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Backup of Rubens.Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi, Florence. Young Woman Looking Down (Study for the Head of St. Apollonia). (1628)

Young Woman Looking Down
by Peter Paul Rubens
From New York Times article.
Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi, Florence.
Young Woman Looking Down (Study for the Head of St. Apollonia). (1628)

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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: January 8, 2005
Latest Update: January 16, 2005

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

Topic of the Week:

Transcendence

As I struggled through several texts on religion, morality, and spirituality for the Project on Religion as a Present Social Issue, trying to get lectures and readings up for the start of Spring semester, The New York Times published this mesmerizing drawing of a young woman. This drawing, on exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in a Rubens exhibition that opened today, January 14, 2005.

Michael Kimmelman's description of the drawing in his opening paragraph of the review of the show says so much:

" YOUNG, ethereal-looking beauty, big-eyed, rosy-cheeked, gazes down and off to the side, lost in thought, one hand to her breast. Her frizzy hair is a tangle of black and red chalk, a halo. White highlights pick out the light on her cheekbones and chin and around her mouth. The artist understands the nuance of skin as it stretches over bone, knows how to make flesh look silken and breathe.

"The artist is Peter Paul Rubens, and the drawing is in the Rubens show opening this afternoon at the Metropolitan Museum."
At p. B 33.

If I'd had a choice, I should have liked to be able to draw like that. I'd like to be able to capture such a gaze into the privacy of her own loves or of the nirvana of transcendence. I gaze at her, and know that life is beautiful; life is more than science and bureaucracy and greed. And I'm sorry that we have failed to encourage each of us to pick up chalk and paper and ink and record those special moments, albeit without the gift of a Rubens to capture "the nuance of skin as it stretches over bone, knows how to make flesh look silken and breathe."

Last week we spoke of photography and the multple perspectives it gives of truth. The photographer controls the perspective seen as she points the camera and chooses the focus and the frame The artist likewise controls the perspective, but may also bring skills for depicting beneath the superficial to what the camera cannot see on the surface, from any perspective. Portraits, especially, lend themselves, as in this Rubens drawing, to capturing the inner truth, that which cannot be seen, that which may be soul, or even just an idle moment of tranquility.

With visual sociology, I hoped that we would bring our students back into the world of making art, with cameras, with paint, with chalk and pen and paper, with structures, with found objects. For that, we need no permission from human subjects boards. We're not relating to people as subjects, but as people. This semester, we'll need to think on that. At what point does a person with whom we are having an illocutionary discourse become a "subject?" At what point do the people in an assisted living home we're trying to understand and include in our discourse become "demented" subjects to whom we must give tests for dementia? At what point "should" our work become "experiment" and not "practice?" And why are we teaching so much more "experiment" in our schools than "practice?"

Now, Rubens' young woman reflects this space I'm in. The questions are flooding over me. I'm not even sure they're the right questions. Why am I the one who keeps asking them, while so many others keep asking questions that seem irrelevant to me? And I look at Rubens' drawing, and all I can tell you is: That's what this wondering, this not fitting in, feels like.

I want you to know that Rubens' drawing was a part of what helped me to express this anomic anxiety about somehow not fitting, not being in step with the dominant discourse. And so, for me, this drawing represented the whole need I feel to transform dominant discourse so that I can be included in our governanace discourse. That's a pretty powerful drawing. jeanne

This essay can be accessed also at Transcendence.

NEWS, Announcements, and

Current Discussion Topics:

Jeanne and Pat are planning to be at school on Thursday, January 20, 2005.

  • Independent Study on Religion and Morality Project Spring 2005. List of students for whom I have record. Please be sure to email if you need to be added. jeanne

  • Grade Corrections as of January 6, 2005.

  • Susan Sontag, Social Critic With Verve, Dies at 71 Margalit Fox. Backup. Susan Sontag was an iconoclastic critic of dominant discourse all her life. You would have understood her in those terms. The New York Times published photographs of her by Annie Liebovitz, a famous late 20th Century photographer, whose name you should also know.

    • "Her 1964 piece, "Notes on Camp," popularised the "so bad it's good" attitude toward popular culture, applicable to everything from "Swan Lake" to feather boas. In Against Interpretation, this most analytical of writers worried that critical analysis interfered with art's "incantatory, magical" power." From India Times.

    The First International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry will take place at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, from May 5-7, 2005. "Due to the growing interest in new conference panels and increasing volume of requests for submission deadline extension, the deadline for submissions of open-panel session proposals and all papers to the First International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry is now extended to January 15, 2005." Suggested conference topics are suggested. I would like to go, but don't know if I'll have the time. jeanne Sorry, I missed the deadline. jeanne

    Learning Records: Grades online on ToroWeb.

    You may continue to correct or send materials that you would like included with your learning record. With 300 students I know I missed some messages and some activities that we should include. 9 students have already contacted me for corrections. I'll get those done as soon as school opens on January 3, 2004. When I listed a grade less than In A on the learning records, I also said "until you contact me with evidence of learning." When I gave an F, it was simply that I couldn't find any record of contact. Doesn't mean I don't have one. Just couldn't find it. jeanne

    • 328cllst.htm
      what jeanne knows about what you're learning in Agencies Class.
    • 367cllst.htm
      what jeanne knows about what you're learning in Sociology of Law Class.
    • 370cllst.htm
      what jeanne knows about what you're learning in Moot Court Class.
    • 395cllst.htm
      what jeanne knows about what you're learning in Women and Poverty Class.
    • 595cllst.htm
      what jeanne knows about what you're learning in Grad. Women and Poverty Class.

    • Home Page for transform-dom You can read all the messages on Transforming Dominant Discourse from this page. Just click on messages in the left hand frame. You can read the messages, even if you're having difficulty signing up.

    • Home Page for transspan You can read all the messages in spanish on Transforming Dominant Discourse from this page. Just click on messages in the left hand frame. You can read the messages, even if you're having difficulty signing up. And you're welcome to put up messages for friends, relatives, community messages, who want to join the discussion but are not used to the computer. You can print the responses for them later. Make technology work for freedom and democracy

    • Home Page for Obesity Support

    • Instructions page for joining transform_dom and transspan
    • Link for joining tranform_dom:

      Click here to join transform_dom
      Click to join transform_dom

    Ideas for the Spring 2005 Naked Space Exhibit:


    • Winner in the things category of virtual * vision of
      WIPI (Women in Photography International) competition, "Decisive Moments:
      A Tribute to Henri Cartier-Bresson". Link through the IVSA list.

      Notice how the photograph captures meaning the eye cannot detect from the objects alone, but from their juxtaposition. Note also that you cannot read the photo as the artist intended without the title "Best Things." You could create a similar effectreadily with collage. And you could draw over the collage. As you consider going beyond simple painting or stick figures for the Spring exhibit, consider the importance of the juxtaposition of objects. We don't have to be literal. Allow the viewer to bring some creativity to the exibit also.

    • Shaheen Brown has suggested a project for next semester's Naked Space Exhibit on Famous Blacks We Should Have Heard of, But Didn't. I'd like to suggest that that would make a great group project to which lots of us could contribute bits and pieces about those whom we do know, including some local people whose names we ought to recognize, and probably don't. I'd also like to suggest that we have the very same problem with Hispanic culture being revised right out of our local histories. Good idea, Shaheen. See Messge No. 2499.

      I've been thinking about this. I'd really like to see us do an section for the exhibit on famous black artists. Lots of people don't learn about them in school and don't know about them. Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden, Horace Pippin, James Vandersee, Henry Ossawa Tanner, and many, many others. If each of you would take on one painter, we could put up a nice exhibit that could maybe be kept in the sociology office, so students could become familiar with the work.


      Harmonizing, 1944
      Horace Pippin.
      From Slide Show on African American Art History

      See also The Columbia Chronicle Online

    • Life Space and The Front Porch Art Crawl

      My Life Space and Weclome To It - references Thurber and Kurt Lewin

    • ExAbs by Deidre Stein Greben. Article from December Issue of Art News on well known and well received abstract artists choosing to take a representative art turn.

      Alfred Leslie, Self Portrait. 1966-67, change from abstract painting.
      Alfred Leslie, Self Portrait. 1966-67,
      change from abstract painting.

      This self portrait of Leslie's recalled for me Jenny Saville's Strategy 1964:

      Jenny Saville, Strategy
      Jenny Saville, Strategy 1964

      What do portraits say to you? Were these portraits meant to be flattering "pictures" of the subjects? If not, what are they meant to say, to make you feel? There are no right answers. Jenny Saville has said that her intent was not to plead for feminism and freedom for the body beautiful. This all brings us to the issue of the body in the 21st Century.

      • The Front Porch Art Crawl Here is an example in which our Naked Space Exhibit takes on some of the same concern for an academy-community bridge as a Learning Center in St.Paul, Minnesota. This project will revolve around contacting them, adapting as much as we can from their project, and sharing our project with them.
      • On Tuesday and Thrusday of this week, I'm going to ask you to map out your own life space with concerns that you are feeling with dominant discourse. We'll work together, make suggestions to each other, and I'll try to shape the site around those concerns in the coming months. We can share your life space drawings over transform_dom.

        You know, the end of school was so hectic we didn't get to try this. Dashaun's Respect Project was so successful on an outside table, we could do something like that this Spring with the social issue of families. We could even make cards to pass out with an Internet address where people could get more information.

    Jeanne's Lectures During Winter Break, 2004

    • Fall 2004 Lectures in Chronological Order
    • Winter Break 2005 Lectures in Chronological Order

    • Intimate Partner Violence: Fact Sheet National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Extensive list of facts about domestic abuse. Government site. No lecture at present, but thought you might like to use the fact sheet. This was listed underthe Center for Disease Control, under "stalking," which surprised me - that we are seeing a disease perspective to this issue. jeanne. January 17, 2005.

    • What We Learn About Smallpox from Movies - Fact or Fiction Center for Disease Control Website. No lecture up at present, but this piece is well worth reading. One of the fears evoked by terrorism is not knowing what "they" can do to us, and we pick up lots of information in the dominant discourse that just hovers in the air from what we've seen on TV and in the movies. Take a look at this piece, and bear in mind that not everything we "know" (dominant discourse) is true. jeanne. January 17, 2005.

    • Prevalence of Diabetes Among Hispanics --- Selected Areas, 1998--2002 Available en espanol. Center for Disease Control Website. Important that we become aware of these genetically-based susceptibility to diseases in order to make the target populations aware of the danger and help them avoid it. No lecture up yet, but I wanted you to have the material on hand. jeanne. January 17, 2005.

    • C-Reactive Protein Reading the gobbledygook that makes the news media on how to stay healthy. This lecture includes material on nutrition, on making yourself healthier naturally, without pills, and on reading the statistics you'll find in the media. January 17, 2005.

    • $170 Million for a Useful Lesson Learned? Eek! The FBI's computer system that doesn't work. We need to think on what this means in terms of accountability and responsibility. Is it OK to just write off such astronomical expense to learning a lesson? Follow the money. Who profited? Can we collectively begin to demand accountability? Should we? Is it ethical in terms of our moral and religious beliefs to use the national budget so irresponsibly? What does it mean that the FBI personnel didn't want the technological advances? Whose decision-making ability is involved, and what about the issue of outdated skills? January 14, 2005.

    • Peter Paul Rubens: Transcendence On fine art as a means of getting in touch with some of our deeper feelings. January 16, 2005.

    • Basic art techniques for using art to express ideas and feelings. This is the Yarnell Studio online. The kinds of paintings offered are not likely to be the kind we're trying to produce to express present social issues. But there are some good explanations for how to get paint to get certain effects and which kinds of paint can be used with what.I found these things in FAQS on their site. But I also chose the site because this is what the man chose to do as a cancer survivor and a Christian. We can learn from many different people with many different settings and purposes. We call it "transfer" in learning theory. I thought you might like the site.

    Academic Support

    Using Academic Language Effectively

    Merriam-Webster Dictionary Search:

    and Careers

    • Resumes:

    • Letters of Recommendation:

      • 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.
      • 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

    Play:

      Henry Ossawa Tanner American, 1859-1937. Art Institute of Chicago.

      The Two Disciples at the Tomb, c. 1905
      The Two Disciples at the Tomb, c. 1905
      Henry Ossawa Tanner

      Many of us have come to think immediately of black artists like Jacob Lawrence and Romare Bearden as working in a modern style with bright colors and collage shapes. But there were black artists, like Henry Ossawa Tanner, who left America to live in Paris, free of the racism that refused to recognize his talent. This painting of the Two Disciples at the Tomb, in the Art Institute at Chicago, is a fine example of the seriousness and competence of artists who as minorities were excluded from fine art circles. Read the essay.

    That Was Fun! Sneaky Strokes and Flying Good Dogs

    Flying Dog is also a painting by Zhang Kai. Best I've every come across to illustrate our site with magic numbers and unicorns and whipped cream cats and now, flying dogs:

    Flying Good Dogs: Whenever something happens in class that works out well, that inspires you, that helps in studying, whatever, take a few minutes to send us an e-mail. We'll post it where all of us can learn from it, including other teachers.

    You can also send an email to the Who to Take Site:



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