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Flora's blog

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My introduction to feminism.

Dear Kyle,

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what I'm thinking

This post has been brewing in my head for a week or so. I'm not sure why I was so hesitant to verbalize what I'm thinking, but here goes. It seems that there is a movement on the forum and in the class towards honest personal expression. And I think I should respond in kind. Many students have been voicing frustrations with the course. I have been feeling frustrated with the course as well, but in different terms. I've shared these thoughts with Anne, but feel like I should disclose them to everyone else as well.

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Project Proposal: zine-like online media recap of feminisms

The project that I want to pursue this semester is going to be a bit experimental for me. I want to make a sort of intro feminist graphic zine. I’m not sure exactly what form this will take, but I have several ideas and sources of inspiration for this project.

The first impetus for this project came from my last paper for this course, envisioning my model for feminist

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musing on the limits of the course, extroverts v introverts and the intersection of politics and art

Gail and Mary, thank you for being brave enough to share your art with us.  I am moved both by your work and your decision to share it with us.  Thank you again. 

I am starting to better understand my frustrations with this course. First, this course (like the discussed mestiza) is straddling many identities. It's online, it's new, it includes alums, its students have a variety of class years and academic backgrounds, it's an intro to feminist studies that does not require texts from the mainstream, historical feminist "cannon" (Woolf excluded): all of these things make for a challenging environment. Hell, many courses don't have much of anything about them that sets them apart from semester to semester.

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riders, common goals and animating the inanimate/ephemeral

I spent the last month of my summer in Argentina on tour with a puppeteer and his crew. I grew up doing this sort of stuff, but this summer was my first real exposure to life in the big-time. Tandem Otter Productions signs contracts with riders! My family had pretty basic riders, but things were different with Basil because his showis so big. They bought us a fire house, gave us 2-3 assistants on-call, provided juice, dried fruit and nuts backstage, ensured everything would be grounded, etc. I knew, of course, these sorts of practices existed (who hasn't made an M&M joke!), but actually experiencing it firsthand spoiled me a bit. Now I fantasize about having riders in unspoken contracts of all facets of my life, but especially in class.

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Where's the fun and fight in feminist?: Finding the mechanisms of Anti-logos exchange.

According to most versions of his life story, the Titan Prometheus stole fire from the Gods and gave it to the first human men. For this and his other insurgent crimes, Prometheus' punishment is to be chained to a cliff with daily visits from an eagle who eats his regenerating liver from his body. This is my current model of textual creation and critique. The texts we write are our regenerating livers. When critiquing, we are the eagle. Don't be scared off by the gory metaphor. I am going explain my reasoning and later even offer a additional myth of critique from which I hope to fashion a more palatable model.

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Princesses, Cosmo and Art: Alternative Approaches to Physics Pedagogy

Much has been written on the alternatives to the mystical physics pedagogy paradigm. Serious feminist scholars have critiqued, provided new examples and thought this problem out very thoroughly. However, despite this body of literature, at least one professor at a women's college believes that innovation in upper level physics courses is impossible without an overall culture change throughout all schools. Is it really true that women cannot succeed in physics without following archaic lecture and recitation pedagogical methods? Are modern curricular innovations, common in other disciplines, incompatible with masculine, sophisticated physics? This paper will present several descriptions of what new pedagogies designed especially for women might look like. Keep in mind that these are meant to be humorous. I am interested in exploring stereotypes of women-specific curricula. Hopefully, the absurdity of these approaches will prove the absurdity of the claim that innovative pedagogical methods are impossible. It is possible that a few of the suggestions may be useful, but doubtful. The innovations that scholars have suggested for women and minorities in physics are not groundbreaking. Indeed, the claim that minority-friendly methods cannot be implemented is as offensive as many of the suggestions outlined in this paper.

I. Introduction

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I have three hours to complete my digital clock in my last advanced Physics lab of the second semester of my junior year. In front of me, I have a soldering iron, a partially completed breadboard and ten fingers that are shaking. The shaking makes the chips on my violet nail polish even more revolting. I sit on my hands, now a barrier between myself and the lab bench. The seven other seats in the lab are each filled with a male college student plugging in their iron, pulling out more solder from its sweet coil, studying their circuit diagrams (neater than mine) and not seeing the hands of the only female student shake because I am sitting on them. Problem solved. But how to get through the next three hours handless?

Pure science does not need hands. That's what he told me. Professor White did, my academic knight in shining armor. After that first semester, no, the first exam freshman year. Pure science is not about hands or things, he said, but thought experiments. Einstein-theoreticians predict the world before hands discover it. Your hands, your body is not what is important. He did not know-- the years at the barre, the exquisite pleasure of watching, no feeling, no both, your leg curving, the calf muscles clenching into the pointed toe. But ballet was not a profession; college was for professions and there was no ballet major here. Just now, this required physics course. He did not know-- Your grade on this final is so high, if I curved to you, everyone else in the class would fail, he said. I write the exams expecting everyone to fail. But you, you are brilliant, no your mind is brilliant. I don't know how you knew that much without coming to class regularly-- I knew: 3 days and nights alone with the text book, alone feeling the pot of coffee imbibed sawing its way through my temple, alone reading the theories until fluent in the symbols and equations, alone with the constants, unreal numbers that do not change (genius. what other truth does not change?), the laughing voices of the drunk girls in the hall searing my heart till I cry on the calculator, why this need to be perfect?

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Why feminist critiques of science theory demand a change in the rhetoric of the opt-out revolution.

Feminist critiques of science have largely focused their efforts upon reforming the ways in which scientists practice science via pedagogy and research, in which scientific communities are organized and in which science conceptualizes the natural world. I wish to question the ways in which science is used in public discourse by non-scientists. I argue that just as feminist critiques argue that scientific inquiry must be socially responsible, discourse on social concerns must be equally responsible for their use and understanding of scientific knowledge and explain the ways in which Karen Barad's ideas on scientific pedagogy would reinforce both arenas. I take as a case study, Lisa Belkin's October 2003 New York Times article, “The Opt-out Revolution.”

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The Personal May be Political, but is it Scientific?

In January 2005, the then president of Harvard College, Larry Summers, publicly questioned the intrinsic ability of women in the physical sciences in front of an audience of intellectuals. This incident became infamous and endlessly discussed. In January 2005, I was beginning my first semester back at Bryn Mawr College as a physics major after a one year leave of absence. At the time, I remember Summers' comments exploding across campus. The president of our college distributed a statement denouncing Summers' words. I remember thinking how lucky I was to go to an institution where my abilities would not be underestimated due to my gender. Although I remember reading several op-eds and discussing his remarks with friends, I never read the transcript of his talk or encountered a supporter of his views. The conversations I recall were very one-sided.

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