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Methods in the Social Sciences

California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Latest update: May 23, 1999
E-mailFaculty on the Site.

Methods and Technological Transformations of Time and Space

This study is intended for publication, so that all rights, including electronic, are preserved under copyright 1999 to Jeanne Curran and Susan Takata, with attendant recognition to those whose work contributes to the project. Fair Use acknowledged. Permission to print upon e-mail request.

This is a working project, with an initial presentation at the Western Social Science Association meetings in Fort Worth in April 1999. As we gather more materials and more information, we will include them so that you can join us in the project of transforming time and space.

There is no way that any of us could have remained "on top of" this project. It grew like Topsy, even though we were convinced that most of our preliminary growing was already done. In the summary of the photography project below there were many turning points. We had not orignially planned on using jeanne's drawing of the Three Generals and the Naked Lady. But it proved to be the best example we had for the methodology we were trying to illustrate. Jeanne made this drawing from a National Geographic photo at least five or six years ago. The story was of Russians, grown older, and she believes the story involved Finland. We are presently searching for the photo. Jeanne's interpretation into the outline drawing was of the relative status, years later, of men and women. By this time of their late middle age, their girth, and probably their achievements, seemed about equal. But the bestowal of status symbols certainly was not. In the National Geographic photo the woman was clothed, in a clingy jersey dress. The drawing was part of jeanne's attempt to use this methodology at that early date to transform perceptions over time and space. By removing the very flimsy dress of the photo, the relative formality and status bestowed by the social group on the men, yet not on the woman, demanded viewer attention to that perspective of the image, though the original photographer had not so focussed the shot. End of the 20th Century awareness of gender bias is thus encoded into information from a much earlier period, as interpreted by a photographer from an intermediate period. This was a photo from a Scandinavian country, on which U.S. feminist tenets can now be transposed.

Because the Web as medium offers us the capability of transposing such images, it is possible that this image, whose alteration will rest in the hands of the viewer with easily accessible software, may contribute significantly to the understanding of multiple perspectives so crucial to public discourse at the end of the 20th Century.

Notes from May 22, 1999.

This paper describes an approach to working with community participants through photography, a less intimidating medium than academic articles. Both an historical and a descriptive approach are used to convey present community needs and possibilities for coping with them.

The seed for the project came from Ram Katzir's Museum of Amsterdam exhibit and catalog, Your Coloring Book: a wandering installation, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, 1998. In this installation, Katzir uses photographs from Nazi deportation of Jews to create the coloring book. The subject of Holocaust is heavier than we wanted to approach for our methods study, especially since we wanted to involve the children on our site. We hope to use our own photographs, perhaps a series inspired by Paul Beatty's The White Boy Shuffle, since the geographical area of that novel is near CSUDH, and since the novel deals with the issues of access to forums, justice, fairness.

Three Generals and a Naked Lady

Drawing used in first methodology test on adding time and space perspectives to narrative. Both with and without color. The attempts to make color freely transferable represents an attempt to allow alternative forms of expression that can be both superimposed on the original drawing and removed from that drawing by layers in the software. This capability offers the possibility of altering time perspectives as well as spatial perspectives.
Notes added by jeanne on May 22, 1999. Image reproduction work by Stan Cameron in the preceding week.

Three Generals and a Naked Lady

Saundra Davis' poem, responding to Jeanne's coloring sheet from the photograph of three generals and a naked lady. Stan has now prepared both the coloring sheet and one plausible colored version, resulting from our layering work, for the site.

Three Generals and a Naked Lady

by Saundra Davis

How come they know you as somebody
you're recognized as great

While I am stripped of everything
How come that became . . . my fate?

I started out fully clothed in garments
But then you looked at me with pride

My exterior changed . . . as did your's
I now stand in your shadow, I once stood by your side.

More details on the project as the class in Criminal Justice has worked with it: Photography as Sociological Method.