Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

You are here

Reflections on Reading & Discussion

Reflection 2/23

Ang's picture

I've been reflecting on my education history a lot recently, and the fact that I've been privileged enough to go to private schools my entire life. Although I was born in California and call that where I'm "from" (when people ask and I don't feel like giving a long-winded explanation), I grew up in China and have technically lived more years in China than in the US. English wasn't even my first language, it was Mandarin. Because we were technically expatriates in China, my brother and I attended one of the many international schools. It never felt like public vs. private school when I was young, even now. It was just the school that we all go to, because the other option was local Chinese schools where Mandarin was spoken and English was a foreign language.

Sick day post for 2/15

Ang's picture

I can't imagine being in a position such as Frederick Douglass' after he escaped to the North and was faced with the decision of whether or not he would be a voice in the abolitionist movement to represent his fellow slaves. I think about the enormity of the position he was deciding to place himself into. Did he know what he was getting himself into? How did he feel when he was weighing his options? To become an Abolitionist is obviously the admirable decision, he'd give voice to himself and the countless others who suffer from being voiceless, and he'd directly be fighting for a cause he truly believed in. I wonder if, and how seriously, he considered the other option, though. The option where he steps away and enjoys his much deserved freedom.

Thursday Reflections

unsettle8's picture

We learn the English language through a series of rules, a carefully constructed set of grammatical instructions that are explained as the boundaries and restrictions of a language. Then, as people delve deeper into an understanding of words, to utilize them in poetic measures, we are taught to break these rules.


A late-night conversation:  Discussing linguistics is always a favored past time, and tonight it was a frequent topic. A friend brought up her introduction to linguistics class, and how her final unit is all about the socioeconomic and cultural implication of the English language. Her professor frequently reminds them that, in his interpretation, grammar is an oppressive system, and that the concept of speaking correctly is just a method of subjugation.

Reflections on more reflecting

m r r's picture

Reflections on reflecting again, always


Reflecting on others’ reflections, narratives, orally spoken personal stories, you name it, it’s good that we are continuing to ask questions about the ways we do this. I still feel a gnawing in my mind about the wormhole that is defining all of these words and actions.  Everything we say feels very “meta” yet I know it is all too real, the things we are discussing.


Reflection 2/16

droomes10's picture

February 16th, 2017


Our discusion about Frederick Douglass's narrative has stayed with me throughout the week. The part of the discussion about the distance between the writer and the written self was particularly interesting. It reminded me of Timothy Mitchel's 1991 text, Colonising Egypt. The text describes the birth of museums from World Exhibitions and provides a historical analysis of the western gaze. Colonising Egypt has a chapter that focuses on the experiences of an Egyptian delegation sent to Europe in the 19th Century. The text describes how the delegates could not avoid being transformed into exhibitions while walking through Eueopean cities. People would stare at them as if they were artifacts.

On devaluing illiteracy...

S...'s picture

I've been thinking a lot about the implied value that literacy = worth/intelligence/personhood. I think it's safe to say that European/US culture both hold this implied value. Conversely, these societies equate illiteracy with worthlessness/unintelligence/illegitimacy as a person.

Changing of the English Language

anak's picture

In class today discussing police brutality, specifically in the case of Willie Jordan, the article did not feel very dated.  There are still the same issues happening today and so this is nothing totally shocking.  The part that did differ though was the language used in describing this occurrence.  Although there were differences in the language, I did not note this as having much significance.  Our language changes continually, depending on who we are talking to or who we are talking about.  The amount of time that has passed since something has been written will allow for the amount of differences in the text.  During class, someone mentioned the writing of Shakespeare and I think this is a perfect example.

Frederick Douglass and the abolitionists

amanda.simone's picture

After learning about the hand that the abolistionists played in the production of The Narrative of Frederick Douglas, I feel really decieved. It's not that I was at all surprised, but through our various discussions or readings about the importance of the slave narrative I have realized that Douglass's is the only non fictionalized narrative of slavery I have read. Although I feel like i have read so much about slavery in the U.S. I think most of it has been through novels. While these historical fiction narratives are valid as well, I think everyone should have to read a true narrative of American slavery at some point in their lives.

Reflection 2/16

Ang's picture

After my conference today, I've decided to look into revolving my upcoming paper on the history of Bryn Mawr College's diversity, the development from consiting of mostly wealthy white women to a much more diverse community, and the diversification of the English Department's curriculum, and what it now means to be an English Major at Bryn Mawr College. I started thinking about what it means to be an English Major today, and realized that it has changed a lot throughout the last hundred years or so. Initially, and up until probably the last thirty, forty, maybe fifty years or so, studying English literature meant names like Shakespeare, Chaucer, Hemingway, etc., and wasn't very political.