Link to What's New This Week Debriefing Freeing the Feminine Other

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Debriefing Discourse

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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: July 12, 2004
Latest Update: July 12, 2004

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Index of Topics on Site Debriefing Freeing the Feminine Other
Michael and jeanne

  1. Introduction Why I chose to share this reading.
  2. Focus: Main point of this reading.
  3. Reading Full identification of source for reading AND excerpt.
  4. Concepts: Concepts and Key Words.
  5. Discussion Discussion questions.
  6. Conceptual Linking to Substantive Courses What this has to do with our class.

* * *


  • I wanted to share this discourse with all of you who are sharing in the debriefing of our Naked Space Exhibit in Spring 2004. Our understanding of the Naked Space Project is probably best suited to a phenomenological approach. That means that there is no "Naked Space" that you can get hold of, measure, investigate. The Naked Space Project is real, not virtual, not ephemeral, but is the creation of time, space, and media all of which interact at different moments in different ways, according to the individuals that make up the space at the time and their interpassivities and interactivities, and their identitities. The reading for this shared discourse is an exchange between me and Michael Griffin who was the Curator for Freeing the Feminine Other, our exhibit in Spring 2004.


  • I would like you to come away with a sense of how to participate in such discourse. Michael and I have not seen each other in months. All of this is happening over e-mail. And it happens over time. So if you see something to which you'd like to add a comment, that's possible just be e-mailing me.

Concepts and Key Words:

  • shared reading: a few pages from a text that you have read that you will share with us in a reading session. You should be sure to give us the full citation of the readings, an excerpt where we can get a flavor of the writing, and provide discussion questions and conceptual linking to the class with which you are sharing or to the discourse on Dear habermas with which you wish to share.

  • template: a form for you to follow to help you prepare your shared reading. Just print a copy and use it as a guide. This shared reading is based on that template.

  • collaboration and the expose: This shared reading on collaboration will give you an idea of how our Naked Space definition of collaboration differs from that of Harvard's provost. Harvard defines collaboration as doing the same tasks, same job descriptions, but together across disciplines and schools. We define collaboration as responding in illocutionary and instrumental fashion to each other in an openly defined task-field.

  • illocutionary: Illocutionary discourse is discourse carried on for the principle goal of understanding one another, in the sense of trying in good faith to figure out how the Other could have come to the conclusions advocated in his/her validity claim. Trying to see the Other's perception of the issue. Not necessarily agreeing with the Other's perspective, but trying to understand why he/she sees it that way.

  • instrumental: Instrumental discourse is discourse primarily aimed at persuading the Other to accept your perspective of the issue or validity claim, and to agree with your position. Trying to get the Other to do what you want him/her to do.

  • governance discourse: Governance discourse is reasoned discourse in which representatives of all perspectives argue their validity claims for purposes of deciding on some solution or action, that takes into account all the perspectives, and does as little harm to any group or perspective as possible through the decision-making.

  • Arnold: jeanne's husband, who has definitely not achieved sainthood.

  • male linear logic: Logic that is primarily linear, moving from one step to the next, and which can be mapped in sequential steps, and that is practiced by males as the dominant authority group in Western Civ.

  • Western Civ: The history of Western civilization told predominantly from the white male privileged position of hegemony resulting from Western Imperialism, up to and including the U.S.

  • expose (ex-po-zay'): The term expose carries the connotation of pointing out a mistake or misdeed that can then be recognized by others. Exposing a different "truth." Problem is that for many who admire Harvard, Harvard represents "THE truth." Now we're into denial of responsibility for hegemony and complicity.

  • denial of responsibility for hegemony: This denial pretends that hegemonic authority is a nation-state position and activity, and that individuals, who may enjoy the benefits of that hegemony didn't really do anything to exploit others.

  • complicity: A share in the responsibility for exploitation of Others to the extent that one participates in perpetrating the harm or exploitation and/or remains silent in face of such domination, or silently accepts the benefits and privileges of such exploitation and domination. A problem with this definition is that sometimes you must remain silent as you pick and choose your battles. You cannot fight exploitation and domination like a whirling dervish.

  • "terrestrial light": I have no idea what these German artists meant by "terrestrial light," but to me with respect to the Naked Space it means that light and darkness play differently in different social contexts on this earth community. For example a color appears differently when placed next to another color.What is color? That was the basis of Seurat's prinicples of painting in La Grande Jatte. Remember La Grande Jatte?

  • socially constructed:/a> Happiness is socially constructed. You can't feel it, touch it, catch it. But we all know it exists. It just exists in our reality, not the reality "out there." It's not like a table or a chair. You can't trip over it. Happiness exists because we are social beings. We express things that are abstract, in our minds and souls, not in a fixed concrete reality. Race is socially constructed. There really is no such thing as race. But in our minds we attribute certain factors to a specific group of people and then identify that group by labelling them, and then expect them to be what we imagine them to be. And it's all in our heads! Now, who ever said we weren't collectively crazy?


Discussion Questions:

  1. This exchange reminded me of Robert K. Merton's On the Shoulders of Giants. Can you think why?

    Because each of us, me and Michael, is building on the other's thoughts. That's what Merton said was most important, not attribution or authorship or ownership, but that each one builds on what the other has offered. I think Fellman would call it "mutuality."

  2. Why do you think Michael and I are talking of the Naked Space as though it's kind of ephemeral?

    Consider that the Naked Space is socially constructed. That means you can't touch it, feel it, fall over it, see it. It's a state of our collective minds.

Conceptual Linking to Substantive Courses:

  • Agencies:
    Sample linking: Ways in which underlying assumptions of assimilation affect services offered and clients' ability to access and use those services. How does this reading illustrate the need for social agencies, for more generalized agencies, for what Bolman and Deal would call "leadership" AND "management"? How does this reading suggest ways in which we could be more effective in rendering help, and what is the reading's relationship to a "safety net" for those who need help?

  • Criminal Justice:
    Sample linking: Ways in which some groups are underrepresented in the unstated assumptions of our theories. How does this reading serve to illustrate adversarialism, mutuality, retribution, revenge, illocutionary understanding, the definition and operation of the criminal justice system?

  • Law:
    Sample linking: Extent to which laws are made on the assumption that we are all essentially assimilated to the dominant culture. How does this reading help us see the need for contextual readings in law? How does it relate to our natural instincts to seek some kind of natural law? What facts and principles does the reading offer for discourse that could clarify for Others validity claims presented by an Obscure Other?

  • Moot Court:
    Sample linking: Ways in which to make validty claims of harm understood by those who have never experienced many of the world's different perspectives. How can this reading enlighten our praxis in terms of different kinds of discourse, like instrumental, illocutionary, governance?

  • Women in Poverty:
    Sample linking: The culture of poverty and assimilation. How does the reading deal with our underlying assumptions about poverty, especially poverty of the exploited, the NOT- male? What does the reading suggest of the interrelationship between our society and its children, generally cared for by women, often poor?

  • Race, Gender, Class:
    Sample linking: The extent to which silence has been imposed by these affiliations so that domination and discrimination have entered our unstated assumptions in interpersonal relations and the structural context arising from them. What does the reading tell us about exploitation and alternative ways to deal with one another? What does it tell us about institutionalized -isms and our denial of complicity? What does it tell us about our common humanity?

  • Religion:
    Sample linking: The spiritual component. Humans are spiritual creatures, creatures that recognize moments that go beyond ourselves to God, Allah, Isis, Gaia, the Universe, or a deep sense of responsibility to create our own meanng. How does the reading fit into our ability, our need to create such meaning in life?

  • Love 1A:
    Sample linking: What's the aesthetic link in this reading? How does it bring us closer to one another as humans? What does it tell us about our need for love, unconditional love, not rewards for doing well or being well, but caring and acceptance for being who we are?

Site Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata and Individual Authors, June 2004.
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