culture

Nan's picture

Half the Sky

Hey everybody, I don't really know if this has any place in this Ecological Imaginings class, but maybe if we can imagine the preservation of women to be a form of ecology, not unlike the preservation of all plant life, animal life.

I just wanted to call everyone's attention to this excellent documentary currently being shown on PBS on Mon & Tues nights at 9:00 PM.  I imagine you guys have lots of time to watch films, yeah!  But this is an amazing series.

"Half the Sky" about gender based violence.

Here's the link to the first & second segment:

http://video.pbs.org/video/2283557115   

http://video.pbs.org/video/2283558278

Sarah Cunningham's picture

labyrinthine thoughts

Where I am sitting now: in a Starbucks on Broadway near 110th St, on the Upper West Side of New York, nearly 10 o'clock on Saturday night, the only place and time I've managed to get internet access and a modicum of space and time to myself. Better do this posting now; tomorrow will be full with rehearsal, and I need to practice my parts before that. This is actually OK with me as a way to live (so far...) The pleasure in the work to be done, and the stimulation and challenge of what I'm learning, more than outweigh the physical fatigue. So I sit and try to travel mentally back to the Labyrinth, and to my time there on Thursday, only a couple of days ago. My path from there to here is like a labyrinth in itself, twisting and turning through different locations and activities, meeting new people, trying to keep track of the threads of different conversations, different communication processes. I'm grateful for the opportunity to think myself back to the peaceful moments at the (Bryn Mawr) Labyrinth, just as I was grateful to have an assigned hour of contemplation. It makes me think, now, that integral to our ecological disaster in the present-day world, is the sheer pace of our life, the speed of it, the quantity of activity and experience we expect to pack into every day. How on earth can we expect to be aware of what is going on around us, of the existence and concerns of non-human beings, of the effect we are having on them and they on us, when we have assigned ourselves a more than full schedule we can barely keep up with?

Briana Bellamy's picture

The Teaching & Learning Initiative: Nepali Style

Hello beautiful Serendip world! 

My name is Briana Bellamy, I'm a BMC alum '11.  Recently, I returned from an incredible year of living in Nepal, working on a project funded by the Davis Projects for Peace grant. The project was called Sharing Knowledge for Peace, and its basic structure and philosophy grew from something that may be very familiar to some of you: the Teaching and Learning Initiative (TLI). As a sophomore at Bryn Mawr, I became involved with the staff-student branch of the TLI as a student mentor with a wonderful man from transportation services. It completely transformed my experience at Bryn Mawr, and became a huge part of both my sense of community and personal development. The relationships I built through the reciprocal model of the TLI and the deep learning I experienced both in these relationships and in the reflection meeting had a deep impact on me. I went on to become a coordinator for the program, and even wrote my thesis about it, exploring the inner workings of friendship, community, and shared spaces. I knew there was something powerful about the dynamics at play, and I was curious as to how the model of intentional reciprocal teaching and learning relationships could be valuable in other settings. 

alesnick's picture

Learning and Narrating Childhoods Retrospective: Learning from Our 360 Final Projects (Prezi format)

INTRODUCTION:  What does it mean to visit an African country with a class from a US college in order to learn?

Alice Lesnick, Term Professor of Education, Bryn Mawr College

July, 2012

360: Learning and Narrating Childhoods (Spring, 2012) was a cluster of three courses, one in Education, one in Literature, and one in Psychology.  15 Students from a broad range of majors, years, and backgrounds undertook a cross-disciplinary, cross-cultural study of child development, with a particular focus on the role of language and literacy in forming and channeling personal and group identities.  

Education is Life Itself: Evolution, Unconscious and Reflective Processes, Change

by Paul Grobstein and Alice Lesnick

Abstract

Schooling often rests uneasily on presumed dichotomies between coverage and inquiry, skill development and creativity. By drawing on the often under-recognized parallels between biological evolution and human learning, this essay argues that formal education need and ought not forego the unconscious exploratory processes of informal learning.  Rather than posit as natural the cultural story that formal schooling must prepare students to integrate with given cultures and foreknowable futures, the evolutionary perspective shows that education is better thought of as preparing students to create cultures and to change, and foster change, in relation to unknown futures. The properties that distinguish formal from informal learning -- conscious reflection and a degree of collective consensus about what constitutes knowledge at any given time – are, we argue, useful not as ends in themselves, but as tools for maximizing, sharing, and extending unconscious, evolutionary learning.  Working with them as such offers a way out of some of education’s persistent problems.  Two autobiographical case studies provide grounded examples of these evolutionary changes and indicate pathways of inquiry by which to pursue them.

melal's picture

Mulan in Real Life: Chinese Women Soldiers and Feminism

   The military has been traditionally defined as a masculine institution; actually it may be the most prototypically masculine one of all social institutions. Therefore, whenever women soldiers appear in public, they seem to be standout since people tend to think that for women to participate, either the military has to be perceived as transform to make it more compatible with how women are, or women have to be perceived as changing in ways that make them more suited for military service. Many changes have occurred in the past several decades. This period has witnessed a mushrooming of attention to women’s contribution to the army. More and more women soldiers are allowed to actually fight on the frontline or engage in violent and dangerous tasks. It seems that society started to recognize female’s ability as protectors of their countries, giving them space to choose whatever they want, including stepping on battlefields. Many people perceive this phenomenon as a huge progress of feminism, while others cast doubts on it. Interested in this issue, I would like to focus on female soldiers, especially Chinese women soldiers, in my webevent.

meowwalex's picture

MTV's Missing Piece

To Begin. . .

As an avid TV junkie, I have stayed up many a night to watch re-runs of the shows “Teen Mom” and “16 & Pregnant.” I know you are probably rolling your eyes if you're not a fan of the “reality” TV phenomenon, but these shows have affected me in a way that other “reality” based shows never could. (...So understandable when thinking about their consistent lack of depth: there are not a multitude of thought-provoking conversations that follow the documentation of rainbow Jello shots and women pulling out other’s hair extensions). These shows have affected me partly because I am the product of unplanned pregnancy to a fifteen-year-old girl myself, and a subsequent adoption. I find the show to be a way to help me begin to understand what I meant to my birth mother at age fifteen, the prime time for being a devoted Frito Lay consumer and wearing exactly what the mannequin wears.

rayj's picture

just speak nearby our minds::final project

 [just speak nearby the borders of our minds] <-- link

This is a piece about borders. About communities. About movement and restrictions and ideologies. I wanted to interrogate how feminism is at times bounded by qualifiers, that is, to differentiate between French feminism and Third-World Feminism, and the ways in which those are both appropriate and constructed such that the result is constructed identities viewed as essential.

Among artists in the 20th and 21st century, explicit reference to prior works has become a mode of producing pieces. This may be in the form of collage or pastiche of some kind, and in video art, it is typically through found footage that these references can be made. Video Artists like Dara Birnbaum have spoken on the power of reappropriating footage, specifically, in her case, from popular media sources, but some of the logic remains in what I have done. Birnbaum wanted the agency to engage with the images being presented to her, to take ownership and subvert their meanings to create new meaning, asserting that she wanted to “talk back” to the media. Further, she asserts:

rayj's picture

working towards a product/interrogating process/difficulties of form and method

I’m working to develop and create a storyboard for the video piece I want to produce for my final project, but I am wondering if the directive and narrative-reflective form of the storyboard. That is, this happens, then this, then this. And that is not the kind of video I want to make, nor does it reflect the way I do my work, so I’m not sure if I should try to conform to the process, that it might make my work better, or if I should just do as I typically do, which is to be a bit more organic in my process, although perhaps less deliberate?

MC's picture

Janelle Monae Setting the Seen and Accompanying Links

I would suggest looking into all of Janelle Monáe's album The ArchAndroid both for musical/cultural value but also for its message and presentation (especially if you plan on reading the Moya Bailey article). It's very readily available from standard music venues, or just ask around for people who have the album. 

Mentioned in class:

Double Rainbow was the blog series done by Caroline Narby for Bitch Magazine's blog about the autism spectrum. 

Vampires and Cyborgs: Transhuman Abilities and Ableism in the Work of Octavia Butler and Janelle Monáe by Moya Bailey at Social Text Journal. 

See video
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