“The Americans are a brave, industrious, and acute people; but they have hitherto given no indications of genius, and made no approaches to the heroic, either in their morality or character….Where are their Foxes, their Burkes, their Sheridans, their Windhams, their Horners, their Wilberforces?—where their Arkwrights, their Watts, their Davys?—their Robertsons, Blairs, Smiths, Stewarts, Paleys and Malthuses?—their Porsons, Parts, Burneys, or Blomfields?—their Scotts, Campbells, Byrons, Moores, or Crabbes?—their Siddonses, Kembles, Keans, or ONeils—their Wilkies, Laurences, Chantrys?—or their parallels to the hundred other names that have spread themselves over the world from our little island in the course of’ the last thirty years, and blest or delighted mankind by their works, inventions, or examples?”–Sydney Smith, “Who Reads an American Book?” 1820
As graduation is approaching much quicker than anticipated, I’ve been reflecting upon my impact on campus and how much of my heart and soul I have devoted to Geneseo. When I first committed to Geneseo, I was thinking short term; four years and then I graduate. As time went on, I slowly started to realize how incorrect I was. Yes I did sign up to be a student for four years, but at the same time, I also signed up to a lifetime contract with SUNY Geneseo as I will be considered “alumni” starting next month. My G-Number is permanent as my transcripts can be accessed whenever I choose to need them. The college as an institution has power over their students…Does that take away a student’s agency and/or their right to consent?
The pressure to look and seem positive can be proven by societal expectations and through literature. The pressure to uphold a certain facial expression or narrative is consistently forced. One example of seeming positive can be shown when telling women to smile. Journalist Jess McHugh states, “You should smile more” isn’t just an annoying catcall; it’s a social demand.”
The poem “Those Winter Sundays” by Robert Hayden stuck out to me when reading it in class. Everything from the title to the theme to the word austere was striking. As characterization between the parental figure and the son/daughter slowly starts to reveal itself, the poem solidifies how hardworking the father is and how sacrifice played a role in order for him to raise his child.
After constructing my previous blog post that can be found here, a quote that Dr. McCoy provided me as feedback struck me. “It’s incredible a sentence is ever understood.” I started actively thinkING about this specific quote and began researching. I came across this as it perfectly pieced together what has been discussed in class so far in relation to language, vernacular, authorship, meaning making, and profiling through a single narrative.
After reading the excerpt from the Oxford Companion to African American Literature in class, it inspired me to research the etymology of the term “signify.” What I came to find was that the term originates from “signum” which means “token” in Latin. The verb “significare” in Latin then translates to “indicate” in Old French, then evolves to “signifier” and then later to “signify” in Middle English.
After reading Analiese’s post, it made me feel very content and proud to see a friend, as well as a classmate, feel so understood and represented. The pathos appeal present in her post easily translated her enlightenment as she sat in on the Annual Hip-Hop Symposium. It’s reassuring to know and understand that someone else thinks about intersectionality just as much as I do.
As my previous blog post discusses noticing, a concept that I observed in “African-American Women’s Quilting” by Elsa Barkley Brown was the statement: pivot the center. Pivoting the center entails understanding one’s self first and in that sense, the ability to identify and classify self-awareness. By first being able to identify one’s own strength, weaknesses, and prior background experiences, would then only one be comfortable and confident enough in their identity. When there is an element of uncertainty in terms of one’s identity, a lack of confidence and direction can be felt. A great deal of self-awareness may occur in this process as at times, an identity may have to deal with the balancing of two different systems: one at home and one at school, for example.
Something that intrigues me about the verb notice is the high level of attention, care, and respect that is needed TO notice something, someone, or even a concept. As an educator, I hope to bring awareness as well as various perspectives to students that they might have not seen otherwise.
By: Cam Rustay and Neha Marolia
We would like to accredit the entire film team including: Clayton Smith, Caroline Mossel, Jennifer Bender, and Lily Cordera
One of my favorite Insomnia Film Festival viewings starred my friend Clayton Smith. His short film can be found here. Memory and forgetting played a role as I thoroughly enjoyed his film as a form of entertainment, or a performance. It wasn’t until the other day that I ran into him that I recognized the parallels between his film and course concepts. Continue reading “Drip…Drip…Graduation”