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"Outlaw Emotions": Notes Towards Day 16 (Tues., Feb. 21)

Anne Dalke's picture

I. (2:25-2:35, Anne): coursekeeping

We'll spend 1/2 of tomorrow's class talking about our sites; please read one another's praxis postings.

We'll spend the second 1/2 picking up on a topic we introduced the second week of class.
Do you remember when, along w/ Paulo Friere on "The Importance of the Act of Reading,"
we watched a short interview with Daniel Jansen on “Bio-illiteracy," in which he said,
You were taught how to read in 2nd grade, so you’re literate.
...But nobody taught you how to walk up to an ant on the pavement
and know who the ant is. Or you eat some little green thing, what is it?
Or you bite into a McDonald’s hamburger.
Is it really a cow…? Or is it a pig, all mixed together?...
We can’t teach you that when you are in second grade. But this
[DNA barcode scanner]...can read the biodiversity that’s around you….
you gradually build the library by users…the library could grow quickly,
especially around things that people come in contact with…

Though there was some resistance to the barcode scanner,
we do remember some interest in the question of scientific literacy;
so our plan is to talk some more tomorrow about that!
We'll do so help from Greg Davis of the Bryn Mawr Bio Dept
(anyone know/study w/ Greg?).
He's has taught three classes in Riverside (within the framework of
our courses; we got him and his microscopes in--though not his bugs!
no organic material!!). He also joined us @ a faculty workshop on
prison education @ Vassar a couple of years ago.

In preparation for his visit, he's asking you to watch a 20-minute video,
"Scientific Studies: Tonight with John Oliver" (May 8, 2016): 
(heads up that there's some off-color humor here; it is John Oliver....);
to look over a Test of Scientific Literacy (in our protected reading file)--
you are of course welcome to take this (and he'll bring the answers on Wed :)
and to read some excerpts from Karen Barad's essay on “Reconceiving Scientific Literacy,"
which I've also posted on-line.
Links to all this from syllaship. Questions? All clear?

II. (2:35-2:45, Jody): for today, we asked you to read
Erica Meiners on the “Management of Outlaw Emotions," and
Anna Plemons on "Getting Inside" (we read her "teaching philosophy"
a few weeks ago, about classrooms as on-going processes
of co-creation, gathering, invitation; like Kirk Branch,
she's someone we'll return to again).

We've organized our discussion of these two texts around
several of your postings, which highlighted the relation
* between literacy and silence,
* between the writing self and the written self, and
* between the writing self and the body.

Rain Queen: We had a major bullying problem in my high school- no one talked about that. No one talked about drugs or drinking or abuse, though these were all issues I knew happened. And because no one ever talked about it, I was illiterate on these issues. If we don't talk about what is happening, no one can be literate. You can't be literate about something you don't even talk about.

I believe that [Frederick Douglas] was forced to betray his writing self by sacrificing, at least a part of, his whole self to become a version that was coerced....Douglas ultimately had to betray the self-care part of himself, the angry, the tortured, the lived part of himself....the student...that attempts to figure out if [you] are the same person inside as [you] are when [you] come back out to write...perhaps you deflect the experience..and thus, you completely destabilize the sense of yourself.  

jane doe: How can you practice self care via writing when your body is the intersection of all of these things?...What are you meant to do when your body itself is a political statement?

  the discussion about the distance between the writer and the written self was particularly interesting...To fight for the freedom of others, [Frederick Douglass] had to sell himself again...this resulted in a version of a self that had been translated for white audiences. I find it difficult to reconcile the idea that in order to "speak to power," one must cooperate with or assimilate to the very same hegemonic structures that are working against them.

amanda.simone: Douglass's is the only non fictionalized narrative of slavery I have read...Now im disappointed to know that it too was very doctored.

III. (2:45-3:30): Let's see how these ideas--of literacy and silence, of the writing self
and the written self,  of the writing self and the body, play out in Meiner's chapter.

Act out the opening story; keep on reading through "name their anger as anger," p. 29.
What's happening here?

* puts things we don't talk about right @ the center of her work

* talk about how she does this/how she writes:
what is she doing with this script? (distancing? to what effect?)

* discipline/special ed/school to prison pipeline
* p. 39: "There is a difference between stating that Erica has problems learning, and Eras has a learning disability"--what is that difference??

* complicity: whitening and feminization of the profession
p. 46 f, "Lady Bountiful's"class-based surveillance, monitoring outlaw behaviors/emotions
p. 53: "Is cultural consonance between teachers and students a requirement for success in schools?"
when a teacher lacks fundamental competencies in cross-cultural interactions...this will result in more 'misunderstandings'
amanda.simone: the lack of professors of color directly means that there are limits to the education one can receive at an academic institution.

* where does Meiners leave us? need to shift foundational idea of concept of the teacher, politicize it

IV. (by 3:30, Anne): turn to Anna Plemons' work
read opening paragraph of chapter 1, p. 3
what connections/dissonances are you seeing w/ Meiners' work?

* both offer strong critiques of systems in which they are complicit
(Meiners on education generally; Plemons focusing on composition studies)

* both cite education as a site of "lingering coloniality":
Meiners uses Native education as one example of this;
Plemons offers indigenous methodologies as an alternative decolonial option

* both celebrate the alternative of "relationality"
Meiners, p. 51: What kind of relationality is denied, shut down, seen as epistemically impossible, in the current professional and discplinary construction of "education"?
Plemons, p. 4: structures of inquiry that privilege relationality and relational accountability

* cf. Plemons' way of writing?
* what might she and Meiners say to one another?
* are they likely to want to teach together?
* what would that look like?
* how would Meiners write that script? :)

Anne's Reading/Listening/Talking Notes
* Meiners, "Outlaw Emotions"
on the endistancing way she writes: sets scene w/ self as character ("the written self")
anger legitimate response, but dangerous to be angry in public spaces
outlaw emotion as starting place for inquiry/in dialectical relation to critical social theory
insights into structural inequities
displays of anger always used against/to devalue/erase those that are marginalized
who has agency, political power to name their anger?
w/out the right to be hostile, anger read as violence, disruption, disrespect, deviancy, impairment...
educational structures, practices normalize "expectation" of incarceration for youth
schools as punitiave institutions for specific communities
less pipeline than part of nexus/web of multifacted intersections
2 most significant/destructive practices, discipline and special education,
both forms of racialized surveillance
our complicity in these practices of structural violence:
whitening and feminization of teacher profession
(cf. Charles Mills on Racial Contract, Carol Pateman on Sexual Contract, of Philosophy)
gendered, racialized profession result of expressed logic of colonization:
"Lady Bountiful" as mediating agent between subaltern and colonial state,
class-based surveillance, monitoring outlaw behaviors/emotions
cf. Wallace Adams on "Deep Meaning of Native American Schooling"
teachers today continue to move youth from schools to jails
whites as cognitively handicapped, motivationally
(w/ vested interest in not seeing white supremacy) and
experientially (little opportunity to access non-whites' divergent perceptions)
significant repercussions: education canon masks profoundly problematic ideologies
What kind of relationality denied/shut down/epistemically impossible
in current professional, disciplinary construction of 'education'?
(too often seen as response to inequaitable systematic structural problems,
or organ transplanted to make sick society well again)
lack of cultural competence/consonance results in
more verbal/physical/behavioral 'misunderstandings'
need to shift foundational idea of concept of the teacher, politicizing it (Black Panthers)
(Horton: "good radical education...would be loving people first...all people everywhere")
role of profession in colluding in production of youth as public enemies;
our own disciplinary ignorance

* Plemons, "Lingering Coloniality"
refuse modernistic fixity, measurable, package-able, exportable texts;
fundamental instability of relationships, messy, complicated, contingent work;
don't require explicit evidence of transformation
indigenous methodologies open up possible decolonial options
Preface: Marty->Thoreau on fundamental problem w/
conscious designs intended to enact good upon another in their own house
(deeper violence when place is not home)
Chapter One: Getting Inside: composition carries a colonial logic, self implicated
cf. closeable logic of expository writing and open writing in high-stakes, out of school locations
possibility of structures of inquiry that privilege relationality /relational acocuntability
refuse separation of theory and story ("proving" from "showing"; "a story in every line of theory")
small, local story, with harmonic/discorant notes of others, walls
history of Arts of Corrections; tacit, significant disruptions in prison business as usual;
values opportunities vs. outcomes, relational methodology;
structures of academic inquiry work against both notions
Chapter Overviews: complicate/reify archetypal grand literacy narratives;
literacy as acts of creative resistance;
reframe prison literacy programs from focus on individual salvation narratives,
open up theory of writing, not mining student texts for made-meanings;
replace colonial commodification with writing-as-action, in complicated circulation
own "failed" study ex. of coloniality in academic modernistic assumptions
about relation between knower and known; disrupt antiquatd subject-object relations
with respectful reciprocal relational ones
What this text is not attempting: protest, revolution in impossibly unjust settings
I am complicit in system I only visit; but reject moniker of 'neo-con jailer," placation
On the matter of agency: prison writings share w/ slave narratives both
a history of resistance and paradox of fighting for its own obsolescence
agency not just obvious transformation/liberation: looks like men writing together inside
bureaucracies can be moved by increments;
situated agency of both incarcerated writers and literacy sponsors,
a living things that must be tended
per Derrida: writing already always erased, written over: can't know how read;
intention: more respect, more listening, more joining of the work

* Notes from NCHEP (National Conference on Higher Education
in Prison, Carnegie Mellon), Nov. 6-8, 2015
Erica Meiners, Higher Education in Prison Politics and Ethics
(queer woman)
putting prison work in dialogue and tension w/
other contemporary movements:
no end to political, ethical questions raised by this work
goal not just to create excellent prison programs when ed is defunded,
but prison abolition, etc…
explore critical use value of intra-movement engagement
creating lasting alternatives to imprisonment
a plank in the ‘afterlife of slavery’
abolition politics helps us keep our eyes on the prize
Ruthie Gilmore: education as refiguring tenacles/new systems of enclosure
failure to engage categories of sex offender, worse of the worse, unreformable;
how avoid reproducing racialized invisibility,
how resist/dismantle incarceral logics…?
how to build coalitions among first-generation,
job-hunting students @ our public schools?
feminist anti-violence, women- and queer-led organizations, incl InSight
naming complex interplay of intimate and state violence
deeply gendered and heteronormativity of prison
polices fraternization