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another go at the syll!

Changing Story Sylla-ship has moved to /oneworld/content/sylla-ship-changing-our-story




Anne Dalke's picture

i loved your syllabus. transposed it to
(interesting to me that you plan in such shorthand,
and i need to see it all laid out, including links and cites..)

go through it again, see what you think? make changes on that page?
(did you take out the second leguin because you didn't like it? i'd like to argue for it....)
we'll also need to discuss the assignments--short ones on wed nights?
papers on friday or sunday @ midnight?

i will now read the van jones and deborah rose pieces you sent.
you will now read sixth extinction (asking: do we want to teach it all?)
and the other stuff--3 novels, leguin & butler short stories--i suggested.
also the haraway--do we want to teach a chapter of that? instead of latour??
and add any "good ed stuff" you think is needed anywhere?
really: i think we're almost there!...that was SO FAST!

though we might both want to step back and think about the whole:
is it eco-enough? urban enough? do we want to meet outside if/when possible?
and talk through the bmc dimensions some more?

oh, re all over creation. i think it's a delightful novel. it was a lot to read mid-semester;
somehow they found time @ the end for the hungry tide, but ozeki's novel came when they
were still sick/getting over it...seemed too much. simona couldn't get through it, but several
of them really liked it; see
and from jenna's self-eval:
The reading I enjoyed the most would be All Over Creation by Ruth Ozeki. The novel was easy to read and enjoyable. I was absorbed by the text, getting angry at certain characters to the point where I was shouting at them in my room.

jccohen's picture

ok great! thanks for additions and reformattings and...

i just hadn't read second leguin story, reading now and like it a lot.  also reading lives of animals (intriguing, and interesting to be in your class discussion back then from perspective of now), and then kolbert, haraway...  is bloodchild somewhere online that i just haven't found? 

so will do some reading, then come back to syllabus and may make changes at that point.  and then think we might want to make a time early next week (mon. or tues.?) to talk some of those overarching questions about this and then start getting to those other things too...


Anne Dalke's picture

Deborah Rose's "Cosmopolitics" (for which thanks!). I note (with pleasure) that she's a "professor of social inclusion!' This essay, though too full of the naturalist's details (for me) to teach, puts me in mind of Rob Nixon's wonderful talk @ ASLE' 13 about "“The Anthropocene and Our Age of Disparity”--with its striking video of the lyrebird imitating human machines-- --and  the contrasting one @ of cutting down the olives trees in Palestine--not a planetary allegory, but a "sociospecific resource war."  This, Nixon said, was the "central tension in the story of the anthropocene," the contrast between homo species receiving an upgrade into the ultimate planetary superpower, and the  fractures w/in human agency, as the economic poles grow further apart. "Accelerating planet change is a definitive feature of our age, but so too is deepening inequality/the great divergence...As we cross the threshold, let us mind the gap." This is something we could works with contact zones, for sure...

jccohen's picture

yes, great connection.  are you thinking to teach nixon's talk (available online?) or part of the book (which i've got but haven't yet read)...?

Anne Dalke's picture

i just put the two videos on the syllabus as examples of "contact zones."

i haven't read slow violence yet--was going to pick it up @ canaday next week, but now see it's out
(probably to you, eh?!? :), but also see now that it's available as e-book so will read that-a-way..

jccohen's picture

cool! and i see the jordan piece too - great.  that haraway chap 8 is crazy but interesting, but maybe too much...and still need to read chap 1.  and yes i have slow violence, glad to share:)

jccohen's picture

grim!  funny how the laugher is so...not funny.  this book could def counterbalance all of the lightness, joy, play we're trying to build into the course...and that seems only right.

jccohen's picture

and this piece talks about it in such a human-cntred way... need to think about how to fold this stuff in too, it's this tricky question of how to do this reality/possibility and other realities/possib's as well...

jccohen's picture

of climate change and real estate.  i also have spent quite a bit of time down in that beautiful part of the country - both as a kid with my fam of origin and then later before kids with friends and then dave... intense to read this in light of new orleans on the one hand and then these islands like in south carolina and all over the world that are/will be disappearing - real estate and real lives...

Anne Dalke's picture

do you know Stuart Hall's "Who Needs 'Identity'?" [Kristin flagged it for our cluster]:

"Throughout their careers, identities can function as points of identification and attachment only because of their capacity to exclude, to leave out, to render 'outside,' abjected. Every identity has at its 'margin,' an excess, something more. The unity, the internal homogeneity, which the term identity treats as foundational is not a natural, but a constructed form of closure, every identity naming as its necessary, even if silenced and unspoken other, that which it 'lacks'. . . If 'identities' can only be read against the grain--that is to say. . as that which is constructed in or through differance and is constantly destabilized by what it leaves out, then how can we understand its meaning and how can we theorize its emergence?"

jccohen's picture

yes, you sent it to me - great piece, and i'll use for identity, access class.  i def think the ideas are also and in some ways diff'ly relevant here, though parts of this piece so theoretical/dense.  were you thinking to read? use for framing?  what i'd love is another piece that does some of this work but a little more, well, accessible--?

Anne Dalke's picture

"Report from the Bahamas" is also a possibility...about the unpredictability of what counts as "like," as she is forced to rethink some of the most commonplace and comfortable assumptions about sisterhood and black solidarity when she is confronted with the black women who clean her hotel room, serve her glasses of rum punch as she lounges by the pool or desperately try to sell her Bahamian trinkets on the streets. ''They sell and I buy or I don't. They risk not eating. I risk going broke on my first vacation afternoon,'' she writes. ''So far as I can see, the usual race and class concepts of connection, or gender assumptions of unity, do not apply very well. I doubt they ever did.''

jccohen's picture

one - it's provocative and more accessible, still challenging and that last line especially such a come-on... i'll look for where this might go.

Anne Dalke's picture

accepting most of them, though i resisted the two shifts to avoid long readings on thursdays (that messes up the sequence of ideas; i think we just warn them ahead of time, tell them to read over the weekend). also to discuss is timing of assignments: could do 3 pp papers on friday, short postings on sundays--so as to give us reading paper time over the weekends, avoid the crunch before classtime...

jccohen's picture

yeah, i think fri's and sun's probably better, esp bc mondays are hopefully home days for me.

Anne Dalke's picture

... would be Pratt, Minnie Bruce. “Identity: Skin, Blood, Heart.” 1983; rpt. Feminist Theory Reader: Local and Global Perspectives. 2nd ed. Ed. Carole McCann and Seung-kyung Kim. New York: Routledge, 2010. 263–269--which to me is still (I just re-read it this morning) as powerful as it was 30 years ago...what do you think?

jccohen's picture

and also found it compelling - will look again w/this class in mind.  on a maybe-related note, am wondering about davis' essay as first - so conceptual, might be nice if it would building on or working in tandem with something more experiential...

Anne Dalke's picture

june jordan up to replace davis--that will work, won't it??

i also tried to move the writing assignments to fri/sun --a short one on friday reflecting on the week's work,

a longer one on sunday--but it got too complicated and i quit. we'll need to talk that through tomorrow.

jccohen's picture

yes, i like jordan first (though hate to lose davis, but ok - will teach in id/access class).

and yah, makes sense to have essays due sun. andbut seems like shorter posts should come right before a class day for most usefulness andso...maybe wed. at 5?

and fine, we'll talk it tomorrow

Anne Dalke's picture

...that I've updated all the deadlines for postings and papers (this was pretty easy to do, which makes me think we've picked a good structure!), and then moved the whole syllaship back to /oneworld/content/sylla-ship-changing-our-story (because I was getting way too confused having two of them up there, w/ different edits on each).

i'm happy w/ this now, and ready to let it go for a few months...though also happy to have you figure out an "arc" (with modules or sections) and also to consider the ?? I marked regarding the postings due on Mon, 10/20 and Mon, 11/10. you can just make those edits on the syllabus itself--go on! take the risk!!

Anne Dalke's picture

is whether we want to make all the short postings "experimental"...i'm not sure that format will quite work for the sorts of personal testimony we'll mostly be asking for...but this is something to consider...or whether some different (as yet unimagined?) format might work better?

Anne Dalke's picture

to consider down the line is how to deal w/ our being gone 11/13-11/16?

jccohen's picture

thanks for making the adjustments and the move!  i'll get back to this soon/at some point with a few more...

andbut great question about the postings format that might work better/best for this - don't know, will think about it.  one question that occurs is whether the initial posts might be mostly or even all singular, but then we could have half the class do that, the other half respond, and then categories could be some similar and some different - like one that occurs is 'connecting' or 'connected experience/thought.'

Anne Dalke's picture

In the pumpkin patch again this morning (this is starting to seem too much like work..) I remembered Michael Pollan's "Weeds are Us." The New York Times Magazine. November 5, 1989. It might make a nice pairing with The Human Microbiome project and Your Own Personal Ecosystem --organisms within and without, that make us up and that we make. Check it out...

Also, working on our book project, I came across my notes re earlier visits to  Harriton House--and am thinking now that knowing something of the history of the college (built on land bought from this plantation, which was farmed by slaves, graveyard on campus where former house slaves are buried...) might be more relevant-and-interesting to them (and "our changing story") than Exploring the Campus Geologically?

jccohen's picture

Thoughts on revisiting our syll:  I’m finding it, well, maybe not coherent but with a certain logic that I think works overall. 


The piece that feels least clear to me in terms of how we name and explicitly connect it w/the rest is the coupla weeks on play.  When I think of the readings here, they do connect and make sense with where we are: following up on a lot of identity stuff (and immediately on intersectionality/eli clare) and leading into children’s lit.  I think the deeper logic here has to do with play as a mode of being in and with the world, that maybe it’s a bridge from a sense of self-and-world to a much more enmeshed understanding… anyway, just thinking outloud about it.


Also am remembering what jeff said (all the different topics/ideas, like a grad sem…) and can see that, and yet also can see moving with and across all of these approaches more lightly… and in that way I’m preferring to end w/the novel; and of course all over creation is so playful in its way.


So here are some thoughts about specifics.  If you  give a thumbs up/down (or something else of course) I’m fine w/going ahead to put in any changes…


1. By 5 p.m. Fri, 9/12: second 3-pp. essay, re-considering and elaborating on the encounter in the “contact zone” you described in your short posting on Monday (as well as any other such encounters you may have had). How do LeGuin's and Butler's short stories alter your understanding of your own experiences? In what ways might your experiences expand or revise Pratt's concept of the contact zone?


2. Day 5, Tues, 9/16: Minnie Bruce Pratt.“Identity: Skin, Blood, Heart.” 1983; rpt. Feminist Theory Reader: Local and Global Perspectives. 2nd ed. Ed. Carole McCann and Seung-kyung Kim. New York: Routledge, 2010. 263–269. 
Megan Boler. Chapter 7: “The Risks of Empathy: Interrogating Multiculturalism’s Gaze.” Feeling Power: Emotions and Education. Routledge, 1999.

I think the Pratt.  It’s great, a bit dated but still relevant in lots of ways and long but more accessible. 


3. By 5 p.m. Fri, 9/26: fourth "web-event," using Eli's work to reflect on your own intersectional identity. How might the lens of intersectionality – or other ways that Eli writes about identity and encountering the world – change our understanding of 'our story’?


4. Week 5 on play (below) feels like too much/too many ideas at once (play indeed!): 

Day 9, Tues, 9/30: Deborah Bird Rose, Stuart Cooke and Thom Van Dooren. "Ravens at Play." Cultural Studies Review 17, 2 (September 2011), 326-43.

Teju Cole, The White-Savior Industrial Complex. The Atlantic. March 21, 2012.

Day 10, Thurs, 10/2: Paula Gunn Allen, Kochinnenako in Academe: Three Approaches to Interpreting a Keres Indian Tale. The Sacred Hoop: Recovering the Feminine in American Indian Traditions. Boston: Beacon Press, 1986. 222-244.

Paulo Freire, The Importance of the Act of Reading. Trans. Loretta Slover. Brazilian Congress of Reading, Campinas, Brazil. November 1981. Rpt. Journal of Education 165, 1 (Winter 1983): 5-11.

Ok I think we can leave the ravens and cole (sizzling combo) but I think I added in the Freire for that thurs., and not sure now why I put it there…but am thinking to either drop or move to week after break (10/21) w/children’s lit – to help us think about ‘reading’ and our re-reading of our younger selves/younger lit…


5. Week Seven: Encountering our younger selves
By 5 p.m. Mon, 10/20: your mid-semester course evaluation--> what's played well? what do we need to play with?
[A second posting here in preparation for the children's lit reading??]


And a second posting:  By 5 p.m. Wed., 10/22, noticing how the children’s lit you are (re)reading evokes identity in/and the environment… 



6. 7 p.m. Mon, 11/10: Emily Balch Lecture by Elizabeth Kolbert

By midnight [note time change--will this work??] Mon, 11/10: tenth short posting reflecting on Kolbert's talk.

This feels like too much – and of course we’ll be gone on thurs… so how about if they post for wed. and meet on thurs. in small writing groups to talk about their posts/work on their papers/web events due fri.?  andbut maybe that week they write papers for Sunday at 5, since we won’t be around on weekend to read anyway?


7. Day 23, Tues, 11/25:  The Lives of Animals/All Over Creation/Tropic of Orange?

Thurs, 11/27: Thanksgiving

Days 24-25, Tues, 12/1-Thurs, 12/3
novel, continued

By 5 p.m. Fri 12/4: twelfth 3-pp. essay responding to the novel

Week Fourteen: Agency in the Anthropocene
By 5 p.m. Mon, 12/8: thirteenth-and-last short posting, on your own sense of agency in this world

Day 26, Tues, 12/9: Bruno Latour, Agency at the Time of the Anthropocene. New Literary History 45, 1 (Winter 2014): 1-18
Donna Haraway, Chapter 8, "Training in the Contact Zone." When Species Meet. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 2008. 205-246.

How about doing all over creation for these final weeks, and dropping latour/haraway?   Or we could drop the novel and do both latour and haraway…