Julia Smith's blog

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The N-Word: Past Meaning and Contemporary Questions

            One thing we have discussed in class has captured my attention due to recent events on campus. We have talked about the evolution of morality and the evolution of language as separate entities, but we have not discussed the evolution, or lack thereof, of tabooed words. But have these words themselves evolved, or have we just evolved around their static position? I would like to specifically look at the word “nigger”. I am going to focus on the evolution of the word, or our evolution around the word, and discuss whether its meaning comes from the evolution of the word itself, or whether it has remained the same, hurtful word throughout the history of the United States. I would finally like to study how contemporary university events relate to the potential un-evolution of this word, how staff and students have dealt with the complexity and heaviness of the word, and how we as students can promote safe college spaces through the understanding of its “evolution”.

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On Beauty: Joseph Chaikin, the Open Theater, and Postmodern American Theater

            During a class discussion, we looked at a Mark Rothko painting that was intended to invoke only an emotional response, and asked ourselves whether or not we could help making up a "story" to accompany the painting. One student said that she was reminded of a lake where her family used to have a house. This unintentional human response, trying to make meaning out of art, is puzzling to both artists and audiences around the world. Artists are now trying to eliminate the audience’s likeliness of "storytelling" and instead trying to make the audience generate more of a "feeling". Ideal art right now, therefore, is more abstract than literal. Although this movement is occurring in all art forms, I am choosing to narrow it down to the theater because it is my field of study. Most postmodern theater artists are now trying to separate themselves from "storytellers"; they are moving toward an abstract, emotionally based form. Chaikin helped to revolutionize postmodern theater by first starting to move away from storytelling. His ideals of natural human emotion, physicality, and ensemble hit exactly what we have been talking about in class: ideal art is emotion, not a story. America is moving toward an emotionally based new form of popular art.

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The Evolution of the Modern American Lesbian Community

Is there progress in biological evolution? In my evolution class, we have talked about this idea and have never reached a conclusion. The concept of evolutionary progress still stirs up debate among modern scientists, including one who we have studied, Ernst Mayr. Mayr claims that, although it depends how we define progress, evolution has to be progressive because there is no doubt that the “survivors of this selection process have been proven to be superior to those eliminated” (216). (Of course, to me that just means we have to get into a whole other discussion about what superiority is.) However, what Mayr asserts is that progress is gained not just in complexity from single celled to multi-cellular organisms, but also through time and survival; that is, humans are progressive as compared to the dinosaurs because we’re still around. Using this definition of progress, I believe that I can safely say that the American lesbian movement has progressed, despite my initial belief that it has only diversified. If I take Mayr’s idea into account, I believe that the emergence of a newer, more diverse “lesbian” community shows cultural evolutionary progress. I’m going to focus on the “modern” American lesbian community, that is, the lesbian community that originated in the 70s with the second wave of the women’s movement.

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Evolution and Creationism: Separate Similar Searches

Megan Smith

Evolution

Professor Dalke

February 16, 2007

 

 

Evolution and Creationism: Separate Similar Searches

 

 

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