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Ladies and Lying

Ladies and Lying: Some Questions about Honor


“Women have been driven mad, “gaslighted,” for centuries by the refutation of our experience and our instincts in a culture which validates only male experience.  The truth of our bodies and our minds has been mystified to us.  We therefore have a primary obligation to each other; not to undermine each others’ sense of reality for the sake of expediency; not to gaslight each other.  Women have often felt insane when cleaving to the truth of our experience.  Our future depends on the sanity of each of us, and we have a profound stake, beyond the personal, in the project of describing our reality as candidly and fully as we can to each other.”


--Adrienne Rich, “Women and Honor: Some Notes on Lying”, p. 190



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Memo #2: Religion in Prisons

I explored the reasons behind and issues that complicate the dissemination of religion in prisons.  Both images show examples of religious activity by incarcerated individauls.

Inmates at a servicePrisoner with cross

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Women and Honor (Julia posting through Esty's account)

As stated in the title line, this is Julia posting from Esty's account (which she kindly lent to me until my own is restored). 

I've probably made clear in one or many classes that I consider Adrienne Rich to be my favorite poet and perhaps even writer of all time.  The first poem of hers I ever read was "Diving Into the Wreck."  Here is a link to the poem from  The poem ends:

We are, I am, you are by cowardice or courage the one who find our way back to this scene carrying a knife, a camera a book of myths in which our names do not appear.

I found myself thinking continuously about this poem when reading "Women and Honor: Some Notes on Lying."  The phrase that grabs me the most is, "by cowardice or courage."  Rich mentions both throughout her piece on honor, but I don't think she discusses either enough. 

Our truths are often created for us.  They can be conditions that we do not choose but that we often must choose to disclose.  I wonder how important the distinction between cowardice and courage are.  Is one always lying and the other always honesty?  If I find myself in the wreck, does it matter if it is cowardice or courage that caused me to arrive there? 

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Silence for Visitors to Academia

Disclaimer: This is entirely tongue-in-cheek

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Voice Paper #2: On "Cell Block Tango"

Watching Prisons: Intersections of Reality and Fantasy




"Cell Block Tango" from film version of Chicago
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The "Different" Inmate: Memo 1

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Cell Block Tango to Arrested Development

Cell Block Tango from the movie version of Chicago (great words/intent and interesting he calls school the Jim Crow of our time...)  (This is great)

If you only can watch one clip, watch this "Hip Hop Documentary: Rap, Prision, and Economics"-- 

Not so much for this particular post, but THIS for Barb's class and our discussion of Alexander's book.  Here is a YouTube documentary by the same name that starts with the same arguments she makes..a reproduction to make it more accessible?  Very little-almost nothing-is written about it, and there are no links I can find between the video and Alexander.  Really interesting:

Great, easy to understand video about issues in America's criminal justice system:

Sorry to overload everyone!

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Therapy as Trauma

Haney's discussion of Visions tempted me to compare its problems to those of Alliance.  Which was worse?  Which group of women had more problems due to the instution's model of rehabilitation?  I'm not quite sure why I felt so inclined to compare the two, as both had unique "visions" to make a rather unfortunate pun.  Perhaps it's because when it comes to incarceration, we want to choose a model that does less harm than the current punitive role of most institutions.  It's difficult to decide what "less harm" actually means--is it short term or long term?  I worry that so many of these reformers with good intentions, similar to those who created ESP, seem to only create models with a set of unique challenges.  The experience of being in a cage for hours is traumatic but so is the experience of being forced to share intense traumas with an audience.  Like after reading Rigoberta Menchu's testimonial, I don't know quite what to do with the information  I learned in Haney's book.  I used to think that alternative models of incarceration were "the answer" or at least an answer, but I'm no longer so sure that they're actually better than prisons..

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Class and Offending Women

Class today had me thinking a lot about what it means to be labeled "offending."  What is it we are afraid of in offending people with our words or actions?  It seems that, as a class, we've agreed that censoring oneself and withholding thoughts in order not to offend, is actually more offensive than taking the risk to share.  But there is the other edge of offending about which we didn't speak, the type of offending that causes one to be marked as an "offender."

I came into my room after class and saw Offending Women on my bed and thought about how many different meanings that phrase had depending on where one puts emphasis and how one defines both what it is to offend and what it is to be a woman.  In our class, we discussed taking the risk to offend each other with the knowledge that one action won't define how we see a person.  But some people don't have the ability to risk offense because a single mistake can and will define them forever as an offender, as someone who has offended in the past and who society sees as likely to offend in the future.

The language in our readings and that we use in class continues to fascinate me...

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Outside the Walls

Like others have said, I felt a lot of different things about the Mural Arts tour and look forward to having the space to talk about it tomorrow!  I don't want to merely repeat sentiments already expressed so will instead focus on just how it felt to be in Philadelphia outside of the walls of the Haverford/Bryn Mawr bubble with our group.

I thought that it was interesting that, as a group who defines ourselves in this course as members of a 'walled community,' it was good to have the reminder of how radically different our walls our from those of prisons.  It is as easy as jumping on the train to get into the city, but we almost never do.  How much do we imbue our walls with significance and how much purpose do they actually functionally serve?  Bryn Mawr is not actually worried about students escaping and welcomes visitors (or the right kind of visitors at least, as we discussed in Barb's class on Friday).  So why put walls around the college?  Haverford doesn't have the same architectural features as Bryn Mawr, including less of a formal wall, so I've been taking the term pretty loosely but actually looking at Eastern State and Bryn Mawr made me realize that I do live in a pretty different environment (visually).  Our tour guide had us name reasons people build walls as well as emotions walls provoke, and that, as well as the art installation, have made me think a lot more about walls specifically over the past few days.

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