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Erin's picture

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.

HSBurke's picture

Not always a bad thing

At some point in our conversation last Thursday, we arrived at a discussion of whether or not texts should always be accessible to us. Now, I completely understand the frustration that comes with not understanding. I definitely felt shut out by Footfalls and Mark's comment that there really was no take away. Well then why are we watching it!? But, with that said, I can't help but think about how English departments around the country would be out of a job if students understood everything they read. So much of my learning, specifically in high school, revolved around making the inaccessible accessible, and our teachers provided the tools for us to do that. What is analysis if not breaking down a text and its literary elements to further your own understanding? And then you write an essay to share that understanding with others. As a writing center tutor, every day I come across people who struggle to understand their class texts. To work through this and try to find some meaning that is accessible and interesting to them, I see my tutees grasp on to a certain aspect of the text or a particular motif, whatever. Through further exploration of the little accessible piece that they pull out, the entire text starts to gain a deeper meaning for them. Rather than shutting down like I was tempted to, I also used this method during Mark and Catharine's performance. After it became painfully apparent to be that I wasn't going to "get it", I shifted my focus to something I could appreciate, which was Catharine's craft of her role through voice.

Dan's picture

In defense of words

       In my sort of rambly closing comments in our most recent Silence class, I was trying to articulate why post structuralist art has value. Why can’t the vision/purpose of the piece be expressed in the most simple/accessible vocabulary available? -- So as to reach the most people, to be inclusive. First, I think I’ll speak to the Beckett play and experimental art. 
      The very nonnormative, nonlinear, anti-plot which bothered most people in the class and left many people feeling excluded and frustrated, was a subversion of accepted tropes. Stories and art have a culturally sanctioned form which we  internalize as individuals practically at birth (or as soon as we become cultural subjects) -- the arts have a symbolic structure all their own. "Postmodern" is a term we give to art created in this fragmented, revolutionary culture-- which deconstructs race, class, and other structures of power.
   We are flooded with linear narratives, fairy tales, stories with plot development, climax, resolution. It’s even how we understand what we call “our life” -- as a series of chronological events which have led us to where we are now. But postmodern art abandons that pattern -- that mold which we accept as the only way to tell stories -- and instead produces art through experimental, nontraditional writing, film, theater, etc.
Chandrea's picture

Gloria Steinem

Is anyone planning to see Gloria Steinem tomorrow? I really want to see her but I don't want to go alone. I also have no idea where anything is at Haverford. I know Julia's going... if anybody wants to meet up and then head over, do let me know!

I remember first learning about Gloria Steinem in my U.S. History II class (my favorite class during my junior year) and I wanted to brush up on some basic stuff that I thought I should remember about her but didn't (and I admit this is embarrassing and probably a professor's worst nightmare) but I checked out her wiki page and I saw this section and thought it was totally related to today's discussion in Anne's class about inaccessibility in academic writing:

HSBurke's picture

Just sayin'

I noticed today at the end of class that those people who said that we were doing well with silence and respect in our discussion were also the ones who were spoke quite often. I, for one, would have appreciated more gaps, as per Jo's request. 

Anne Dalke's picture

360-wide Assignment: Activism!

Everyone also has a SECOND POSTING DUE for the whole 360 early next week. Please review the postings everyone did, on returning from fall break, describing the sort of activism that interests you--and then BY TUESDAY @ 5 PLEASE POST AS A COMMENT HERE a description of your current thinking about our final projects for this class.

How have your own thoughts about your project evolved? Do you see your project as standing alone, or as allied w/ others? What independent actions, and what clusters of activism, can you now see emerging among our proposals?

We will meet for pizza from 6-7:30 on Wed, Nov. 7th, in the English House Lecture Hall, to discuss and organize further. Before coming to supper, please also read the second round of comments posted here, and arrive ready to share your thoughts towards next steps.

HSBurke's picture

Who has Reading is my Window?

Hi all! I'm wondering who has Reading is my Window and when I cane come get it from you. [: 


sara.gladwin's picture

3rd ENG webevent: exploring conventional storytelling and interpretation

“In many ways, literary conventions, as well as the conventions of literacy, militate against an understanding of traditional tribal materials. Western technological-industrialized minds cannot adequately interpret tribal materials because they are generally trained to perceive their entire world in ways that are alien to tribal understandings” (Allen 31). This quote is from a reading from another class outside the 360 but I could not help but feel it captured some of my difficultly in reading “I, Rigoberta Menchu.” Paula Gunn Allen (who I extracted the above quote from) wrote an essay asserting that the way white colonial understanding and retelling of Indigenous people’s culture and stories distorts their reality. Allen specifically believes that one of the most important aspects of this distortion is through the particular “plotting” of a retelling. In the English language, we are taught that a story should follow a predictable and linear trajectory. First there is the introduction of characters and a “reader-capturing” conflict that those characters will have to continually work towards absolving. The characters then go through a series of experiences that shape their identity and lead into the final climax of the story; the pivotal moment in which the characters are forced to reconcile with their conflict in an explosive way. After the climax the story winds downward into a satisfying, neat conclusion in which the reader can ultimately extract from a piece of meaning or theme that ties each event together.

Erin's picture

Going back and forth

“Wow, Time Square looks different from what I’ve seen on TV!” I overheard some familiar Chinese talking among crowds of tourists in Time Square as I was running to Penn station to catch a train. Finally, I found my seat. I wondered why that sentence was still stuck in my head. Right, I said exactly same thing three years ago when I finally arrived at that symbolic site.

In just four years, I am doing everything I could never think of before by myself, travelling, dealing with complicated visa issues, negotiating with different people and so on. All the excitement of discovering new things on this continent seems to decline over time because I just have tons of other things to deal with and worried about. I become indifferent for many things which sound so exciting and tempting before. During the time I spend here, I acquire all kinds of new skills not because I am smart but because I have to learn to survive.

So much has changed and so much is about to. I made the decision to come here purely to have opportunities to receive the best high education in the world. At least, that’s my initial attention at that time. The moment I stepped in this continent, the journey full of mixtures of conflicts between of two cultures and assimilations of the two has begun. Some of the conflicts were expected before while some just went beyond my imaginations. Going back and forth between here and home, I am constantly trying to find a spot where I belong.

ishin's picture

WebEvent#3: First time podcast

Because I'm interested in making a series of podcasts for my final activism project, I made a podcast for my final webevent.

Attaching the script may actually be the best because it actually holds more content within it than the podcast itself (there way a lottt of editing involved).

Here's the script:

When I first started off with this podcast, I was going to speak about the difference between the stage directions “pause” and “silence” in the play Wating for Godot, but as you can tell, I had a little trouble trying articulate anything meaningful.


I’ve made a couple of recordings and youtube videos in the past, and I want to be able to say that you eventually get used to it—but I can only partially partake in that that claim. 

To be sure, there are a couple of things on that list I’m used to: I’m no longer embarrassed by the way my voice sounds outside my own head, and I’m much more okay with making mistakes on the camera—after all, that’s what editing for.

But without fail, I still fall into the same trap that I think gets a lot of us: the one where you get caught up in each syllable you utter, the amount of air you take in through your lungs, and the weight of each word that leaves your lips.  The trap of being overwhelming self-consciousness about your own vocal speech patterns.


See video
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