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Playing with "Others": Notes Towards Day 9 (Tues, Sept. 27)

Anne Dalke's picture

I. coursekeeping
* Ginneh is placing us in Erdman Common Room
Hanbin will select our site for Thursday
still need postings by Cathy and Francesca,
reporting on past site-ings
thinking about today's reading: might meeting outside
make the class more playful, more "open" to
"contact" with other species???

* all you Wed. folks I moved around two weeks ago,
we're back on schedule now: tomorrow I'll see
Maia, Irene and Cathy, 10:30, 11, 11:30;
*Hanbin: can you do this  @ noon rather than 12:30
(tomorrow and every Wednesday)??

* Francesca: we're meeting in Thomas/Carpenter ??
9:15 or 9:30 this Thursday (and thereafter....?)

* coupla other announcements from the Writing Program:
--the director is leading a workshop for ESem students
on Wed, 4:15-5:15 p.m. in the Writing Center,
"College Writing 101: How College Writing Differs from High School Writing"
To register, email jcallaghan@BMC or thewritingcenter@BMC. Limit: 25 students.
--writing partners still available:
The Writing Partners program pairs students with a sophomore, junior, or senior
who works at the Writing Center. Partners meet once per week until the last day
of classes. The tutor can help you with a whole range of things: lack of familiarity/
experience with American academic writing, lack of interest in/passion for writing,
anxiety/writer's block, or gaps between verbal and written expressions (when you
can say it but can't seem to write it ;)

* our name game....4 to go :)

* reflections on your last 3-pp. web event,
analyzing one another's texts?
--6 of you wrote about the postings of
our colleagues in Jody’s section:
Beatriz, Ginneh-> “Porkchop”
Irene, Cathy-> Dorothy Kim
Francesca-> “Kismet”
Rachel-> “LiquidEcho”

the rest of you wrote about one another, here:
Hanbin, Maia, Princess->Morine
Melinda, Toni-> Amanda
Amanda-> Maia
Morine-> Cathy
Kat-> ?
I mention these because you might want to read what your posts
and/or what else was written about that text...

also wanted to note that Cathy, Francesca, Princess worked w/ Knefel,
whose essay, "Kid Stuff," got neglected in our conversation last week; 
Knefel calls attention to the difference that economic and social class
makes in how "carefree" a child's play might be--Francesca esp.
worked this; an important idea to return to...

* By 5 p.m. Fri, Sept. 30: 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?

This is not just editing your earlier paper; it's rethinking it w/ help from a new text.

We will workshop your drafts of these projects on Thursday.
Select which essay you plan to revise,

BULLET POINTS about where you might take this.
What other author are you bringing into the paper?
Bring a hard copy of both the original essay and of these notes.
[This won't work if you don't; you need to prepare!]

Also for Thursday, please read
a short-but-powerful essay by
Teju Cole, "The White-Savior Industrial Complex," The Atlantic (March 21, 2012).
Jody and I heard Cole speak (wonderfully!) @ Penn 10 days ago;
will share on Thursday some of what we learned about his current work...

More info on BMC's history emerged in my 360, along w/ an
awareness that the haunting goes deeper than we'd discussed
(and so too must the "unghosting"!)

From Grace Pusey, Early Bryn Mawr Black History, 1719-1824, Black @ Bryn Mawr,
William Penn acquired the 1,200,000 acres that now comprise much of Pennsylvania by compensating the native Lenape 1,200 pounds sterling in exchange for a quitclaim to vacate their territory. Though the sum is widely regarded as a fair exchange, the circumstances under which the exchange occurred were extreme. Between 1600 and 1750, the native Lenape population plummeted to 10% of its size prior to European colonization. Wars with early Swedish and Dutch settlers, the introduction of diseases to which the Lenape lacked immunity (such as smallpox, measles, mumps, and scarlet fever), and emigration propelled by settler exploitation of Lenape natural resources accelerated the population’s decline. During the French and Indian War (1754-1763), the Lenape attempted to reassert control over their land and fend off further British encroachment on their territory. In an unlikely twist of fate, Charles Thomson, who managed Harriton House from 1774-1824, was appointed by the Lenape to advocate on their behalf at the Easton peace conference at the end of the war. Unfortunately, the compromise reached in 1758 with the Treaty of Easton required the Lenape to move westward into Ohio and beyond. Thomson nonetheless continued to advocate for the Lenape, publishing An Enquiry into the Causes of the Alienation of the Delaware and Shawanese Indians from the British Interest in 1759.

In the 1860s, most Lenape who remained along the eastern seaboard were removed to the Oklahoma Territory, where they were incorporated into the Cherokee Nation by U.S. Supreme Court decisions in 1894 and 1904. In 2006 the Lenape appealed to the Supreme Court to reinstate their status as an independent federally recognized tribe, but the Court refused to hear their case. Today, there are Lenape people living in Ontario, Canada; Oklahoma; Ohio; Wisconsin; New Jersey; and Pennsylvania. There remains a community of urban Indians in West Philadelphia, not limited to members of the Lenape tribe, who have adopted the namesake Lenapehoking to where they live. Many members identify as having both African and Indigenous ancestry.

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," structure their essay.
I wasn't sure, @ the end of class, that our meticulous
reading had been useful--so was very happy that 1/2
of you used it in your papers! [any more feedback
about that process....?]

we're going to something similar 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...)

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

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

III. the next question is how Debbie, Stuart and Thom
might respond to your postings

about the 'problematics of play'?!?

any initial thoughts...?

Some selections from your postings:
Raaaachel Wang, The isolation in the children's play:
When I was a kid, there was always a certain person or a certain group of people who was isolated by other children. They are always those who act differently with others (for example, too active or too quiet in class) or who barely speak with other children. Teachers always feel headache them because they’re always alone and unwilling to join other’s play. But actually it’s not their fault. People made fun of them. Whoever play with them or talk to them would be judged by others. The harm the isolated child suffered is obvious. But actually, at the same time, this, to some extent, also made me keep feeling stressful during my whole school life before I graduated from middle school. Because certainly I don’t want to be the one who is isolated, so I barely did anything against the consensus even though sometimes I really didn’t likely to do as all others did. But I didn’t want to be isolated. I wanted always to be involved in all the games we might play later and all the discussions we might have in the future.

amanda.simone, An uneven playing field:
We often think of play as an inherent characteristic of childhood that lies far from the social inequalities of the "adult" world, but recently I've been thinking about racial dynamics and how they exclude many children from innocent play. This idea surfaced for me when I read about the power relations that may prevent people from benefiting from transgressive play in industrial ruins in Edensor and his colleague's article. The authors primarily acknowledged how age and ability can prevent people from engaging with the type of play for which they are advocating, but they failed to acknowledge the repercussions of playing in perceived illegal spaces and how those too are "implicated in broader power relations." If law enforcement or the owners of the space were to come, history has told us that the color of skin matters. Kids of color are more likely to be penalized if caught playing in derelict areas. The adventurous play described in the article is really only possible when you have privilege to protect you when or if the low-surveillance areas are suddenly monitored. Even in perfectly public play environments, black children are shot by police for simply playing with toys. Racism permeates every facet of our society; not even child's play is unaffected.

Jessie Zong: I think the most problematic aspect of play, at least for kids is how much playing with modern toys affects children's growth and knowledge. I think it is extremely problematic, at least from my own experience, that dolls were made based on a false beauty standards. When I was a child, I remember thinking that everyone should be blonde, have blue eyes, and skinny figures. It affected the way I viewed beauty, and it defined the beauty standard for me. There are now dolls that represent every single race, gender, and breaking stereotypical assumptions on body types, but I believe society can still do a better job and raise awareness of how much kids can be affected through little things like this. 

Lebewesen:  Often we think of sexism as only affecting our adult lives, what with unequal wages and discrimintation within the workplace. However, sexism is also prevalent (and often rampant) in the lives of children. Girls (and boys) are excluded from games because "this game isn't for them." They are told they can't spend time with a certain group because "they don't belong." Forming gender-specific games or groups seems like a thing of the past for adults, but children still do this regularly.

With all we are trying to do to promote equal rights for both sexes, why not start from the ground up? Why not teach children, when they are young, not to make decisions or assumptions based on gender? This way, they will grow up with a more equal mindset.

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."