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Owl's blog

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Our Song!

Oh I’m done with school, I’m out of motivation

I’m walking through a fog of stifled dreams

There will always be something missing here

Falsely composed

Trying to ignore finals week hysteria, 99 problems, and more

Oh I’m ready to go forward

Ready or not here I come

Dreams are arising from the unconscious C

I'm I'm excited for what's to come

I'm facing reality finding new purpose in life

I want to live my life on my terms

I want to live full-heartedly

Falsely composed

Trying to ignore finals week hysteria, D99 problems, and more

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Under the Sea Habitats are Abundant and Diverse

Memo #3 Image

Borrowed from:

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On 12/9/12 A Dama Divina passed away in a horrible plane crash. . .

I thought I would share this story as a reflection on how sometimes finding voice in an environment that is not yet ready to listen can be more turbulant than silence. And only through the death (or the infinite silence) of an individual do we appreciate just how precious that voice was. 

Jenni Rivera, a famous Mexican-American singer known for her work in Mexican banda and norteno music, passed away in a horrible plane crash. She was infamous among her female fans (including myself and my mother) for speaking out about the violence she experienced in her relationships with men through her music. She was also named spokeswoman for the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. She however, was judged a lot by many of her "enemies", as she would call them, because they did not necessarily agree with her strong and effervescent personality. She was constantly mediatized as loud and obnoxious.

Her story complicated silence for me, and reminds me of Icouldn'tthinkofanoriginalname's post: /exchange/procrastination-turns-productivity-and-deep-reflection-incarceratedlifers#comment-139771 in that it is through her death/eternal silence that she is glorified and heard.

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Voice Paper #2

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Learning how to deal with personal problems in silence

A recurring problem I have noticed, in participating in the silence exercises, has been this fear that in silence the individual is trapped within the walls of her own real life problems and worries. That is to say, that even in one's own mental and bodily silence one can't escape his or her reality. During Linda-Susan Beard's visit this week, a classmate of ours asked what can we do to escape our reality and truly be silent within. Beard responded saying that through silence, she did not escape, but rather found new perspective and thus new ways of confronting her reality.  This reminded me a lot of the women in Sweeney. I couln't help but think about how the women in Sweeney's book used literacy and reading as a way to deal with reality. The women related to characters in books and found comfort in knowing that there were similarities and differences between themselves and the characters. However, they did not use their connections as excuses to dwell on thier lives of crime and 'victimhood', but to open themselves to new perspectives.

As Linda-Susan Beard spoke to our class, she mentioned her retreat of silence during a rough time in her life. As she described her experience she mentioned how, in that context, reading was not allowed. I found myself questioning that in relation to the women in Sweeney's book. What would happen if we took the women from Sweeney's book and asked them to do a silent retreat in which they could not read? 

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The Self, the Other, the Silence

"Competing tendencies reside in a state of simultaneity: they are always at the same time separate and united, this and that...the Self is always at the same time both itself and other"-George Kalamaras

During our last silence exercise of our class this past week, I found myself pushing back on the silence. I found myself constantly wanting to analyze and critically think of Kalamaras' words in relation to silence. I found myself asking: "What is the goal of silence and how much of how silence is perceived, fueled by the "other" that the self "competes" with in a state of simultaneity?" I then found myself wondering whether the individual self has as much to do with how his/her silence is perceived. Can the self manipulate his/her environment in order to fuel her silence in a positive way? if so, what is necessary for this to happen?  

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Crime and Punishment at Bryn Mawr College

How are you coming to understand women’s prisons and colleges as similar and/or different?  

When I first started researching for this project, I was going to study crime and punishment at Bryn Mawr, specifically rape culture at Bryn Mawr, and how victims and perpetrators of rape at Bryn Mawr have been treated and characterized in the history of the school. Given that Bryn Mawr is an all female institution of higher education, both cloistered in terms of gender and in terms of physical space, and taking into account recent conversation about how Bryn Mawr takes a caretaker role in its treatment of its female students, I thought this to be a very interesting topic to discuss in relation to the overarching topic of women in walled communities. However, as I conducted my research I realized that in order to really get an understanding of this I would have to get first hand accounts of incidents of rape in the history of the college as well as interview campus safety officials about their experiences with rape cases on campus; the aforementioned would be difficult given the lack of voice on the issue of rape among women in earlier times and the latter would require IRB approval. Given the time for this project, I realized this would not be possible.

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In silence class this past week, my group seemed to be lured by the passage in Mazine H. Kingston's reading which read: "I remember telling the Hawaiian teacher, 'we Chinese can't sing 'land where our fathers died.' She argued with me about politics, while I meant because of curses. But how can I have that memory when I couldn't talk? My mother says that we, like ghosts, have no memories" (194). We discussed the possible meanings of ghosts and what they symbolize in terms of Kingston's personal silence as a female child of Chinese heritage. Our conversation reminded of a concept we read in Reading is my Window, that Sweeney described as silences in the home. Kingston was constantly being silenced or told to be silent by her mother. What continues to perplex me the most about the passage, however,is the disconnect and the silence that emerged thereof between the teacher and the student's understanding of Kingston's reluctance to sing "My Country, 'Tis of Thee". I think that it is in this interaction that another meaning of ghost is highlighted, for it is in the ghost like space, that is, the silent and dark space between cultures, where silence occurs. What's more, the lack of cultural understanding and the inability of Kingston to speak prevents that understanding from coming to light. How do we reconcile silence in the home and silence in the outside world?

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Prison as a Haven/Refuge

As I was reading both Cyd Berger and Diane Weaver's stories in Doing Life, I was struck by the idea that for some women, prison is more of a haven or a refuge, where they can stop "living for everyone except" themselves and be free of the problems that they must cope with outside of the prison walls: extreme poverty, domestic violence (as in the case of Diane), rape, and homelessness. Both these women found prison to be a place where they could find the time to be "human" and could become "sort of a role model" for others. The notion that prison is a space where one can re-evaluate their role in society has been a common denominator in every stage of the expansion of the prison industrial complex, but understanding how this notion is seen from the perspective of the bodies trapped inside the walls is crucial to understanding what aspects of this space are actually positive. A similar perspective is seen in McConnel's Sing Soft, Sing Loud When the narrator in the story gets agitated with "the tourist" (the newest addition to the prison) because she can't stop complaining, crying, and "moaning" about her life and why she was "jailed". The narrator states: " one wants to talk to her in case she falls to pieces...we don't like people failing to pieces around here. It makes everybody do hard time and besides, it triggers a chain reacton, y'know what I mean?"  

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Voice within Voice, within Voice (Voice Paper #1)

After reading Laurie Finke’s article entitled “Knowledge as Bait: Feminism, Voice, and the Pedagogical Unconscious”, I was reminded of something we discussed in our silence class, which is the notion that the classroom is a space in which learning needs to accommodate the student body’s diverse voices. What I understood from this discussion was that the fundamental building blocks of voice are found within the social context of that voice, and that the classroom is the physical space in which voice is found and complicated simultaneously. Thus, teachers who neglect the myriad of contexts that constitute voice are not creating a space in which all students can both be treated equally and receive an equal education. I found it very problematic that Finke’s analysis of the power of transference consisted of having to, in essence, force individual students to let go of their socially rooted voices in order for their “true voices” to shine. I found the latter to be problematic because there is an inherent contradiction in the idea of having a true voice. Voice cannot be removed from the social context that influences it and therefore constitutes it. Thus, I suggest that in order for individual voice to shine, the role of the classroom must be taken into consideration. A classroom must be one in which the power relation between student and teacher should be dialogical, as Paulo Freire refers to it in the dialogical method of teaching, and one in which every student’s voice is heard.

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