, urging them to get a job and go to school....Most of the time, though, she just listened to them talk about whatever was bothering them....

Bedford Hills was full of such makeshift families, where one strong woman played the role of matriarch and cared for a few younger prisoners. At any given time, there were at least 10 prisoners whom Elaine considered her "kids"....

Her children were scared of her, and they almost always did what she said....For young women with no parents, a strong maternal figure was exactly what they wanted. "We knew she loved us, Tarsha Thompson,one of her children, recalls. "It was nice to be loved. That's something we were all lacking"....

Just like her own mother, who had always prepared enough food for their whole building, Elaine made sure nobody was left out (p. 103).

2) In Elaine's opinion, clemency was a cruel and unfair game. She saw it as part of the governor's political dance, a way for him to show concern about the injustices of the laws without actually changing them. She did not think the governor should give anyone clemency; instead, he should just repeal the laws (p. 149).

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Notes towards our last session: 12/6/13

* each of us will select three passages from Life on the Outside,
and post them on Serendip by Monday night, 12/2 (be sure to include p. #s).
* We will then select the ‘categories’ we want to use to discuss them.
* Hayley will print off the passages, and bring the large sheets
(marked w/ the categories) and tape.

I. SASHA: Welcome everyone, provide nametags, distribute any leftover books

II. HAYLEY: Pass out our passages; give everyone time to read and reflect on the one they got
(suggest the possibility of opening the text and reading what happens before and after your selection--
& feel free to write on this text...)

III. HAYLEY: Get into pairs to describe your passage to one another (if we have enough people @ this point):
say what connections you make to it and what questions you have about it.

IV. SARA: We bringing back the sheet of "power" we made in an earlier class.
We're going to pick some categories from this sheet that describe/summarize the main ideas in our passages.

Tape your passage to the sheet which …
Fits best/describes what’s going on/that your passage is an example of...

possible topics:
* zero-sum game
* code-switching
* the power of love/race/class/gender
* identity/intersectionality
* empowerment/agency

V. SASHA: Get folks to talk about why they put their quotes where they did→
with the aim of complexifying these categories

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'how feminism became capitalism's handmaiden"

My daughter just sent me this article, written by Nancy Fraser and publishd in The Guardian (Oct. 13, 2013):
How feminism became capitalism's handmaiden--and how to reclaim it
. I thought, given our recent discussion with Heidi Hartmann, and our more recent one "with" Wendy Brown about the end of the feminist revolution, it might capture your interest. Here's a taste: "We should break the spurious link between our critique of the family wage and flexible capitalism by militating for a form of life that de-centres waged work and valorises unwaged activities, including – but not only – carework.’"

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Man Vs. Corpse: Deep Play!

  One of the students in Mark's class had the idea that the talk Zadie Smith   delivered @ Bryn Mawr was an example of "deep play in writing" that we all experienced/received. I loved this example, and wanted to share with you a copy of the talk, just published in The New Yorker:

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Wow (plus quotes)

Wow--shout-outs to both Hayley and Sara for thoughtful postings, below...I DO love to listen to y'all think out loud...

I picked the quote I'll use on Friday (and which I offer here as a source for black-out poetry making):

Governor Thomas Dewey granted clemency to Ruth Brown, enabling her to be set free....She left Bedford Hills at age forty-five after being locked up for twenty-one years. She was supposed to be on parole for the rest of her life.

Two years later, she was imprisoned for not obeying the rules of her parole....She had been a prisoner for so long that she felt more at home inside Bedford than outside it....

For years to come, the story of Ma Brown was passed down from one generation of Bedford prisoners to the next. Her story was part history lesson, part cautionary tale. Nobody wanted to lose all contact with the outside world like Ma Brown had...Nobody wanted to discover that by the time they were finally permitted to leave, they had lost their desire to be free (83).

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