Kuan

Archive for 2010|Yearly archive page

Free Write on Carl Beam

In Uncategorized on April 5, 2010 at 11:13 pm

Questions:

How is Beam’s work acting as an act of resistance? What rhetorical strategies does he use? How do you perceive my essay as an act of resistance? What is/are my main rhetorical purpose(s)? What legitimizing identitities am I working against? What community and/or project identities am I creating on the page and aligning myself with? What are the specific rhetorical strategies that I use to accomplish my own rhetorical purposes? What can you learn from reading this essay that you might employ in your own essay?

Reflections:

I think Carl Beam’s work uses writing as rhetoric on canvas to target at both native and non-native audience, which is an active act of resistance to art that merely target at either the oppressors or the oppressed. Beam’s art also resist to the linear thinking of western art. His collages with distorted images and writing create a strong voice that advocates a change of perception of the native and their art. Lastly, I think Beam’s work spurs reactions and responses from the audience, which differs from many other art pieces that merely present the artists’ state of mind.

Beam uses Eurocentric visual to challenge the Eurocentric idea of the Indians, which in a way makes me think of autoethnography. He uses images of Indians that were taken by the colonials to challenge the colonials themselves. Another strategy that Beam uses is juxtaposition. The position of the photos and painting on the canvas creates an interesting juxtaposition that challenge the linear thinking of the white. The irrational juxtaposition poses uncomfortableness among the audiences, and thus challenge their perception of art, and their understanding of the content of the art.

This essay in many ways act as a form of resistance. It resists to traditional linear way of reading. The interruption of the sentence poses challenges on readers in the process of reading, that readers may have to go back a few lines or go back and forth between the lines in order to connect the content. In this way, our notion of acquiring knowledge is challenged. Knowledge or understanding should be granted as this linear, streamline-like system, but be respected as a process of thinking back and forth what we’re learning. As scholars, we need to go back to ask “Wait, what did you just say?” more often, instead of blindly following the stream rational line.

The fact that quotations should not be viewed as secondary text also serves an act of resistance, as the “voices” of others are respected as equally as author’s own. This way, the author tries to challenge what Powell puts as “Academic as another powerful agent of imperialism” (4).

In a way, I think this article is trying to engage the viewer with itself to represent the notion of “‘active participant’ in the mizzens” (Gries, 8). I was drawn to the writing of the author and the visuals throughout the article, and I realized afterward that I was participating in this piece of writing as an active thinker and responder.

The most helpful take-away I get from this piece is to engage with the audience with whatever I produce as rhetoric. In my final seminar project, I’m interested in knowing how audience can interact with different sensational experience and thus react to my presentation. I will look into more about audience’s engagement for my project.

Class Leadership Project Reflection

In Uncategorized on April 1, 2010 at 2:30 am

We are learning, constantly, through an exchange of knowledge and understanding of certain subjects. As class leaders, we learn just as much, if not more, as the rest of the class. It’s fantastic.

When I approached Amanda about teaming up to do this project, I was a little nervous. I wasn’t sure if my research interests would fit hers, either was I sure I would be helpful to her ideas. But once I mentioned to her that I’d like to do something with African art, her eyes sparked and then our project unfolded: looking at African American quilting as a form of resistance.

I started searching very generic African resistance art, but the topic is too broad to be really studied in such a short period of time. I was frustrated with my research, and I turned into Amanda to see if she got some ideas. She told me that she is work with the Somali-Bantu kids on a quilt, and that fascinated me. Soon I became more and more interested in this particular genre of African resistance art. First appearing as a topic too specific to relate to other rhetorical strategies, quilting, as a form of resistance, keeps opening up to me as a world where many struggles, compromises, conflicts overlap and interact. It relates to almost everything we have talked about: slavery, definition of “writing,” resistance, autoethnography, Alzadua’s usage of language, imperialism, eurocentricism, contact zone, etc. Quilting, as a act of resistance that has long been overlooked, should be understood, respected and appreciated. Maybe choosing, researching and then presenting the topic itself is our resistance to that ignorance.

Our project in many ways relates to our course readings and discussions. The most distinguish connection to me lies in the patterns of the quilts to Eurocentricism. The patterns African American slaves made for themselves are very different from those they made for their masters. Their masters like linear, organized, floral patterns that come from linear Eurocentric thinking. By saying that Eurocentric thinking is linear, I mean the European rational thinking: if A then B–the streamline thinking or the one-point-to-the-other-point thinking. In contrast, the almost chaotic, integrated, non-linear, colorful African American patterns, which are rooted in Africa, reflect African’s circular/fractal thinking. Everything is related with everything else: individual to community, women to men, nature to human to spirit. That kind of thinking to me is like a spider web, the center is nature. The fact that European-trained slave masters despised the native African patterns, and asked the seamstresses to make quilts using their organized, detailed patterns reveals the oppression of other culture and the domination of the European thinking.

The other important relation between African American quilting and our readings and discussions is that quilting challenges our notion of “writing.” Not only writing is defined as verbal documentation in Western cultures, but also are other forms of writing denied by scholars. Quilting hasn’t been acknowledged by scholars as crucial historical evidence of resistance until 1970s because for so long, non-written information doesn’t count as scholar enough. The African oral story telling tradition was taken away by the scholarship. What is writing exactly? This blog post? The words on your T-Shirt? Books? Does music notes count as writing then? If so, then so do the stitches on African American quilts. Those stitches form patterns that symbolize their native language: the rhythm of the stitches is like music that carry a deep cultural meaning that sometimes even goes beyond written words. Furthermore, who has the authority to say whether or not written evidence is “true’? Those questions bothered us while we were doing our research, and we hoped that our presentation could make the rest of the class think about those questions and re-value “scholarship.” What we are doing as students: are we consumers of colonial system of knowledge or we are learning to resist those authorities?

With that goal in mind, I think our presentation was successful in asking those questions and relating our presentation to previous class discussions. In their responses, students hit most of the points in the answers we prepared. For example, in answering the question how is quilting a form of resistance and to what they resist, they not only mentioned the codes/symbols that embodied in the quilts as African heritages, but they brought up some points that we hadn’t prepared. Kiana said that quilting broke the silence among African American slaves, and it is quite loud itself. That point never occurred to me during my research. In comparing quilts for slaves themselves and for their masters, I think students also did a good job identifying many differences.

Yet, I would like our discussion to be a little more self-initiated by the students, not by us. During the class, I felt the urge to push the discussion sometimes. It was certainly not a bad thing, but I guess I would like the conversation to flow more naturally. For future leadership projects, we can work on improving the relationship between questions and maybe try the activity first and then unfold the questions, etc. We also prepare more than we delivered because of the time we had. I think I’d like to have the whole class period for the presentation because we’d then be able to finish off with the other topic we wanted to talk about: gender roles.

During the research, we found that many African American studies scholars such as Booker T. Washington promoted art that represented the manhood of African Americans, such as blacksmithing. Quilting, which is done by females, is excluded. Traditionally, African males create textile, but this situation changed when the slaves were brought to America, where women were supposed to do those craft jobs. Thus, women took on Eurocentric gender role of seamstress. Although the act of imposing gender roles on African American slaves was undoubtedly wrong, it might not do as much harm as the oppressors expected. Women’s taking on the job that was used to be done by men encourage a tie between women and their family in the community. Quilting didn’t separate families, but actually bond them tighter. Woman’s role in quilting also leads to the appearance of female leaders in the civil rights movement. If we have a chance to compare women’s resistance to that of men, it would be very interesting to see the results. In my opinion, the resistance of females is not as violent, yet more effective.

This leadership project reminds me to define “writing” consciously, to look at rhetoric of resistance in a much broader sense: it can be revealed through stitches, clothes, textiles and many other aspects that we normally overlook. Moreover, it made me very conscious about the scholar sources I will run ino in the future, as I will be critical about the sources of their scholarship. Is education a product of imperialism? If so, how can we fight against it? That thought is scary: I feel like I am a product of this problematic system of education, and I have no idea about what I can do. The project also helps me look at art differently. I used to view art as a form of expression, and people produce art in order to resist. However, I think quilting serves as a form of resistance first before it become a form of art itself. Then what is art? How can we define it? The slaves didn’t see quilting as form of art. They saw it more as life necessity, a job, or an escape from heavy slave work. But later on, quilting is recognized as a form of art. Is the term “art” an imperial notion? Is it only when something is not so urgent anymore that it can be entitled as “art”? Is what we defined as art perceived in the same way by those who create them (“artists”)? How are we, as viewers, responding to “art” differently than for example, food? This project keeps puzzling me with those questions, and it really made me rethink many existing information that I took in for granted. It complicated my thinking in many ways, and I really enjoyed it!

Seminar Project Proposal

In Uncategorized on March 29, 2010 at 12:43 am

INTRODUCTION

The project is inspired under these conditions:

1. As a student of rhetoric, I am always interested in the rhetoric of war. What was sparked at the edge of life and death fascinates me as they are the reflections of bare human nature, full of emotions: anger, fear, despair, calmness, etc.

2. As a designer, I always try to come up with non-conventional solutions to problems. The question of what else can be done other than what has already existed challenges me to learn from the existing experience and pushes the boundary further. I want this project to be part of my portfolio that I can be proud of, and can use as a demonstration of my creativity to problem solving.

3. As a fonder for resistance art, I have been looking at examples such as Polish poster art, South African resistance art and other art forms that are created under extreme restrictions.

4. As a supporter of environment protection, I try to stay away from printing or consuming natural resources for the final presentation of the project.

Thus, I want to look at art created in Holocaust, to examine the condition in which they were created, to research how the art serves as resistance to the victims, and finally to experiment if somehow we can be part of them, feeling their fear, anger, despair and yet, hope.

GENRE

I will be writing a research essay on the resistance of art in Holocaust and trying to answer the inquiries, such as “What does the art work produced by the victims of the Holocaust say beyond the obvious?” and “What is shared between the experience of the Holocaust artists and other resistance artists, and in what sense are they different from each other?”

I will also be preparing an interactive presentation in a gallery/studio to re-produce the experiences of the victims, and to challenge the audience’s perception of the Holocaust, and to bond the artists of the Holocaust with the living. Instead of a gallery of images or film viewing, I am thinking of leading the audience through a set of experiences in which they feel/hear/touch/see the process of the holocaust. At last, I hope the audience will walk away with a new understanding the Holocaust and the realization of we are all part of a resistance process.

Some of my initial thoughts of the site installation:

1. Viewers take off their shoes before enter the space. Their shoes will be re-arranged to mimic the pile of shoes left by the victims. OR viewers can put their shoes into a pile as they enter the space.

2. The space will be in complete dark, and viewers need to lie down on the floor right next to each other, as the victims did in the camp.

3. Audio will be playing along with a narrative of my research people so that viewers can hear the story while feeling the physical uncomfortablity. The audio will include bells, alarms, dog barks, steps, etc that occurred in the Holocaust camps.

4. When the audio presentation is over, the space will be lit so that the viewers can see the environment. The surround walls will be wrapped with white fabrics with writing on them. I will handwrite my research paper on the fabric and the writing will form the barbed wire surrounding the space.

5. Then, the viewers will go through a tunnel where the fabric will turn into red, as flames.

6. Last, they will enter the space where their shoes have been rearranged in a pile in the middle the room. A scale will be presented to show the ratio between the viewers’ shoes and the victims’.

7. A discussion will be followed.

AUDIENCE

I think I am writing for the general public across religions, ethnics, race and age, as everyone should remember the experience, carry on the resistance spirit of the artists in Holocaust and regard themselves as participators of a big current social movement—to make the world a better place.

RESEARCH

I will look at books of art produced in the Holocaust as well as site installation inspirations. I will also look into online resources. Some books that I’ve found are:

Research-related:

Art of The Holocaust by Janet Blatter and Sybil Milton

Spiritual Resistance 1940-1945: Art from Concentration Camps by Union of American Hebrew Congregations

The Living Witness: Art in the Concentration Camps and Ghettos by Mary Costanza

Without Surrender: Art of the Holocaust by Nelly Toll

Site-Installation Related:

Conversation Pieces: Community + Communication in Modern Art by Grant Kester

Installations by Architects: Experiments in Building and Design by Sarah Bonnemaison and Ronit Eisenbach

Other resources:

Resistance Art in South Africa by Sue Williams

Shoot an Iraqi: Art, Life and Resistance under the Gun by Wafaa Bilal and Kari Lyderson

INTENT/IDENTITIES OF RESISTANCE

While looking the identities of the artists in the Holocaust, I want my project to resist to the identity of “viewer.” We are not just outsiders looking at historical artwork. We should not merely see the artwork as evidence of what happened in the history of humanity and view them as part of “the past.” Holocaust is still going on in one form or the other, and we are all part of the victims. Thus, we are part of the “resistance fighters.” I want to craft the identity of “victims” and “fighters” among viewers through the project.

Freewrite #5 on Identities as a Rhetoric of Resistance

In Uncategorized on March 2, 2010 at 4:53 am

In Borderlands, I think Anzaluda reveals that the fundamental aspects of the formation of identities can be seen in the borderlands where two different culture meet, infuse and clash. The Texas-U.S. Southwest/Mexican border in particular has been a place where oppression of women, multiple identities conflict with integrity, struggles of native language are easily exposed.

She uses many rhetorical strategies in her writing, for example, the shift in the written language in particular and the usage of the poems or songs written by the natives. They both serve as her way of resistance because the mixture of language make her writing only partially understandable to the readers. It is a demonstration of the statement that “we have to meet in the middle” as Anzaluda proposed in the beginning of her book.

She first talks about the history of conflicts between the U.S. and Mexico, and she argues that borders create a border culture, where the unsafe meets the save, us meets them. The inhabitants living at the borders are excluded from the other side of the line; and even worse, from it’s own country too. Because of the fragile of the state of the borders, identities are constantly being challenged, killed and reborn.

Although she never directly mentions imperialism, Eurocentricism and modernity, she implies that the struggles of the people at the borders are inevitably resulted from those larger contexts. The ideology of male above female, the slavery of the native Mexicans, the struggles of the natives with their land–their home, the exploitation of the raw materials in Mexico and taking over the economic control by the U.S. that leads to tragedies during illegal border crossing…They are all wailings of Mexico.

Unlike Dussel, Anzaluda spends a lot of time looking at her own struggle with her multiple identities. By looking at her rebellion against the beliefs of her culture, she makes me understand the resistance of many. When we are talking about Eurocentricism, modernity, we cannot forget that it is not only the ideologies that we are dealing with, it is also the human beings from whom those ideologies are created and spread. She says that humans fear the supernatural, and that “Culture and religion seek to protect us from these two force.” It is the insecurity that humans feel created culture and religion, and then culture and religion are used to salvage, to oppress, to exclude.

“The queer are the mirror reflecting the heterosexual tribe’s fear: being different, being other and therefore lesser, therefore sub-human, in-human, non-human.” I even think when I was reading that if culture itself is a form of discrimination: As we classify what is or is not within our culture, we define what is excluded too. Culture may not be able to protect its own people without harming the others, or can it be?

The choice is clear, as Anzaluda says, either to be feel a victim or to feel strong and in control. So is it to feel secure within ourselves, we can resist to what oppress us?

She later on argues that language is the core to individual’s identity. “Ethnic identity is twin skin to linguistic identity–I am my language. Until I can take pride in my language, I cannot take pride in myself.” Until one can take pride in him or herself, one can be strong and in control. “The possibilities are numerous once we decide to act and not react,” she writes.

In order to solve the problems created by modernity, Eurocentricism and imperialism, we need to move towards “a more whole perspective, one that includes rather than excludes.” We need to tolerate, and to meet in the middle. We need to acknowledge the differences of each other’s way of living. We need to create this new value system that connect us to each other and to the planet because “nothing happens in the ‘real’ world unless it first happens in the images in our heads.”

The solution is internal: we need to be less individualistic and more communistic. Because if we contribute to the greatness of the whole, each one of us will achieve more. Collectivism, or communism (without any political implication) is a more advanced individualism in the end.

Freewrite #4 Universal Universalism?

In freewrite on February 23, 2010 at 11:42 pm

While reading Wallerstein’s article, I found myself nodding and underlining many points he talks about and I cannot agree with more.

He says in the beginning of the book, “We tend to be in no doubt that we ought to fight evil, and we are often in not much doubt as to who and what incarnates evil” (xiii). What is the notion of “evil” composed of? How defines it? Media? What else?

Behind media, there might be political forces. Behind political forces, there are decision makers. So in the end, it’s human (some of us) who defines what evils are, and influences the rest of us to act against evil.

In other words, some of us make the rest believe in what is good and evil. In some instances, the process of making people believe can involve military forces.

Universalism is one way of making us believe what shall be done to the rest of world by imposing certain values on people and claiming their universality.

Wallerstain writes, “The usual argument is that the expansion has spread something variously called civilization, economic growth and development, and/or progress, All of these words have been interpreted as expressions of universal values, encrusted in what is often called natural law. Therefore, it has been asserted that this expansion was not merely beneficial to humankind but also historically inevitable” (I).

What makes many of us fundamentally believe that those are self-evident ideas? Also, what it takes to challenge this self-evident notion, especially when the realization of the problems of that universalism is rare, not at all universal? What can we do to help challenge more people about this thinking?

On one hand, I stand with Wallerstein on how severe the problems are. On the other hand, I am wondering his solution is, if there is any?

It doesn’t occur to me while reading his articles that he has suggested a practical solution. Saying “It is not an easy game” (49) is not a solution. To me, it is more like avoiding the problems.

The causation of the existing universalism must be somewhere, and there shall be a way to overcome it.

Will losing its global power help the Western world realize their mistakes? Will gaining global power change what have been done? Or it will be the same old story, but with different characters, like China will be acting like the current Western world, exploiting the Western (current non-Western world) in the next couple years? Is it just a game of changing names?

Along this thread of thought, I found myself stuck in the dead end…I don’t know what could potentially be the solution. Hence, I decided to look at the problem from another angle.

Why didn’t China or the non-Western world become the global power? Why the Westerns?I tried to think the difference culturally, and maybe from there, I can get something out of it.

From a cultural perspective, I think that China, and many other non-Western world like Africa, share a notion of collectivism, which is fundamentally different from Europeans’ individualism.

In Africa, the notion of ubuntu means that individuals contribute to the collective knowledge/power of the community, and thus the individuals will all benefit. The indigenous people believe that individuals will bring their own uniqueness to the group; individuals are born with purposes to help the community become a better one.

In China, current education teaches collectivism starting from elementary school. I was taught that each student should strive for excellence, because our individual excellence will bring glory to the class, and only when the class is excellent, we can all be even better. The mistake of an individual student reflect poorly on the whole class. The punishment to one student means the punishment to the other 50 students.

The communal benefit goes before personal interests; yet, they are self-interested as well.

The individualism Western world has been proud of goes largely at the self-interested level, and it seems to me that we talk too little about the benefit of the community. We talk about what will do good to our own business; we talk about how much power our country will gain by doing this and that; we concern about ourselves.

Maybe if we consider ourselves as part of a group, and start to think about what our actions will result to the others in the group, something may be different. If we think about the community when we think about our own business; if we think about other countries when we think about our own, something maybe different.

The fundamental capitalism belief doesn’t need to change: we are still self-interest driven human beings. The fundamental liberalism thought doesn’t have to change: free market will still be there.

The only difference is that we are all going to do better because our community is better.

Maybe?

Free Write #3 on Pears Soap Ads

In Uncategorized on February 9, 2010 at 1:29 am

Picture 1

Picture 2

Picture 3

Picture 4

Picture 5

Before I start writing, I tried many ways to research “Pears Soap” and the impact of its advertising. I was surprised at how few scholarly sources there were on the subject. Google’s top 10 search result didn’t reveal the connection between Pears Soap ad with racism or with colonialism, imperialism. I, then, tried ProQuest. Similar results. The only articles I found are summaries to a book written on Pears Soap and colonialism.

I arranged these five ads into three groups: picture 1&4, picture 2&5 and picture 3.

Picture 1&4 both imply the message that Pears Soap (imperialism) is coming from the ocean. Picture 1 gives me a feeling that the glory of British Pears Soap is going to shine upon the land of the boy. The power represented in this image is asymmetrical: the woman is the position of power as she dresses in pieces of shells, as a goddess of the ocean. She looks very friendly as she has a big smile on her face. In the background, the sun rises with “good morning” written in the middle, corresponding to what she is saying to the boy. On the other hand, the boy, whose eyes are filled with joy and excitement, is not in any place of power because his expression looks as if he is receiving a good news/product from the “modern” world. He is topless, wearing a traditional Indian feather on his head–stereotypical backward living conditions. The contrast between wealth and poverty, modern and outdated, white and black are very strong.

Different from Picture 1, In Picture 4, the illustration is more subtle in representing the superiority of the white world. Yet, the headline is quite bold: the beginning of civilization, a message from sea. The arrival of Pears Soap landmarks the civilization of that land, regardless of the decision of the locals. Along with Pears Soap, Eurocentric imperialism is coming.

The second group, Picture 2&5 both represent racism in advertising as Pears Soap is so powerful that black children can turn into white after bath. It is interesting to notice that both ads use children as the message deliveryman. Is it because children are more innocent thus trust-worthy to the audience? Both images convey the idea that dark skin color is a result of dirtiness, lack of cleaning.

Picture 3 seems to me very different from the rest of the ads. In late 19th century, Britain invaded Sudan and Picture 3 illustrates what actually happened historically in Sudan. British soldiers wrote “Pears Soap is the best” on the rock to publicize their latest advancement during the invasion. The Sudanese are portrayed as shocked as they saw the presence of divine in the ad; to the British readers, this ad became part of their historiography on Sudan.

None of those ads, at their times, caused any protests against discrimination, racism, false representation of people in other races in society. They collectively show the common mindsets of the British at that time as very closed, opinionated and Eurocentric. As Dussel says in his article, the Western tried to irrationally claim their own definition of “modernity” to universality. But how was that possible in the 19th century? Was it merely because the restrains of resources of information that the public had no access to any otherwise? Then, how are we different today? Our understanding of the non-western world is still not in proportion to the development we achieved in expanding our resources of information. Is it because that the Western still controls the economic and political power in the world so that they psychologically regard own model of modernity success?

Freewrite #2

In freewrite on January 26, 2010 at 8:40 pm

1. My rhetoric research interest is war rhetoric, as well as rhetoric of resistance, so I am interesting in both the content and in various genres of resistance. I’d like to develop my critical reading and response skills, and look into how visuals play a role in resistance. As a design/photo and writing dual major, I want to study more about both verbal and visual discourse and how they interact/counteract each other.

2. I would rank Pratt’s article 2.5 out of 5. I think it is fairly easy to access, and it deserves a second or third read before I can grasp what she implies in her article and recognize her rhetorical strategies. I can understand what her argument is from by reading it thoroughly for the first time, and it did take me more time to digest the contextualization of her argument in order to answer the questions for group discussion.

I have a question, or rather an inquire, about Pratt’s idea of “safe house.” I have trouble seeing “safe house” exist in political world, where a lot of resistance takes place, and I’m wondering if the idea is just utopian? I can see it exist in academic world, but I haven’t heard about any instance of “safe house” exist in the history of war/political world. Is it just a literacy term then?

3. I’d be up for anything, to be honest. I really enjoy Pratt’s article, and think it will be interesting to read more. I’d like also to discuss the texts and do some close reading in our very own contact zone/safe house. Yet, some course of action sounds great too!

Morality

In freewrite on January 23, 2010 at 2:38 am

I just read a post by Mattias Mackler on Right and Wrong. He said:

“In the end, morality itself is a man-made invention.”

It reminded me of a conversation I had with Angela, my roomie at home when our power was out. It was about 7 pm, there was no light and electricity in my apartment; the only light source we had was a cookie-flavored candle. The reality that we had no light after sun set dated me back to the ancient world, and I started to imagining what it would be like to live in the past when it’s dark after sun set. Human beings communicate, back then, among families and friends. They share emotions after dark, because there is nothing else to be done. They watch the night sky.

They probably had no idea what morality was back then. They lived life in one way, as others had their ways of living.

When the word “morality” came into being, there came “mercy” “class” “cruelty” too, I am wondering.

Freewrite: Contact Zone

In freewrite on January 21, 2010 at 12:57 pm

What is a “contact zone” or how to define an “asymmetrical power”?

As Mary Louise Pratt puts,  contact zones are

“social spaces where cultures meet, clash, and grapple with each other, often in contexts of highly asymmetrical power…”

Does my living room, which my two roomies and I share, counts as a social space? Does reading a religion book counts as where cultures meet, clash? Does having a discussion about God in contexts of highly asymmetrical power?

If the answers to those questions are positive. Then, I must be in a contact zone while I was reading Have A Little Faith by Mitch Albom alone in my living room earlier. I must also be in a contact zone where a male student shouted “God creates the universe” in my philosophy class while we were having a discussion on the creation of the big bang. I must as well be in a contact zone everyday of my life as my beliefs, faiths meet, clash and grapple with those of others.

It is hard to define those terms, like contact zone or power, I think. I can take them either conceptually or otherwise literally. Man-made words must make sense to the mankind, and change over time, just as the modern in the 60s isn’t the same as today.

Over the course of past two days filled with going to new classrooms and meeting new professors, classmates, the expectation of what I could get out of the class has shifted. Originally, I was just interested in “resistance” and in knowing what the Americas are resisting to. As for now, I think I am more interested in knowing “how” are they resisting, and in understanding the word “identity.”

The rabbi in Albom’s book once said that when a baby comes to the world, his hands are clenched. Because a baby, not knowing any better, want to grab everything. Yet, an old person dies with his hands open, as he has learned the lesson that we can take nothing with us.

Neither can we take identities with us.

During the short period of life, how identity has shaped our lives and those of others? In colonization, how identity has been manipulated, controlled and led to resistance? What are my identities, and what am I resisting to? How am I preserved? Those are some inquiries that emerged in the beginning of the new semester.

In a diverse contact zone like our class, I am hoping to learn more about humanity, some fundamental aspects that define/separate the human race and many more that are unexpected.

Life is a revolving sequence, or at least I’d like to think so.

Hello world!

In floating thoughts on January 19, 2010 at 3:27 pm

Oh hi, world. This is the first post of the blog. So, welcome to the world, blog. This blog is also the first one that I started specially for a class, and hopefully to continue to write and inquire later on.

Merry 2010.