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Erin's blog

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Sunrise behind the bars!

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Final debrief of the Canery

As we are approaching the end of semester, we stand at the cross rod to really think back and evaluate what we have done this semester.

Last Thursday, when were discuss a text about participatory action research by Lois Weis and Michelle Fine in Working Method, we touched based upon many critical questions about the effects and purpose of our art workshop in prison.  I want to expand more on that topic as well as our last workshop.

Firstly, one valued was emphasized was to be able to challenge the traditional power relationship. Such a statement was very easy to say but hard to execute. In our case, two groups of women were brought together and doing the same art project corporately. Various background and social status were mixed in the room and conflicts were expected. I don’t know which group benefits more from such a gathering. However, we can’t that each one us were able to see a different side of the concept were talking about form others, For me, even their positions in this society were inmates. I was able to, for the first time, to have “real-life” interpretation of what dies justice system do to individuals’ lives.

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Make-up of the post from November 29th

I am really trying to make up the two posts I missed for Barb’s class

I think want to reflect more on the last last Friday’s discussion about looking-glass identity transformation inside the prison. The reading was very comprehensive and easy to read however the indications behind all text are very provoking and indeed caused many disagreement and tensions.  

Two important things were mentioned throughout the text which I think are really relevant to our conversation: labeling and rehabilitation.

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Memo #2 image

This memo, I was trying to emplore the similarities and differneces between our Canery visits and Visiona dn Alliance in Offending women. I found when comparing either two of these three, many interesting anf similarities appear. However, the length of the porgrma made the final differnece. I am not sure whihc road( the porgram) will take womne furhter.

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Memo #1 image

In the first week's memo, I talked about viewing the issues of disadvantagous class with differnet lences. Through the socialeconomic lence or historical lences, we will be able to see the differnece elements that might not be as obvious as it should be in other lences. Also, it's important ot consider question from various perspectives.

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End or start

It’s still very hard to believe we are coming to the last week of the semester and end of the 360 journey. However, even till the end, we were still able to explore silence from another perspective.

I really enjoyed visit of sister Linda on Thursday. Her stories offered me another opportunity to see the power of silence.

One point she mentioned really touched me about silence. She said silence is pregnancy not emptiness and through silence she can hear voices of God and fell unbelievably loved. Wow, what a beautiful state of mind and enlightenment she was able to feel through such silence. I was particularly moved by her choice of word of pregnancy. Pregnancy, from my point of view, is one of the beautiful processes to bring miracles to this world. She indeed viewed silence as her ways of holding many things she was not able to deal with.

I was shocked by her actual experience of not talking much for over a month. Such a long time of period of organizing her stuff to realize better understanding of oneself was absolutely wonderful. I envy her courage to be able to get away from all the trivial routines in daily life to just be with oneself.

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Two Asian student at early time in Bryn Mawr

As the historical background for the final project, this broadcast is aim to introduce you about two excellent Asian Students at very early times in Bryn Mawr history. Since this is not the final narrative, the broadcast might vary in some perspectives.

The purpose of our final project is to explore the Asian Identity on campus and possible reasons for the absences for their voices nowadays on campus.

I will introduce two extraordinary early Asian students at very early times in Bryn Mawr campus, one Japanese student Tsuda Umeko and one Chinese student Fung Kei Liu. When digging in the past of Asian students on Bryn Mawr campus, these two especially caught my attention due to the similarities in their stories.

Asian Students has been on this campus since the very beginning. Interaction with some representative of Asian countries, China and Japan, both went back to as early as end of 19th century. Besides the conventional admission of students from these countries and Asian Americans, Bryn Mawr‘s first connection with China, oddly enough, was a results of the anti-foreign Boxer Rebellion of 1899; The formal introduction of programs for students from China, however, didn’t happen until 1917.

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How to be a women warrior under Chinese Culture?

As one unique representative of Asian cultures, Chinese culture has more traditions than many other countries. Among all these traditions, women remain in a disadvantageous for over 2000 years. The history doesn’t include the appropriate proportion of women until recent century. It’s impossible to understand Maxing Hong Kinston’s The Women Warrior without a broader background of Chinese culture as well as the environment where Chinese American live. Author made her way through to find a voice for herself under the Chinese culture castle.

Girls are told to be quite and silence is considered as a means of self-protection. The term “ghost” is used extensively throughout the article. Such a term was generally used by Chinese people to call foreigners. The phrasing ghost and ghost country clearly impose negative indications considering the unpleasant history every time when westerners showed up in the Chinese territory. The hostility and resistance towards these foreigners, whose appearance and cultures are distinctive in general, never disappeared. Such fear in addition of uncertainties in a new country made silence a default choice for a large group of Chinese Americans from the beginning.

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Eva's man

          I have to admit that I didn’t enjoy this reading experience. I hesitate to say this because as an English learner, I ought to learn to read all kinds of literatures. But as a reader, I certainly would not choose this kind of book to read if I don’t have to. The story is depressing and fragmental storyline just make it harder for me to understand.

        In another piece which I normally would not read for fun, Sommer talked about the danger of readers wanting to know everything in the story and felt the sympathy while reading. Indeed, when I was reading this piece, the usual tendency to make connection and understand every detail failed because of the author’s special arrangement unique way of narrating Eva’s story. I was annoyed at first because the disconnected plots and disoriented timeline contradicted with the easy-following dialogues. During discussion, we talked about the reasons why the story is the way it is now. We thought that maybe Eva could not remember things clearly and thus unable to tell the story again. When I was reading the piece, I couldn’t cut my thoughts of thinking Eva’s experience as real-life as at least based on some proportion of real-life experience and kept thinking that I want to know more about the Eva’s story. Just as Sommer talked in her article, the tendency for reader to be greedy can be dangerous and jeopardize the reading experience. Well, I still have a ambivalent feelings about Sommer’s opinion, but she is definitely right this time.

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Wrap-up of Thursday

Thursday’s class was full of tensions. Everyone wanted to speak. I felt like I have to express what I intended to say at class.

During the first period of our class, Kim and Markus mentioned the educational experience of East Asian students in American culture. This topic was brought up again in class. When I first run into this account of this perspective of Asian students, I really thought to myself that “Come on, again? Leave Asian students alone” However, when I thought about his question more seriously, I realized there was a need to repeat such a topic. Every time, when I am with a freshmen coming from China, I seem to see the similar behaviors, the way we presented ourselves in class and interact with others, which I did two years ago. I think I don’t have a general answer to such complicated question. However, from my own experience, I think everyone has a distinctive background. Many factors decided one person’s way of learning in a new environment. For me, I usually made mistakes and then learnt from them and tried my best to fit in the new environment in order to achieve optimal results.

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