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Defining "Genre": A Graphic Paper

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I just wanted to highlight my newfound respect for comics as a result of Satrapi's Persepolis. I was fully engrossed in the narrative and I found Satrapi's story extremely compelling. I read the entire thing from cover to cover in one sitting. But I can't help wonder why this was so different from my experience with Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics.

I believe that this was because McCloud, though extremely casual and "chatty", writes non-fiction. Satrapi, on the other hand, is telling a story. This made me realize that the genre of the "comic" or "graphic narrative" is a lot more complex that we imagine. What interests me, however, is why the "comic" genre is separate from other genres.

Think about what we define as "genre" in literature. There's "drama", "thriller", "romance" etc. They're characterized by their content, not by the way they are layed out on the page. So why are we creating this label of "comic" when really, the comics themselves have content that lends itself to (sometimes multiple) genres? And in reverse, why do we characterize in terms of content if the content can also lend itself to genres by the ways that pages are laid out? So what does genre actually mean and how are we defining it?

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Literary Kinds: A Process


"For my first paper for the course, Literary Kinds at Bryn Mawr College, I’ll be using Tumblr to do an analysis of what this blogging platform is and the ways in which it can be useful in academic work. It’s going to be crazy meta so I’m going to work hard to keep it fresh and exciting.

In line with the digital humanities, this blog will take the form of an archive - an archive of my thoughts about the medium and how I’ve started to compare this form to others. Additionally, though I do this with aims of a final project of sorts (still to be determined), I want to value the process of learning and I will gladly take any advice that you leave in the comments or my inbox."

(The first post on my Tumblr blog that explores Tumblr as a medium.)


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Updated Version of Online Communities: Spring/Summer 2010 (From HASTAC)

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(Re) Thinking Media Literacy

Our discussions this week about the transformation of writing in the humanities due to the advancement of technology really got me thinking about what it means to be "media literate". Media literacy is defined as a repertoire of competences that enable people to analyze, evaluate and create messages in a wide variety of media modes, genres and forms. As a digital humanist (woah, never used that title in "public" before), I'd make the claim that I'm not as media literate as I'd like to think I am.


I've experimented a lot with various forms of media. Anne, unfortunately, has seen some of my efforts fall flat; this paper which I attempted to form my message through a 'talking head' video and this paper where I attempted to make a video paper. As you can probably tell, I have a place for 'lens-based' media given my background in film studies. It's interesting to look at how these projects failed however because I think that it really shows that the education surrounding media literacy today is quite lacking and thus, how can you possible attempt to rethink the ways in which academic papers are presented if the training and education to do that is so limited.

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"The Source Material Is the Most Original"

Yeah, since I like to "bend" the rules, I'm posting about something different from academic writing within a particular discipline. :)

As I've mulled over our class discussion and the reading for the week, I've started to notice a trend. There seems to be a binary between that which is citable (so the source material) and the paper, or equivalent, that we are creating that takes from the source material. However, I don't think that this is the case. Rather, I don't think that what we consider to be the source material is completely original. I think that the "source" is not limited to just the one piece of material. Instead, it is infinite and can't trace where the source actually begins. I'm using an image of reflective mirrors (as is seen above) to demonstrate my point.

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Campus Media and Right Relationships: Allowing the Student Body to Appear

In Culture as a Disability, McDermott and Varenne) present the argument that the system in which the conventions of our culture is set up disallows each all individuals to be perceived as ‘able’. (McDermott and Varenne, 1995) Varenne then, in a later article entitled “Extra burdens in the search for new openings”, claims that our culture is “simultaneously enabling and disabling”. (Varenne, 2003)  Whatever act is taken to enable a certain group will invariably disable another.  To ‘disable’ is not limited to the literal definition and I will expand on this later. An extrapolation of this claim would indicate that there is no possibility for a collective Utopia; culture does not work as an interconnected whole. Rather, it is a system that separates, disables and causes injustice.

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Apples To Apples: The Gender and Sexuality Studies Way!

For our final performance, aybala50, lgleysteen, S.Yeager and I created our own version of the (as I've come to find at college) popular game Apples to Apples. Using words that were particularly important in our discussions throughout the semester, we created adjective and noun cards and asked for volunteers in the class to play.

And we we didn't just make this game to make people have fun! (Though this was part of our intention.) We thought that just that simple game revealed many of things that we have been discussing this semester. First of all, we thought of the ways in which each player diffracted the adjective through their own personal lens. But this was not the only thing at play. Though the player was thinking of how they could use their words to 'match' with the adjective, they were also considering which word would win them the round and be 'judged' as being the best card. This demonstrated the entanglement between the players and the judge.

Additionally, there was further entanglement when considering that we had them play in front of the whole class. This was another factor in the decision that the player made as they were also aware that they were appearing and thus, had to choose a word that the class would understand. There was also entanglement to us, as the creators of the game, as we gave them them a fairly limited choice of words.

Lastly, we wanted to demonstrate how each of the words did not lend themselves to a fixed definition. Thus, we managed to question our use of labels and the way in which we define certain terms.

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The nature of our entangled relationships; can we actually form a right relationship?

I had attempted to create a video paper for this webevent but I encountered a couple of technical difficulties that 1. did not allow me to be a little more creative and 2. made the audio and the visual not match up perfectly. (YouTube...)

But I wanted to include my actual point in case the video wasn't clear. The right relationship that I had tried to build was the relationship surrounding the reproductive health bill. Through my lesson plans, I had the intention to working within the social context of the Philippines (or as I sometimes refer to it, the motherland) to improve sex education and thus, help alleviate the large population growth, lack of resources as well as educate the youth about sex in general. My point (or you could even say the thesis of this paper) is that although I am very connected and "entangled", through my roots, I still find it difficult to be considered as an insider because I still diffract the issues through the lens of someone who has been educated and who grew up in another country. Thus, I question whether or not I really have the right to be giving advice in the first place.

Sorry if it was difficult to watch or follow! I wasn't really so sure about how to fix that problem...



See video
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Are we really entangled?

A theme that I've started to see throughout this course is just how entangled we all are as human beings. After reading and listening to Barad, I wasn't completely convinced of this. Now that we have read Farmer and Butler who write about an "increasingly interconnected world" (Farmer) and how we undo each other (Butler), I feel like I can solidify my thoughts.

I am intrigued at the call to arms that Farmer and Butler both seem to encourage. While Farmer is not as explicit with his call, Butler definitely is. But I have found flaws with both of their arguments. The basis of their demand for more social work seems to stem from their assertions that all human beings are intertwined, entangled and interconnected. But I'm not quite convinced that we are.

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