Link to What's New This Week. Issue for Week of November 24, 2003

Dear Habermas Logo and Link to Site Index A Justice Site

Current Issue:
Volume 18, No. 14, Week of November 24, 2003

Great News! Pat is home from the hospital and doing well. Not so good news! jeanne's running a fever of about a 100. Started yesterday afternoon. Am in bed drinking warm liquids and taking lots of aspirin. Arnold seems to have it, too, but not the fever. I WILL be there tomorrow, but it's not fair to give this to anyone. I would yell if you gave it to me. E-Mail is working. Send me anything you need help with, and I'll see you tomorrow, bright and feverless.Tuesday students who missed me today, find me in my office Wednesday afternoon. We'll leave a note on the door if we go off to a classroom. jeanne

Art and Answerability: Here and There (Cuba)

Fall 2003 Gala Exibition: Naked Space
Invitations, Flyers, Coloring Book, Catalog, Exhibit Plans, Scheduling, Invitation Lists

Midterm and Project Guides

Most of the topics I suggested for midterms in any of the classes, as long as you conceptually relate the topic to the discussions and concepts of the class, are at and there are more now at Does that help? Jeanne

Site Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata and Individual Authors,
November 2003.
"Fair use"encouraged.

jeanne's schedule - Susan's Class Page Archive NEW
Pat's schedule - About Us - Class Materials - Open Access
Previous Issue: Volume 18, No. 12, Week of November 10, 2003
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California State University, Dominguez Hills
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Latest Update: November 24, 2003

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jeanne's first version of Cuba, Torn

Cuba, Torn

Topic of the Week:

Answerability, Here and There (Cuba)
Jeanne and Pat and Marlene are back from Cuba. Jeanne slept for 72 hours over the weekend, and Pat is in the hospital. She's doing well in Kaiser, at 310-517-2002. We learned an enormous amount, and I will try to share much of it with you in the next two weeks. So far we have barely had time for debriefing. We were told as we re-entered the U.S., by a US Customs guard that the penalties for going to Cuba for US citizens have now increaded enormously and include a prison term. I am still speechless over that.

It was a very hard trek with much traipsing up and down over cobbled streets and ruins, and artists studios four and five stories up in buildings that were none too safe, and outrageously hot. That's how Pat got sick. The walking was too much strain on her, but she's doing much better now. Jeanne, who is lazy, just got worn out, since the short time we were given to really interact significantly and record what we were seeing and hearing was packed. Marlene, whom we remind you, is younger, fared well, and even had the energy left to enjoy meals and outings at night. Jeanne and Pat and Arnold chose sleep more often. Everyone on the trip called Arnold "laid back!" Arnold? Laid back! And I was trying to feed him valium and rum so he would calm down about how there was no soap and no toilet paper and NO TOILET SEATS! He was right about all that, except in the hotels. All he could say was that after forty-five years they have no toilet seats. What do old people do? Found myself wondering that, too.

Some first impressions:

  • Paradigms are belief systems. They're kind of like asking whether God exists. Beyond our knowing. So we can't tell at that level who's right. Cuba has a sort of equality. They tore apart all of the housing and divided it into small quarters for each family. Sort of. But the ones who are employed still have more than those who are not employed. And there are clear differences in neighborhoods. And there is clear evidence of social class and of thinking based on social class. I was hopelessly confused by the individualism I saw seeking freedom of expression and creation in artists and thinkers, and apparent acceptance that this is just how things are by many others.

  • No lifting of embargos or investing of money would remove some of the degradation and poverty I saw, for I saw a culture of poverty, that Oscar Lewis (Children of Sanchez) might have described. Buildings were often in the same state they had been in since Castro took over. I wanted to stop and start cleaning up and fixing up until I remembered the state of my own house. But Cubans themselves were moving towards reconstruction that turned everything into the perfect urban world we build here, a little U.S. or Europe or Russia. Buildings seem to be left as they are until money is allotted through a committee to restore them. Then they are refurbished like new. And even those Cubans who seem to recognize the absurdity of the conditions in which they are caught, look forward to an infusion of investor cash and to restoring things in the high tech modern way.

    I immediately bought one of Fidel Castro's books of speeches. He says somewhere in it that he has learned that speeches shoud be short. I found that touching and human. And I found that what he was saying made sense. I'll get some passages up for you. But everything in the country reflects a worship of Che. Which makes sense. One of our texts last semester was on Freire and Che. For the first time I heard from an educated Cuban that Che left for reasons other than what I had thought. That somehow it had become clear that Cuba was no longer the place for Che. Dear me, that's going to set me off on reading so much more to find the different versions of that. I may never catch up.

    What I know of Che is his love of learning and his faith in being able to teach a people. I share that faith. So, of course, I kept wondering whether Che's death affected the direction that Cuba took. There is a functional education system in Cuba. Uniformed children are everywhere. But the majority of them, according to our guide, want jobs in the tourist business. As Bush cuts that off from the US! I would have to learn lots more to understand whetherwhat I just saw really reflected Che's approach to education. Students have to stay in school until 17, and yes, some of them, like some of ours, don't want to.

    There is an emphasis on culture. But there wasn't enough time to discover whether that is truly supported or merely superficial. I have lots more questions than I had before I went. Someone who went to a ballet rehearsal (I did not; I wanted more time on the streets and in the museums) complained that some of the young dancers had holes in their shoes. Pat was into explaining that - she'll tell you when she's feeling better. But once again, I figured it's not rocket science to make soap and toilet paper and repair ballet shoes. And that brings me back to the pardigmatic dilemma.

    When I speak of community, I have in mind a community that assumes responsibility for its own welfare, for the welfare of those included in it. If there be no soap, let's make some. If there be holes in the ballet shoes, let's find a way to fix them. It is not enough to be literate, we must be literate in living. Perhaps that is why I keep turning our classes into projects where we can teach one another answerability, and then take that answerability into our communities. Remember, answerability in this sense, means a world in which each discovers and learns to use his/her own voice to express his/her needs, ideas, and feelings. As we learn to express our validity claims more freely and more openly, then we will learn that as a whole we have many talents and many choices. I guess I'd want one of those choices to be whether it would work just fine to mend the holes in the ballet shoes, so that the money that might have been allotted for new ones could be spent on a flute needed elsewhere.

    But I fully understand that to use such community creativity may backfire by politically excluding that group from the grants that would infuse money. Once again, answerability is not an epiphany, only a tool to discover the power of one's voice. Political and economic factors play a role in that answerability. And there are no right answers, for there are no right paradigms. Do we help ourselves or do we wait for SOMEONE to help us? I'm a help myself advocate. But there are many disadvantages to such an independent approach. We're going to need to listen to each other in good faith and in the brainstorming of collective thinking to understand such issues. And, though I don't like consensus, there's going to be a problem if some of us help ourselves and others merely wait to be helped. These are issue of governance that are going to require a lot of illocutionary discourse.

    Habana, and many other of the old Cuban cities, with a long colonial heritage, have wonderful old buildings that will bring tourists. Tourists like that. So cleaning them all up and painting them all alike and turning them into new government of diplomatic buildings kind of defeats one purpose, the preservation of physical evidence of a bitterly fought past. We might consider strengthening their structural foundations, organizing them into functional areas for working and living, and preserving some of the image of their history and suffering instead of polishing them into fake new. Seems to me that would be a tremendous challenge for their artists. Imagine if we cleaned up our impoverished neighborhoods. We wouldn't want to destroy the murals that were a part of that history.

    I came back with lots more questions than I left with. But I came back also with a functional network of people on whom I can now call to answer many of those questions, or to assure myself that there are no presently adquate answers. Remember that as we attempt to understand the Other such networks to others are essential so that we aren't tempted to fall back into our own perspective. Networks must be gathered who will have the authority and the willingness to challenge us, or we will not learn. All of this is going to be part of the approach to the global village.


    Memories of Cuba:

    I started with the Capitol, then added bit by bit. The statue of La Muerte by Sergio Martinez (1930-1988). I sketched it on Friday at the Natonal Museo del Arte. I had to stretch it a little to fit it into this format, but it'll give you an idea, anyway. The Goddess in blue is a Santa Ria goddess, and the chicken is a national icon for the macho Cuban male, at least someone told me that, don't remember who. I drew this whole scene from the National Museo del Arte, pulling things like abandoned and not yet restored buildings into the background, even though they were farther out than it appears here. The tiny little dog biting fleas in the corner was so sweet. He kept licking Arnold's fingers. He was so skinny his ribs showed through and he had mange. He seemed to fit with La Muerte. The red curlicue on the upper right represents a rusted stairway going nowhere. I don't remember where it really was. My imaginary just plopped it here. jeanne

    jeanne's 2nd version of Cuban memories

Fall 2003: Naked Space

A Multimedia Exhibition of the
Sociology of Answerability

Wednesday, December 3 and Thursday, December 4, 2003
Loker Student Union, CSUDH
10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Both Days

sponsored by Dear Habermas Website as evolved from Moot Court

Explanation of Aesthetic Process and Definition of Naked Space First draft by jeanne. You're all welcome to join in. Will try to finish it on Monday, but have to take time out to go for flu shot. jeanne

  • Michael Griffin's poem on Naked Space
  • Exhibition Schedule - In Progress - Please Check
  • Rough draft of Invitation. Katie Williams in charge. Limited time to get this out.
  • Invitation background painting - tentative
  • Invitation background - tentative
  • Added Thursday, November 7, 2003. More on the invitation and the flyer: New Ideas, shared by Professor Dorsey Be sure to get your ideas in soon. jeanne
  • Response from invitees - just starting. Be sure to let jeanne know of anyone you invite so she can include them on the invitee list.
      First Draft of Catalog for Naked Space Fall 2003:

    • Sunday, Nov. 2 added Belly Wisdom.
      Coloring Book on Answerability and the Statue of Liberty For the Fall 2003 Exhibition.

      We welcome you to consider other coloring sheets that might bring our visitors to awareness of the crucial issues today in our lived experience. We don't yet have any sheets on the labor issue. I think that's important. And I'd like to hear your other ideas. I'll help with creating the coloring sheet if you need that. jeanne

    • Establishing an Awareness of an Empty Memory Space to Reconfigure the Fractal Patterns That Yield Answerability A Visual and Aural Research Experience About Giving Students Voice.

      We welcome you to submit questions for interview schedules, to help with the survey and analysis, and to share with us the interpretation of our students' need for answerability, both now and as alumni. We will address the importance of student voice in the future of the university. This experience will encompass a substantial portion of the work in Statistics 220 in the Fall of 2003. And it will combine some of the theoretical foundations of Bakhtin (as interpreted through Greg Nielsen) and Steve Riskin.

    • A Book on the Practice of Answerability First draft of a report of this teaching process.

      We welcome you to help us find the fractal bits and the vacant memory space that may render the model useable for many others of all ages and educational levels.

    • Revising our College History to Introduce Answerability. A proposal by Francisco Reyes, with jeanne's response. Maybe you could share a few excerpts, so we could sample what such a history might be like. jeanne

    • Planning, Sharing and Curating the Fall 2003 Exhibition

      We invite you to help with the art, the dance, the music, the text, the theory, and the curating of this Fall's exhibit. Each of the proposed projects will go up here as fast as my little fingers can type them up. jeanne

      • Monday, November 10, 2003. Answerability and the Arts: Body Imagery Essay and Project on the changing perspective of beauty in the human body.

      • Monday, November 10, 2003. Answerability and the Arts: Matisse and the Justification of Art as Beauty This piece stands in direct contrast to the one on Body Imagery.

      • Answerability and the School System Author and Director: Guadalupe Saldana, CSUDH. Lupe would like someone to help with the visual components of this project. She does have photos.

      • Community Short Story of Fall 2003. Welcome to join in. I'll join in later. Ran out of time. Change names, characters, plot, whatever you wish. I just put this up to give you an idea about how some of you might like to tell the tale of some of your lived experiences. jeanne

      • Naked Space, A Poem Author, Michael Griffin, CSUDH. Michael broaches our theoretical position on naked space and fractal lived experiences through poetry.

      • Paintings in Memoriam of Sept. 11 Can be sent as e-mail. Donna Hill forwarded the site and one of the paintings to be attached with her article on "America was attacked because it was good" for the Illocutionary Discourse or War and Revenge?. The picture she chose was:

        and Donna will discuss the theory, with full permission for sanctioned plagiarism, as I discuss elsewhere in this issue. jeanne

        We'll want to discuss how such paintings, e-mail available, fit into answerability. Some of you are still misreading answerability. Answerability is NOT accountability. Answerability means that we each of the gift of ability to speak out and make our voices and/or our feelings known. Doing that answering is a learned skill using the gift of the ability. So I'd like eacho of your projects to clarify the role of answerability. How is the Other heard, not heard, ignored, assuaged, what notice is taken of the Other, and how is that notice given a focal point in the majority agenda?

        For example, if I am offended by your statement that Jews control the financial world. Answerability is the gift of having a fractal pattern of lived experience that lets me understand deeply why and how I am offended, and together with a naked space for creating new language and understanding, then you and I can interrelate. That doesn't mean that I will change your mind. It doesn't mean that you will change my mind. We're still going to disagree over Jews controlling the financial world. But the creative and active willingness to engage in the aesthetic process of listening to one another in good faith is a way for us to begin to engage each others as humans and to resolve some of the pain and tension between us. Maria Pia Lara calls that illocutionary discourse. Bakhtin calls it answerability. Steve Riskin gave me the idea of naked space.

      • Religion and Understanding
  • Patricia Morris: What Is God Like?

    What God Is Like

    Patricia Morris and Nita McKinley will describe their project from which the children's view of God emerged in this painting done by Patricia Morris. See for conceptual review on how to do this.

  • Race and Answerability

  • Visual Understanding

    Formal Announcements:

    Wednesday, November 25, 2003. Ethnology conference: Call for Papers for Ethnology Meetings on Crisis. Answerability in Crisis would offer a good topic. We'll discuss the possibilities for submitting a paper for the April meetings. jeanne

    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 - Mother Jones - BBC News - New Profile
    Progressive Sociologists Network

    Using Academic Language Effectively:

    Merriam-Webster Dictionary Search:

    Dictionary of Critical Sociology
    Maintained by Robert E. Mazur, Associate Professor, Iowa State University, Sociology.

    Words of Art: Front Page
    Wonderful Fine Arts dictionary at Okanagan University College in Canada.
    Will cover many of the terms social theory shares with literary theory.

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

    Social Theory across Disciplines:

    Peace and Social Justice

    Advanced Theory:

    • Wednesday, November 26, 2003. Sophisticated Labor: Threats to Sophisticated Labor It's not just the supermarket clerks who have to worry. We may all be seriously affected by the Wal Mart-influenced supermarket strike, for we all "cost too much."

    * * * * *

    Commentaries on Issues

    Index of Commentaries
    No updating until we have the Fall 2003 Exhibition set up. Sorry, jeanne

    UWP Commentaries in Chronological Sequence:

    CSUDH Commentaries by Topic

    • The Statue of Liberty

      • Monday, November 10, 2003. The Body: Body Imagery Another whole perspective to go with the Naked Lady Mudflaps.

      • Monday, November 3, 2003. The Statue of Liberty: Color Doesn't Matter Commentary by Sheila Velasquez, CSUDH. Sheila stopped short with her feelings. That's an important beginning, but now you need to go on with conceptual linking to our substantive issues. Examples are given. Use this as a guide. jeanne

    Lived Experience:

    Kids, Etc.: Stuff to Share with Others

    * * * * *

    Art Shenanigans

    • Monday, November 3, 2003. Reclaiming Memories from Old Photos:

      From photo by Katie's Mom.

      I took this image of Katie from the Halloween photograph to remind her of how her mom loved that tapdance costume. I used Katie's photo from her website and Paint, the freebie program that comes with WINDOWS. I did the writing in Katie's place, but the photo without the writing is at Katie.

    Academic Discourse