Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Reflection #13
May 10, 2011

           There was much diversity spoken today in class regarding Orientalism, imagined communities, the subaltern, and finally, the cyborg and post human. I will touch briefly on the first three topics mentioned.
The year of 1978 was the redefining point for the word “Orientalism” by Edward Said, a Palestinian-American scholar who “perceived as a constellation of false assumptions underlying Western attitudes toward the East” (Windschuttle, Edward Said 2). This was Said’s central idea of Orientalism. He felt that a Eurocentric prejudice was prevalent toward the Arabo-Islamic peoples and their culture because of “a long tradition of false and romanticized images of Asia and the Middle East in Western culture” (Windschuttle, Edward Said 2). Therefore, this was the “justification for Europe and the US’ colonial and imperial ambitions” (Windschuttle, Edward Said 2). In conclusion, Said claims that Western writings depict the Orient “as an irrational, weak, feminized ‘Other,’ contrasted with the rational, strong, masculine West” (Orientalism, Edward Said 3). He feels that the creation of a “difference” between the East and the West is accredited to unchanging “essences” within the Oriental formulation.
           The Imagined Community was coined by Benedict Anderson stating “that a nation is a community socially constructed, which is to say imagined by the people who perceive themselves as part of that group” (Anderson, Imagined Communities 1). They are limited and sovereign. This concept was conceived at the time when Enlightenment and Revolution were replacing religion with literature. Literature held its part in the Imagined Communities and their creation was made possible because of “print-capitalism.” There is an essential interplay between fatality, technology, and capitalism in the formation of a nation.
           Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak introduced “Can the subaltern speak?” She referred to nuances, one of which was the banning of Sati involving race and power dynamics. Some critics state “that the sati-performing women cannot speak because they die in the ritual-suicide” (Spivak 1). Spivak’s description of herself is “a practical Marxist-feminist-deconstructionist” (Spivak 1). She is known for her stylized speech; however, such speech cannot save a women on a suicide mission!
Word Count: 346

Works Cited
“Benedict Anderson.” En.wikipedia.com. Wikipedia, 17 April 2011.
Web. 15 May 2011.
“Edward Said.” En.wikipedia.com. Wikipedia, 13 May 2011.
Web. 15 May 2011.
“Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak.” En.wikipedia.com. Wikipedia,
12 May 2011. Web. 15 May 2011.
Leitch, Vincent B., ed. The Norton Anthology of theory and Criticism.
New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 2010. Print.
“Orientalism.” En.wikipedia.com. Wikipedia. 11 May 2011.
Web. 14 May 2011.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Analysis #7
May 10, 2011

         Post colonialism is known as a post-modern discourse consisting of “reactions to, and analysis of, the cultural legacy of colonialism” (Postcolonialism 1). The need for cultural identity amid the colonized societies, and the development of a national identity after colonial rule is a necessity in post colonization.  Critics state “that the West has constructed the third world as an ‘Other’” (Norton 27).
          The construction of the binary known as the East/West Binary was founded by Edward Said, and was a key factor in the postcolonial theory. The argument of Said was that the Occident could not live without the Orient and vice versa. Therefore, Said’s deduction was that power and knowledge are inseparable; “The West’s’ claim to knowledge of the East gave the ‘West’ the power to name, and the power to control” (Postcolonialism 2).  Orientalism denotes the East or Orient while the Occident refers to the West. The term “orientalist” was used since the 18th century to describe a scholar of Oriental studies; however, “orientalism” has been used to describe many 19th century artists, specializing in “Oriental” subjects.
           Edward Said, a Palestinian-American, declared a “subtle and persistent Eurocentric prejudice against Arabo-Islamic peoples and their culture” (Postcolonialism 2). He felt that study of the Islamic civilization by the Westerners was strictly political intellectualism based on self-affirmation versus an objective study. This process is a tool used by imperialist domination which is actually a form of racism. Said was involved with the struggle for Palestinian statehood as well as other functions that brought him under scrutiny by the FBI. He was in opposition of many of the US foreign policy endeavors regarding the Middle East and elsewhere.
           Said claims that “Western writings about the Orient depict it as an irrational, weak, feminized ‘Other,’ contrasted with the rational, strong, masculine West” (Said 3). His heartfelt feelings and desires seemed to encompass the Palestinians and their welfare. He did not mind expressing his true feelings about the United States even though he lived here.
           In the Disney video of Aladdin, two clashing sides are seen—culture and nature. Genie brandishes a mixed profile—a variety pack of American celebrities, actors, and showmen. His character associates with the image of atomic power (a cloud-like steam figure). The transcendental figure appears closely connected to culture while the genie-essence is related to myths and legends of the Arab world; however, his forms and the people he embodies are of American and Western culture. The introductory song carries the character of Genie while his form reveals Arab cultural references. Different Western personalities are visible along with lyrics and point-of-view. American cultural elements saturate the song while Arabesque has an association with the melody.
Word Count: 517

Arabian Nights

From Aladdin
Music and Lyrics by Alan Menken

Oh I come from a land, from a faraway place
Where the caravan camels roam
Where it’s flat and immense
And the heat is intense
It’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home
When the wind’s from the east
And the sun’s from the west
And the sand in the glass is right
Come on down
Stop on by
Hop a carpet and fly
To another Arabian night
Arabian nights
Like Arabian days
More often than not
Are hotter than hot
In a lot of good ways
Arabian nights
‘Neath Arabian moons
A fool off his guard
Could fall and fall hard
Out there on the dunes
Works Cited
“A Whole New World.” Borthaiser, Nora. Americana-E-Journal.
            Dragon Web. Volume IV Number I, Spring 2008.
           5 November 2005. Web. 16 May 2011.                       http://americanaejournal.hu/vo14no1/borthaiser#
“Edward Said.” En.wikipedia.org. Wikipedia. 13 May 2011.
          Web. 15 May 2011.
Leitch, Vincent B., ed. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism.
          New York: W. W. Norton and Company. 2010. Print.
“Postcolonialism.” En.wikipedia.org. Wikipedia. 20 April 2011.
          Web. 15 May 2011.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Reflection of Presentation
Feminism and Popular Culture
May 3, 2011

          The presentation of Feminism and Popular Culture took place on May 3, 2011 at which time I participated in our group of seven ladies. Information was systematically presented through power point regarding each portion of study from our syllabus. Class discussion was encouraged and accomplished. Three videos were presented at the end of the presentation along with “ads.”
          My participation occurred with the introduction of a poem written by Anne Sexton entitled “A Room of My Life.” She was a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet in 1967, and known for her participation inventing confessional poetry (personal honesty from the depth of the soul).
          Anne Sexton led a very troubled life which began in childhood when she was sexually abused by a close relative. She had demeaning parents and a physically abusive mother whom she tried to love the best way she could. She viewed herself as a sexual object of men. Directly after high school, Anne married Kayo, who became the anchor of the relationship; however, when he became furious, he would strike her. They eventually had two girls, but she was abusive to the eldest daughter and even sexually molested her when she was a teenager.
           Anne had many addictions—sex, alcohol, prescription pills, and suicide attempts. She took the advice of her last therapist and divorced her husband in order to find a suitable mate. However, fruitless sexual encounters followed—one with a woman and many with men. Also, she attempted suicide many times; however, her first therapist suggested that instead of attempting suicide she should write—hence, her career of writing began. Within the poem, “A Room of My Life” there is a story about her oppressions. After all the affairs and poor reviews she decided to commit suicide. Clothed in her mother’s fur coat, she went into the closed garage, sat in the closed car, and whispered her “good-byes;” however, this time was the final good-bye!
Word Count: 331
Good-bye, Anne Sexton.

The Room of My Life

By Anne Sexton 1928–1974

 in the room of my life
 the objects keep changing.
 Ashtrays to cry into,
 the suffering brother of the wood walls,
 the forty-eight keys of the typewriter
 each an eyeball that is never shut,
 the books, each a contestant in a beauty contest,
 the black chair, a dog coffin made of Naugahyde,
 the sockets on the wall
 waiting like a cave of bees,
 the gold rug
 a conversation of heels and toes,
 the fireplace
 a knife waiting for someone to pick it up,
 the sofa, exhausted with the exertion of a whore,
 the phone
 two flowers taking root in its crotch,
 the doors
 opening and closing like sea clams,
 the lights
 poking at me,
 lighting up both the soil and the laugh.
 The windows,
 the starving windows
 that drive the trees like nails into my heart.
 Each day I feed the world out there
 although birds explode
 right and left.
 I feed the world in here too,
 offering the desk puppy biscuits.
 However, nothing is just what it seems to be.
 My objects dream and wear new costumes,
 compelled to, it seems, by all the words in my hands
 and the sea that bangs in my throat.

Works Cited
“Anne Sexton in the Confessional: Her Kind-The Room of
       My Life-Wanting to Die.” Martin G. Wood.
       12 April 2009. Web. 3 May 2011.
“The Room of My Life.” The Complete Poems of Anne Sexton. Boston:Houghton
          Mifflin, 1981. Web. 3 May 2011.
“Two Suicidal Orginators of Feminism: Virginia Woolf and Anne Sexton.”
          Ernest Shulman. 5 April 2011. Web. 3 May 2011.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Analysis #6
May 3, 2011

         Feminism can be classified as a collection of many movements unified with the goal of defining, establishing, and defending equality for all women in the structures of economics, politics, social rights, and equal opportunities.
          The feminist movement was divided into three “waves.” The first-wave of feminist activity was activated during the nineteenth and early twentieth centurys. It promoted “equal contract, marriage, parenting, and property rights for women" (Freedman, Feminism 3). At the end of the nineteenth century, political power was the focus which included women’s suffrage. It was noted that some feminists did campaigning for economic, reproductive, and sexual rights for women also.
            The second-wave began in the 1960’s and is still in motion today as well as coexisting with the third-wave. The second-wave is mainly concerned with equality issues other than suffrage, such as discrimination.
          The third-wave began in the early 1990’s responding to the failures and “backlash against initiatives and movements created by the second-wave" (4). The focus in this arena is “micro-politics” which challenge the paradigm of the second-wave by using “a post-structuralist interpretation of gender and sexuality" (Smith, Feminism 4).
           According to the liberal feminism view, its aspiration is “to establish individualistic equality of men and women by reforming the political and legal” (Gheytanchi, Feminism 5) arena with no alterations to the social structure. Liberal feminism views the opposition factor of both participants that of sex roles. There are many areas of feminism that can be addressed; however, there is not enough time to indulge.
           “The distinction between sex and gender is that sex is biological (e.g., chromosomal or morphological) while gender is social or cultural (e.g., how societies structure relationships)" (Young, Feminism 9). According to Judith Butler, the concept of perfomativity views the power in society as the “performance of gender, sex, and sexuality" (Butler, Gender Studies 4). She states that the construct of gender and heterosexuality is natural because this is the social image of the male and female sexes; however, this is not her true view of the situation. Butler feels that gender is a kind of imitation where there is no original. To me, this is difficult to do when you leave the womb of your mother taking your first breathe as either male or female unless there is a genetic or birth defect.
           Michel Foucault stated that sex had not been repressed since the seventeenth century, but was talked about all of the time. He further made the comparison of the priest (confession) and the analyst (psychologist). He felt that sex had been structured or controlled: Ars Erotica (East), and Scientio Sexuality (West). Foucault stated, “Modern society is perverse, not in spite of its Puritanism or as if from a backlash provoked by its hypocrisy; it is in actual fact, and directly, perverse" (Foucault, Norton 1520). He stated that the hypothesis that modern industrial societies brought in an age of increased sexual repression should be abandoned because they witnessed a visible explosion of unorthodox sexualities.
           The inequality of woman still exists in a number of ways and the battle rages on to resolve issues especially in the area of spousal abuse. There are a number of women who have been maimed or killed by their husbands. A lot of times it is difficult for a woman to have legal assistance until it is too late. When they try to get away from the husband, he stalks them and eventually performs vicious acts upon them and the children. Some women snap and cannot handle the abuse any longer taking the matter into their own hands. Generally they kill their husband because of years of abuse; however, now their destination is life in prison or death. The video clip included tells it all and one can only hope that someday soon help will come for the abused spouse.
Word Count: 621

Works Cited
“Feminism.” En.wikipedia.org. Wikipedia. 3 May 2011.
          Web. 6 May 2011.
“Gender Studies.” En.wikipedia.org. Wikipedia. 29 April 2011.
          Web. 6 May 2011.
Leitch, Vincent B., ed. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism.
           New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 2010. Print.
“Simone de Beauvoir.” En. Wikipedia.org. Wikipedia. 28 April 2011.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Reflection 12
April 26, 2011

           The agenda for today was Feminism and Gender Studies which entails a great deal of soul-searching as to the legitimacy of claims registered as “pro” and “con” in view of feminism.
          According to Simone de Beauvoir, “Few myths have been more advantageous to the ruling caste than the myth of woman: it justifies all privileges and even authorizes their abuse"  (Beauvoir, Norton 1267). The issue of lessening the physiological burdens of woman is not a necessity according to the feelings of man because it is her natural duty to perform them per the “Physiology of Marriage” by Balzac. Man believes that woman should not be given any right to sexual pleasure, but should work as a beast of burden. Woman is defined by the man because she gets her identity through the male; however, it is more of like master/slave relationship in a patriarchal world of male dominance.
           Beauvoir views each sex as being mysterious to each other. Neither sex can penetrate the feelings of the other in order to offer true sympathy. This is because each gender has their unique mysteries of feelings. Sentiments are supposedly nothing because the real cannot be distinguished from the imaginary; however, behavior is the key for unlocking the imaginary from the real. A total picture of a man’s degree of affection toward a woman is seen in his attitude. In today’s society, man carries a double standard with regard to attitude which hurts woman immensely. They claim to accept woman as an equal yet require her to remain the inessential. Woman is to remain the Other. According to Arthur Rimbaud, “the infinite bondage of woman is broken, when she will live in and for herself, man—hitherto detestable—having let her go free" (Rimbaud, Norton 1273).
          In reading “The History of Sexuality” by Michel Foucault, it was interesting to learn the extent of regimentation within the Catholic Church in regard to the confession of sins, especially sexual sins and the requirement to divulge every detail of the event to the priest. Sins need only to be confessed to Jesus who is God manifested in the flesh—wherein dwells all power in heaven and earth (The Holy Bible, Mark15:38; I Timothy 3:16; Ephesians 4:5) Catholic priests have  dominated a number of people causing more mental frustration; however, I assume the people consider the priest as God. How could this be possible when there is only one God?
          Feminism and gender studies involve a large arena of discussion and many variables to questions.
Word Count: 443

Works Cited
Leitch, Vincent B., ed. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism.
            New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 2010. Print.
The Holy Bible King James Version. New Yordk: Oxford University
          Press. 1945.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Analysis #5
April 26, 2011

Poststructuralism and postmodernism allows the reader to view a vast
area open for discussion. Each contributor offers differing opinions for solutions to our government, society, and individual emancipation.
          Jürgen Habermas states that modernity revolts against anything that is normative, thereby, neutralizing both morality and utility standards. His work entails more “pragmatic” reliance upon intersubjective areas of specific settings for production, revision, and enforcement of communication norms. His area of interest is with regard to specific societies and how the laws are politically established versus the universal form of “reason.”
          The assessment of human evolution by Marx was that it was an economic progression leaving only a narrow margin for individual freedom—Habermas had this critique for modern society as a whole. Progress to Marx was deterministic and linear; however, “Habermas argues that the process of learning is dynamic and unpredictable from one epoch to another.”
          The postmodernists position was that “general human emancipation” (Lyotard, Norton 1463)could not be accomplished by the universalist strategies typical in liberalism (appeal of human rights) or communism (a one-class society objective). The world was marching to the beat of a utopian future; therefore, the postmodernists attempted to turn away from this worldly understanding of progress. However, Jean-Francois Lyotard proclaimed the need for respect and appreciation of diversity, for local differences, and for the plurality of ways which humans prefer to live. He felt that the government should not try to force the world and its inhabitants in one mold thereby making history move in one direction. Lyotard’s debates did not generate a feeling of postmodernism. In fact, the political objection by Habermas was about his apparent passivity.
          Michel Foucault was known as “the most influential European writer and thinker of the second half of the twentieth century" (Foucault, Norton 1469).He stood for a major source of poststructuralism, New Historicism, cultural studies, etc. Later in life, he distanced himself from being a poststructuralist and postmodernist and classified himself as critical history of modernity that was rooted in Kant. Foucault’s goal was to describe the present by an analysis of what created it—the historical and critical undertaking he calls “genealogy.” From this perspective, he used Jeremy Benthan’s creation of the panopticon for prisons and applied it in negotiating societal norms. Through use of this new structure, it has proven to be beneficial economically in the arrangement of power. According to Foucault, the disciplines discipline us by the discourse. He states that “panopticism constituted the technique, universally widespread, of coercion" (Foucault, The Panopticon 3). Panopticism has become a very useful tool in society.
          Jean Baudrillard was interested in the relationship among reality, symbols, and society. He used simulacra and simulation to apply a discussion of signs, images, and their relationship to contemporaneity. “Baudrillard claims that our current society has replaced all reality and meaning with symbols and signs, and that human experience is of a simulation of reality" (Baudrillard, Simulacra 1). The clip of Mirror Has Two Faces portrays the masking that Baudrillard makes reference. Professor Gregory Larkin (Jeff Bridges) desires to have a relationship without sex—because sex ruins everything. Professor Rose Morgan (Barbra Streisand) longed for a story book romance. They finally began dating. Not long after he asked her to marry him with the agreement of no sex; however, she agreed with hope that things would change. She remained the “plain Jane” married professor until the circumstances changed and he went away on business. The mirror suddenly had two faces and the second one had a makeover—head to toe! In the beginning, the marriage was replaced with a mask of happiness and contentment without fulfillment—therefore, lacking reality with the human experience. It became a simulated marriage. However, in the end it lacked nothing. Baudrillard shows simulacrum (copies of copies) as is seen in the clip—each individual was just a copy without possessing the complete package.
           There are many factors that make up poststructuralism and postmodernism; however, each of the philosophers, socialists, critics, etc. contributes to making up the final product.
Word Count: 663

Works Cited
“Jean Baudrillard.” En.wikipedia.org. Wikipedia, 24 April 2011.
          Web. 25 April 2011.
“Jürgen Habermas-Biography.” The European Graduate School.
          24 April 2011. Web. 24 April 2011.
Leitch, Vincent B., ed. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism.
          New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 2010. Print.
“Postmodernism.” En.wikipedia.org. Wikipedia, 19 April 2011.
          Web. 24 April 2011.
“Post-structuralism.” En.wikipedia.org. Wikipedia, 6 April 2011.
          Web. 24 April 2011.
“Simulacra and Simulation.” En.wikipedia.org. Wikipedia,
          17 April 2011. Web. 25 April 2011.
“The Panopticon.” Travis Dougherty. Web. 25 April 2011.
Reflection 11
April 19, 2011

          The topic for today was a combination of post-modernism and post-structuralism. Modernism and post-modernism are viewed as cultural projects. Modernism consists of principles such as identity, unity, authority, and certainty, whereas post-modernism has an association with plurality, textuality, and skepticism. The previously dominant feature of modernism used the “scientific mentality of objectivity and progress associated with the Enlightenment" (Postmodernism 1) However, post-modernism does not believe in ultimate truth, sees everything as relational, and defends ideological views thereby dismissing the modernistic viewpoint. Post-modernism has no self without language, ideology, history, the world, and context. It is not the autonomous self, but is fragmented with everything textual. Post-modernism has a close relationship with post-structuralism because “anti-humanism, as a rejection of the enlightenment subject, is often a central tenet" (Post-structuralism 1) Another factor is the influence of existential phenomenology.
         Structuralism originated as an intellectual movement in France in the 1950s and 1960s. Texts were some of the items known as cultural products used to scrutinize their underlying structures. The use of analytical concepts such as linguistics, anthropology and psychology, as well as others, were used for interpretation purposes. A study of knowledge with a critiquing of the structuralist premises is known as post-structuralism, and “The concept of “self” as a separate, singular, and coherent entity is a fictional construct within this philosophy" (Post-structuralism 2) In studying a text a reader must understand the relationship of the work to the concept of one’s self.
          Today Dr. Wexler played a portion of “American Psycho” for the class and it was interesting to see how simulacrum was manifested in Patrick Bateman and his mask. He seemed to have the attributes of a robot with a superficial “self,” and a mask hiding the truth. It showed Bateman removing his facial mask; however, he needed to remove his real mask to reveal his true identity—a psycho!
Word Count: 305

Works Cited
 Leitch, Vincent B., ed. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism.
         New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 2010. Print.
" Mask." En.wikipedia.org. Wikipedia, 24 April 2011. Web.
         24 April 2011.
“Postmodernism.” En.wikipedia.org. Wikipedia, 19 April 2011. Web.
          24 April 2011.
“Post-structuralism.” En.wikipedia.org. Wikipedia, 6 April 2011. Web.
        24 April 2011.
“Structuralism.” En.wikipedia.org. Wikipedia, 18 April 2011. Web.
        19 March 2011.