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Towards Day 12 (Th, 10/9): Playing with Our Own Postings

Anne Dalke's picture

turn on computer/projector

I. 11:25- 11:35: coursekeeping

* 6th web event due tomorrow by 5p.m. (send me an e-mail
if you are giving yourself an extension, and tell me when you will get it in)

* does everyone have access to All Over Creation?

...and enjoy reading Ozeki's novel (we'll spend 3-4 class periods on it,
but it would be great to read as much--even all--of it over break).

* the webby post you will have due when you return, by 5p.m. on Monday, Oct. 20,
is a paragraph describing your initial reaction to the novel: what dimensions of
the book do you want us to talk about?

* I have also made up a page assigning each of you a classtime,
when you will decide where we will meet (it’s alphabetical,
so Allie, you’re first!). You’ll now find the link, with instructions,
@ the top of the lefthand sidebar on our course homepage.
SHOULD/MIGHT WE DISCUSS SOME PARAMETERS (temperature, seating, etc?)

II. 11:40-12:10: divide into 4 writing groups
(randomly assigned, to get you
working w/ those you haven’t yet…)
Allie, Hadiyyah, Nayanthi
Emily, Marjorie, Selena
Grace, Rina, Sydney
Rose, Virushi, Weilla.

I asked you to come having selected a posting by a classmate.
One of you should start by sharing your selection with the others.
Then the job of all of you is to help each other brainstorm
how that posting intersects with, supports, challenges, complexifies...
some of the theory about play
(by Henig, Brown, Edensor et. al and Rose et. al.)
that we have been reading.
You are looking together for some kind of tension, some “crack,”
some difference that you might use to work the texts against 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 will they say to each other? How can you make their conversation
go back and forth in a way so that you have something interesting to say @ the end?

When your selection is on the table, and everyone else is helping
you brainstorm how you might work with it, TAKE GOOD NOTES.

Take about 10 minutes with that first text.
Then a second person in the group will do the same thing:
read the selection, and ask everyone to brainstorm how you
might interpret it through the lenses provided by our play theorists.
Ten minutes later, the third person goes….

Return to large group: check in? Observations, insights, questions?

III. 12:10-12:45: come back to Cole--
take a minute to look over the text.
What questions does it raise for you?
(These can be factual—what was the KONY 2012 video?
or existential—what am I supposed to do with these ideas?
or anything in between…)

Let’s go around: what’s one question that this text raised for you?
Try to answer some of these…

My question: what would Teju Cole say @ a dinner party with
Debbie, Stuart and Thom? How does his argument intersect with theirs?

Reading Notes
Teju Cole writes, in his essay on "the White-Savior Industrial Complex,"
the banality of evil transmutes into the banality of sentimentality
this is not about justice; it is about having a big emotional experience that validates privilege
"I am a novelist. I traffic in subtleties, and my goal in writing a novel is to
leave the reader not knowing what to think. A good novel shouldn't have a point."
cumulative effect of policed language/enforced civility:
speaking plainly is seen as unduly provocative.
Jason Russell is "tonally similar" to Nicholas Kristof:
"His good heart does not always allow him to think constellationally.
He does not connect the dots or see the patterns of power behind the isolated "disasters"...
he sees no need to reason out the need for the need."
more to doing good work than "making a difference":do no harm/consult w/ those being helped
Cole writes from "multiple positions": as an African, American, novelist, story-writer,
resisting the song of Africa as backdrop for white fantasies,
acknowledging the genuine hurt of the continent,
naming its problems as both intricate and intensely local?
American "help" begins with some humility...
respect for the agency of people in their own lives.
If Americans want to care about Africa, maybe they should
consider evaluating American foreign policy...
before they impose themselves on Africa itself....
"American interests"...have a bearing on our notions of our right to "help."...
begin our activism with the money-driven villainy @ the heart of American foreign policy.
If we are going to interfere in the lives of others, a little due diligence is a minimum requirement.