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Notes Towards Day 3 (Tues, Sept. 6): Street Wise and School Smart



I. Coursekeeping

assure yourself of the name (and "classification"!) of the person sitting to your right and left;
two left, two right? three, etc.?

review of conference times (anybody in B week want to switch to A?)

come to your conference w/ a printed copy of your paper, with my response,
along w/ your response to what I've said--> questions, further reflections,
ideas for next steps? I'll have a few questions about the "backpack" you
bring to class, but otherwise, you're running the show!

Thursday's readings:
3 essays by Jane Tompkins (most famous grad of the BMC English Dept!)
from her book, A Life in School: What the Teacher Learned.

we're already fiddling w/ the syllabus, and are NOT asking you to read selections from two activist texts: Classified: How to Stop Hiding Your Privilege and Use It For Social Change, and Class Matters: Cross-Class Alliance Building for Middle-Class Activists; these have been moved/downgraded to "additional resources"! (refresh your browser...)

this Friday's paper: 3 pp. reflecting on the connections and distinctions you see between
your educational autobiography and others we've read (including those of your classmates):
what assumptions are revealed, when you "rub it up against" other stories?

in Luttrell's terms, add to the
"narrative urgency" of your first story
"a retrospective view" of it, in the context of others' accounts;
she called herself "ventriloquist" and "activist,"
conveying stories her subjects will recognize,
but revealing assumptions they may not:
dig a little to look @ your own!

Jillian wrote, As I revise my paper, I hope to take its content into a new direciton and
think more deeply about the educational experiences in my life that have truly enlightened me. 

Writing with Sources: why/when/how to use others' texts...

II. Paper Writing and Reflecting Upon
how was it, writing your first college paper?
(all those disclaimers!!)
how'd the second posting go...?
(Hayley--> not in conversation, but blog; Tanya??)

what did you see, looking back on your work,
that you hadn't seen while writing?
what did you see, reading others' reflections?

what's the relation of your educational autobiographies
to those by Kincaid, Rodriguez, Cisneros, Minatoya?
how much are we in conversation w/ them?

III. some excerpts from/prompts for a conversation:

Shannon: ... up until now, most of my discussions of class (and classism) have been with members of my own social class....a great many of them have been carried out in the kitchens of restaurants where we are all instantly equallized by the very act of serving....This provides a certain kind of comfort and ease. In the classroom, these lines are invisible and it is impossible to know what each other's experiences and ideas are.... It is...very difficult for me to open up and share some of my own experiences, and the view points that they have fed, in this environment.  

Rae: After discussing in class and rereading my educational story, I feel as if I have definitely omitted some parts I could have otherwise added. I didn’t talk about race in my story although it was significant. Being the ‘smart’ girl isolated me from all the black kids in my grade. Being smart meant being ‘white’... I don’t understand the correlation...

Serena: I have definitely had a similar experience.... I was not accepted by the black kids because I was light-skinned and acted "like I was white," while being rejected by the white kids because I was tan....I think that because blacks were oppressed for so long, the culture of undereducation and poverty has become associated with the race...

V. reflecting on our stories, via Luttrell's work
on Working-Class Women’s Identity and Schooling:
what can we learn from her interviews and reflections?
she hoped readers would find parallels w/ their life stories--did you?

select a short passage that you find provocative/key/challenging
briefly share w/ a partner;
bring these conversations into full group discussion....

VI. Anne's reading notes
xiii: intertwining of family life, schooling, and work
twisted relations of selfhood, class, race, and gender identity, and schooling
schools should provide the space to renew and reinvent selves
women as not at all different/all too different/indifferent to one another

2: commonsense knowledge @ odds with book learning
5: schools as trading posts for different sorts of
cultural capital, w/ only some rewarded/legitimated
6: prohibition against talking about class as legitimate explanation for social position
talking about school is a code for talking about class
7: social identities are "sites of necessary trouble" (Judith Butler)
8: "storied selves": "what is told and whatis lived promote each other"
9: "splitting": school divides studnets w/in the selves and against each other
10: focus on teachers' pets-- lopsided relationships --and mother-daughter bonds
organization of school takes for granted norms of middle-class family life/resources

18: on being "captured": accuracy and authenticity
22: on being blind to others/our fantasies and images:
healthy tension between who we are and who others imagine us to be (?)

23: "We are what we know, and..what we think we do not know."
25: "common sense"/"real intellligence" attained outside school, from life experience
paradoxic: both self-destructive and enabling
27: claiming commonsense = expressing class consciousness
28: commonsense accessible; schoolwise intelligence must be achieved
class coded: associated w/ ambition, opportunity, upward mobility:
"making it' vs. "making do" of survival/common sense
31: gendered distinctions: caregiving in the "ontological basement" of different ways of knowing
35: class-based (and racialized) values split common sense from schoolwise intelligence--
formed by false oppositions, absences, denials

119: become who you are through active exchange w/ an other
120: telling better stories a political act, depending upon a community of supportive listeners
telling our stories, we open ourselve sup to feeling vulnerable...
choosing to believe that our story has value, we feel entitled to other people's respect
121: storytelling a "cure for bitterness" (Dorothy Allison)

Luttrell's later book: Pregnant Bodies, Fertile Minds:
Gender, Race and the Schooling of Pregnant Teens