Unit posts

Unit 1

In thinking of landmarks within the Humanities that are controversial, one obvious revolutionary comes to mind, Karl Marx. Marx’s critique of one of the most powerful entities on earth, capitalism, was controversial in its conception and continues to be. In the U.S., a country that takes much pride in its “capitalist freedom”, the name Karl Marx often carries a negative connotation. The general population associate Marx with communist dictatorships such as North Korea. Many people even use the term “Marxist” as an insult. The value and validity of his critiques have been unfairly intertwined with the stigma around communism. In this way, Marx was and continues to be a very controversial revolutionary just as many revolutions in scientific fields were initially highly contended. The difference between the two and the reason scientific controversy often dwindles while controversy in humanities prevails is the ability to ground theory in objective fact. Most early astronomical discoveries were eventually proven true or false using new technologies that provided factual information as opposed to theory. This could never happen with Marx because their is no way to objectively prove what the best economic system is. Most of the world agrees that the sun is the center of the universe now. The term “Copernican” is rarely thrown around as an insult. Those in the humanities are not afforded the luxury of objective fact and may continue to be questioned and doubted for the rest of time.

Unit 2

The best way to discourage bullshitting is to expose the harmful effects of bullshitting. If we could open peoples eyes to the truth and display how ignorance to the truth has been so harmful, I think bullshitting would decrease. Bullshitters have hidden away and distracted from true issues for far too long. This leaves problems unsolved and followers of bullshitters up in arms over inconsequential phenomena. Hopefully, the dispersing of truth could reduce this ignorance. The difficulty is that many bullshitters hod lots of power and many of the ignorant are willfully ignorant. For these reasons diminishing bullshit will take lots of time and effort but it is a needed cultural shift. The biggest question this unit brings to mind for me is how we can become aware of our own perceptual sets and differentiate truth from bias. It is clear prior convictions impact the way we take in information, but is there any way to notice when this is happening? Are perceptual sets so ingrained and subconscious that they are impossible to escape or can biased be rooted out. It seems possible to reduce a way of thinking by correcting one thought based on preconceived notions to a new one based on the current situation, bit this would then build a new scheme around the new scenario meaning everything is seen through a lens of preconceived notions no matter how hard one tried to see things as they are.

Unit 3

Reading the Sontag while we read the Gourevitch is important for two main reasons. Firstly, Sontag’s perspective allows us to be self-aware during our own learning about the Genocide. Sonntag describes the tendency of people to feel like good citizens simply because we feel empathy when observing others pain and using that feeling of empathy as a replacement for actually taking action. Reading this while reading the Gourevitch stops us from patting ourselves on the back for feeling sad and instead calls us to action. Secondly, Sonntag illuminates Gourevitch’s perspective. She arms us with tools that allow us to applaud his taking action or to find disgust in his vouyerism.

Unit 4

This page depicts two men beings fumigated in response to a lunch counter sit in. Two of the text bubbles on the page contain bible verses. They are from the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. In the Bible these three men refused to worship the king of Babylon and instead protested to show allegiance to the Jewish God. This was outlawed at the time, so the three men were thrown in a fiery furnace. Their death was inevitable, but they were saved by their God. On this page this story is compared to the plight of civil rights activists. They disobey the law as a form of protest and in response are thrown in jail, killed, and thrown in their own version of the fiery furnace, the fumigated restaurant. While being gassed the men turned to scripture to give them strength. Religion informed many policies of the civil rights movement and remained a source of hope when things seemed bleak. Christian teachings of peace and non-violence informed the kind of protest performed throughout March 2. On this page the men are choosing to trust God instead of fighting back against the people who fumigated them. The other text on the page are John’s thoughts about the event. He explains that he could not believe how ruthless those how fumigated him were. The text that struck me most was “Were we not human to him?” This question connects to much of what we discussed in pervious units. During this time period, black people were considered less human than white people or not human at all. They were objectified and dehumanized by the media, government, and general culture of the country. This dehumanization causes white people to lack empathy for black people allowing them to commit horrible acts of violence without losing a minute of sleep. John is baffled by how he is killed with a gas used to kill pests as if he is a pest. 

Unit 5

  1. “There is a element of “chance” in the way we, as viewers of the portfolio included here, regard the documentation, as if Lemon does not want the viewer to think he has set out to preserve the events in substantive form, as “art,” from the beginning”-2
  2. This reminds of our discussion of the difference between dance and a video of dance. True beauty and emotion is often difficult to capture in 2D
  3. How can meaning best be conveyed to people who are a great distance from the statement being made?

“Hodge’s bloat is, in the often-ridiculed ‘popular’ arena of re-enactment, a kind of ruin – itself, in its performative repetition, a queer kind of evidence.”-103

Aside from being temporary this seems to evidence that what sets performance a part from archive is that it is alive.

Can anything be archived that is alive?

Unit 6

“Have you noticed how the word”intellectual”is used nowadays?There seems to be a new definition which certainly doesn’t include Ruther-fordor Eddington or Dirac or Adrian or me. It does seem rather odd, don’ty’know.'” page 4

This consideration of only one category of disciplines to be truly intelligent reminds me of the current tension between STEM and socially oriented majors at Davidson. It often seems STEM majors are considered to be far more difficult and important than other majors. As an intended Gender and Sexuality Studies major I am sometimes laughed at. It is frustrating to be laughed at because it belittles my cause. A cause that comes from years of trauma. People do not think we need gender and sexuality studies because women’s issues and LGBTQ+ issues are often swept under the rug in this country. Those in power do not feel the effects of these issues, so they don’t seek to change them. Only recently have moments like Me Too brought this to the forefront. I have much work left to do.

Unit 7

In Russia, poets were powerful contributors to society. Their voices shaped public opinion and when the government wanted to control public opinion they had to control the poets. Ideas of censorship now exist through internet and news media. In the U.S. new media is often thought to be biased and controlled by those in power who want to manipulate their citizens. It is interesting to imagine poetry as the medium being censored. No algorithm could remove all poems from the public eye. I wonder if, the controllability of new media means the public is easier to brain wash than ever.

Unit 8

Katharina Blum- It is super gross how as soon as Katharinas name is printed everyone thinks it is ok to touch her and threaten her. No one is violent in this way towards Ludwig. What about German culture at the time led to this phenomenon? It seems similar to the rape culture in America. Women are viewed as other so it is seen as ok take advantage of their bodies. After all it is the femaleness of that body that separates them from others, and yet, it is that body that makes them human and worthy of respect. Meinhoff writes about these feminist issues.

Woman in the SDS– In societies where women abilities are not respected women are not respected. This is why focusing on gender differences that very well may be structural as opposed to biological is so harmful regardless of what truth it may hold. How can we push past the perceived inequality of bodies to see the true equality of soul and mind.