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Reflections on Reading & Discussion

Political Writing and Self Care

jane doe's picture

I have more questions than answers, but I have been thinking to myself about the politics of self care in relation to Frederick Douglass, in relation to me, and in relation to trauma. How can you practice self care via writing when your body is the intersection of all of these things? We talked of how the abolitionist movement coopted Frederick Douglass' pain to fuel their movement. We talked of how Europeans objectified Sarah Baartman (Here again lies this question of naming. This is not her name, but a name given to her). We talked of how Frederick Douglass was made to objectify himself, but is there any other way to write as a black body. What are you meant to do when your body itself is a political statement?

Thursday reflections

unsettle8's picture

Writing is influenced by the writer’s experiences, in form of topic, characters, plot, placement, or even subconscious influence. Everything you do affects you in some way, when you write you reveal yourself in some way on that page, and as a result you expose some of every experience you may or may not have realized you faced. It’s uncomfortable to explicitly describe personal information, and you never need to do that in order to become a good writer, but a person does need to draw upon private experience in order to write. Writing cannot be limited to only to the things that a person has experienced without any influence from anything other than them.

Reflection 2/9

Ang's picture

This week has been an interesting experience rereading The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. I had read the book before, for an English class my junior year of high school (I think it was junior year at least), yet it was a greatly different experience reading it again this time. While reading this time, I found myself comparing my two experiences with this book, and reflecting about my development in higher education and my relationship with literature. Through reading about Douglass' story,  I reached a deeper and much greater appreciation of my privileges. As a slave, Douglass had nothing. The descriptions of what everyone was allowed and given as slaves felt like a jolt to my systems.

Emotional fatigue

S...'s picture

I took this course for a reason. I want to get into the depth of these topics--literacy, privilege, school to prison pipeline, racial violence...the list goes on. I want to try to understand the issues, in all their complexity, of the society I live in. No doubt, I'm at the beginning. I've got a lot of learning ahead. Unsettling Literacy is part of that learning.

At the same time, it can be hard not to wonder about hope. When I spend most of my academic energy trying to open my eyes to gritty parts of our society's effed up systems, hope seems out of reach at times. 

I recently attended an activism workshop, where I was reminded that, "you're not the first to do this work, and you won't be the last. You don't have to do everything in your lifetime."

Reflection 3 - Literacy and Controlling Information

msch's picture

Our in-class discussion on the dangers of literacy and Frederick Douglas's story made me think a lot about how available information is nowadays. In our time, for those with socioeconomic circumstance (privilege) to have internet access, information is readily available. However, as one of my classmates pointed out, this information is often from biased sources. I thought that comment was incredibly important. If someone who is in a disadvantaged situation of any kind seeks out information, the source of that information may have a huge impact. For example, a young queer individual from a highly religious, low-income family may not know where to seek out information on the internet.

Feb 9th on campus reflection

m r r's picture

Well, here we are at a bit of a standstill in schools of thought about how to respectfully reflect about the experiences and stories we hear about.

In both our Tuesday and our Wednesday on-campus discussions, more questions arose than answers. 

Some questions that stood out:   (I didn't jot these down verbatim, so if you recognize your thought, feel free to correct me)
    "Why didn't we first think to ask those who are non-B__ students if they were comfortable with sharing their writings, when our professors didn't hesitate to warn/ask us to use our writings to discuss in class, as opposed to just remaining online?"

    "Are we getting class credit for reflecting on other people's experiences? Is that moral?" 

Written Word

anak's picture

I wanted to write about our discussion on the trust we develop in our placements and how this is affected by our reflection writing and discussion.  I still feel like I am not able to process this information though so I am just going to stick to our previous discussion on Frederick Douglass. 

Owning the Narrative

jane doe's picture

As we discuss our praxis sites and Frederick Douglass' Narrative, the question of ownership kept coming up. Who owns the written word? Often it feels like the mere writing of down of a narrative and calling it such, means owning those people you represent and the narratives they bring with them. In our work, especially, that is tricky because, unlike Frederick Douglass, we are not the lions in the story, we are not the ones who have been silenced and misrepresented; the lions are the people we are representing. Because of this, we must be vigilent in how we represent them and their stories, and try our hardest not to perpetuate the dominant narratives concerning them [even if that is impossible]. Right then, I purposefully used a reference that Wendell Phillips, Esq.