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Towards Day 9 (T, 9/29): Playing with "Others"

Anne Dalke's picture

gathering in the Cloisters

I. coursekeeping

* We've agreed to meet outside

(as long as the weather is fine)-->
making class more playful?
more "open" to "contact" with other species?

* sign up sheet for doing this now available from homepage, @
I've organized it alphabetically by first name, so Aayzah, you're on for Thursday
(and Grace, you owe us a posting about last week's experience...)

* SHOULD/MIGHT WE DISCUSS SOME PARAMETERS (temperature, seating, etc?)

* hoping some of us can go to the first Diversity Conversation of the semester:
"Black at Bryn Mawr: What Next? Tomorrow,
Wednesday, September 30th from 12-1:30 PM (with lunch!),
in Aelwyd, Cambrian Row. 

What is the future of Black at Bryn Mawr, whose purpose is "to build institutional memory of the College’s engagement with race and racism, enabling future students to hold both themselves and the College community to higher standards of awareness and accountability to racial power dynamics inside and outside of the classroom"? Join us for lunch and conversation with Monica Mercado, an advisor to the project and Director of the Greenfield Digital Center. Questions and suggestions will be welcome!

* linked in this invitation/in our course notes is a
digital version of the tour, with many more details, @

* For Thursday, read Teju Cole, The White-Savior Industrial Complex. The Atlantic. March 21, 2012.

* By 5 p.m. Fri, 10/2: your fifth 3-pp. web-event is due, revising one of your earlier papers, by focusing on how your claim relates to,
intersects with, clarifies, supports, challenges, complexifies, weaves into-or-beyond  one of the texts we’ve read. You are looking for some kind of tension, some “crack,” some difference that you might use to work the texts against-or-with one another.

To clarify: you are not setting up a debate that somebody has to win,
but doing something more like hosting a dinner party where everyone will talk:  What do you and one of our authors have to say to each other? How can you make your conversation go back and forth in a way so that you have something interesting to say @ the end?

We will workshop your drafts of these projects on Thursday—so bring with you to Thursday’s class THREE COPIES of the essay you plan to write, or the draft you've been working on; one of these can be electronic, but you will need TWO HARD COPIES to share with your writing partners.

[Talk here about our process of revising Chapter 8.]


*  naming?

* tagging your papers

* citation procedures for your papers

II. last Thursday, we worked our way laborously through
"playing in industrial ruins"--reviewing strategies on
how to read for main ideas/find the thesis/
check on how the authors "back it up"...
feedback on that process? how useful did you find it?

we're going to do the same thing with today’s reading,
"Ravens at Play," by Deborah Bird Rose, Stuart Cooke
and Thom Van Dooren.

Count to 3, to break into three sections, to focus on
1) Debbie: En route
2) Stuart: Play at the Coyote's Burden Basket
3) Thom: An Ecology of Play

Come back to report to the rest of us on what each of them says--
when you do so: speak as your author, enacting their tone
(in what style does each one write?)
as you tell us what "you" take from the encounter "you" describe.
(for ex: Debbie--what was your encounter?
what did you take from it?
be sure to tell us this, speaking in "your own" voice...)

Then as a whole group: anything you want to say to each other?

And then, what DO all three of "you," say, together,
in the last section, "Death in the Valley"?

III. the next question is what Debbie, Stuart and Thom
might have to say about your postings

about the 'problematics of play'?

any initial thoughts...?

there are many introverted children. Children playing alone often get asked by well meaning children and adults why they aren't playing with others, and this often sends a message to young introverts that there is something wrong with them. This is one way play can be problematic, when the message that play must be done with others is sent to children at a young age. 

plays which are held in places with no surveillance tend to be problematic…[and] could be illegal… as such deeds like smoking, drinking, taking drugs are harmful to their health and … will disgrace themselves and hurt someone else, somedays they will regret doing them…plays without surveillance should be avoid.

GraceNL: the schoolyard is one of the most unsupervised places where play happens….this opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for children to be hurt….The schoolyard is a place where a lot of bullying happens….Play opens a whole new world of possibilities for kids to get hurt and hurt each other. Recess… can result in …exclusion.

calamity’s child:
When I was in elementary school…I liked to watch the boys … duel in Pokemon card games…. I wanted to be a part of their game more than anything else on that playground, but I was never allowed to play, because I am a girl….It was very clear to me from an early age that there were spaces in the world that girls were not welcome in….and I cultivated ideas of being inherently inferior … I have had to unlearn these things…Play gets problematic when kids stop letting others in….Kids are incubators for a lot of adult prejudice…

Isabell.the.polyglot: Because of how free play can be, it butts heads with discipline. While it is great that children can be let free and allowed to do whatever they want without any restrictions, the right balance has to be found between freedom and discipline. They have to learn that they can't always do what they enjoy or do whatever they want, and that in fact sometimes it helps to make compromises in order to be productive. From my experience, because my mom took away from my playtime during the summer and forced me to learn languages during the summer (which I didn't view as play at the time), I had to learn to discipline myself to concentrate. Now, I look back and see that that foregone playtime was better used elsewhere, as it taught me valuable study skills and fostered a whole different kind of play.

ZhaoyrCecilia: One of my friends just complained to me that she spent a night playing mobile games, but she should have finished her reading. She was so disappointed to herself. She said she just could not put down her phone and focused on her assignment. Things like that often happens on me and other people. The problem caused by play at this time is that they make people obsessive and cause the result that people cannot finish the works they should have done. 

Tralfamadorian: The argument that play is, in fact, a waste of time seems very western. Fueled by the idea that if we are not making money or contributing to society by a western standard we are useless slackers. Play is a form of self-care, but work is also very important. The argument that one is more important than the other seems arbitrary. The only problem with play is the idea that we cannot benefit from it. If we have this idea that play is not beneficial at all we as people are limiting ourselves to a goldmine of possibilities. I am not saying that play is more important that work, I am simply stating that it is best to balance the two. And also to keep in mind that someone's balance may be different from yours. It is all fun and games until you decide that work is more important than your mental well being. My argument is that play becomes a childish word when we grow older and it doesn't have to be.
Reading Notes
Deborah Rose, et. al. "Ravens at Play."
--lovely, deep piece on multispecies possibilities for social interaction--
great to use, though located "elsewhere"--
and so maybe exoticizing "nature"? but VERY nice re: play....
corvids and coyotes are not exactly performing trust, but rather are testing possibilities of encounter:
"Perhaps, in the entangled agendas and motivations that come together when species meet,
interactions cannot be organised out into dualised categories that put playing and hunting,
or trust and suspicion, at odds with each other. Life and death, play and predation,
are all possibilities in an emergent field of uncertainties where events and relationships erupt and are actualised....
willing to test the possibilities of contact, but the same time suspicious of where our attention might lead."
"Was the best gift we could offer actually a restraint—that we would withhold ourselves, our food, our play?
We couldn’t play in good faith, because while the game was a transient moment for us, it was a trajectory toward death for him...
Suddenly, in that moment of encounter and address, we were forced to encounter ourselves as members of a species,
other members of which have declared war on coyotes, ravens, tortoises and so many others.
What we might become in the contact zone was thus constrained and our becoming moved toward withdrawal:
diverse possibilities were both opened up and foreclosed by any kind of play we might choose or be able to engage in with others."