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Notes Towards Day 23: Interdisciplinarity/Transdisciplinarity

Notes Towards Day 23 of
Critical Feminist Studies:

I. Coursekeeping
some papers to return...

Tues, Dec. 2 For visit w/ Jessy Brody,
re-read Susan Stryker, "My Words of Victor Frankenstein...."
(there's also some material @ back of packet....)
please post your responses to Susan Stryker/
questions for Jessy Brody by next Monday evening

Thurs, Dec. 4 "Born into Brothels"
how do you want to arrange for viewings?
(have 4 copies...)

See Born into Brothels Companion curriculum

Also, after consulation w/  here this fall,
Two recommended texts
(on reserve in Canaday for
Elena Gorfinkel's "Women & Cinema" class):

Annette Kuhn, "Passionate Detachment." Women's Pictures:
Feminism & Cinema.
London: Verso, 1982, 1994.

Julia Lesage, "Political Aesthetics of Feminist Documentary,"
Issues in Feminist Film Criticism, Ed. Patricia Erens.
Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990.

N.B. Week of Elena's course devoted to
Women Filmmakers in Iranian Cinema:
Samira Makhmalbaf's The Apple (1998),
September 11 (2002),
At Five in the Afternoon

Fri,Dec. 5: Paper Due
play with alternative ways of writing/representing....?)
sarahk: this article...made me wish that we would have had an exclusively creative writing assignment in which we could further explore the inner workings of our own minds in a way that is not only theory-based... I think it would be really great... to be assigned something like the essay that was included in this article.

Tues, Dec. 9: poetry-finding
how to go about this??

II. Finale for course:
Performances, Checklist, Portfolio
on alternative forms of assessment:
(mostly!) not set out ahead of time,
but evaluated post-hoc...
focus on the actual individual students in the couse and, instead of trying to meet the needs of "academia," attempt to satisfy those particular students you have at that moment.
and let them dictate the terms/achievements of their learning??
another possibility for your next paper:
what would "feminist" assessment look like?
III. Thinking back for a moment,
to Derrida and Sosnoski's challenge
to feminists
not to participate in "business as usual:"
"rule-governed striving: contest for prize."

Sosnoski himself now involved in projects such as

Distance Learning Classroom Using Virtual Harlem

Electronic Visualization Laboratory

Clear trajectory from Sosnoski's 1989 theorizing re: theorizing
to his current work on constructing alternative realities....

More "local" examples:

The "interruptive" work of two Bryn Mawr feminist alums--
to represent the unrepresented:

Jane Tompkins' work on Sensational Designs:
The Cultural Work of American Fiction, 1790-1860

What makes a literary classic? not the intrinsic merit of a text, but rather the circumstances of its writing. Against the modernist belief that art, in order to be art, must be free from propaganda, Tompkins contends that writers like Brockden Brown, Cooper, Stowe, and Warner wrote in order to alter the face of the social world, not to elicit aesthetic appreciation.Thus, the value and significance of the novels, for readers of their time, depended on precisely those characteristics that formalist criticism has taught us to deplore: stereotyped characters, sensational plots, and cliched language....This challenging book works towards a redefinition of literature and literary study. The texts the author examines are viewed not as works of art embodying enduring themes, but as attempts to redefine the social order.

Nadia Abu El-Haj's work on Facts on the Ground:
Archaeological Practice and Territorial
Self-Fashioning in Israeli Society:

“Serious people are outraged when people who are rank amateurs come in....It’s insulting. Brain surgeons would be offended if a medical technician criticized their work....The problem, of course, is that she is politically driven"....But Dr. Abu El-Haj also has many supporters...who say her book is solid, even brilliant, and part of an innovative trend of looking at how disciplines function....

"Laboring in the Cultural Commons":
emergence of new journal, Dynamics of Asymmetric Conflict
(to bridge "peace" and "war" cultures-->
response to request for Journal on the Psychology of Terror)

On the Philosophy of Representation
(from the Humanities Theory Seminar:)
"The Subaltern does not want to be known."
"Well, that rather stops the conversation then, doesn't it?"

V. Sarah S & Hope: kicking off discussion re:
Dalke, Grobstein and McCormack, "Exploring Interdisciplinarity"
Dalke and McCormack's "Synecdoche and Surprise"

your reactions & questions:
aaclh: Perhaps by collaborating across disciplines we can create a diverse enough community to answer the problems of singular disciplines in educating students.
skumar: why not utilize each discipline's strengths to balance out another discipline's weakness in hopes to solve an otherwise unsolveable issue?...there are are losing the features that make certain disciplines attractive...the rigorous single disclipinary aspect
lrperry: Are there some combinations that work better than others?...Perhaps it is the bringing together of differences that is effective, not shades of grey.
anorton: The whole process of explicitly separating courses into departments...limits the scope of our liberal arts education: it allows students to stick within the comfort zones of their majors instead of encouraging them to find and choose whatever classes interest them.
mpottash: The authors discuss synecdoche, saying that "the part, or representation, will never reflect or encompass the whole of an event." Is this true for the word "feminism"?
jlustick: neither of them locates themselves personally...i.e. how are they as people connected to this subject?...professors are not the ultimate knowledge "gods."
stephanie2: "literary critics understand synecdoche... as... representing... only...selected aspects of [the whole]." Such a realization and statement speaks to the exclusiveness and reduction of academia.
rchauhan: I think its important to bring different majors and studies together because different subjects make students think in different ways...broadens their horizons/thinking style/opinions etc, and it makes students think about topics through different lenses.
jzarate: Anne’s teaching style seems to be an ongoing experiment, which leads it evolve and adapt to her needs nicely, but it is a reality check that our interactions in this class are being evaluated, and not just on a grade basis. (It reminds me of some sort of constant psychological experiment. How interdisciplinary!)...I find it difficult to reconcile the implications of Anne’s requests to place ourselves “personally” within our work and the vulnerability of posting online.
ssherman:The idea as the professors as observers struck me, because I have always found my professors to be the main participant in my classes.