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thinking about culture

Today I learned a lot about how culture works.  In the morning, a student observed that a question that had emerged during our class's processing of our trip was doing work in the culture of our group.  This insight suggests that questions can be instances of cultural work/production, and as such are embedded in a particular context and time . . . the student suggested that we did not need to regard this question as transcontextual: rather, that its being posed could be usefully understood as in-time cultural work that we could let be without the letting be constitute ignoring or neglect.  So interesting!

In the afternoon I got to attend the panel discussion with Derrick Ashong and Soulfege, sponsored by Ghanaian Music/Global Entrepeneurship.  Derrick Ashong spoke about their group's interest in breaking the music industry paradigm.  He explained that for humans, the fulfillment of expectations, even with unwelcome outcomes, is deeply satisfying.  So, if mother says stay away from that young man, and that young man does indeed prove inconstant, mother is gratified even though the outcome is not welcome.  This is a powerful illustration of how culture works.  Ashong and Soulfege are trying to change culture, or recreate it, by establishing new expectations for contemporary Afropolitcal music.

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More Photos

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Dalun Arrival

Sunday, March 4 into Monday, March 5, Dalun, Ghana

 It is midnight here.  The power went out a few minutes ago while I was checking in with my husband and kids back home.  So I am writing by the light of the Mac.

 Today was filled with light – from the sun, from the smiles of children and their welcome, and from the kind, gracious welcome from our hosts here.  Also from our students, whose warmth, flexibility, mildness, and sweetness have been abundantly evident.

But I am getting ahead of myself!  I will start from our arrival in Accra and meeting Sumaila and Safianu, our local guides.  The plane had left DC three hours late, so Sumaila ans Safianu had a long airport wait for us.  After we cleared Customs and as we headed into the reception area, I noticed many people holding signs for their groups.  How would we know our guides?  Then Ntshadi said to me, “Alice, there.”  And I saw a young man smiling, holding out a sign that read, “Professor Alice Lesnick.”  That amazed and deeply pleased me, both because it felt right – like the title finally fit (at least better than it fits most of the other things I do) – and also completely ridiculous – by what pretense would anyone profess anything at such a moment?  Instead, there were joyful hugs and expressions of shared appreciation.  Then, to baggage, taxis, hotel.  Ghana!

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Friday evening in Accra

We enjoyed delicious stews and fufu al fresco at our hotel. A recent BMC alum from and now living here stopped by to day hello! The air and breezes are soft.

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Greetings from Accra

We arrived after a delayed but easy flight to be met by our local guides. A taxi ride through the city to our comfortable hotel. Sights, sounds, and smiles too many/much to set down right now. This group is traveling beautifully! Paying games in the dc airport and taking turns writing and drawing in our group scrapbook are two standouts. We are freshening up before we go out to dinner together. Tomorrow we ride the bus North. Amazed and grateful, Alice

Airport arrival

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To follow our journey on Twitter

Please feel free to use #bmced250.
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Week Four of our Diablog: Take a Poll!

Welcome to our first Diablog Poll. Please make your selection and after you do, write a post explaining your selection and write a response to someone else's in which you raise a question to further your and their thinking.  Enjoy!

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Agency Journal Compilation and Reflection

Hallie Garrison

Empowering Learners

 

This student reflects on the entires she wrote in her agency journal for the Empowering Learners course.

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Applying for Success

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Hallie Garrison

Empowering Learners

 

 As the subtitle of this essay says, "Can college students effectively navigate the intricacies of mentoring high-risk youth?

 

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Dialogue—Communicating Disapproval with Students: A Spin-Off Piece in Response to On Becoming an Effective Praiser

Amanda Fernandez

Empowering Learners

 

Fernandez shows deep thinking in her piece about how to appropriately convey disapproval to students.

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