A (Brief) Tribute To My Experience With Maps This Semester

This semester we looked (albeit it somewhat briefly) at maps and how they had the ability to tell stories through a cycle of memory and forgetting and even had the power to give a narrative perspective to all types of places and locations. I had never spent much time looking at maps before my experiences in this class, as I, with only a little bit of shame, admit that I am closely tethered to my exclusively Internet accessible Google Maps safety rope whenever I am in a new place or need directions somewhere.  To be quite honest, I have memories of scoffing to my friends and housemates when I found out that the book list for this class included a couple of real paper atlases. My fondness for maps was limited, to say the least, before we dove into texts such as, Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas. 

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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”

Memory and Media

After Monday’s class discussion I found myself very entrenched in thinkING about the thread of conversation that several of my peers brought up regarding films and movies that had been altered after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan. Beth brought up how this directly ties into performances of memory and forgetting, and I wanted to explore this further as it really got me curious about the process of altering media after a communally disturbing or terrorizing event takes place. What we have read so far in Colson Whitehead’s novel, Zone One, centers, for the most part, around Mark Spitz’s experiences as a sweeper scouring for skels in the demolished ash and debris of post-plague lower Manhattan. Through this, Whitehead is evoking an eerily similar setting to that of post-9/11 New York City and consciously performs a remembering of this traumatic time. This is definitely quite contrasting to what I found when researching media that came about in the wake of 9/11. Continue reading “Memory and Media”

The Hurricane Heist

I’ve been mulling about how to approach this post for a few weeks now and now think that after some helpful re-grounding in our course principles and ideas I feel confident in retuning to the blog with this strand of thinkING.

A while back I started seeing commercials and ads on both television and online for a now in theaters action-heist film, The Hurricane Heist. The trailer especially caught my attention:

With tag-lines/catchphrases such as “#Make It Rain” and “It’s a hell of a day, ain’t it?” complimented by Scorpion’s “Rock You Like a Hurricane” playing in the background, it is hard to not feel strictly scornful and resentful towards the producers/directors/writers/creators of the film. To resist this purely emotional urge I found that it was important for me to ground myself in our course texts, take a closer look at the film’s surrounding language in its synopsis, and understand the attention that this film has gotten in the public sphere as a performance of memory.

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Scooby Doo & Voodoo

A few class periods ago we looked at and examined the FEMA USR signs and their curious correlations with some Haitian voodoo vévé images and symbols. My group’s discussion on this topic turned into a very eye-opening conversation on our origins of our knowledges of voodoo, and I was surprised to uncover what the connotations that some of our first exposures to voodoo in popular culture, film, and television had in relation to what we have been discussing on Roach’s ideas of relationships with the dead and performances of memory.

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Wake, Wake, Wake

I’ve been milling among the ideas circulating in my mind about what I would concentrate on for my second blog post, and to be honest, it has been slightly disorientating. I believe that I was getting lost in the emotional minefields that kept popping up for me after enduring our continual viewings of When The Levees Broke, similarly to how Erin articulated her feelings on this turbulent documentary in her post. I instead took a step back after today’s class and decided to focus on the word “wake” that Beth brought up as the subject of a potential blog post. What I initially thought was going to be a fairly straight-forward post led me down a new strain of thinkING regarding etymologies and the many varying performances of individual words.

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“Remember me, but ah! forget my fate.”

Several classes ago we examined the photo of the troubling, arguably morally ambiguous, scene of the ‘Tot-Tanic’ in a park that Professor McCoy stumbled into. I believe it is fair to say that most of us in the class were quite taken a back that this horrific, albeit quite deeply embedded in the past, event was willfully turned into a playground for children to jump on and slide down. This reaction got me thinking about what we have investigated into Roach thus far regarding the many kinds of performances of both remembering and forgetting. Continue reading ““Remember me, but ah! forget my fate.””

Children of War

Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler has been really striking a chord with me and it has proven itself to be quite a powerful journey for myself, and I am sure for many others in this class as well, to have embarked upon. In the section we just read, Chapters 7-12, I found myself paying particular attention to the frequent mentioning of children and bringing new life into what seems to be such a destitute, inhospitable world.

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Democracy and Citizenship in Our Time (and in Mr. Blandings’ Time)

On Friday April 7, 2017 I was fortunate enough to be able to attend one of the panels during the Democracy and Citizenship in Our Time teach-in that took place on campus. Topics that were discussed during Panel II included LGBTQIA+, education, economic inequality, immigration, and disabilities. I was particularly intrigued with what Dr. Kathleen Mapes had to say surrounding economic inequality in America and how this problem has been brewing for decades.  After our recent viewing of the 1948 film, “Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House”, I felt this topic to be especially relevant to the themes that we have been discussing thus far in this class this semester and I wanted to explore how economic inequality is presented in the film and the effects that it has on the audience’s interpretations of what it means to build your dream home.

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Big Family Trees

When we first started reading The Turner House I was immediately hit with a rather strong sense of déjà vu as I came across in the paratext the family tree that Angela Flournoy prefaced her novel with. I took note of the many branches extending from the Turner patriarch and matriarch and saw an immediate correlation to my own extended family. My dad is the seventh child out of fourteen and grew up in a household that was a little bit different from the typical household at the time comprised of two parents and three and a half children. I felt the desire to compose my own family tree for a visual representation of the similarities that I see my family to have with the Turner family. Viewing that family tree laid out with three generations of Turners really reminded me of my family and prompted me to give a closer look to the sibling relationships within my own family.

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