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Riley's blog

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Lugones, Whitman, Cixous, (Gee)....

Gee’s theory that discourses speak through people is really striking to me. We are channels for discourses, and are capable of shaping and changing them. After reading and discussing in class María Lugones’ “Playfulness, ‘World’-Travelling, and Loving Perception,” I started seeing connections between plurality of self, agency of actions, and the damaging qualities of hierarchical thinking; this reading, combined with Gee’s ideas of agency of discourse, are closely tied to two of some of my favorite texts, poet Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” as well as poststructuralist writer Hélène Cixous’ “The Laugh of the Medusa.” Among all of these texts, ideas of plurality (“inhabiting different worlds” at the same time), “playfulness” as a rejection of hierarchy and patriarchal thinking, and being “survival rich” speak to each other in many striking ways.

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Reflecting after first week of class

I’ve been doing much reflection lately on how much I appreciate taking three courses that are so interconnected, and with the same classmates--it’s a liberal arts education at its absolute best. I really enjoy how much the course materials speak to each other, and the connections that can be made between them. For example, in Eve Tuck’s “Suspending Damage,” I saw links with what we talked about in Pim’s class when we read Ivan Illich’s speech “To Hell with Good Intentions.” According to Tuck, damage-centered research, as she calls it, is incredibly dangerous because we then think of ourselves (or, because of data, see others) as broken. This is research that “invites oppressed peoples to speak but to ‘only speak from that space in the margin that is a sign of deprivation, a wound, an unfulfilled longing. Only speak your pain’”. Here, links can be made with Ivan Illich’s speech we read in Pim’s class. The speech, given in 1968, is addressed to a group of volunteers in Mexico. Illich condemns the volunteers, explicitly addressing their paternalistic attitude towards those they help, and how they can’t even speak the language of the people they help. I find the two pieces compliment each other in many ways, despite the different tones and audiences. I look forward to making these connections more often.

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