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Towards Day 22 (Thurs, 11/19): "Reading the World"

Anne Dalke's picture

I. 11:25-11:35: coursekeeping
setting the scene in the Goodhart Music Room; 
next Tuesday, Aayzah is taking us back to Quita Woodward;
be sure to read Madi's description of our "reclaiming the space"
of the Sunken Garden: "It would no longer be M. Carey Thomas's
private space and display of her wealth, but a place where we
would feel safe discussing...the environment, racism, social justice
...being outside...made us feel more liberated to speak" (!)

By Friday @ 5:
your eleventh web-event, a revision/expansion/
refinement of the 10th one you posted last weekend. Key here
is doing something comparative, not just working w/ a
single text...

For Tuesday, 
read C.E. Bowers' Steps to the Recovery of Ecological Intelligence.
Skim the four other short selections assigned:
Your Own Personal Ecosystem
The Human Microbiome project
“About the world within us,” The Philadelphia Inquirer
"Stacy Alaimo: Porous Bodies and Trans-Corporeality"

By Monday @ 5,
post on what you'd like us to talk about,
and/or what questions you have about
the material that you'd like us to address in class.

Next week is Thanksgiving (!):
there will be NO writing conferences

The week after Thanksgiving
we'll start our final round of conferences:
come with an idea of which paper you want to revise for the final portfolio
(heads up esp. to Kahdijah and Maryam, because you'll see me before class
on Dec. 1): this should NOT BE YOUR BEST PAPER (the one requiring just
a little 'fiddling,' but rather the one that can most benefit from a real
re-thinking, re-vising: which one interests you the most now?
which one has the most room to grow?

I'd asked you to look through the instructions for
your final Portfolio & Checklist --

what are your questions?

II. Van Jones
got squeezed, on Tuesday,
by our (great!) discussions both of BMC activism
and our responses to the events of Beirut and Paris...
is there more we want to say about our reaction
to/skepticism/celebration of his work? more to
say about world/campus events? (mtg 2-3:30
today in Rhoads Dining Hall--which we already

III. Turning to Paulo Freire's essay on The Importance of the Act of Reading

Akane was surprised that our first day's discussion of Oreskes
and Conway was about style, not substance. Today’s essay comes back to
her question about what reading and writing have to do with
questions of environmental concern, and with the rest of the world more generally:
What does it mean to read?
What does it mean to name something? To write about it?
What does it meant to think of humans as part of nature?

Start by counting off to 7 (and/or finding someone you don't know well).
Tell each other something about your early reading of world and/or word.

IV. In that context, let's re-read the text:

underline a sentence/box a phrase/circle a word/write your own word.
Go round and read these passages.
What did we hear?
What is this text about?
What is it doing?

How does it address, or help us think about our relation
w/ the environment? about environmental action?
How humancentric is it?
How does it urge us toward action?

About the relation between reflection and action, Friere speaks to the danger of separating these activities into "verbalism" and "activism":

when a word is deprived of its dimension of action, reflection automatically suffers as well, and the word is changed into idle chatter, into verbalism, into an alienated and alienating "blah."  It becomes an empty word, one which cannot denounce the world, for denunciation if impossible without a commitment to transform, and there is no transformation without action.

On the other hand, if action is emphasized exclusively, to the detriment of reflection, the word is converted into activism.  The latter -- action for action's sake -- negates the true praxis and makes dialogue impossible.