Understanding the Different Forms of Consent

In the past two years that I have been a student at Geneseo I have not talked about consent as much as we did in Dr. McCoy’s class the other week. I found it helpful to talk about what consent is and how it is more than just sexual consent. Growing up I never talked about consent. When I started college at SUNY Geneseo, they show all their freshman and sports teams a video about sexual consent. The video compares consent to offering someone a cup of tea, and shows us how we should think about sexual consent in this way (if someone does not want a cup of tea, do not force it down their throat, etc).  

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Culture Viewed with a Mask or Veil

            After Dr. McCoy passed out the essay prompt on Friday for the Spring 2016 African American Literature course I found myself immediately gravitating towards a particular epigraph stated on the prompt. I found the words of Glenn Ligon, an American conceptual artist who explores things such as race and identity within his work, to be compelling and interesting. On the prompt Ligon’s words are stated as such, “Perhaps it is a feeling that cultural products are used as substitutes for sustained and meaningful contact between people. It’s like send me something from where you are, but don’t come here.” Continue reading “Culture Viewed with a Mask or Veil”

『G』ENESEO: The Myriad of Navigating Geneseo’s Binaries [2]

Last week, I missed INTD 288. I missed class because I went to go see the keynote speaker for the Diversity Summit. In the end, I saw the lecture and it was a sharp reminder of how binary thinking is isolating.

In particular, the dialogue, put both Steve Prince’s concept of “process” and Dennis Childs’ concept of “progress” into question.  In consideration to SUNY Geneseo, it begged the question: is Geneseo making progress on their “Community Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion”? This transformative document is made to acknowledge, reward, and hold accountable Geneseo students, staff, faculty, and administrators on their commitment to diversity. The commitment came after and in response to David Sorbello, a professor of sociology who created a transphobic quiz that gained media attention.

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Those Who Straddle the Line

In my last post, I discussed the Baby Doll maskers of the New Orleans Carnival tradition and their challenging of the Puritan notion of Providence introduced by Dr. Cope. Particularly, I focused on their collective ability to be at once child-like and suggestive, innocent and powerful, traditionally feminine and masculine. This duality is born from the Baby Dolls’ unique, signature appearance and from their audience’s misguided attempts to label, and subsequently understand, them.

Similarly, the first four pieces of Steve Prince’s Katrina Suite, entitled “Second Line I, II, III, and IV,” display a certain duality that puzzled me when I first encountered them. Each piece stars a horseman, a figure and symbol that is prominently featured in Prince’s body of work. The horsemen are clad in suits, ties, and massive, spiked shoes. Additionally, and quite conversely, three out of the four horsemen are portrayed holding a parasol, an accessory associated with the Baby Doll maskers and an arguable symbol of their femininity.

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“Booboo the Fool” & Bloodchild

At his reading last night, Jamel Brinkley spoke about his experience as a person of color in a creative-writing workshop, in which his white peers spent twenty minutes puzzling over the term “Booboo the fool.” He writes, “for those unfamiliar with that reference, Google would have been a quick solution. But the refusal on the part of some folks to do even that, and to expect the story to spell it out for them, to spend time faulting the story and its writer for not spelling it out, was total nonsense.” Brinkley explained that the term was a familiar phrase within his family, and so he hadn’t considered it wasn’t universal. At the same time, he was annoyed by his peers’ expectation that he “translate” every unfamiliar, non-caucasian phrase for them.

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The Significance of Signifying

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.

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What’s Black and White, But Gray All Over?

During PSYC 307: Sensation and Perception lectures, Dr. Mounts regularly stresses that “the more you learn, the less you understand”. While Dr. Mounts refers specifically to the complexity of the human mind and brain, this idea can also be applied to human behavior and the social environment. As it turns out, this idea is also applicable to the nature of Steve Prince’s art.

I am often visually overwhelmed when studying Steve Prince’s work.  Steve’s art often depicts numerous objects and figures that are clustered together to make up one chaotic composition. In an interview, Steve was asked to elaborate on why he constructs his art to be about multiple things rather than one singular thing. He explained:

“I am utilizing a design mechanism called “dense-pack” whereas I force the viewer to encounter several things all at once and they have to sift through the image like an archeologist to extract meaning and make sense of the controlled chaos. The art is meant to be viewed multiple times and meditated upon. When encountered at different cognitive points in one’s life the work has different meanings and understanding… The artwork is fixed but we are ever evolving and in a state of becoming, therefore the art is being reborn daily, and so too should we be reborn and in pursuit of a deeper understanding of self and everything around us” (.https://everybodyscoffee.com/interview-with-artist-steve-prince/   )

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