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Anne Dalke's picture

Post here the scripts for (or accounts of) your final performances.
Sarah K. and Katie will be hosting the event. Here's the line-up.
Plan for approximately 5 minutes for each event.

Julia and Kendalyn
Emily, Sarina and Eve
Sonal, Janet and Becky
Ally, Melissa, and Sarah K
Hilary, Raina, Sarah S, and Katie

You are also warmly welcome to come back and visit,
posting relevant items and thoughts as they arise over the  months--even years!--ahead.


aaclh's picture

\documentclass{article} \u


\usepackage{amsmath, amsfonts}



\title{Explanation by Metaphor: \\ What I Learned in \\ Introduction to Critical Feminist Studies}

\author{Amanda Hittson}



In thinking about trying to convey what I learned in this class to the class I found myself hung up on what method I would use to convey what I learned. Should I draw a picture? Or write a speech? Or write an essay? Since the grasp I have on what I learned in this class seems to me to be so tenuous I rejected all of these. I decided I would try to convey what I learned through a more tenuous means: a metaphor. In particular, I wanted to construct a metaphor that would explain how this class has made me think about the world. I start with a sketch of what I think I learned in the class to motivate my metaphor. I learned that communication of experiences is reductive in meaning. If I have an experience, say when I walked to class I tripped and fell in a mud puddle, and then try to explain the experience to you by communicating, say through sentences in the English language, my experience. Then I could say I fell in a mud puddle. Then you, the class try to get at what I mean, you try to understand what I experienced. So you might remember a time when you fell in a mud puddle and conclude that what I experienced was similar. But you might have never tripped into a puddle before and so you might imagine it. However, experience is a vague word. In tripping I might have felt fear for my safety, I might have felt anxiety that I would drop this sheet of paper and render it unreadable... I might have thought various things, I might have smelled a variety of smells or tasted a variety of tastes or \ldots My point is that in trying to convey to you through, say languague, I must pick out what I consider to be the important parts of the experience, for example the fact that the mud reminded me of how far from home I am because where I come from there isn't much mud because it doesn't rain much and as a child I always wanted to play in the mud, but here it rains so often and is very muddy and so what I want to convey to you is my feeling of alien-ness in tripping on the east coast. However, it could be that some person can't move beyond the fact that one time she tripped in the mud on a trip to the mall with her friends who completely humiliated her for the remainder of the trip and so all she gains from my story is that I must have felt humiliated. So my starting metaphor tries to describe the interaction between the at least two-step process of communication and experience. Another thought I gained from this class is that a person's identity isn't constant and may or may not fit into the language categories at any time. So my metaphor tries to take this into account as well. Since my main training is in mathematics and I find it easiest to think of mathematical metaphors, but probably most of the people in this class haven't had any math beyond calculus, I decided to try to make my metaphor in the simplest language of calculus that I could come up with. If communication, say sentences, are represented by some subset of $\R k$, with $k>0$, then to convey how information is lost in communication, I will say that the world and all experiences in the world, for each time $t$ is some subset of $\R n$ with $n>k$. So in order to communicate, what each person tries to do is represent life with language. In the words of my metaphor, each person $A$ at time $t$ tries to find a function $f_{A,t}: \R n \to \R k$. Then if person $A$ is trying to convey an experience $E$ to person $B$, person $A$ says to person $B$, $f_{A,t}(E)$. Then person $B$ tries to recover the experience from these sentences, probably by looking at $f_{B,now}^{-1}(E)$. What further complicates this is the changing of people over time. At each point in time person $A$ is (potentially) a changed person then at time $t' \neq t$. So if you think of a person, what you really have is a function $g: \R{} \to \R n$ where $g(t)$ is the set of experiences that define a person at time $t$ and most likely depend on $t < t'$. Before this class I thought that $g$ was continuous and locally mostly constant. After having taken this class I have no idea if $g$ is continuous or not and think that $g$ is probably mostly not constant. Also, the way that I fit education into this metaphor is that teachers try to teach students standard ways of defining $f: \R n \to \R k$; they try to erase language's dependence on $A$ and on $t$. This class in particular attempted to examine why this might be problematic. \noindent \underline{Note}: I have written this up in \LaTeX, a program that most mathematicians use to write math papers. In an effort to be open with the class I am posting not only the pdf-version of this paper that one would normally turn in, but also the code written to produce this picture.



hpolak's picture

Raina, Sarah, Katie and I

Raina, Sarah, Katie and I had a lot of fun with our skit. We wanted to make people laugh. We felt that it would be hard to act out all of the material we covered in class, so we researched some poems that would symbolize topics that we discussed. We picked one poem about sexual orientation and identity, one about a located form of feminism, and one about the stereotypes and restrictions society places on individuals. I played Anne, which was tough. She is a strong personality- a great professor, but also a fun and down to earth person. I hope I pulled it off! I also hope everyone enjoyed our presentation, and smiled even just a little bit.
rfindlay's picture

Long passage to be read

Long passage to be read fast:

Introductory Data: She had lived as a female all her life. At birth, somatic appearance was of a penis so small as to appear to be a clitoris. The subject’s XY karyotype was not discovered until puberty, when she began to virilize…the girl has always sat to urinate like other girls. Blood tests confirmed an XY chromosomal status. In addition, blood tests revealed that the subject was suffering from 5-alpha-reductace deficiency syndrome…The subject’s facial expression, though somewhat stern at time, is overall pleasant and receptive, with frequent smiling. The subject often casts her eyes downward in a modest or coy manner. She is feminine in her movements and gestures, and the slight gracelessness of her walk is in keeping with females of her generation.  Though due to her height some people may find the subject’s gender at first glance somewhat indeterminate, any prolonged observation would result in a decision that she was indeed a girl. Her voice, in fact, has a soft, breathy quality. She inclines her head to listen when another person speaks and does not hold forth or assert her opinions in a bullying manner characteristic of males. She often makes humorous remarks.


Sentences to be read slower:

The woman with the face of an owl.

This is a temple, not a home.

…intersex is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s time to break the silence and drive away from the shame.

Her mustache, I think, would be the envy of all 3 of my brothers.

…be either male or female, and it shall succeed according to the kind of sex which doth prevail.

I felt there was this person deep down dying to come out, and on the outside was this façade that was just waiting to go away…

Biology loves variation but society can’t tolerate it and that’s where the problem is…

It’s just part of me. It’s not all of me…

There’s issues of sex, which is biology—that’s male and female and intersex. Then there’s gender, which is boy and girl, and sometimes people switch that.

Start by taking the time, now and frequently, to explore your own feeling of shame and embarrassment. Try to think about what you are feeling and why you are feeling it.

…disability is a culturally fabricated narrative of the body, a system that produces subjects by differentiating and marking bodies.

…, human language itself, which enables though and knowledge, is representation. …disability and gender are stories we tell about bodies and are our systematic ways of representing bodies.

… within the paradigm of contemporary science we cannot know all that can eventually be uncovered about what is means to be a woman or a man…

…a power that determines, more or less, what we are, what we can be.

…I lack a vocabulary to describe my own gender identity.

…she uses the term “genderfuck” as in “I stood at the podium wearing genderfuck drag.

 The whole wanting to feel hailed and recruited is still on my mind.

If you identify as female, you are not solely female; instead that characteristics makes up only one part of your personal identity.


Words to be read even slower:

Guilt, Norms, Unspeakable taboo, Queer, Straight, Other, Self, Monster, Rape, Aggressive, Man-Hater, Bitch, Whiny, Self-hate, Definition, Category, Subject, Object, Personal, Political, Victim, Soft, Passive, Quiet, Soft, Butch, Monster, Biology, Society, Intersex, Dyke, Feminism               

ssherman's picture

final proj

Hilary, Katie, Raina and I decided that the way we wanted to represent our final class was by having a fake class and then reading poems that touched on some of our experiences in this class.  We had a poem about veiling, one about gender/sexuality/how society percieves it, and one mainly about gender identity and stereotypes.

I read:

A Boy Named Sue by Shel Silverstein
Well, my daddy left home when I was three,
and he didn't leave much to Ma and me,
just this old guitar and a bottle of booze.
Now I don't blame him because he run and hid,
but the meanest thing that he ever did was
before he left he went and named me Sue.

Well, he must have thought it was quite a joke,
and it got lots of laughs from a lot of folks,
it seems I had to fight my whole life through.
Some gal would giggle and I'd get red
and some guy would laugh and I'd bust his head,
I tell you, life ain't easy for a boy named Sue.

Well, I grew up quick and I grew up mean.
My fist got hard and my wits got keen.
Roamed from town to town to hide my shame,
but I made me a vow to the moon and the stars,
I'd search the honky tonks and bars and kill
that man that gave me that awful name.

But it was Gatlinburg in mid July and I had
just hit town and my throat was dry.
I'd thought i'd stop and have myself a brew.
At an old saloon in a street of mud
and at a table dealing stud sat the dirty,
mangy dog that named me Sue.

Well, I knew that snake was my own sweet dad
from a worn-out picture that my mother had
and I knew the scar on his cheek and his evil eye.
He was big and bent and gray and old
and I looked at him and my blood ran cold,
and I said, "My name is Sue. How do you do?
Now you're gonna die." Yeah, that's what I told him.

Well, I hit him right between the eyes and he went down
but to my surprise he came up with a knife
and cut off a piece of my ear. But I busted a chair
right across his teeth. And we crashed through
the wall and into the street kicking and a-gouging
in the mud and the blood and the beer.

I tell you I've fought tougher men but I really can't remember when.
He kicked like a mule and bit like a crocodile.
I heard him laughin' and then I heard him cussin',
he went for his gun and I pulled mine first.
He stood there looking at me and I saw him smile.

And he said, "Son, this world is rough and if
a man's gonna make it, he's gotta be tough
and I knew I wouldn't be there to help you along.
So I gave you that name and I said 'Goodbye'.
I knew you'd have to get tough or die. And it's
that name that helped to make you strong."

Yeah, he said, "Now you have just fought one
helluva fight, and I know you hate me and you've
got the right to kill me now and I wouldn't blame you
if you do. But you ought to thank me
before I die for the gravel in your guts and the spit
in your eye because I'm the nut that named you Sue."
Yeah, what could I do? What could I do?

I got all choked up and I threw down my gun,
called him pa and he called me a son,
and I came away with a different point of view
and I think about him now and then.
Every time I tried, every time I win and if I
ever have a son I think I am gonna name him
Bill or George - anything but Sue.


stephanie2's picture

Bryn Mawr Woman

I am a Bryn Mawr Woman

But I am not a Bryn Mawr Woman

I am a woman

But I am not a Bryn Mawr Woman

I am not a woman

But I am a feminist

I am a woman but I am not a feminist

My body is a temple

My mind is a throne

The altar of which has been desecrated as a commodity

My body is a canvas

But the media is not mine

My body is a long journey to embark upon

A discovery to discover and be discovered

I am the cradle that rocks the world

I am the middle passage to be endured

I am the backbone transformed from a rib

I am the oven and the pulse

I am to blame for your fall and your rise

I am behind you, beside you, and around you

I am the aim behind your bow

I am the precision behind your seams

I am the stability that you seek

I am the independence that you declare

I am the engine behind your flight

And the pilot of my own.




lrperry's picture

(No subject)

mpottash's picture

My Feminism...

1) My feminism includes the belief that women need to break out of the hegemonic patriarchal system.

2) My feminism inclludes the belief that we need to break down traditional gender categories.

3) My feminism includes the belief that there are inherent differences between men and women.

4) My feminism includes the belief that third world suffering demands action, even when this action is seen as paternatlistic or imposing.

5) My feminism includes respecting a woman's choice to love and care for one child over another becasue of her poverty-stricken situation.

6) My feminism includes the belief that what is "best" for women is culturally dependent and that each culture's version of "best" must be respected.

7) My feminism includes the belief that colleges and unversities should fund women's studies programs.

8) My feminism includes the belief that education is obsolete if it does not involve the goal of starting a movememnt for some kind of social change.

9) My feminisim includes the belief that everyone, regardless of gender, race, culture, etc., should be included at all levels of society.

10) My feminism includes the belief that there cannot be an all-encompassing definition of the word "feminism." 


In trying to decide what would would do as our final presentation, we were thinking about the ways that the course has helped us to develop our ideas of feminism, and how these ideas have changed over the course of the semester.  By asking the class to participate, we wanted to a) get everyone to think about how their views have changed, and b) show the degree of personal difference in defining feminism.  The wording "My feminism includes..." is significant because it does not limit a definition of feminism, but rather acknowledges the idea that a person's definition of feminism can have multiple, varied aspects.  

anorton's picture


As promised, though somewhat later than planned, here are the numbers of definitions of feminism the class includes:

Number of definitions: Number of people with that number of definitions

1-3: 1

4: 2

5: 1

6: 2

7: 7

8: 3

9: 2

I want formally recognize the fact that the ten definitions we developed are no where near all of the potential definitions of feminism.  Our capacities for understanding feminism limited the definitions we were able to develop to our own perspectives and experiences.  We hope that you will continue adding your own definitions—either here on the forum or, at least, in your heads.  

EG's picture

some stuff

julia, glad you were able to hold out a whole 7 minutes......  :]

and, happily, everyone we originally picked to present  an appetizer, main course, or desert, placed themselves on those respective plates, so that's cool.




oh and i was just lolling at some funny/bad class notes i took over the semester:  (you are all much more beautiful in person)


pic 1: amanda, sarah (X3)


pic 2: anne

 pic 3: becky and her legs andher shirt


pic 4: laura (X2), janet, dawn

 pic 5: hope and someones legs


sorry, no nudie sketches of you know who(s)


rfindlay's picture


this sketch is now my facebook pic.
jlustick's picture

Kendalyn and Julia's Un-Presentation


Prepare a final short project summing up what you’ve learned in this course.”

-Anne Dalke, re: directions for final short project

We Object.

We, Kendalyn and Julia, have decided not to give a “presentation.” We feel that it is impossible to quantify, qualify, or summarize what we’ve learned over the course of the semester.1 Thus, we object to Anne’s assignment. In many ways, it seems contrary to the methodology that we’ve practiced over the past three months. The course has emphasized inter-disciplinary, un-bounded thinking. However, this assignment asks us to isolate the knowledge we’ve acquired in this class. Not only is it impossible for us to identify the most important thing that we’ve learned from this course, but it is also impossible to attribute any knowledge to just one course. This class has been one aspect of our education this semester. We’ve also been influenced by other courses, non-academic experiences, human relationships, and personal reflection. Is isolation productive?

This assignment implies a need for self-reflection, as though that is a process that can be simultaneously externally assigned and internally true. To us, what we’ve experience is more valuable than what we’ve “learned.” In designing our “presentation,” we returned to our pages of notes and found them to be of little use. This was surprising. Until now, we had depended upon our notes to capture what we had learned. But what happens when what we’ve learned is a way to think? The notebook is blank. We cannot accurately describe the process of thinking.

What are we trying to do here?2

  • Breaking out of the hegemonic structure of this classroom. Despite our efforts to do otherwise, we recognize Anne as an authority figure and respond to her as such. We typically accept her assignments and directions, knowing that there are consequences if we do not.

  • Demonstrating the noise that a silent action can make. As individuals who speak regularly during class, we feel that we’ve made our voices and opinions heard throughout the semester. In some ways, it has been more valuable for us to learn the importance of silence and taking the time to sit back and let someone else have the space to speak.

  • Making ourselves uncomfortable by taking a risk and purposefully rejecting the parameters of the assignment

1 Like Pavlov’s dogs, we’ve been trained not to use contractions and always write words out fully so as to sound more academic and less colloquial or personal. When beginning this project, we actively removed each contraction. We then reflected upon this deliberate act and decided to switch them back. We are trying to be conscious of the way in which we use language and not be afraid to write in a manner that seems personal, natural, and true to our meaning.

2 Where are we?

One thing that we’ve talked about extensively is the importance of locating ourselves. We’ve debated whether this process is limiting or empowering. Perhaps both are true. Like anything, when locating is required, it fails to become a personal process and thus loses its potency. We would like to locate ourselves, but we struggle to capture the relevant aspects of our location without using social labels that don’t feel accurate. Also, how do we capture the evolution of our location? Is our location when we write this the same as when others will read it? If not, aren’t we limiting and misrepresenting ourselves?

Dawn's picture

Performance Script - It looks long, but I don't memorize well :)

A Feminist Fencer

When I started this course, my view of feminism didn’t quite feel right. I knew this for sure as soon as I was expected to say it out loud on my first day and I didn’t really believe in it. Then, I hoped that by the end of the course I would be able to reevaluate my own views and formulate opinions and strategies that I would be comfortable using in practical situations.

When I started fencing this semester, I was a foil (I’ll explain) fencer. However, after a while it just didn’t feel right. I switched to saber recently, which feels better. I have since been working hard to get back to the point where I can hold my own in competition.

It has struck me in these past few weeks, just how much these two spheres of my life have intersected in interesting ways.

Fencing and feminism have intersected in two ways:

  1. Fencing is not often gender segregated - men and women are trained in the same way and are on the same playing field quite literally in mixed competition.
  2. I have had conversations as well as confrontations with other fencers that have dealt with feminist principles. Learning to deal with those on an even playing field is important as well. Learning to cope with the intellectual side of this has developed much in the same way as my physical fighting ability. I’d like to show you in terms of an actual bout.

3 point Practice Bout

Ø Salute: acknowledge and evaluate opponent.

Ø En garde…Ready…Fence!

Ø Opponent tries to chase me off the strip with attack. I retreat to keep distance. He lunges. I cut at his arm, he hits me on the head.

Ø Halt!

Ø Referee: Attack from the right, counterattack from the left. Touch right. 1-0.

Ø En garde…Ready…Fence!

Ø Both leave en garde lines, lunge and hit each other on the shoulder.

Ø Halt!

Ø Referee: Simultaneous attack. Nothing done. Score stands 1-0.

Ø En garde…Ready…Fence!

Ø Opponent attacks my head. I parry. I lunge for the head first, but reconsider at the last minute and go for the flank. Opponent finishes on my shoulder.

Ø Halt!

Ø Referee: Attack from the right is parried. Reposte doesn’t arrive. Continuation of the attack is good. Touch right. 2-0

Ø En garde…ready…fence!

Ø I slow down, and actually consider what information my opponent is giving me. He rushes and attacks. I step out of distance and hit him on the wrist in his preparation.

Ø Halt!

Ø Referee: Attack in preparation from the left lands. Touch left. 1-2

Ø En garde…Ready…Fence!

Ø Opponent slows down a little bit and opens the distance. He’s learning from me as well. I respond with what I know. Back to basics. I use footwork to tease him back into my distance, take the blade for right of way and hit him on the head.

Ø Halt!

Ø Attack from the left arrives. Touch left. Score is 2-2.

Ø En garde…Ready…Fence!

Ø I know my opponent is an aggressive fencer. I just need to make him finish his attack and I can respond accordingly. Simple, controlled actions. He rushes at me again. I step into his distance. He completes his lunge and I parry. I go for the stop cut on the wrist, forgetting to let my own guard sufficiently shield my wrist. I leave the line open and he gets me with the tip of his sabre before I can complete the action.

Ø Halt!

Ø Attack from the right is parried. Reposte doesn’t arrive. Continuation of the attack lands. Score is 3-2. That’s bout!

Ø Salute and shake hands!

ebock's picture

Welcome to the dinner

Welcome to the dinner party!

Started with the dinner party, so we figured we’d end with a dinner party…

And we have some friends we’d like to help us serve: Amanda, Julia, and Becky.

Appetizer - Amanda

Matzoh Ball Soup

Doesn’t look like it tastes; just like this class wasn’t what everyone expected.

Main Course - Julia

Vegetable Lasagna

·         Spinach for Spivak

·         Tomatoes for Gertrude Stein

·         Ricotta Cheese for “home” discussion

·         Salt for Book of Salt

·         Onions for the Persepolis

Desert - Becky


·          Layers like the main course and the end of our discussions are sometimes sweet but the honey sticks with you. (Honey, also to represent the “beehive” and Derrida)

·         Wrapped up conversation

·         And sometimes we have allergic reactions to the nuts (conversation).

And because Anne hosted us we return our plates to her.