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Towards Day 23 (Wed, Nov. 28): Reflections on The Lives of Animals

Anne Dalke's picture

The Hidden Lives of Animals....

weather prediction:
39 degrees, 9 mph winds, 10% chance of precipitation, partly cloudy
Smacholdt is positioning us in the classroom
what have you to say about today's weather/your relation to it....?
(reminder that all three Sara(h)'s need to post about their site selections/what it was like being where you put us....)

I. coursekeeping
* 4:30 this afternoon, in Stokes Auditorium: Jenny Price on "The Brave New World of Environmental Art Actions"--with "art actions" to follow, all over campus on Thursday and Friday

* Carmen Papalia will lead us on a blind field shuttle next Wednesday!

* we are "shuttling" ourselves on Monday, when we will re-locate to Ashbridge Park
figuring out the details.....
1) open and close the wander: sara.gladwin, ekthorp
2) locate us @ the site via some history: eetong, graham
3) and also via some poetry: hira, smacholdt
4) supply food to fuel our wandering off on our own: froggies315, srucara
5) lead us before and after the day (on-line or in class) in reflection about what's happened: rachelr, mturer

gather here @ 1:10, to walk over together?
1:25-1:30 opening?
1:30-1:45 history?
1:45-2:00 poetry?
2:00-2:15 wandering w/ food?
2:15-2:20 close?
walk back together, returning to campus by 2:30?

II. Attending today to Part II of J.M. Coetzee
' [kuut-SEE]'s philosophical novel,
The Lives of Animals:
the four "reflections" that follow the fictional portion of the text.

Split into 4 groups (3 each?) to re-present each speaker:
Marjorie Garber
Peter Singer
Wendy Doniger
Barbara Smuts

Confer, come back to the group ready to explain to the rest of us what "your" role is in this text:
What dimensions do you add to it? (Why are you needed, in this "ecosystem"?)

III. Attending to the text as a whole:
* what is the function of the reflective responses?
* what do they accomplish, that is not already accomplished within the stories themselves?
(thesis possibility: "a creative project in pursuit of a critical idea")
* what is the relation between the "philosophers" and the "poets" sections of the fictions?
* what is the function of the frame tale, the son's p.o.v.? (how does it matter that he is a physicist?)
* what are the bounds of the imagination in this text?
* what does it accomplish, as a fiction, that couldn't be achieved w/ a polemical text?
* how did it "act on"/move you?
* another question the book raises: can vegetarians and meat-eaters (or anyone w/ decidedly opposed views) actually have dialogue? Or are the divisions so deep that common academic training, common culture, or even familial ties can not bridge the gap?
* another question froggies315 raised: "the entirety of human society and moral progress represents an explicit transcendence of what’s ‘natural’” Jonathan Safran Foer,Eating Animals, p. 213)

"... my subject steers clear of the right. As a child ... he has seen enough of the Afrikaner right, enough of its rant, to last him a lifetime...he has perhaps seen more of cruelty and violence than should have been allowed to a child. So as a student he moves on the fringes of the left without being part of the left. Sympathetic to the human concerns of the left, he is alienated, when the crunch comes, by its language – by all political language, in fact..." [from Doubling the Point]