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10/26 Dinner Notes

mnt's picture

Here are some notes from last night's conversation. Most of these bullet points are comments made by different people. I wrote down a phrase or sentence from nearly every time a person spoke. Many of the bullet points are related/in conversation with each other. Instead of trying to seperate or catogorize the notes, I just left them written in the order that they were said. Hope this is a helpful refresher!


What's going well: 

rich reading; exciting writing; prison work; class discussions; support from profs; great interpersonal work

What's going less well:

amount of reading; postings; prison work; class discussion could be better; generally overwhelmed, yet we want to spend more time togeter


What do we want this space to look like? What is it that we really want?

  • deeper understanding of readings; they can sometimes be very abstract and hard to understand --> we need to push ourselves more
  • connect things that we read with what we do in prison --> sometimes we don't know how the prison class meshes with the other three, our mindset going into prison does not match the mindset we have for grounding the readings
  • we don't really talk about prison in classes other than Ed class --> this may add complexity
  • Anne's class two weeks ago: connection b/w Julia's post and Wideman's book --> maybe it's easier to access through lense of novel about prison
  • many personal accounts came up in that class and conversation was cut short
  • what made that happen? discussion of current event (school shooter) maybe? --> one of the more thought-provoking classes
  • Julia's post was so brave in display of complexity of personhood --> we shouldn't be afraid to speak our mind
  • also touched on that in Jody's class 
  • able to take a critical look at academic thinking: is this wrong? is this right? --> we don't want to misstep
  • we're posturing before we speak our minds --> what purpose does that serve?; we are so careful, but we should just say it anyway
  • need to recognize one another's complex personhood --> sometimes feel like it is a competition: who is most radical? or has the most p.c. opinion?; feeling of nervousness around sharing opinions that may not be "p.c. enough"
  • we are not giving ourselves the chance to own complex personhood --> we can be "not p.c.", and have a mindset that may not be appropriate
  • experimental essays give us a chance to understand more about each other, more about our complex personhood --> once you put it in words, you can't escape it, it becomes real
  • Tong's post: sharing stories influence trust within group --> speaking with stories is more powerful: interpretation of stories can be helpful for all of us --> we need to be ok with not understanding stories. they have different complexities for every person
  • the way we share stories in class is different than other settings --> thus, reactions to the stories are different 
  • "posturing": making excuses for my own point of view --> women tend to do this
  • geneology of emotion/thought: stories are empowering; they help us figure out where people are coming from
  • does our stating your "x" identity before making a comment make it more difficult for other to disagree with you without feeling like they are attacking a part of your identity? --> we do such a good job of defending ourselves that we cannot be critiqued because it would be an attack on our identity
  • two women talking: share stories back and forth --> in academia, can we let different ideas sit next to each other without trying to rationalize or explain them? --> accepting this may make it easier for us to understand each other
  • "why don't we trust each other?" --> really, we just don't know each other: at least not in a non-academic setting
  • we're on a dock: we have the wood foundation, but that foundation is on a bed of water
  • would we know each other even if we ate dinner together every week? --> nah
  • without knowing each other, we can still interact
  • community guidlines: great or impersonal? -->good in certain spaces, yet in others it feels like there is a lack of trust
  • difference in policy in what we do in RCF class and what we do at BMC --> if we feel like we need guidlines in prison, does that mean we don't trust the women? are we overly cautious around the women?
  • trust is trusting that a person is coming from a similar space/background as I am when approaching a conversation (but that is not generally the case) --> maybe try debriefing after class about how we felt during the conversation, because we are obviously not all coming from same place
  • frame guidlines: assume good will --> this, expressly stated, may build comradery; we don't necessarily see where our group dynamic stands: guidlines not rules --> keep others in check, as well as yourself
  • having guidlines could mean that we aren't allowed to make mistakes
  • or they could make you more free to make mistakes --> judged by the merit of our actions
  • moments of discomfort/mistakes --> embracing your opinions/accepting others --> we don't need to necessarily be saying the right thing
  • can we be uncomfortable with a comment/in a situation without requiring an apology? --> step outside of comfort zone as a way of growth and sharing
  • person probably just wants you to understand where they are coming from --> part of that comes from knowing a person better: we have come very far, but we still have a ways to go
  • changes to Thursday group have been positive and now this is also a positive conversation
  • recap of guidlines: intent, not being overly cautious, being clear about trying to trust one another, bravery: put yourself in to what you are saying
  • aspirations rather than guidlines
  • do we feel more relaxed around women inside because of the power dynamic? --> are we afraid of being more judged by each other (our peers) than by the women
  • "desire" --> Eve Tuck --> past, present, future ; aspiration of living your desire



jccohen's picture

for taking and posting these notes.  This was a layered conversation and it's great to be able to track it as we move forward!