A Justice Site
Class and Schedule Information
Dear Habermas HOME
Instructor of record: Hal Pepinsky, 319 Sycamore Hall, off. hrs. T 11:15-12:15 and W 12:30-1:30, 855-1450 (office), 339-4303 (home), firstname.lastname@example.org
Assisting in Instruction: Tee Andrews-Brummet and Nate Brummet and family, 336-2548
Available for a free and confidential chat, and for referral for counseling and support: Linda Alis, Midwest Counseling Center, 334-1131.
E-mail list for this class:email@example.com. Anyone, enrolled or not, is welcome to participate. You may (un)subscribe to the list by sending the message-- (un)subscribe pepinsky_fjf00 –to-- firstname.lastname@example.org.
Readings: There will be a small course reader for the "Feminist Justice Seminar," prepared by Tichenor Publications, on sale at bookstores. TIS bookstore can have extra copies printed on 24 hours notice. A copy is on reserve at the Undergraduate Library, as is a much extensive reader prepared for this seminar two years ago.
This time, the reader contains only information that seminar guests have offered which is not otherwise available on the web, or otherwise readily accessible.
Readings will be assigned weekly for your journals. I expect that most of the readings will be on the web. I may also offer the option of using other library materials or readings of your choice.
I am assuming that everyone in this class has routine internet access. If not, please let me know and we can try to work around it. So much information is readily available for free on the web these days, that I’m discinclined to asked enrolled seminar members to spend much money buying course readings.
Grades: Every week I will assign 5 points that you can write for in a journal. If you write several meaningful sentences about a point, you get that point added to your total for the final grade. One point each week is likely to be for reacting however you will to what went on the last class meeting. I will likely offer a point each for responding to each of several specified related readings. I will likely ask you to write your own beliefs and feelings about some issue or problem related to that class.
At any time, you can get an extra point for responding to my response either to you specifically, or to commentary I write on the e-mail list regarding what people are saying and writing in the seminar generally.
To get points, the assignment given in each class has to be turned in to me (Hal) any way you can get it to me, preferably typed, by the time we next meet. You can give me the weekly assignment in class, or beforehand in person, under my office door, personally on e-mail or on the seminar e-mail list (I love it when people do it this way). Late assignments get no credit, so please write early and often.
There will be thirteen assignments. If you get all five points for ten weeks, or the equivalent in total points, you will do A work and do the minimum 5,000 words of writing for an S in the intensive writing section, if you are enrolled there.
You will write a lot this semester if you make the grade, probably in most cases more than you have written in any one class before. Writing should be fun, and be used to say what you really care about. Go for it.
For an S on the intensive writing roster, you need to get an A in the class. Your point total will translate into a grade as follows: 52+=A+, 48-51=A, 44-47=A-, 40-43=B+, 36-39=B, 32-35=B-, 28-31=C+, 24-27=C, 20-23=C-, 16-19=D+, 12-15=D, 11 or fewer=F.
I will keep your running total. Feel free to compare counts with me any time, in class, in the office, by e-mail or by phone.
I may occasionally also respond to you individually. Minimally, I will respond to what all of you give me collectively on the e-mail list weekly.
Please give an extra copy to Tee, Nate and company. If you don’t mind my sharing your assignment to a few people, notably to guests when you react to their visits, I would like to share. If you want the sharing to leave your name out, please put your name on a separate page on any hard copy you give me and ask me to take your name off when I share it. If you want me not to share any assignment, please just say so.
This "children’s rights and safety" version of the seminar began in 1993. Two mothers and a father who had sought to protect their children from apparent sexual violence by the children’s other parents, and the mother of one of the mothers, who had amassed mounds of documentation and contacts from similar cases around the country, unofficially and free-of-charge helped me teach. Special thanks go to them—Sandy Bell, Mary Cunningham, Debbie Dugan, and Keith.
Last year I was away at Iowa State University.
Now and the year before last, Tee Andrews and her family help me. They have survived what I think can best be called organized sadistic violence against children. They are trying to help others break free of violent cults, and as a community, to help one another heal.
As a criminologist, I most want to learn how, in the face of violence, we build community. By "build community" I mean that we become assured that we are now in safe company, where we can let down our guard and share secret pain and fear which we have had to endure. I call this "peacemaking"—becoming socially secure, getting together safely, openly and honestly in the wake of violence. To me, making peace begins with listening to the weakest, most beaten down voices among us. To me, regardless of race, class or gender, the most beaten down group among us is children, most of all by adults they love and depend on.
Sandy, Mary, Debbie and Keith represented adults who were prepared to believe their children’s complaints when others would not listen. Tee and Nate and their family are, I believe, survivors of more horrific personal violence than I had imagined possible until Sandy et al. introduced me to survivors and their supporters, who led me to still others who eventually led me to meet Tee and her family.
In previous course evaluations, seminar members have often said that the most valuable thing about this seminar is that you get to meet real people, and find out from them what works and does not work. Often in person, sometimes via video, you will meet real people who have survived extreme, repeated childhood violence; and you will meet people who work with and support children and adult survivors. While guests do not make a point of being gory or graphic, some of the violence they describe and report is deeply disturbing. No one is required to attend or to stay through class. When the going gets heavy, feel free to work out alternative ways of doing writing assignments with me. If you want to talk with us privately or to have help finding others to share the feelings the class arouses in you, we will be glad to oblige. Typically, I think we all need some friend or other safe listening post to talk this stuff over with.
On the bright side, this seminar is also about how people heal—how they build community for themselves and others, even after long having been trapped in grotesque violence. I find that I learn from our guests not only how much worse violence is around us than I had known, but how to help survivors heal, and most importantly to me, what most essentially works for any of us to make peace in the face of violence. Our guests are among my greatest teachers. This does not mean that we agree completely on what their experience means and on how we should respond. I treasure the freedom for me and for you, individually, to make up our own minds about what we think is going on, and how we feel about responding to it. That is why I count points for whatever you say about class and readings instead of grading the writing. Every semester I teach this seminar, I look forward to learning from seminar members as they write most of all, and as some of them share in class or privately as well.
Here’s to a safe and educational semester for us all. Welcome!
Love and peace, Hal