Posts Tagged ‘freewrite’

Free Write on Carl Beam

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


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?


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.

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!


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.