Janelle Monae’s “Make Me Feel” and Commemorating the Dead

In Friday’s class, we took some time to read a few blog posts. I’d wanted to write a blog post about remembering and forgetting the dead, and both Spencer and Helen’s blog posts struck me as texts I wanted to put my own blog post into conversation with. In Spencer’s blog post, he writes that “[h]istory has shown that prolonged memory in death is a privilege granted to only those with the power to afford it” and Helen writes that “[w]ith the bodies in the street and the unnamed, almost invisible collectors disposing of them, it is clear the Whitehead is referencing the history of plagues and body disposal, particularly the Black Plague.” These two quotes together exemplify remembering and forgetting—we tend to commemorate those in power, and forget the “average” (and I use this word loosely) civilian.  Continue reading “Janelle Monae’s “Make Me Feel” and Commemorating the Dead”

Cycling Backwards and Moving Forwards with The Tempest

In a class and a semester that has been full of reflection, I thought it would be fitting to note that I first read The Tempest in my first literature class here at Geneseo, ENGL 203: Reading Transnationally with Dr. Lima (for the rest of the post I’ll refer to her as Maria, not out of informality, but because it is how she prefers to be addressed). It seems like some Shakespearean work of fate (or perhaps someone’s magical ability) that I would also end my literature career at Geneseo reading the same play. Continue reading “Cycling Backwards and Moving Forwards with The Tempest”

Making a “True” Statement vs. Stating the “Whole Truth” in Photo-Journalism: Expanded

A while back I had created a post called, “Making a “True” Statement vs. Stating the ‘Whole Truth’ in Photo-Journalism”. As I was going through some of the blog posts other people have created on this page, I noticed that one of my classmates, Neha had responded to the question I asked at the end of my post which had asked, “Is it reasonable for the media to mix opinions in with facts if it serves to make a statement, or should all media be factual, regardless of whether or not it gets a point across?”. Continue reading “Making a “True” Statement vs. Stating the “Whole Truth” in Photo-Journalism: Expanded”

Why is Reading Shakespeare So Important?

As English majors, we tend to be questioned about what we do in the classroom and how it is valuable to an overall learning experience. This is especially true when reading contemporary “fantasy” novels such as Zone One, which Erin tackles in her post, How To Teach Colson Whitehead in College Classrooms. Reading Shakespeare for the first time since high school (unless you count HUMN I last year where I read “Hamlet” again), I was brought back to the groans of my classmates who were perplexed by Shakespeare’s ancient language. I was actually even surprised when Beth admitted she had a tough time in graduate school being able to comprehend and appreciate his work. Beth did remind us, however, how important his work is.

Something that I want to reflect on is, just like Erin mentioned how important reading Whitehead and contemporary novels is to our learning experience, it is just as important to turn back to why we study older, preliminary texts such as Shakespeare. It may seem obvious to mention considering that the basis of a lot of more traditional English classes is to read older texts like that of Shakespeare, which is, like Erin mentioned, thoughts people have. Yet, regardless of what the text itself is, reading “ancient” texts as English majors is beneficial to enhancing our critical reading skills. Additionally, the things that Shakespeare mentions in his texts are relatable to any time.

Continue reading “Why is Reading Shakespeare So Important?”

Extreme Home Makeover and Hurricane Katrina

By: Erin Herbst and Melissa Rao

We’ve talked this semester about the origins of traditions and the origins of hurricanes, so we felt it would be appropriate to begin this blog post remembering that the idea for it was conceived one night at The Idle Hour. Obviously, we didn’t write the blog post at the bar, but we did talk about it over a “dirty water” (which is funny because THAT also has connotations pertaining to this class).

In this post, we wanted to both cycle back to our discussions of hurricanes as well as anticipate our discussion/analysis of “care is the antidote to violence.” Continue reading “Extreme Home Makeover and Hurricane Katrina”

Expression of Culture, Empowerment, and Memory and Forgetting Through Dance

Throughout the course, and in Dr. DeFrantz’s workshop, we have learned about the power of dance and expression.  Dance is powerful in the context of memory and forgetting—dance helps people mark their culture and thus contributes to memory. Dance can be used to help remember the culture of oppressed groups, such as the ballroom scene that was started in the 1970’s by queer people of color, and can be legitimized through place, like Congo Square in New Orleans. The Babydolls, a mark of New Orleans culture, help in the process of memory, and this practice was especially important after Hurricane Katrina. Dance can also be used to cope with traumatic events and help people understand the new semiotics of place after a change, which is seen in Zone OneContinue reading “Expression of Culture, Empowerment, and Memory and Forgetting Through Dance”

Intentionality of Photojournalism

Reading Jonathan’s post, which can be found here, was very thought provoking. Journalism is a career that intrigues me yet also intimidates me because a writer does have a point of view that he or she is selling. Unfortunately, bias is inevitable due to each and every person having a right to have an opinion and also having the means to share it. At times, they may not even be sharing those opinions consciously or intentionally.

I believe photojournalism is a category of it in itself when discussing journalism and its significance. Instead of verbally conveying information, such as conducting an interview, images are used to represent a situation. This can be misleading due to the photographer wanting to appear to their audience in the most appealing way. The same can be done with coverying information verbally although the biases are much easier to identify through body language and the interactions the people are having.

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The Hawaiian Memory of Rainstorms

The focus of my group blog post was the 1992 Hurricane Iniki, which devastated the Hawaiian island of Kauai, slamming the island with until-then record rainfall, which in turn resulted in landslides, mudslides, and floods. The impact of the hurricane cannot be overstated, as six residents were killed, 1/3 were left homeless, and $3.1 billion worth of damage was done to the island. In the conclusion of our blog post, we talked about the storm, and the governmental ineptitude that came with it, as a harbinger of the true destruction that would come to pass with Hurricane Katrina 13 years later, but we were also sure to talk about how the people of Kauai used the natural disaster to galvanize their reconstruction and preparations for future storms. Interestingly enough, I came across an article on NPR about recent flooding in Kauai a couple of days ago, and I wanted to take this opportunity to examine how this communal memory of Hurricane Iniki figures into the ongoing relationship between Kauai and the storms that strike it.

Continue reading “The Hawaiian Memory of Rainstorms”

An Overdue Clarification

I don’t mean to tread on old ground, but my performance as a blogger demands that I resurface certain memories: In my “violence is the performance of waste” essay, I had carefully attempted to deconstruct Roach’s interpretations of each of the key words in the phrase. He had defined waste as “unproductive expenditure” (40), and claimed that violence, whether  “bloody” or not, always involves expending far more resources than necessary in order to drive home whatever point is being made (41). Thus, “violence is the performance of waste.” I linked this concept to the intent behind When the Levees Broke, claiming the work to be an act of “violence” against the U.S. government and the Corps of Engineers.  By Roachian logic, the film itself is the performance of waste that makes the violence. Continue reading “An Overdue Clarification”