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Post-Presentation Thoughts: The Future of Our Contact Zone

bluish's picture

When trying to figure out my final sentiments on this project, I quickly scribbled these throughts in my journal:

What does it mean to expand the contact zone? It's risky and daunting and uncomfortable; but interesting, dynamic, and englightening things bubble to the surface when we do. The contact zone must itself be fluid and porous and permeable; this is something that's been so central to our discussions of ecological intelligence. By clinging to static distinctions and boundary lines, we limit the potential exchanges that could break new ground. So when we are called to think contextually, constellationally, generationally, historically, we can acknowledge the great shifts that Bryn Mawr College, as a contact zone, has undergone. This place is no longer just a safe-haven for ferociously intellectual women; the times are changing, and Bryn Mawr has taken initiatives to shift social attitudes, but I think it is time to reconsider structural, institutional policies. Going forward, I wish to stay in contact with the various male students and faculty members that I spoke with. There is something to be said about the role of a historically-women's institution in our current social climate. We speak so frequently about creating "safe spaces" for marginalized groups, but on a structural level, Bryn Mawr has been hesitant to commit. I do believe that a traditionally women's space can be welcoming to those who do not identify as women. I think there is a place for any and all individuals who have felt ostrcized by their gender identity. By opening our contact zone, I do not think we will lose institutional memory, but rather, that we might add valuable, new meaning to it.

After listening to all of the presentations, I am so impressed by the work done by my peers. In such a short period of time, I think each of us located the very heart of this course-- we are all bound to this space. As I mentioned in a previous essay, "our readings have only encouraged me to feel and experience this environment as an extension, a reflection, a dimension of myself."  Much like our texts, these projects exposed the extent to which all of us are invested in this collective experience, and I truly believe that with such awareness we can work to further complexify, honor, and participate in the contact zone of Bryn Mawr College.