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
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.
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.
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.
[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:
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?
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.
I wanted to learn more about the outreach that Kate Bornstein does today, and her website "Hello Cruel World" is something that I feel is really great.
I think that most people who disregard conversations about gender and sexuality as something that doesn't pertain to them if their lives fit in the expected gender binary don't realize the amount such ignorance can further pain those who are struggling with their identities in such a way. Kate says "I think that the world needs more kind people in it, no matter who or what they are, or do"
I think that in some ways I am also guilty of not trying to learn as much about issues of gender and sexuality, because I have never struggled with my own sexual orientation or felt that I am wrongly gendered. Even so, the gender workbook helped me realize that the "ideal" woman and man are pretend ideas that no one can ever really fulfill no matter how hard that they try. Even if one considers themselves able to fit neatly inside society's accepted gender binary, the binary's ideals pose a problem for everyone. . . regardless of whether you 'appear' to be fitting well within it.
This was something interesting that I found a while ago and todays class is reminding me of this video so I decided to post it to see what people think. I found it interesting that the She's the First video promotes their usage of twitter and social media; while this video talks about how few people have interent access in relationship to how many people are actually in the world. I have other thoughts about the video but I am hoping to see what everyone else thinks too!
the video comes from this website: http://www.miniature-earth.com/
recall - - Discourse = “set of values and viewpoints in terms of which one must speak and act, at least while being in the discourse” (Gee)
So Mia and I were talking about going to this country club/Alumni benefit/conference. (we went to an alumnae conference in Santa Monica over the weekend to represent the 360 program - this is a post that we wrote together on the airplane on the way there)
We started talking about clothing. We both realized that we had no idea what would be appropriate to wear in this environment – as neither of us has spent a significant amount of time in a country club (and by that I mean that I have gone to one once, and she has never gone to one). Should we wear skirts? Dresses? what length is appropriate?
So we’re wondering: what kind of discourse are we entering? Are we actually going to have an opportunity to speak frankly and genuinely about our experiences, or will the discourse silence some aspect of our behavior? It’s certainly silencing our creative fashion sense!
Clothing is a perfectly reasonable cause for concern – every time I’ve done any career counseling, I’ve been told that first impressions are essential. So appearance is essential. Uncertain about the kind of discourse you are entering + wearing the wrong thing = making your illiteracy obvious and embarrassing.
So that’s we were so worried about this on our trip to Ghana – we had no idea what our clothing would say about us. Legitimate? Eh, I think so.