Link to What's New This Week. Issue for Week of March 14, 2004

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Dear Habermas

Current Issue:
Volume 19, No. 8, Week of March 14, 2004

Site Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata and Individual Authors,
February 2004.
"Fair use"encouraged.

jeanne's class assignments - Susan's Class Page Archive NEW
Pat's schedule - About Us - Class Materials - Open Access
Previous Issue: Volume 19, No. 7 , Week of March 7, 2003
Mirror Sites: CSUDH - Habermas - UWP
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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: March 13, 2004
Latest Update: March 18, 2004

E-Mail Icon jeannecurran@habermas.org
takata@uwp.edu

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Chickens of Confused Identity
Chickens of Confused Identity

squiggleAcademy of Criminal Justice Science (ACJS)
Conference March 9-13, 2004, in Las Vegas.

We had a wonderful session at ACJS. Report up soon. jeanne

Visions of Answerability

Trust me! I won't judge you.
The Parameters of Answerability

Topic of the Week: Separating the Figure from the Figurative
Painting the Scream from Within

At the ACJS session in Las Vegas Friday we established and worked with naked space. The issue of trust was one of the Figures of the session. Jeanne's and Pat's phones weren't receiving inside the Riviera. So we were not in touch with each other. Susan was not at the Riviera, and the desk said her reservations had been cancelled. Jeanne feared the worst and considered all the options avaialble to gather us back together. There weren't any. We had all come separately to Vegas, and were now torn apart, unable to reach each other. This is where I will insert some theory on Bacon's tension between and separation of the Figure from the Figurative, and why that matters. (Reference: Deleuze.) But not now. Basically, Deleuze is emphasizing that there is a superficial reality of the Figure as Fact, called Figure, but that there is an inner, deepr reality of sensual and spiritul reality that is not synonymous with that which captures the figurative as representative of the Figure. Francis Bacon is trying to paint the scream the Pope in his version of Velazquez represents, not the horror that led to the scream.

Munch, the scream, Beuys the inner spirit of care and nurturing

Cezanne the appleyness of apples.

Each of these is trying to separate the photographic real from the human real, from the inner depth of the human from the layer of outward appearance.

Notes from my thinking: Although I don't pretend to have anywhere near a full understanding of the theory and inspiration that guided some the greatest artists of our history, I do understand their wanting to remove what Deleuze calls the visual cliches that are already on the canvas from our collective normative expectations. If there is a figure, there is a well-defined sense for most of us of what that figure should look like, and that pre-exists the painting that will actually end up there. Yet that normative expectation comes from our shared learning, and need not represent the only Figure that could have come from that shared learning.

I think what Cezanne is trying to realize in the appleyness of apples, is to bring is to a greater awareness of the need to look beyond our normative expectations, for in satisficing the eye by completing the image of reality with what we expect reality to be, we are closing ourselves off from really looking at the apple in good faith, as an apple, and not merely as our expectation of it. Much of today's popularized learning to relate, learning to commit, learning to see, to hear in good faith is really about making a commitment to ourselves to keep our senses open to what there really is to sense.

Think of pscyhology's "close test" in which we can still read material even when many of the letters are missing or illegible. Our normative expectations for the letters that should be there causes us to see them, and be able to read their message, even when they aren't there, or are obliterated in some way.

At about 1:15, shortly before the session was to begin, we all began to arrive, Arnold and me and Pat first, then Lesley and Dana and Charise, then Michael and Kathleen, from Dominguez, then Susan, then one of Susan's students, LaTricia White, from Wisconsin, then a colleague of Susan's, from another branch of the University of Wisconsin. And something happened. We talked. OK, I talked a lot. But I also began to understand a lot. Even Arnold, who hadn't meant to pay much attention, told us later that he wondered why I hadn't spoken of Munch's Scream, only of Bacon's. No more energy today, but tomorrow, I will finish the flow of art theory, the Figure and the Figurative, and the conceptual link from there to the Naked Space in our classrooms. By separating, tearing apart the Figure as Fact (or the normative expectations I have for the Figure), and by letting the ground (or social structuration) grapple freely with the concepts and issues that emerge, and by seeking not to "measure" them, in the sense of our normative expectations, but by allowing ourselves in good faith to hear the scream, to feel the fear, to acknowledge sensations where we have been wont to deny them, the canvas changes and we paint, in Bacon's sense, something new, something different, something that reaches the inner core of the human.

Added Monday, March 15, 2004: Now, I'll have to make sense of all this tomorrow. But you're all welcome to join with me in editing and writing. jeanne

Well, instead of making sense of the theory, I fixed my e-mail, sort of, and got out the proposal to IVSA. Have you ever thought that what you submitted for an essay test was just terrible, and not at all reflective of what you knew? That's how I feel about the IVSA Proposal. It sort of didn't fit, and I had trouble stretching me and it to make out something reasonable. See, your teachers feel that way, too. Anyhow, here it is: Naked Space: A Visual Tool for Bridging the Gap Between the Academy and the Community.

Added Tuesday evening, March 16, 2004: http://www.iirc.mcgill.ca/install.html Art installation at McGill University in Canada, where they're way ahead of us. e sure to take a look at the whole site: Image and Identity Research Collective (IIRC). Note that this site intertwines visual sociology with feminist theory. This whole cutting edge of sociology is far more interdisciplinary than most of us have ever been. jeanne

Added Monday, March 15, 2004: Art and The Christian Cross This piece introduces a discussion on the Passion and its sociological ramifications throughout history and today. Discussion questions included.

Added Saturday, March 13, 2004: E-Learning and the Western Canon Essay on the role of e-technology in the academy as we are experiencing it. Discussion questions included. Projects suggested.


The Interdependent Struggle of Agency and Structural Context
Volume 16, No. 8, Week of April 28, 2003

Added Saturday, March 13, 2004: I kept this illustration up because I think it may help us visualize the struggle between Figure and Ground that I'm discussion from Deleuze' work on Francis Bacon, the painter.

Is there more to the struggle of agency and structural context here? Where does interpassivity come in? Are there those who simply choose not to struggle? How does that affect the resultant mix of power? How does this relate to the Darwinian approach to social theory? Might Darwin have said that those who struggle survive, making interactivity to be valued over interpassivity? (Recall that Darwin denied any transference of evolutionary theory as he developed it to social evolution.)

How can we envision learning and education as constrained within traditional schools and schooling and training when we consider the struggles and tensions through which society stumbles continuously?

Notice that these possible starting points for illustrating visually the dilemmas we face in social growth have appeared on Dear Habermas over volumes 16, 17, and 19. And those are just the ones I picked out running down the archives list. I recall that last semester someone illustrated the supermarket strike, and we put it up. But I'll have to hunt for that. Just notice how the big issues keep coming up week after week, semester after semester. Can it be that only those in school need to hold serious public discourse on those issues?

What is the role of banking education in this process of understanding major social issues? Recall that banking education is that set of materials that we believe that all educated people should have encountered in their learning and should be able to recall upon demand. Trivial Pursuits? The more information banked, the wider the infrastructure of knowledge upon which you can draw in interpreting all the signifiers you encounter. But the world of information grows larger every day, and will continue to grow. No one should waste their memory with trivia. Knowing some trivia may be important to the understanding of codes in dialog with other educated people (status jargon), but interpretation must ultimately depend upon a much broader process: that of critical thought and analysis.

New:

Be sure to check the New file for news of what's going on and for assignments. Assignments are added with date of addition at jeanne's class assignments.

Also, please remember that none of you will have the time to read all this theory in depth. Focus on that theory that relates directly to your project, so that you can discuss it at the exhibit.

You can also check Daily Site Additions to see what files I've been working on or put up each day. jeanne

Schedule for jeanne and Pat this week:

Jeanne and Pat will be in on Wednesday, March 17 2004. Graduate study group should contact jeanne.

Something special this week:

This software is still not working smoothly. Be sure to copy e-mails to Pat at patriciaacone@hotmail.com

Too much interpassivity out there. Machines are sending e-mail! I'm getting spam e-mails by the hundreds; makes it hard to find the real stuff. So I've asked KnowSpam.net to filter my e-mail. This works better than other spam protectors I've tried, because it provides some flexibility, answerability? It doesn't assume you are spam if my machine doesn't recognize your e-mail footprint, it just asks you to respond to a KnowSpam.net link so that it knows you're a real person, not a spam machine. Then it sends the e-mail on through to me. Once it recognizes your e-mail footprint, it doesn't filter out your mail anymore.I discovered the program when I got such an e-mail, requesting that I prove that I was human, from David of david@theory.org.uk. So I'm giving it a try. Hey, whatever works. But did any of us ever think that I would be asking e-mailers to prove that they're human? That ought to proffer up a project for the Spring Exhibit.

Syllabus for Naked Space, Spring 2004 Exhibit

Plans for Comprehensive Exams Study Group


love and peace to all, 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

Careers and Jobs:

"The Migration Transitions Project: Photonarratives with Latina Immigrant Women" by Deborah Bender and Melanie Wasserman, an exhibition at Duke University's Center for Documentary Studies in Durham. For those of you wondering how sociology fits into the health field, be sure to look at this project. It was posted on the IVSA listserv. jeanne

Play:

Added Sunday, March 14, 2004: taxi1010.com A site maintained by Richard Ames Hart and devoted to teaching us non-escalating verbal defense against bullies and other thoughtless creatures who make our world uncomfortable and damage our self esteem.

See especially Mind Candy Caution. The f-word appears very infrequently in some of the quotes. (I think I saw it once.) I'm sure not in the Kids' section, but in Mind Candy. I did not find it objectionable at all. But warning is for our children viewing material on their own. If you've got kids around, or never gave up your own childhood, try Children's Stories by Amoret Sprunt Phillips & Sam & Bonnie & Who's That Bird?

I liked the art and the crazy sense of humor, the honesty, and the style. It's a big site. You'll need to immerse yourself in it a little. You'll have to be able to understand illocutionary discourse, and be willing in good faith to go along with the premise of preparing ourselves to deal competently with interpersonal realtionships in which the Other offends us, especially when the offensiveness is intentional or due to the Other's insensivity in failing to allow respect for our answerability. That's important stuff. But it's handled lightly and with humor. There's even art like we include on our site.

I didn't have much time, but think the essence is that you don't have to take offense in silence. There is answerability, remember. And this site helps teach us some of the skills needed to answer by letting the righteous anger go, and walking away. What do you say when . . . is not really something you can memorize, but I like the suggestion that actors get a lot of practice, and that we need some of that same practice. Gee, maybe there's a project here? Meanwhile, I thought you'd have fun with the site. I've been reading MIND CANDY and trying to remember to give crazy responses with abandon. Unfortunately, I didn't have a ready crazy response to "we don't believe in censorship." Maybe, "neither do I, so why are we engaging in it here?" instead of just repeating "I am offended by the image, and you need to deal with that offensiveness here and now." I did ultimately walk away, but I hadn't released the anger. See, we need this stuff. If someone's going to do a project for the Spring, maybe I could work with the team, too? jeanne

For starters, you might want to look at this quote, from Elixir of Taxi:

"The pictures on these pages come from a hidden place deep within. Seeing them, our "deep self" connects to our early childhood. The moment we see a buried trauma of our youth, we free ourselves. We can convert depression into intelligent expressions of anger. We can sense fear as adrenaline, rather than letting fear chain us and immobilize us. We can divert negativity into winds that blow our sails across the oceans of emotion."

Added Tuesday, March 16, 2004: RightWingConspiracy.org. For the paltry sum of $20 you can get a T-Shirt, a newsletter, and more. Here's their self-decription:

" The RightWingConspiracy.org newsletter helps keep our conservative community together. We bring you news, events, humor, and commentary from many different points of view to keep you up to date on what's happening in our country and around the world.

"Hopefully, our newsletter will cause you to think and react. It will often anger you. It will make you question the world around you. This is our goal. . . .

" Don't forget to become an official member of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy and get your t-shirt and membership card as well as our great newsletter."

Unfortunately, it won't let me see even a sample of the newsletter without paying the $20, but then they're a political organization - they gotta raise money. They say that up front: "Yes, here at RightWingConspiracy.org, we poke a little fun at the left with our T-Shirts and membership cards. But, as a member, you will be showing your support for what is right and what is just. For Freedom, patriotism, truth and the USA."

Conservatives with a sense of humor; you gotta love 'em, as Mac would say. I have to go see if I can find a LeftWing Conspiracy. jeanne

How about this? Justice Scalia Attacks 'Left-Wing Academic Conspiracy' Wes Vernon, NewsMax.com. Friday, Oct. 24, 2003 Backup.

Or The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy by David Horowitz. Backup 1, Backup 2. In order to understand, be sure you know who David Horowitz is. jeanne

Then take a look at this blog, Drunk in a Midnight Choir, especially the Margaret Bourke-White, a photographer whose name you should know Backup:

Drunk in a Midnight Choir Scroll about three inches down the file to see the Margaret Bourke-White photos.

Buchenwald, 1945

Nuremberg 1945

Margaret Bourke-White took these pictures in Germany in 1945. But notice the difference in the sensations captured. Same horror, different visual, different feeling. I found this site while looking for a funny vast left wing conspiracy site. How do you imagine that happened? Does humor depend on your perspective? If you can portray humor or joy or agony with the same visual setting, what might that tell us about perspective? Click on the image for additional theory.

Have you noticed that I keep getting play mixed up with analysis and theory? Hot clue. jeanne

Who To Take:

It's awful to find yourself in a new school or a new department where you don't know anyone, and you have to select classes and teachers without any sense of what they're like. An old Orange County Site has renewed itself with new protections for all and with a new administration. Please take a look at the site at WhoToTake.net. If you had bookmarked WhoToTake.com, change to this site. The old one is permanently down.

The site, properly maintained, as I think it will be, offers you a chance to give feedback to your teachers on teaching strategies that help, on clues to ways that your answerability is blocked, on the situatedness that is different from what it was in their day. It also gives a means for students, whether they know each other or not, to exchange really important information.

I would consider this pretty solid project material, if someone wanted to do an analysis of the site as a mean of enhancing answerability. jeanne