Link to What's New This Week. Issue for Week of March 21, 2004

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Dear Habermas

Current Issue:
Volume 19, No. 9, Week of March 21, 2004

Site Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata and Individual Authors,
March 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. 8 , Week of March 14, 2004
Mirror Sites: CSUDH - Habermas - UWP
KIDS, Etc. - ARCHIVES - Daily Site Additions - Academic Resources - TUTORING HELP


California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: March 22, 2004
Latest Update: March 22, 2004

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OK, go ahead, ask it. Why chickens for St. Patrick's Day?
I don't know. I just started doodling, and the green appeared, I guess because I'm Irish. And then that fish happened, and I tried to repeat patterns of him, maybe for abstract art, and then there were chickens. I like chickens. Shamrocks are boring anyway. But I can do them. jeanne

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Chickens of Confused Identity
Chickens of Confused Identity
For the process see Brad Brace's Work

Topic of the Week: Interpassivity

To Act or to Veg Out?

Without a few discretionary moments to let the world go by, I don't think I could handle it. Another way to define "fast track living" would be to say that it's living that leaves no discretionary time. There's something to do or to attend to every moment. The television generation learned to handle that by tuning in and tuning out. Just as we need sleep, we need discretionary time. There was a poster in our Social Systems Research Center in the 70s that had a simple picture of a stool. Underneath it said: Sometimes I just sits and thinks. And sometimes I just sits. I remember that poster with great fondness.

No, of course it didn't have all that on it. Just the stool. But that's what happens when you have a confused identity.

jeanne's version of sometimes I just sit

One thing that comes through to me, when I'm not "just sittin' " is that my art reflects action, not passivity. I was alerted to that today, Sunday, March 21, when a message came in on the IVSA (International Visual Sociology Association) seeking photoessays on a health-related theme. I thought of our work on the body of woman, and I thought of our series of photographs on the assisted-living home. Then I went to check out John Darwell's site, since he responded that he had done a photoessay on depression.

So many people suffer from depression today, including my husband. They claim that those of us who do not suffer from it simply don't understand. Zoloft does an advertisement on it with that darling little blob who carries the rain around with himself. And it's hard to tell when you reach a point of just wantin' to sit, if maybe you are there, depressed like all the rest.

I think this relates so strongly to the discussions we have had on interpassivity and interactivity and our value judgments on them, that I would appreciate if you would visit John Darwell's site and look at his slide show, A Black Dog Came Calling, for our continuing discussions. jeanne

John Darwell's A Black Dog Came Calling
A Black Dog Came Calling
You can see all the images together at A Black Dog Came Calling Index.

All the images are dark. Can you imagine the telling of depression with lighter colors? What might it look like? I once had an art teacher named Alex. I was painting diligently and blissfully away when another student asked him "Where does she get all those colors from?" And he answered, not as gently as I might have wished, for he was old and had lost a little of his patience: "From her soul." Is the soul depressed? Does depression change the colors our nervous system registers? When I'm "depressed" I tend to do caricature drawings with figurative representation of the trigger that depressed me. But my colors remain bright. Does that mean that my husband is right? That I just can't understand depression? That little blob on the Zoloft ad isn't dark. The ad itself is cheerful, with a little blue bird, and other happy blobs trying to cheer him up. Does this mean that the people that did the ad don't understand depression anymore than I do. Or is there a continuum of depression, like the continuum of engagement with the exterior world (interpassivity v. interactivity)? There is much for us to explore here.


Something special this week:

Added Sunday, March 21, 2004: Changes, but no resolutions. Keep copying Pat.

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

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 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 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 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.

Theory, Praxis, and Projects

Added March 22, 2004: First Woman to Win Top Architecture Prize: Zaha Hadid

Link on the image or here to visit more photographs of her work. Or visit the ArchTech Digital Library Site.

Added March 21, 2004: An example of psychology's close test, in which just a few lines on the floor and minimal props conjure up for us a whole town. Our normative expectations and dominant discourse allow us to fill in the blanks. To fill them in, that is, as the norms dictate.

Rolf Konow/Lions Gate Films
"The set of Lars von Trier's new film, "Dogville": conjuring up a Depression-era Rockies town with little more than chalk lines and dramatic stage effects."

It Fakes a Village Review of Lars von Trier's play. Backup.

Interpassivity: Consider how some of us will worry each line and prop to decide what baggage it carries from the '30s depression, what "it means," and how some of us will kind of just accept it, and how there'll be a whole spectrum of reactions along that spectrum. Some of us, worrying the details, will miss some of the overall sensation portrayed; others who let it just kind of pass over them may miss some of the intensity and depth of the details they missed. But each sees and hears a different telling of the story, and each of those tellings is "true," "right." Some of them may be tellings the author, Lars von Trier, never thought of. This is part of the meaning of the "author is dead," that the author cannot control all the meanings once he has done with creating the piece.

Added March 19, 2004: The Question of the Other: Cultural Critiques of Magical Realism by Wendy Faris in Janus Head, Fall 2002.

Added March 19, 2004: Goethe, Johann Wolfgang Von in the Johns Hopkins guide to Literary Theory and Criticism. In preparation for a submission this summer. Advanced theory. jeanne

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


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 If you had bookmarked, 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