Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

class notes 10/16

SandraGandarez's picture


Class Notes 10-16-2010


Review of Path to Paradise

Anne – revelations about the limitations of the method and so much individualistic literary criticism due to our conversation of it. Book seemed personable with Berko's position.



Anne Dalke– did we get caught up in images and didn't advance an argument

ckosarek – yeah I saw it in my paper. You run the risk of bringing outside things

Anne Dalke– anyone else?

Owl – I have. I'm not sure if we are going on tangents or if it makes sense to me

ckosarek – well the fact that its available

veritatemdilexi – I just want to say what I want to say so I still write my paper the same way

Anne Dalke – so you don't take advantage of those things (hyper-linking etc)

tgarber – the second paper is where I started using those things. The images helped convey the message I was trying to get across (such as Tarnation). It helped my paper more than it hurt

Anne Dalke – do we need to be explicit about about why we're using images – same thing SandraGandarez did in her paper with quotes. Don't just drop it in but explain why its there

AyaSeaver -i did use it a lot more in my 2nd paper. I made my argument much more successfully; not really more explicitly. Helped the audience. Can't surround it which too much commentary or it takes away from being an image. There may be links but you don't HAVE to click on it.

Anne Dalke – do you generally follow hyperlinks in a text? Too many links too distracting?

SandraGandarez – I do this on wikipedia to use more clarification

veritatemdilexi - why do we write? What about linear arguments

Anne Dalke – Aya's notion about drawing in the audience. The point of web papers is for the availability to bring in people. Challenges the knowledge we have on writing papers. Opens it to more possibilities

ckosarek – culture has cultivated shorter attention spans, hyper-linking is in response to that. No one wants to read an 18 pg paper, used to 3 minute youtube videos

Anne Dalke – These practices open for a different kind of reading (skimming). Not close,deep or sustained silent reading. Different skillset. We shouldn't valorize close reading

rachelr – I really enjoy images. Help to keep reader asking more questions. They are still following you but gets them thinking of something off of that. Hyper-linking doesn't work for me

Anne Dalke – individual differences and what your project is will effect this. Experiment w a dif kind of writing



The Immortal Life: Initial Impressions

how the book operated on you and what structural level

smacholdt – like the science and narrative aspects. Made the science more accessible to average readers. Married the human and scientific aspects of it.

Tgarber – I thought some of the details were too detailed like how would the author know that. It seems like she made it up to make the story more engaging and flowing (how Henrietta felt for the knot in the tub)

pfischer – read it at a political level. Didn't take issue that some of the details were probably made up. It fed into an ongoing narrative of exploitation of black individuals. Confused about what it really was. The expose is what interested me. The professor made her tell him everything she knew about Tuskeegee Institute so it felt grounded in that genre. Wasn't written overtly political more narrative

veritatemdilexi – The frustration that the medical field feels and is not really followed is not something that was addressed in this.

Owl – didn't know the genre of the book, looked it up. Investigative journalism. Blaming the scientists for using Henrietta's cells without her knowledge but maybe its the genre that makes it seem like that.

maht91 – I was interested in the science part but I like the arrangement of the chapters about how it gets more personal. Felt more interactive and can understand more. Interested more in the biographical than the biological

eEVD – interested in the biological. Bio major and I've seen that cell in old medical literature. Author did a good job of not mocking the family (she lives on in these cells). Without medical background you wouldn't understand that these cells are not part of her. You can build her from these cancer cells. Those cells are not her and they don 't understand that.

Platano – not into science or bio. I don't ever question facts in science since I don't have that knowledge. I wouldn't question the statement “these cells came from Henrietta Lacks”

TyL – that is what many people do. They don't question it and years later false information comes out. Illustrates a general trend in people. We shouldn't be so quick to accept everything. Her search to get through to the Lacks family was interesting. Like trying to penetrate the mob. Interesting to see her persistence and knock on anyone's door that said “Lacks”. Like the timeline on the top of the chapters and how it switches back and forth between past and present.

rachelr – read it in bio class. Read it in that bio pathway. Samples taken and kept a lot. You don't have rights over tissues ruled on by supreme court

Anne Dalke – informed consent didn't exist in that time according to Skloot who didn't blame scientists

rachelr – the doctors were a bit shady about it by testing family under false pretenses

Anne Dalke – so for you questions were ethical?

Rachelr – I guess so

SandraGandarez – the fact that the family was left in the dark once they knew about the cells is what bothered me and that people were making a profit while the family doesn't know anything and were living in poverty. I read it in a social context and that its our responsibiltiy to inform them

veritatemdilexi – but telling a white doctor that he has to pay and ask for permission from a black women

TyL – when she died they didn't know the extent to which these cells influenced medicine

SandraGandarez and Owl – but when they did they should have done something/informed the family

FatCatRex – thinking about what you would learn from that lens and their cells. Getting several lenses and you're giving your own spin on it. You can't have an idea without having some sort of slant or bias. Read skeptically about family

ckosarek – read it as a history of research medicine (chicken blood method). Human genome project – government and private company. Government updated everyday and the people were compensated but how would they compensate her

Owl – who wants cancer cells tho

EVD – I think she would have said no because she refused treatments a lot and didn't really care. They didn't have obligation at that time to ask her because they knew she'd say no

Anne Dalke – contest to the fact that its NOT her; this book is so compelling so we're kept interested in the cells

jaranda – I wouldn't have known about these cells if it hadn't been for this book. There's a story behind this so it was more interesting

AyaSeaver – I'm not enjoying the book. Uncomfortable in the way she wrote it, and dialogue. She has the book advertised in a way that its selling about information but its written in a novel, fictional way. Unethical (medical as well as narrative)

Anne Dalke – she says its nonfiction but there are so many levels of fabrication (details, quotes and family stories) Does it invite us to distrust it?

Rachelr – they're talking about her body as a biological system, a biological world, her secret world

veritatemdilexi – they cannot make certain life changing decisions for you (family member treating you). In medical school the first thing you do is dehumanize the body. Challenges all medical training going against that

AyaSeaver – less like a challenge but more a challenge on how we treat our bodies

TyL – what if she survived and she lived to today. What would have happened what would she have done? Would that make a difference? If she had survived then certain things may not have been overlooked. She might not have allowed it to go this far. Deeply suspicious culture and her family is spooked

tgarber – I don't think she would have been able to do anything about it at that point (colored woman in this culture)

TyL – our cells are insubstantial aspects (skin that fall off all day)

veritatemdilexi – life death and immortal doesn't make cells

AyaSeaver – our cells don't have our animation in them

Anne Dalke – these are the worlds first immortal cells even tho she is dead

TyL – these are not a person now. No animation and not used in its initial uses

SandraGandarez – she is not immortal but her cells are .. her genome is in every single cell and they continue to repeat that genome

EVD – this is not a call to action, this is a catchy title

TyL – she seems like she is calling to action. Like for the Lacks family to get a piece of the pie or get tissue rights

EVD – the stem cell arguments from the fact that you can make a human from a stem cell but you can't make a person from a cancer cell. She allowed them to take the cell in the first place. Maybe its against her religion but this doesn't go against that (like organs) but she was still alive after that

TyL – she would have replaced the cell

EVD – the argument is about money and makes the family seem greedy

rachelr – its the fact that they can't afford medical care and so many other people are benfiting from it. She didn't get the credit she deserved and they were manipulated (false reason)

TyL – whats important her cells or her self

Anne Dalke – how does the book structure the relationship between the cells and the woman?

EVD – the author would say that the story is immortal, not the cells or her

ckosarek – she separates the person and the cells by juxtaposing the two stories. Could have weaved the stories much more. Title asks what is alive and what is not and gets us to think about it


Anne Dalke – if you see the world as wholes being made up of parts as interactions, how can you read the book in that lens? Collectiveness vs individual. Is the language individual or collectiveness

rachelr – can it be both? Skloot weaves the story of the cells in with the story of the person

AyaSeaver – by weaving she makes it a plot. She makes it into a story instead of scientific facts




*as a side note EVD and FatCatRex may not be accurately labeled on here. I think I labeled a few of FatCatRex's comments as EVD. If I did, I'm sorry and I can change it if you know which are which.



Also, I think these cells are something we should have utilized. I think the methods they used to obtain them were a little underhanded but they did no harm to Henrietta Lacks. They didn't let her die or neglect her health in any way. I'm still struggling with the question of, “does the end justify the means?”


Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
5 + 14 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.