Anne Dalke's blog
Images of Camden: Waterfront South, the Center for Environmental Transformation, the Wastewater Treatment Plant, and us @ work!
|I’ve had a Serendip account for nine years. A few years ago, when the “avatar” option emerged on the site, I selected this picture of myself, which suited me quite well for a long while: I liked my smiling, welcoming face, the face that went with my user name (which is my real name). I liked being out, claiming, as myself, what I said on-line.|
In the fall of 2013, however, I was co-teaching a cluster of courses called Women in Walled Communities (in which Jo, Jody and Sophia participated), and some of the time we met in a women’s prison in Philadelphia. As a get-acquainted activity, we asked the “inside” women to pick an image to represent themselves, then printed off the avatars of all the BMC (or “outside”) women—and we had to go around and try to figure out who we were. But nobody wanted to talk to me, because it was so obvious who I was. They were much more interested in figuring out who had chosen to represent herself with a cactus flower, or a bike, or an owl, or a beach…and why…
we'll meet tues, jan. 21, @ 4 p.m. in the english house lounge--
and have to settle then on whether we will be offering classes every friday,
or on alternate weeks (this depends on you, sasha...).
i'm attaching the four handouts i've drafted for our session on jan. 24 --
all to be discussed, of course.
“Taking Control of Our Lives: Reading, Writing, Transforming”
Proposal for the Bryn Mawr Book Group, Riverside Correctional Facility, Spring 2014
“In Pedagogy of Freedom Freire states, ‘I like being human because I know that . . . my destiny is not given but something that needs to be constructed and for which I must assume responsibility.’ We assume responsibility for our crimes. We believe that we are the products of our decisions and actions, and we recognize ourselves as such. This represents the transformation of the prison system from within….education in prison is the vehicle through which we meditate, analyze, and transform ourselves and, ultimately, society from the inside-out” (from Anke Pinkert and students, “The Transformative Power of Holocaust Education in Prison: A Teacher and Student Account.” Radical Teacher 95, Spring 2013).
In this workshop, we will use reading and writing as pleasurable, necessary and meaningful tools for understanding and change. We will read different kinds of writing by women, and use our own writing as a tool both for reflecting on the reading and for understanding our own lives. Reading and re-reading, writing and re-writing stories offer the opportunity to work on literacy skills and critical problem solving, and can empower us to reclaim and reimagine ourselves.
So, after shouting for months that we should talk about the essays in Radical Teacher, I finally found the time, betwixt semesters, to spend a morning reading through them. Sad, heartening, discouraging, inspirational….I want to include some of my reading notes here, and also some thoughts about next steps. And I want to invite y’all to think w/ me about what our “course” of action might be this spring. I’m ready to be more ambitious!
Do y'all remember reading, in our course on "The Rhetorics of Silence," Doris Sommer's analysis of Rigoberta Menchu? And her argument that we should be respectful of others' silences, others' secrets, not presume that we have 'the right to know'? I've just found out that, 10 years ago, she published two books about code-switching. Here's a description of the first:
here is the toolbox we assembled in class today while you were by the fire @ home.
As you can see, we couldn't make everything fit.
What have we omitted?
Seeking, as always, the certification of the expert,
Anne and the City Players
By midnight Wednesday, post a response to Sontag's essay,
by using one of tools from the "toolbox" we made visible on the board.
Also, imagine: you have been registered for an independent study, "Play in the City II."
Your first assignment is Sontag's essay. What excursion-or-activity will you assign yourself,
to put this theory into action? Please bring this plan to class with you.
(the first picture is the view out my window, as I was waiting for your arrival,
and the second is the same view, after the snow had stopped...)