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Notes from Class 11/9/10

FatCatRex's picture

NOVEMBER 9, 2010 

Reading excerpts for the next few weeks, read online from Google Books (about 100 pages per class) except for Coles which we will read in its entirety

Online Reading: hyper reading / screen-based…NOT close reading, but distant! Hayles suggests that close reading is not the only kind of reading and there is a lot we can do with “machine reading.” Argues that machines can read!

Anne’s online paper comments are up! Read around and check out our linkings. Anne gives an overview of paper’s topics (many dictionary works, and very few documentaries covered)

Third 4 pg paper is due on Dec. 3 and final 12 pg paper due on Dec 17! Talk with Anne individually before final due on the 17th.

Re-cap of three responses so far to “Path to Paradise”


(KGould) Appiah—we cannot agree on all truths but we can become familiar with them 

(EVD) Questions on the introduction and the position of Berko herself as a writer of this text

(Anne) Can we call this an ethnography? Is she trying to be impartial? Focus on the end of the book, referencing her reasons and reactions to speaking with her informants

(rachelr) Her corrections are only factual, not changing the nature of people’s statements

(Vertimilidexi) Found her writing to be arrogant. Points to beginning (p.7, passage on lack of fatherhood)

(maht91) Over-generalized and was upset!

(EVD) She didn’t didn’t seem to understand culture of Palestinian familiea

(platano) Corrections to army from terrorist org.

(EVD) What did she do while she was in the IDF?

(veritatemdilexi) Hamas democratically elected when this was published

(EVD) Certain people shouldn’t be writing certain works

(FatCatRex) Not quite an ethnography because of her lack of experience as ethnographer

(Anne) But shouldn’t we have conversations between Palestinians and Israelis? Doesn’t that get back to Appai?

(SandraG) Berko makes too many assumptions

(maht91) Not a source for truth

(rachelr) Loved this book! Loved that she owned up to things

(EVD) Wondering how representative is her sample informants?

(veritatemdilexi and kgould) Are there some conflicts that are so deep that you can’t live with each other to understand each other? Don’t want to believe this but it might be truth…

(AyaSearer) S. Africa is an example of success because they talked for TRCs for years and years

(Anne) So how do we tell her to write this in a way that we feel comfortable?

(pfischer) Don’t know if it could exist without her commentary

(FatCatRex) we’re asking for facts before the interviews, want to authenticate and validate Her as a writer before we are ready to read her interviews

(Anne) More family role and kids questions in second half

(veritatemdilexi) why do this without a suggestion for how to solve issues?

(Mariogirl) One person can’t solve this, but understanding is what is valuable

(ckosarek) no argument or recommendations necessary because that is not its aim. Aim seems to be her personal information and understanding in her community

(Anne) so what do we do with this narrative? What happens?

(AyaSearer) book seems to suggest that we just move forward and let go of some truth

(Anne) How do we understand the motivations of suicide bombers?

(rachelr) Not just religion that motivates bombers

(Anne) Effect of ethnography is to say, take your materialistic, Western notion of reality and take your version and put it on its head. How does this book push our notions of the moral, acceptable, the real?

(AyaSearer) By limiting the language to terrorism and suicide, putting emphasis on different things

(veritatemdilexi) How do you all think she paints religion?

(EVD) Curious as to her attitudes / her own religious beliefs

(pfischer) having a hard time processing this, trying to reconcile what she’s been taught about…state machinations, Foucault, bio-terrorism, etc

(Anne) Discussion of the genre of ethnography—classic and critical, as well as engaged anthropology. Five qualifications to judge Berko on:

1.     Substantive Contribution (we vote yes, strong sense of grievance/outrage, variety of motivations, matriarchy)

2.     Aesthetic Merit

3.     Reflexivity

4.     Impact

5.     Expresses a Reality


(rachelr) All can think of ourselves as victims of something

(veritatemdilexi) Addresses Palestinians as victims of religious and other motivations, NOT as victims of Israeli occupation

(Anne) Why doesn’t she compare more directly families or cultures of Israel and Palestine?

(EVD) sees particular informants as victims but not Palestinians as whole

(ckosarek) History repeated itself—trauma happens again, and brain always believes that it’s real. If we ignore Israel’s past victimization, that doesn’t get anywhere

(Anne) Why doesn’t the text identify the victims as us AND them, why doesn’t she bring those situations into parallel?

(ckosarek) Maybe she can’t, maybe she doesn’t want to analyze her own culture

(Anne) aesthetic success, form? Lots of interviews with reflections in between. How would we describe or evaluate her aesthetic structuring? Does it have a strong and compelling narrative? Beginning, middle and end? Rachelr and Anne encourage us to look at the gendered divide in the second half of her book. What about impact, did it move us?

TyL and jaranda—not an emotional reaction, maybe an intellectual one.

(SandraG) You don’t do this because of a small reason, makes her angry that you go and blow up people because you’re upset…doesn’t make any sense

(EVD) Set-back for Israel, doesn’t take historical background into account

DOES THIS EXPRESS A REALITY? (think about this issue for Thurs)




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