Why should we care about worldbuilding?

Worldbuilding is not something we usually have to think too hard about, mostly because it’s something we’re not intended to think about. A well-built fictional world is meant to be seamlessly immersive, or else the story risks being overshadowed by the feeling that something crucial is missing. After all, we inhabit a fully-formed world, and our brains demand the same out of the fictional stories we enjoy. For this reason, many writing blogs, such as this one, suggest that in order to properly build a world, one must“go beyond just outlining the setting your characters live and work in. Think about the laws that govern the world, the way the government works, the world’s history, geography, technology, and mythology. Create your world, and then push yourself to go deeper.” 

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The Vocabulary of Learning

I’ve always been fascinated by language, perhaps in part due to my own difficulty with the spoken aspect of it. I like to write but I hate to talk. I am a fast talker, a remnant of a childhood speech impediment, and I constantly feel like I’m struggling to slow down and make myself understood. This is part of my daily life and conversations so you can imagine how difficult it is for me to engage in public speaking where nerves speed up an already too-fast mode of speech. Because of this, I prefer to put things in writing. I am more articulate on paper and I don’t have to worry about the connection between my brain and my mouth shorting out as it often does when I talk out loud. I believe from there my love of language has evolved simply because I prefer to read and write, especially when it comes to academics. Because of this, I have thought a lot about how language affects the way that we communicate; as I am in the process of studying both the English language and a foreign language, the importance of thinkING about this has become abundantly clear. Continue reading “The Vocabulary of Learning”

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? : Representation of People of Color In Media

By Lindsey Kriaris, Abby Ritz, and Helen Warfle

Many of us grew up watching Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, which is commonly referred to as one of the most wholesome shows to ever exist. And it certainly is, but in more ways than just the kindness exhibited by Fred Rogers himself— the show, which began airing in 1968, was one of the first to include a black actor in a positive role and one of the first with an African American in “a recurring role on a children’s television series.” François Clemmons played Officer Clemmons, the policeman who did rounds in Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. In real life, Clemmons was a black, gay man who, due to the prevailing homophobic attitudes of the time, remained closeted, but was embraced by Mr. Rogers both in the show and in real life, to the point where Clemmons viewed him as a father figure. The two of them remained friends until Rogers’ death in 2003.

Mr. Rogers and Officer Clemmons

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Love In Response to Hate

I don’t have very many memories of my great-grandmother. She passed away when I was five and all I have are very vague memories of visiting her when she was in hospice with my dad, wandering through the too-clinically white space and being vaguely scared of the machines. However, the stories my dad and aunts tell about her live on. The problem is, is that not all of them are good memories.

She grew up during the Second World War where her (much older) brothers fought in the Pacific theatre. As a result, she was deeply racist towards anyone of Asian descent, saying things that are almost funny in how ignorant and prejudiced they are. Imagine a stereotype of a racist old white lady and you pretty much have a good picture of how my great grandmother talked about anyone who didn’t look like her. Her racism towards everyone else who isn’t white was less obvious, especially as she grew up and lived most of her life in a predominantly white area, but rather unfortunately, it came out towards the end of her life when she was put in an assisted living facility and hospice with primarily black nurses. Continue reading “Love In Response to Hate”

A Look Into Sustainability In Art

By Amina Diakite, Niamh McCrohan, Abby Ritz, Corinne Scanlon, Abbie Sorrell, Brian Vargas, Brooke Ward, and Helen Warfle

Sustainability is the balance of three systems: the economy, society, and the environment. The idea of sustainability is that you need to meet the needs of people at present without compromising a possible future for other generations. The Urban Garden piece created by Steve Prince and the students and faculty at SUNY Geneseo is an example of society trying to gain such a balance. In this piece, we brainstormed about the three systems under sustainability and how they can intertwine with one another to either create enormous huge problems that we should be addressing or successes that we appreciate. One half of the Urban Garden showed the unsustainable aspects of how we currently live; but the positive half showed hope—the seeds for how balance can be restored. Continue reading “A Look Into Sustainability In Art”

On Dance

Dear past me,

The way I imagine you right now, it’s your sophomore or junior year of high school. You’re probably at musical rehearsal doing homework or trying to catch up on sleep between scenes, dreading having to go up on stage. After all, participating in your school musicals was more of a social thing for you — you aren’t a great singer (though you love to sing) and you’re a terrible dancer, which isn’t great considering that your school loves to do tap-based musicals. Continue reading “On Dance”

DuBois and Sociology

I don’t like to admit when I’m struggling, but I have to say, I have been having a difficult time with The Souls of Black Folk recently. I didn’t realize that I was until we read “Of the Passing of the First Born;” part of the problem with reading the book both not in order and in a manner that breaks up the work into smaller chunks makes it difficult to grasp the work as a definitive whole, which is something I have been trying to do recently. While it is a collection of essays and thus some discrepancy in tone is expected it is still worth considering the work in its entirety; after all, DuBois chose to publish these essays together, not separately.

This past week, I sat down and actually thought about the work as a whole  and the crux of my struggle with the tone of the work is this: certain chapters, such as “Of the Passing of the First Born,” are incredibly personal and the ways that the way that the Veil and Double Consciousness affect DuBois personally are so clear. However, some chapters are so deeply impersonal that they read more like an anthropological or sociological survey than a work that deals with fundamental societal issues that the author himself experiences. This divide makes it difficult to grasp the work in its totality, especially as the more anthropological sections come across as almost judgemental (more on this later). Continue reading “DuBois and Sociology”

Triple-Consciousness and Moi, Tituba Sorcière

During class last Friday, my group (Amina, Joohee, Sarah-Anne, Sarah, and Amina’s sister), as well as TA Sabrina, had a great discussion about modern feminism and the struggles it has with intersectionality. The gist of the conversation was that, and this is something that should be clear but often isn’t, true feminism includes and has a space for everyone, regardless of background. However, this ideal of inclusivity is often overwritten by white feminism- the kind that leaves behind minorities (of race, class, gender identity, sexual orientation and more) and the unique struggles they face in favor of the struggles of straight, white, middle to upper-class women. This disconnect is toxic and has tangible consequences– 94% of black women voted for Hillary Clinton, as did 68% of Latinx women and 78% of Asian-American women. Compare these statistics with the fact 53% of white women voted for Donald Trump, which is a disgrace. Continue reading “Triple-Consciousness and Moi, Tituba Sorcière”