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Expanding Our Contact Zones: Notes Towards Day 11 (Tues, Oct. 4)

Anne Dalke's picture


I. coursekeeping
* Irene is re-placing us in our classroom.
Kat will select our site for Thursday.
no posting by Hanbin, yet, reporting on past site-ing?

*SORRY that i totally forgot about my plans to
have you meet w/ a writing partner on Thursday--
why didn't you tell me? (did you (not) want to do this??

* VERY HAPPY about that discussion:
I thought we were working together well
to make sense of Coles' essay on the
White Savior Industrial Complex
--wanting to say that we were also talking about
what words invite further thinking/shut it off
("racist," "hypocrite" name-calling/
acts of judgment....): what do those words mean?
racism a structure, not what an ind'l does or say;
not something someone is a down position can be charged with
(can be prejudiced, but without power, cannot be racist....
interesting question about whether Coles is privileged or not,
as an American black man)

* 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!)
@ 12:10, we'll go over to Jody's class and do some speed dating...

* For Thurs,
we're going to read some sections in
The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History--which
will move us pretty decisively into the "environmental" 1/2 of this
course on identity and environment ("Ravens @ Play" got us
moving in that direction...:)

[warning: in the protected reading file, there's also another essay by
Kolbert on "Greening the Ghetto"; don't download that yet--it's for later...]

Kolbert is a science reporter who was the Emily Balch speaker
two years ago: she explained that she had "zero background"
in science;  her first semester @ Yale, she took a physics course
w/ no preparation, was traumatized, and never took another…
she got into science through reporting, with
eminent scientists explaining the basic science to her,
speaking to the urgency they feel about imminent extinction
Kolbert said that the "privilege of being a reporter" is
"to lead w/ what you don’t know," that the "fun thing of being
a reporter" is getting to go interesting places and ask questions,
"never having to pretend you are knowledgeable"
she also explained how difficult it was to write about extinction,
since "the subject isn’t there"; her whole book is
"an extended effort to deal w/ something that is not there"
Everyone read 4 sections:
the Prologue and Chapters # 1, 5 & 13;

divide up to be especially
prepared to talk about/teach the rest of us
about one chapter...[count off into 3's]

II. 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 join Jody's class later, and pair up then to start working 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: Anne's class joins Jody's in Taylor G
"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," keep on circulating for 10 minutes,
to see what else is going on, ask questions to learn
about others' ideas

be open:
some of your proposals match up exactly;
could be fun/more interesting if they are a little different

exs: ppl of different privilege/diff ethnic groups, diff. health reactions to stress,
and history of mental health care on campusàhow culturally sensitive?

or: DS tactics to accommodate variety of students, and
interviewing local sources for DS, working on a food challenge

or: history of int’l students; of African students
cf. of Asian and Asian-American students

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

how will you will divide up the work of researching/writing your proposal:
one draft, the other time revise and edit? both draft and share?
3 parts: define the topic,
why you are each interested in it,
what are your questions,
what will your methodology be?
(archival research, interviews, what?)
start to poke around on the bryn mawr site:
who runs the health center? who is in charge of recruitment
in African countries? who will you need to talk to?

(Jody about social science research?)

return to full group to report back on the ideas
you have generated (and feel free to grab from others):
How will researching 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 negotiations 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?