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

You are here

Towards Day 13 (T, 10/20): Expanding Our Contact Zones

Anne Dalke's picture

I. 11:25- 11:35: coursekeeping

* Akane is placing us back in Taylor F!
[Alison is on for Thursday]

* write on a sheet of paper one phrase/sentence about what you want to do
for your research project (distillation of last night's posting); you'll use this later 
to help locate a research partner--so make it big & clear!)

*report on break?
(was it one?)

* utter delight in the playfulness of your last set of keyword exercises--
forced you to dig into the text and to associate meanings...very nice!

* folks often get confused about the writing conference schedule after break
(since that pushes everything forward a week); just a reminder that I'll be
seeing Grace, Abby, Beatrice, Creighton and Aayzah on our
regular schedule tomorrow morning, the rest of you next week...

* for Thurs, finish Parts I-III of Ruth Ozeki's novel, All Over Creation (to p. 168)
pay attention not just to the story, but to how you read the story:
how might you read a novel differently than you read an essay?
(are you looking for an argument, or...?)

* further thoughts about/reflections on Cheryl Strayed: her presentation, her talk, our dessert "event"?

for today, we asked you to
read Chapter 4 of Take Back the Economy 
You are going to build on this chapter by working together in pairs
to design six-week-long projects focusing on some extension
of your contact zone.

* Your seventh 3-pp. web-event (due by 5 p.m. this Friday, and written
in pairs), will describe the six-week  project you plan to pursue.
How will you trace and reflect on your "encounters" with others?
Who will you work with on this, and what tasks will each of you take on?
We'll break into pairs later, to start work on this

II. 11:35-12:10: but first! let's talk about "Take Back the Market"

Take a few minutes to go into the article and do 2 things:
first, find a passage that intersects with your own
experience in some way--perhaps some habit of consumption?
second, flag something you have a question about:
either something you don't understand in the text,
or something you question (don't agree with, want to discuss...)
be ready to report back on two dimensions:

something experiential and something interrogative

pair sharing, then open it up...what's emerging here?

IV. 12:10-12:25: Jody's class joins Anne's in Taylor F
"Take Back the Market" is, among other things,
an invitation to expand our "contact zone" beyond those
whom we meet in the street/on campus/in person,
to encourage "new habits of connection"--so now let's
figure out how we are going to answer that invitation!

get up,
move around, holding up your sheet of paper/
info about your interests in researching a 6-week project,

looking for someone else whose idea engages you;
in 15 minutes we expect everyone to have a partner
(within or across the sections); even if you think you've
already found a partner before we start this game of
"speed dating," circulate for 10 minutes, see what else
is going on, ask questions to learn about others' ideas

proposals from Anne's class:
contact zones between humans and the environment
free boxes in the dorms and "for sale or free!"
Facebook; change, dining hall, food production?
consuming local products
where do students buy their textbooks and why?
objectification, ownership, and respect in museums
(in Philadelphia and/or within the consortium)
what does silence hold ?
history of women’s (and men’s?) colleges, this country/elsewhere
interactions and exchanges of students who live together
reasons for and different distribution of all-girls colleges
implementing a time bank system at Bryn Mawr/relation to Honor Code?
intersection of race and sexuality in Bryn Mawr's history
marketing and production of clothing (or hair?) styles
presence of men (profs, visitors, trans) on campus

12:25-12:35: meet with your partners,
make plans to meet further
(on-line or in-person, in time to submit your shared proposal by 5 p.m. on Friday;
start to brainstorm what each of you will do for this project

12:35-12:45: return to full group to report back
on the ideas

you have generated (and feel free to grab from others):
How will tracing your spending habits, or Bryn Mawr's history,
enable you to trace your "encounters" with others?

questions about this 3-pp. jointly-written paper, due on Fri?

Clear about the process: how will you hook up, in person or on-line?
ALSO TO NOTE: this paper will NOT have a thesis; it's a different GENRE-->
a joint proposal describing how you will gather data (once you've gathered it,
there will be an end-of-semester presentation, in which you develop a
claim based on the information you've collected).
Anne's Reading Notes from "Take Back the Economy"

p. 85: portrayed as naturally operating, like tides or weather systems,
efficiently allocating scarce resources
p. 86: when we acquire what we need from distant others via the market,
the nature of our encounters is masked
what kind of encounter with others is represented by the price of a commodity?
As long as the price commands our attention, it's easy to discount these concerns
p. 87: Markets are one way we connect with others to obtain the
things we need that we can't produce for ourselves.
p. 89: Taking back markets means promoting economic
encounters that help us survive well together...
so that we honor the survival needs of those we share the planet with.
a Where From? Inventory...allows us to begin to identify who the
distant others are that we are connected to via trade.
p. 90: take a sample of the items in our household bought recently and
record their country of origin: Food/Clothing/Electronics
On the basis of this inventory we can construct a Distant Others Dandelion of connection...
pp. create an Ethical Shopper's Checklist: Cost/Utility/Sensory Response/People
and Planet Connections (animals/environment/people/politics/sustainability)
p. 99: the market supply chain provides anonymity
p. 102: cf. a people's trade policy: 1) a guaranteed minimum price
and 2) a fair trade premium
p. 103: A community economy is a space of decision making in which
we negotiate our interdependence with other humans, other species,
and our environment. These negotiatons are never finalized.
p. 104: Our encounters with distant others via the market can enable livelihoods
to flourish around the world if we attend to more than our own needs in our
trade transactions. Markets can be a space of care as well as of consumption.
As we become more attuned to how our actions as consumers affect the ability
of others to survive well, the market becomes less a space of enchantment
and unbridled pleasure and more a space of learning and collective responsibility.
If we can acknowledge the distant others that we encounter indirectly
through our transactions, we might start to feel that we are encountering
them more face-to-face.
our quality of life is mainly provided by encounters...close by [which]
p. 105: take two overarching forms: transactions that are reciprocal
and those that are gift based...
equivalences that are negotiated, [vs. those that] are more open-ended
p. 106: Both types of direct connection involve complicated and even
contradictory feelings for self and others. Care and concern...become
entangled with feelings of indebtedness and obligation:
gifts "invade our privacy and demolish our carefully constructed autonomy"
p. 109: per Marcel Mauss: thre is no such thing as a 'free gift"--
all gifts carry some expectation of a return
gifts build societal relationships...involve socially agreed protocols and obligations reciprocal and market transactions, involves negotiation with others.
In reciprocal transactions, generally the negotiation is direct, between those involved;
in market transactions, the price is the means of negotiation....;
in gift transactions, the negotiation generally involves an internal dialogue
about our own interests and desires and societal expectations.
p. 111: Convenience is a form of "selective seeing" whereby we choose
to overlook the cost of our transactions to others...
[it] can also come at a cost to our own well-being.
Perhaps in a community economy we can experiment with increasing
our direct connections through alternative and nonmarket transactions.
Diverse Transactions Identifier:
Alternative Market: fair and direct trade, reciprocal exchange,
alternative currency, local trading system, community-supported agriculture,
barter, underground market, informal market
NonMarket: household flows, gift giving, gleaning, state allocations,
hunting/fishing/gathering, theft/poaching
p. 112: Ethical Interconnection Checklist: building new habits of encounter
The Ethical Questions:
Are both my needs and the needs of others being met?
Am I connecting with others more directly?
Am I taking only what I need?
Are there ways I can give back to help others meet their needs?
Collective Actions for Encountering Others
p. 113: Whose needs are being met?
How are the needs of others (human and nonhuman) being considered?
Are familiar patterns of consumption being tempered and adjusted? In what ways?
What types of encounters are being fostered?
p. 121: principled discarding
p. 122: Where to from here?
1) What types of market transactions do you engage in to meet your needs?
2) What sorts of reciprocal relationships play a role in meeting your needs?
3) Does gifting play a role in your well-being?
In a community economy we think about satisfying not just our own needs
but also the needs of the people and environments that are providing for us,
and we look to the variety of economic encounters
that can help us and others to survive well together.
Are there other ways I can share or reciprocate?