Link to What's New This Week. Issue for Week of July 28, 2003

Dear Habermas Logo and Link to Site Index A Justice Site

Dear Habermas
A Journal of Postmodern and Critical Thought
Devoted to Academic Discourse on Peace and Justice

Current Issue:
Volume 17, No. 7, Week of July 28, 2003

jeanne's schedule - Susan's schedule NEW
Pat's schedule - About Us - Academic Resources
Previous Issue: Volume 17, No, 6, Week of July 21, 2003
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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Soka University Japan, Transcend Art and Peace
Latest Update: July 25, 2003

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The Aesthetics of Answerability

Topic of the Week: The Aesthetics of Answerability
Friday, July 25, 2003: I hope you'll get the feeling of dancing dervishes against a sky exploding with possibilities. This is a first version of my struggle with Bakhtin. To be more accurate, my on-going struggle with Greg Neilsen's The Norms of Answerability: Social Theory Between Bakhtin and Habermas.

Why a struggle? Well, philosophy and social theory weren't part of my early training. Literature, mathematics, and hard science (physics) were. And Greg Nielsen, bless his heart, spends a lot of time directing doctoral and masters' theses and research projects, meaning his day is spent a little differently from mine. It would have been easy to avoid the struggle, and stick to traditional sociological texts, but the Dear Habermas project led to Bakhtin, and Bakhtin led to the Norms of Answerability. And struggle to catch up on all that cross-discipline reading, I guess I must. But if it feels like this week's painting, I reckon it's worth it.

Me, personally, as a teacher, and Pat and Susan, too, we're uncomfortable with a general theory of sociology that splits into picayune little studies that are convenient to turn out in the midst of unrealistic teaching schedules, that never really tackle the divergence of micro and macro. We're also uncomfortable with the continuing emphasis on quantitative studies and the retreat from sociology's philosophical roots and tradition. That discomfort with the departmentalization of sociological problems and issues in quasi-new areas, like cultural studies, led us to keep searching for new ways to bring our students interactively into sociology as one of the most significant fields of study to touch on everyday life. No, we don't mean we want them to "become sociologists." It doesn't pay well. We mean that we think an understanding, a deep substantive understanding of sociology is a tool needed to successfully cope with our and their lived experience, especially in this 21st Century.

Rest of the story at Bakhtin and the Aesthetics of Answerability

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A Range of Sources on Global Events

Left/Right Perspectives - Cursor - New York Times
Arts and Letters Daily - The Economist - The Guardian
Wall Street Journal -The Weekly Standard - The Nation
Los Angeles Times - Chicago Tribune - The Washington Post
Cursor's Al Jazeera Archive - Ha'aretz - Palestine Monitor

Indymedia - BBC News - New Profile - Progressive Sociologists Network


  • Friday, July 25, 2003: Because of unforeseeable circumstances at UWP, Susan is taking over again as Chair of the Department of Criminal Justice. That means that we have even more responsibility for engaging her students in dialog; she's going to be awfully busy, and our own dialog will suffer if we don't make the effort. They start after Labor Day, so we'll have time to plan for them. jeanne

Using Academic Language Effectively:

Merriam-Webster Dictionary Search:

Today's Word: From the Word.A.Day Site

Social Theory across Disciplines:

Peace and Social Justice
Essays, Comments, and Discussion Questions

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Lived Experience:

Emancipatory Narratives

  • Tuesday, July 29, 2003. Coping with Disability: The Way It Looks From Here Audio Interview by Kerry Seed, a student at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Maine. What effect does the narration have on you? Does it make the task of employment for the blind more "really real," as Susan might ask? Take the time to look, and to browse the salt Gallery

  • Sunday, July 27, 2003. The War through Sound and Photos: Eyes on the War The Washington Post. Enter the Gallery as indicated on the photo. If you have access, turn on the sound. I think that for me, David Leeson's photo of a man's feet captures the banality, the sameness of war, everywhere, always. The caption points out that these were not military shoes, but the man's everyday civilian shoes. I'll have to think on that for quite a while, before I can verbalize what it means to me. Banal? Deep? To view that photograph, cross your cursor over Leeson's name. By clicking on each photographer's name, you can view a selection of his/her photos and hear an accompanying audio tape made by the photographer. Notice the impact of both the visual and the sound.

  • Sunday, July 27, 2003. Gay Marriage: Gay-marriage debate simmers By Judith Graham, Tribune national correspondent. Published July 27, 2003. The Chicago Tribune. "The Supreme Court has overturned anti-sodomy laws, but experts say it may take decades for the struggle over nuptials to reach a resolution." Backup

    Reference: Index on Gay Marriage and Structural Violence

Kids, Etc.: Stuff to Share with Others

  • Update for Young People I'll catch up with these when our Fall class stuff is done. jeanne
  • Update on Health
  • Update for Seniors

    Comb Series # 3 by Gina Adams
    Gina Adams, Comb Series #3, Copyright, Gina Adams.

  • Sunday, July 27, 2003: Insects: Maine College of Art The Student Galleries, Painting of Gina Adams, 01', Comb Series #3, 10" by 8", Monoprint.

    The colors are captivating. And my daughter loves insects. The combination was irresistible. Maybe those of you who are teaching could use a coloring sheet for one of your nature classes. If you use it with young people, please be sure to remind them that there are NO rules about coloring within lines. Use Gina Adams' painting as an example. Oil sticks or oil pastels should be a great medium. But crayons will do. Click on the coloring sheet version to get a full page. Coloring pages for creative class or play:

    I know for a fact that lots of us grownups still enjoy "coloring." Notice that coloring involves senses we don't usually call on anymore. By manipulating color and form, and expressing our different feelings, we are allowing our own creativity to surface. I know, I know, you might get caught if you print the coloring sheets out, but no one will know if you use the little freebie programs on your computer. And soon, you'll learn that you can produce variations on works that are fully worthy of being pinned up on your walls. for everyone's enjoyment.

    Art Critical Theory on this? In My House: A Short Essay About Art in Scotland By Judith Findlay. Backup. If you spent a little time on this, sharing with friends, you might come up with a series of colorings that would make an interesting set to frame. Make a simple frame of found objects. Did the background color matter? Use construction paper or painted or colored sheets for mats. And put it on the wall to share. Now, that's art.

    Art Shenanigans

      The composite photo representing the MultiArts Projects and Productions, from their site:

    • Sunday, July 27, 2003: Art and Community: MultiArts Projects & Productions (MAPP) " MultiArts Projects & Productions (MAPP) produces and manages programs and artists in all disciplines throughout the world. MAPP's multi-faceted touring and production projects strengthen global exchange and engage artists, presenters and the public in the ongoing discussion of art, process, life and community."

      Notice the emphasis on drawing in many artists and their communities. Increasingly, communities are finding aesthetics a binding factor in the building of their solidarity. Notice also the effect of splitting the image into six components - kind of like a six-ring circus.

    • Sunday, July 27, 2003: Visual Sociology: The PICA Statement on Community
      " The PICA community includes everyone interested in the creative exploration and artistic expression of new ideas. Strengthening and extending this community is one of our primary objectives, and we do it by presenting work that evokes inspired, impassioned dialogue. "We also collaborate with like-minded individuals, institutions, private partners and public agencies, drawing on their respective talents and capabilities to build cultural bridges that connect people to mind-broadening experiences, new ways of seeing - and to each other."
      From About PICA.

    Academic Assessment

    UWP and CSUDH Classes Linked through Dear Habermas in Fall 2003