Check below for Quiz Status, Important Announcements, and Slightly Subversive critical readings of the Perry text.
Here's another link to the lecture notes for Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch
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And if the reading in Perry is getting you down, scroll down to the Slightly Subversive section....
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This Page Last Updated 11/18/98
Do expect a quiz on Friday the 20th, covering primarily the handbook pages and the appendix readings. Think about the sticky points: how can independence bring dependence? what's helpful or restrictive about living in a "culture of production," or in an era in which corporate America can influence the "production of culture"? Can you see connections between post-imperialism and post-modernism? it's a stretch, but try thinking imaginatively!
No quiz was scheduled for Friday 23 October -- but please note that as Franklin's text provided key information to help you complete Exam I, Conrad's text will provide essential information for Exam II. Come prepared to see how specific events from Heart of Darkness help us understand and/or critique the 19th century's moves toward Romanticism, Nationalism, and Imperialism -- and to catch a glimpse of what got Freud so excited.
But anticipate a quiz for Wednesday 28 October, mostly on Cisneros but possibly also on links among the "-isms" we've been looking at -- Romanticism, Nationalism, Imperialism, Freudianisms -- and our novels:Heart of Darkness and House on Mango Street. Make sure you catch up on your reading over the weekend, and have done some early thinking about creating concise yet thorough definitions of the "-isms" and seeing the flow through them!There was a quiz for our group meeting on Wednesday 10/14 regarding Marx's and Engel's arguments about the connections of their current Communist movement to other historical movements and their connections to (or disconnections from) thinkers like Locke and Mill. Also, be able to explain how industrial capitalism causes alienation, and why alienation is such a bad thing.
No quiz was scheduled for the small group meeting, 10/5, about Mill's On Liberty. But please do the assigned reading, esp. 59-71, 122-125, and 165-170 (think about contemporary issues such as illegal drugs and gun control, for instance)
A quiz was given on 9/25. No heavy concepts, just brief reactions to and analyses of Jacobs' experiences in the North (in contrast to [?] those we've seen in the South)
No quiz was scheduled for Wednesday, 9/23, though you might think about whether Jacobs is helped or restricted by her strong family and community, and consider her actions in light of earlier discussions of other intrepid explorers and risk-takers.
No quiz was scheduled for Monday (9/21). If there had been, I might have asked about examples that demonstrated the diversity of experiences within the slave community, and what contributed to (and resulted from) that diversity.
A quiz is likely for 9/16: You might take some extra notes about the kinds of specific accomplishments or activities that Franklin describes which would satisfy Kant's description of an Enlightened (hu)man. Do any of the other "ordinary people" meet any of Kant's criteria?
No quiz was scheduled for 9/9, but if there were it might ask something like "Give one link between Hobbes and Locke, and one difference between them," and/or "Describe the role(s) that women played in the intellectual discussions of the Enlightenment, and give one example." Would you have had the answer in your head, or in your notes for quick access?
No quiz was scheduled for the first SFG meeting (just in case you were wondering!).
Disclaimer: These are not the main points you need to get from Perry, just little side trips to enjoy, to keep you thinking about what's not being said in the Perry text. (They might make good topics for Web Posts!) If you have your own nominations for Subversive Critical Readings, I'd be happy to include them here and add Participation Points to your score....
Weeks 10 & 11:
Chicken & egg: "...the difficulty of establishing Western liberal-democratic forms of government in countries lacking a sense of unity, a strong middle class, and a tradition of responsible paticipation in public affairs" (745). Do they mean, like the difficulty of establishing democracy in 17th century France? If a nation already had unity, middle class, and responsible participation, wouldn't it already be pretty much like us democratic folks?
They're Just Not Like Us: "Russians...who still were prompted by the 'Russian soul' and an intensity of inward feeling unknown in Western society" (748). African "savages," "fragile" women, and "emotional" Russians: THEY feel -- WE think -- right? Hmmm.
Ominous, schmominous: "'The defense of the Fatherland is the most sacred duty of every citizen' -- ominous words indeed" (762). Napoleon got rave reviews for the same kind of ideals -- Schwarzkopf might have murmured them before bed each night -- why is it suddenly ominous when the Russians say it? Maybe something gets lost in translation....
Ask Harriet Jacobs: "...utterly un-Western methods of regimentation, compulsion, and terror" (765). As opposed to the Western versions of those same things? We've got to own our past errors as well as our past achievements, Sartre might say....
Radios don't kill people; PEOPLE with radios...:"The instruments of modern technology -- radio, motion pictures, public address systems, telephone, and teletype -- made it possible for the state to indoctrinate, manipulate, and dominate its subjects" (770). Well, and they made one or two other more positive things possible, too, mmm?
Modern day heros: I'm just curious: with all the MLKings and Elie Weisels out there, why "profile" a racist, anti-Semitic, fascist white collaborator? (p. 794-5). I'm all for "seeing both sides," but we haven't even seen multiple sides of the heros, yet....
Not all Dark and Dreary: Just so you know, American contemporaries of the doomsday bunch that Perry features (T.S. Eliot & Co.) also wrote lines like "My soul has grown deep like the rivers" (Langston Hughes), "There was so much to love, I could not love it all" (Louise Bogan), "I like my body when it is with your / body" (e e cummings), "rooted, they / grip down and begin to awaken" (William Carlos Williams), "I took the one less traveled by, / and that has made all the difference" (Robert Frost) and "If any have a song to sing / That's different from the rest, / Oh let them sing / Before the urgency of youth's behest!" (Gwendolyn Bennett). Ah, but happiness and celebration don't make such good copy...
Weeks 8 & 9:
Either/or: "Liberalism demanded objectivity in analyzing tradition, socety,and history, but nationalism evoked a mythic and romantic past that often distorted history" (551). Are these two outlooks really as incompatible as Perry suggests? Can you identify elements of each in our own current society?
Their own darn fault: "Asians and Africans who could not resolve conflicts among themselves found their lives controlled and their lands occupied" (655). If the next sentence assures us that "even those who were able to unite" could not successfully fight back, why do we need the earlier backhanded comment?
Beg your pardon? "Suddenly, however,...Europeans switched abruptly...to...exploitation of previously unclaimed and, in many ways, untouched territories" (657). Come now -- surely we all know that, except for Antarctic explorations, Europeans were unlikely to find any territories that were "unclaimed." Again, we can add "unclaimed BY EUROPEANS," but why perpetuate the myth that land not exploited by European hands was "untouched"?
No rain on this parade: The description of Kipling's greatness on p. 661 is so touching that one would hate to mention that the man's writings propounded a seriously racist point of view. Now, I liked The Jungle Book as much as anyone, and certainly such knowledge may not change the aesthetic quality of his poetry, but this is a history textbook, and facts is facts....
Credit where credit is due: Halelujah -- an acknowledgement of an alternative point of view! Kudos to the authors for letting us know that what was a "Sepoy Mutiny" to some folks was a "Great Rebellion" to others (664).
Reached the credit limit: "In a fierce war, the British, with the aid of faithful troops from the Punjab, repressed the uprising" (664). Ah, the glory is so fleeting -- how quickly we slide back to calling the Indians who sided with the British (against other Indians fighting for their freedom) the "faithful" ones.
A rose by any other name: "Perry had opened Japan, against its will, to the West the preceding year" (668). What if we substituted a woman's name, like "Evangeline," for the word "Japan" in this caption? What would we call this act in such a case? No wonder the samurai were "belligerent" (see the text further down on the page).
Clear as Rand McNally: What elements of "the ordinary people" get erased by the map on page 673?
On your mark...: "lay some ground rules...mad race...field day...rushed..." (674). Where else do we use sports terms to camouflage our real intent?
The "little woman": Note our lively photo of "Friedrich Nietzsche with His Wife" (686). Do we have anyone else portrayed "with Her Husband"?
The Perry Certainty Principle: What's the difference between saying (as happens frequently in this section) "Freud...understood that [reason's] soft voice had to compete with...the id" (693) and saying "Freud thought that..." or "Freud theorized that..." or "Freud imagined that..."? There are still many people who suggest theories of consciousness that don't completely agree with Freud -- yet this text silences their voices.
The "little woman," part II: "Writers such as Thomas Mann, Marcel Proust, James Joyce, August Strindberg, D.H. Lawrence, and Franz Kafka explored the inner life of the individual" (697). Would it really hurt to acknowledge that Virginia Woolf, H.D. (Hilda Doolitle), Gertrude Stein, Djuna Barnes, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and many other women were also involved in this project at about this time? What if we just replaced one man's name -- say, Strindberg, or Lawrence -- with one woman's name -- say, Woolf, arguably a better writer than either of those two? Ay yi, would the world come to an end? And let's not even talk about writers from other ethnic or racial groups who belong here...
Can anyone say "Princess Diana"?: Sheesh, couldn't we include just one woman who both had power and lived an unsensational life? Nah, it's much better if we focus on Isadora Duncan, whose innovation and daring was oh-so-unfortunately cut short by a "freak accident" that caused her death (699).
P. 511: Why, look, it's a picture with a woman in it. "Spinning Jenny," our role-model heroine of the decade!
P. 512: "The shift from male to female and child labor was a radical social change." Many modern feminists argue that statements like this obscured and continue to obscure the fact that women were (are) already working quite hard -- they just weren't (aren't) getting paid for it in the capitalist labor force.
Almost invisible: "...as Europeans and Asians built railroad networks to support the expanding agriculture and industry of the Americas" (p. 514). Here's one of Perry's few references to Asian immigration and the growing diversity of U.S. populations. Don't blink -- you'll miss it!
The masses, shown in their usual state of laziness and squalor (!), also get a picture in this chapter (p. 520). Diversity springing up all over....
Triumph, eh wot? "The Industrial Revolution was a great triumph....Western states were able to extend their power so that virtually the entire globe came under Western dominance by the 20th century" (p. 524). Perhaps not quite so much a triumph for everyone as for those in power in Europe?
Hasty generalization: "During the eighteenth century, almost all people had adhered to the biblical account of creation" (584). That would be "all people in Europe," right? Of course, we knew what they meant.
Waco precursors? "To be governed is to be watched over, inspected, spied on, directed, legislated at, regulated, docketed, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled...." (Quote from Proudhon, 593).
More diversity: A photographic representation of people of the Jewish faith -- except it's a Nazi propaganda poster (620). Sure, we all know that it's a "bad thing," but remember how susceptible people are to visual images: if all visual images of minority groups represent them poorly, what sub-conscious conclusions are we drawing?
Darn women! And we start out our investigation of women's suffrage activism by using words like "threatened," "militance," "explosive," "tactics," and "violence" (p. 640). How might you re-write this opening paragraph if you were one of the women activists?
The other 51%: "Art Essay" (pp. 408ff) Aha, finally, good images of women -- um, well, maybe not. But it is just terribly *fascinating* to analyze "the positioning of the arms of the women on the left of the canvas...," isn't it?
Two faces of Napoleon: Are these the same man? as seen by the same textbook writer?
"Ideas always danced in his head, and his imagination was illuminated by sudden flashes of insight....The rationalist's clarity of mind and the romantic's impassioned soul, the adventurer's love of glory and the hero's personal magnetism -- these were the components of Napoleon's personality" (489-90).
"To suppress irreconcilable opponents...Napoleon used the instruments of the police state: secret agents, arbitrary arrest, summary trials, and executions" (491).
Why start with the first description? What other leaders have been so glowingly described by our authors?
P.O.V.: Knowing what you know about Harriet Jacobs, re-read the description of Toussaint's actions (p. 492-3), looking at the language: "They revolted, murdering their masters...crying 'Vengeance! Vengeance!'" Contrast this with language about the American Revolution, or the French Revolution -- how does language give you clues to point of view? Who's inside? who's outside?
Dropping like...humans: P. 496 gives us Napoleon's strategy of trying "to annihilate the enemy's army." Our author gives us "troops...segment...forces...flank...enemy lines...infantry...cavalry" -- can you translate this into language that shows us the individual humans in the masses?
P.O.V. II: Although we are told that "Both sides...displayed extreme cruelty" (499), the specific examples we receive here (hospital set afire) and later ("their moans for help went unheeded" -- 501) are both from the French point of view. Coincidence?
Blind spot: P. 564 explains that "the [British] Reform Act of 1832 extended the suffrage to the middle class." Hmmm. Can you describe a potential "middle class person" who might somehow not have felt included by this Act? What would be a more accurate description of the people who could vote in Britain in 1833?
What about Darwin? Since Darwin is thoroughly covered in HWC 44, this reading assignment is a reminder or an introduction. For those of you who had 44 already, think back: How does Darwin fit into our current group of Big Names? What might he say to Hobbes about humankind's "state of nature"? How does he connect to the information in Prof. Stell's lecture about religious beliefs in this period?
Anti-Social Darwinism: Instead of thinking of "social Darwinism" as just another theory to memorize, use it as a clue to larger rumblings in the volcano of 18th century thought. Why did anyone even come up with such a set of ideas? what does the existence of such theories tell us about the perceptions, fears, needs, and enlightened states (or lack thereof) of people who believed thusly? What would Jacobs say?
The Binary Blues: On p. 434 our authors give us the remarkable image of freethinker John Toland "using [Newton's science] as a stick with which to beat at the doctrines of revealed religion," and later on we find out that David Hume "attacked" revealed religion and deism. Even further on, we find out that "Kant rescued science from Hume's assault" (533).
Why is there such a feeling of opposition (either-or, 0/1), and why might people feel so threatened that their discussions take on the language of war and violence? Or is this just our textbook writers trying to spice things up (and does the information on Hegel on p. 535 help us see one reason why they might be choosing this tactic)?
The Binary Blues, part 2: Any time there's a reaction, it helps us more clearly see what was being reacted *against.* What might the reaction of the romantics, coming up in next week's lectures, tell us about the excesses of Enlightenment reasonableness?
Class Split: P. 395 gives us "the split between court and country." You might think about whether either court or country folks were "enlightened." Also, don't forget the other 85% of the population: where do they fit in this "split"? What were their roles in the politics of the era?
Ominous Religion: P. 395 also gives us "a political-religious vision with ominous potential." Once again: what is it about religious power that is so inherently "ominous"? To whom is it ominous (insiders? outsiders?) How sharp should the divide between religion and politics be?
Those darn poor: P. 396: "The success of their revolution was jeopardized by growing discontent from the poor." This is, of course, the insiders' view. Try rewriting this sentence from the view of "the poor" -- how successful had the revolution been, anyway?
Those darn poor, part II: P. 466 explains that "material want drove the urban poor to acts of violence that affected the course of the Revolution." It was probably more complex than this: what other factors might have been contributing to violence in cities? (check the italicized quotation on the following page for one possibility)
Week 1 & 2:
Page 413: "With the impulse to mathematize nature came the desire to measure and experience it." What do you suppose the peasants in the country would have said about this intellectual desire to "measure and experience" nature? "Sure, bub, come on down, we have some really cool experiences for you to measure, starting with my horse barn...."
Page 430: "Indeed, in some of the Parisian salons, women were often the key organizers." What does the word "Indeed" do to this statement?
On the following page, the text continues: "The free mixing of women and men always generated controversy in the eighteenth century." Is this just an eighteenth century thing? Is "generated controversy" an accurate description or a kind of euphemism for something less tidy? Finally, is it of interest or concern that this chapter was primarily written by a woman, Margaret C. Jacob?
Page 437: "[Locke] also advocated religious toleration for those religious groups whose beliefs did not threaten the state." Depending on the state or on one's view of religion, it could be argued either that all religions pose some threat to the ultimate power of the state, or that none poses such a threat. Which makes most sense to you?
P. 438: "Not until the 1760s did democracy find its champion." Hmmm. So the highly democratic Iroquois Federation had no champions?
p. 445: Any of you geographers know why we draw maps this way? (Hint: who's inside, and who's outside?) Are there other ways to draw maps that are more (or differently) accurate?
p. 472: So, who was in the crowd that stormed the Bastille? is there a reason to show a picture with no individual faces drawn? who are "the masses" (or, as they're called on p. 473, the "little people")?
p. 477: "France had become the triumphant master of Belgium." Wow. "Triumphant." How might the Belgians have written this sentence? the Prussians? the Brits?
p. 481-2: "The" meaning (there's only one, of course) of the French Revolution seems to be that "the individual, formerly a subject, was now a citizen with both rights and duties and was governed by laws that drew no distinction on the basis of birth." Um, unless you were born a woman, a non-European, or a non-land-owner with little or no hope of ever "making it big".... Well, it was a nice idea, and we had to start somewhere.....
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