Welcome to "Facing the Facts:" An Exploration of Non-fictional Prose, a fall 2010 course @ Bryn Mawr College. Feel free to comment on any post below, or to POST YOUR THOUGHTS HERE....
I went through several stages of brainstorming for my final project. I ended up settling on a poster collage incorporating my ideas, some borrowed from other places (books we’ve read, things people have posted, essayed, said, etc.) This slightly incongruent poster seemed to be the best way to represent what I have absorbed in this course. I felt as though many of the ideas in the conversations we’ve had in class have been spread out in so many different directions that it was hard to find a way to connect them all. But then I thought, why do I have to find a way to connect them? If this class has taught me one thing it’s to think outside the sock drawer. Many of my class notes don’t have any logical connections anyway.
CKosarek and I worked together on our final performance for the class. It was interesting for me because--contrary to what we may have told you--Cassie and I selected the class together with the knowledge that we'd both be taking it. Two days before Virginia Woolf went to lottery Cassie graciously stepped down --for her own reasons but with the knowledge that it increased my chances of getting in and in return I have promised to go skiing with her.
Anthropology 450: Senior Thesis Seminar
Friday, 1:30– 4 p.m.
The senior thesis seminar is a year-long course in which you (a senior
anthropology major) design, implement, and write up an original research project.
During the fall semester, you develop and/or refine a thesis topic, do library research, and
conduct field work. You also write one thesis chapter (by the end of the semester).
Anthropology 450 also includes some assignments that will help you develop skills in
ethnographic methods, library research, and thesis writing.
Anthropology 303: History and Theory of Anthropology
Tuesday, Thursday 11:30-1
Anthropology 103: Introduction to Anthropology
TTh 10:00 – 11:30, 11:30 – 1
Anthropology is the study of human beings, within and across specific social and cultural
environments. In this course we look at some ideas about what it means to be human, and some
institutions, processes, and forces implicated in the formation and transformation of group and
individual identities. Our approach is ethnographic and comparative: we study particular peoples
and places in depth, and we compare particular places and peoples with one another and with
When considering just what I was going to do for this presentation, I was stumped. I was working with EVD and fatcatrex, and kept offering ridiculous ideas based off of the different levels of subjectivity and interpretation that acting and enacting experiences required. We were going to do something like this: tell two people to imitate riding a bike, and then falling off that bike. We were going to blindfold the people and put them in the center of the room (hopefully far enough away from each other so that they don't collide), and see how they personally enact a specific command. However, we didn't end up doing that because of the possibility for bodily injury and also because I think our taboo game was more effective in communicating what I learned in this course.
Final Project: Interview with a copyright lawyer about a book that advocates the dissolution of copyright.
David Shields’ Reality Hunger: A Manifesto has interested me for a while—all right, well, not so much interested as inflamed me. As an aspiring author and therefore creative artist, I am set to benefit from copyright law—simply, so long as I stick to writing my own words, or get the permissions from those whose words I borrow, I’m going to collect royalties from those who purchase copies of my works. If, however, David Shields’ vision of the world were to come true, as soon as the words were out of my pen I would not own them (of course, I don’t actually own the words themselves—this will come up in the interview. I mean I would own the order in which I place them): everybody would. Whoever wanted to could self-publish my books with his or her name on them, and if he or she could convince some people to pay money for them, that money would go to the swindler, not to me.
For my final presentation in Nonfiction Prose I compiled all the individual posts of each member of the class, assigned each person a color, and arranged the posts chronologically. The result was 55,644 words and almost 112 pages, 12 point font. Assigning each person a color allows the viewer to notice the posting habits of each member of the class, and how we behaved as a whole. For instance, most members of the class posted in clusters, i.e. make a post, respond to another member of the class. There were several members of the class who posted regularly and their colors dominate. It is interesting to contrast the members of class who dominated the online forum and class room, they were rarely the same people.
Our presentation was a sock puppet performance where Kate and I talked about all of the books we read for class. Going through all of the books we read and putting them in a pile showed that we really covered a lot this semester, and I think we, as a class, went in a variety of interesting directions to finally come to the overall idea of stories their importance. The conversation we tried to have with our puppets was our attempt to make connections between everything that we read and watched.
Reflection on Presentation
Here's the powerpoint of my final project. It's a little boring, but if you want to see the real thing I'm going to be handing it in to Anne with my final portfolio.
Firstly, I loved seeing everyone's presentations on Thursday. It's fascinating to me just that everyone came up with so many different ways to reflect on the experience of this course!
As for my group and our Taboo game, I thought it went well. We were hoping to represent just how difficult it is to define and represent what we mean by these problematic, forever-in-air-quotes terms like "fact," "fiction," and "truth." We stumbled upon the idea of making a taboo game in talking about how as the semester had progressed. We realized then that we had turned some of these buzzword terms into taboos of sorts--and thus the light bulb of inspiration was lit :)
For our final performance, we made a video that uses the progression of our friendship as a metaphor for the evolution of our class' discussions.
So, I'm really unhappy I didn't have this ready in time to show to the class, but I'm going to post a powerpoint of it as soon as possible. Basically it's a collection of pages loosely tied together by string, to symbolize the looseness but also connectedness of the different media we experienced (composite word for "watched," "read," etc.). Also to make it so the paper doesn't break when I try to fold the pages over one another. Each page contains a statement that answers the open question "Reality is..." and contains student commentary on each work, either addressing what reality was when we were reading/watching whatever it was, or contesting the statement, or agreeing with it, or even just making commentary on the work. There is one page for each work we read.
My group and I created our own game of Taboo using some of the "taboo" words we have come across this semester. Some of the words included reality, non-fiction, truth, fact, etc. To come up with a list of words that could not be used to describe the main word, I basically made a list of antonyms and synonyms. What I found, similar to what I saw when we were looking up dictionary definitions of the words earlier in the course, was that many of these words are listed as synonyms and antonyms of each other even though we have definitely found clear distinctions between them during the course of this class.