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Dear Habermas

Current Issue:
Volume 20, No. 1, Week of May 23, 2004

Niki de Saint Phalle's Rhino lithograph, 1999.

Niki de Saint Phalle, Rhino, 1999
Lithograph, Versailles Ed. 1/5, 12 x 18", 30.5 x 45.7 cm

readings for summer and fall: jeanne
NEWS and Announcements
Pat's summer schedule - About Us
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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: May 18, 2004
Latest Update: May 24, 2004

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Topic pf the Week: Aesthetics?

Painting Makes Me Happy:

jeanne's collage of a rhino collage

The Exhibit Reminded Me of That

I made the orignial collage of the rhino, whom I kept calling a hippo for some undoubtedly Freudian reason, using the Collage Machine at the National Gallery of Art. Of course, I wanted to save my collage. But there's no choice on the Collage Machine to do so. You have to use SHIFT PRINT SCREEN. Instructions are on Schockwave Needs the Print Screen Button.

But art when used for realization and self-expression and healing and answerability means art and play. And so I played with my saved collage. To produce the collage that made me happy.

Why a rhino? I don't know. He looked like fun, especially with the bird on his back. He made me think of Africa, and then the pyramids and the camel-shaped piece and other pieces that could make up a palm tree told a story of my fond memories of Africa, North, as well as south and west and east. Cutting the collage up and pasting it back together in unexpected ways was like kaleidoscope play. I had so much fun with it, I put the final collage on a tee shirt. ART?

Well, that's a good question, isn't it? For me, it was art; not museum art, but an expanded perspective of the forms and shapes and memories that make up my life, a good life, with memories recorded like this. The activity, right in the middle of setting up the hypertext poem for the Naked Space Exhibit, was fun. I stopped for a minute to play. Now, as soon as I had captured the memory of that play on my tee shirt, I triggered memories of other such scenes. Rhinos. Of course, Durer's famous rhino. And right over here a favorite card of Niki de Saint Phalle's Rhino.

Conceptual linkages spilled out. From memories of Egypt and Africa to memories of wonderful pieces of art. And then to the recognition that Durer and Niki de Saint Phalle were names that a liberal arts education should make sure you recognize. So The Rhinoceros and Art History wrote itself in a flash and hopped into syllabi for the Fall. This is what teachers bring to your education; and this is why we can't just do away with teachers and offer you video learning. Real learning grows naturally from play with ideas and words and things. Real learning is participatory. Real learning is visual and aural and oral. Aesthetics is about discovering and learning to see with an immediate awareness the beauty in life. So, yes, this is art. Real art. Art like Matt Haimovitz and his 18th-century Venetian cello playing in a pizza parlor.

So also is Niki de Saint Phalle's and Albrecht Durer's art real art. Art that begs to be preserved for future generations. But that doesn't lessen our need for making and playing with our own art, for opening the door to the fine art of Haimowitz and Phalle and Durer in wider settings than museums and concert halls stuffed with thousands of beautiful things we have barely the time to glance at. Stop, linger, buy a postcard, take a picture, or draw your own version, with or without the help of the National Gallery's Collage Maker.

Making art is not a children's past-time. It's a human past-time. Making art makes our world more beautiful. Making art is part of living well. Make some art.

"But, Mommy, 'truth' is only an expression of the dominant paradigm!"
From Gods of Ramen Website

Yes, and play and laughter may come to change the dominant paradigm and make it more humane.

Debriefing the Naked Space Exhibit

jeanne's Conflicting images of woman
Poster from the Gallery Exhibit

NEWS and Announcements:

Grades for Spring 2004 Classes

These are notes from the exhibit. I'll go for the sign up sheets later, but not everyone got to sign in because I lost the book on Thursday. We found it again. This doesn't include any of my notes from my record book. Just notes so far. Be sure to check the list as I continue to put it up this week end and tomorrow. If I'm missing something by Monday, e-mail me, with a cc to Pat at I'm planning to send the grades in from here. jeanne

Notes for Fall 2004 Classes

  • Sociology of Agencies: Soc. 328
    • A changing view of agencies and their role in the framing of local and national political and social issues.
    • Will include aspects of sociology of work: aspects of work.
    • The Wilding of America Essay discussion up. Consider the relationship of wilding to agencies, and to the agencies we work with. Do agencies wild? How? More essays up soon. jeanne

  • Sociology of Law: Soc. 367
    • A changing view of the role of law and social policy.
    • Making Votes Count In this presidential election year, the Times's editorial page is examining the flaws in the mechanics of our democracy, including the reliability of electronic voting machines, obstacles to voter registration and turnout, and the lack of competitive congressional elections due to partisan drawing of district lines. The project is being led by editorial writer Adam Cohen, who will be traveling throughout the country to research these issues." This will be part of our approach to law as the foundation of democracy world-wide. You might consider reading and following this series over the summer.
    • Women Disappoint, Too This brief look at feminist theory suggests the myriad reasons why the law is not a good route to social change. The individual may be responsible for his/her actions, but so also is the societal structure in which those actions take place, agency and structure interacting.
    • social capaital and its measurement Essay not up yet. But this is an excellent link for discussion on what social capital is and how it affects the law and the law affects it.
    • The Wilding of America Essay discussion up. More up soon. Meanwhile, how does wilding relate to the law, locally, nationally, and internationally?

  • Moot Court: The Skills of Governance Discourse: Soc. 370
    • The aural and visual presentation of substantive political and social issues. Will culminate in Fall 2004 Naked Space Exhibit.
    • In keeping with the tragedy of abuse/torture in Iraq in 2004, we will take as one of our focal issues a governance discourse on the role of the individual and the community in abuse/torture and the legal and social approaches to basic human rights.
    • Women Disappoint, Too By Barbara Ehrenreich. Considered with Letters to LA Times on Gender in Prison Scandal on the Ehrenreich article. Discussion questions included.
    • The Reality of Democracy Comparing the way democracy squabbles go in our own neighborhoods, in state legislatures, and in Iraq.
    • The Rhinoceros and Answerability Discusses beauty where others may not have seen it. The problem with the dominant paradigm. Discussion questions included.
    • Changing Patterns of Religion in the US Do we have to talk about religion in democracy? Yes. Essays up soon. jeanne . Meanwhile, learn to use the data bases to give you data for your discussions.

  • Women and Poverty: Feminist Theoretical Contributions: Soc.395
    • Understanding the interdependence of feminist thought with general social theory in understanding women and poverty.
    • Women Disappoint, Too A feminist interpretation of the problems of assuming that women are always more moral, more caring than men. Also goes into the subject of alternative routes out of poverty for working class, immigrant, and poor women. Based on the Abu Ghraib torture scandal in Iraq.
    • Middle Class, Working Class, and Reality. On trying to make ends meet with a family of five in 2001. Bureau of labor statistics, article, discussion questions.
    • The Working Poor More on working class families, poverty, the effects on women and families. Discussion questions included.
    • Changing Patterns of Religion in the US Beginning of search for data on religion and present-day democracy. Essay up soon. jeanne. Meanwhile, learn to use the data bases to give you data for your discussions.

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

Evaluating Internet Resources

Evaluating Hoax Email with samples, including an old one about charging for email that's going around again. Link updated March 29, 2004.

Evaluating Internet Resources Library Site at University of North Carolina. Don't forget to question. This is a good detailed source. Link checked March 29, 2004.

Using Academic Language and Visuals Effectively:

Merriam-Webster Dictionary Search:

Internet Mission Photography Archive

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.

APA Style Style sheet for Psychology. Good reference for proper rules of citation. Twenty-five Easy Steps Toward a Correctly-Formatted Paper or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love MLA by Keith O'Neill. Style sheet for humanities.

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

and Careers

  • Letters of Recommendation How to get me to respond to your request. Many of you need letters. If you will follow this format, I can do them quickly and make them good.

  • Added April 24, 2004: Zerrona Fitts was gracious enough to request her letter as I asked. I'll get it out today. Most of you are not responding to my request to do your part in using your own voice to prompt mine. Please remember that you're also asking for these smack in the middle of intense preparations for the Spring Naked Space Exhibit. Oh, and yes, by the way, I've retired, and I''m not technically on campus this spring. So be nice and do your part. jeanne

  • Dog Letters If you do not give me adequate information, but do manage to get my attention, you may end up with a dog letter. That is a letter that says that you work well with people, that you are enthusiastic, that you persist at getting things done, and that everyone likes you. Of course, my dog gets along well with people, brings his ball to them, is enthusiastic, and persists at getting them to take his ball. Everyone likes my dog. That's a dog letter. It's so general it could be about my dog. jeanne

  • College Journal Resume Suggestions . . . Backup


  • Entomology for Kids Can you identify the mystery bugs?

    Some of the bugs are scary. Some might say ugly. But didn't we learn with the rhinoceros that there are many ways to see beauty? Entomology, the study of bugs, offers another chance to explore some of the conflicts in what it is that is beautiful.

  • CHRIS MARLEY's Gallery of Functional Art

Who to TakeWho To Take:

Don't forget to add your comments for next year's students. jeanne

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