Harrison Diggs Unit 8 Assignment 1

Katharina Blum

!: Katharina Blum’s image was tarnished in the media in an attempt to get her to confess to the whereabouts of Goetten. The particular scene that comes to mind is when Blum is reading the Newspaper where she is called “ice cold and calculating” and “capable of committing a crime” by her boss. In actuality her boss said she was “bright and sensitive” and never said anything close to what was reported. This scene evidences the extent to which media served as a weapon to dehumanize dissidents.

?: I am confused about the purpose of the constant interrogation of Katharina and the publication of horrible things about her in the Newspaper. Katharina was the last one seen with Goetten before his disappearance making her an important witness, however the lengths to which the police went is far beyond normal police investigations.

The Baader Meinhof Complex

!: Students and other youth had a significant role in demonstrations and protests of policies in West Berlin. This is seen specifically in the demonstrations about the Iranian Shah coming to West Germany.

?: How did Meinhof and this radical movement become such a national and media sensation?

Hitler Within You:

!: Anti-Semitism in Germany began before the National Socialists took over. In the 1920’s there existed an anti-semitic culture in Universities. These same people now serve in important occupations in Germany in the post-Hitler era.

?: Did the younger generation in Germany actually take serious measures to combat the old ideas that persisted in German culture?

From Protest To Resistance:

!: “Protest is when I say I don’t like this. Resistance is when I put an end to what I don’t like.”

?: Is Meinhof arguing against nonviolent protesting entirely or just expressing the need for violent resistance?

Human Dignity is Violable

!: Germany’s new plan for government allowed for the same problems to exist that they were trying to correct: War, Dictatorships, and Human dignity becoming violable

?: Did German leaders not understand the danger they were putting themselves in while creating this new rule of law?

Shadow’s of the Summit Pointing West

!: The foreign leaders of the major world powers approached the Paris meeting with primarily their own countries interests in hands rather than the situation in Germany.

?: How would history have been altered if the 1960 Paris Summit had not been ruined by US-Soviet tensions?

Harrison Diggs Akhmatova Post

There was a consensus among my group that we preferred the Anderson translation of Requiem more. The Anderson translation seemed to be easier to understand for most of our group members and we liked the way he maintained rhyming even through the translation. We felt the Anderson translation was more effective in expressing the emotions of the poem while the Thomas poem would be better if we better understood some of the context behind it. I enjoyed the Anderson translation as well because of its simplicity in reading. The poem flowed much better due to Anderson’s stylistic choices and rhyme choice.

!: The degree of the persecution of writers under the terrorist regimes in Russia is what really stood out to me during the lecture. Poetry provided an avenue of truth so therefore was completely censored under the Soviet government and the writers were sentenced to drastic punishments.

?: Knowing they would likely face persecution, why did so many bright artists persist in continuing their works under the soviet regimes.

Harrison Diggs Unit 4 Assignment 2

The panel I selected depicts Birmingham police chief Eugene Connor’s reaction to the freedom riders bus being firebombed. An interview is being shown between a news reporter and Conner where Conner is asked, “Can you tell us why there were no Police officers present at the Birmingham bus station when the second bus finally did arrive?”. Connor replies to the question answering that it was “Mother’s Day” and “We try to let off as many of our Policemen as Possible.” This answer gives a clear image of the local government pushback civil rights activists faced in their demonstrations. Additionally, an increased understanding of how the media covered the Civil Rights Movement is gained from this panel. Chief Conner is displayed in a quite positive light, as he let the Police Officers off to celebrate Mother’s Day. This appears to the consumer as a genuine kind gesture, but the reality is Chief Conner let off the officers for a different reason. The reality was Conner was collaborating with the Ku Klux Klan and gave them 15 minutes with the bus before the police would get involved. This made me think of Dr. Wills lecture and emphasis on the reporter, the one documenting the story. The story is being told in a one-sided manner, where the focus of the reporting is not on showing the tragedy, but instead showing the man with blood on his hands in a positive light.

My first reaction when seeing these images was anger. A group of people fighting for their civil rights’ bus had been firebombed, a disgusting heinous act, and the man who is supposed to represent justice and the law had helped orchestrate this act aswell. At the top of the graphic a group of people is shown tuning in to the broadcast to hear the news and what they are being told is not close to the real story. To me Chief Conner is a villain, but to the tv viewer he does not appear this same way. This emphasizes the significant power that the news and those in power have on telling the story. They have the ability to tell the story how they desire, to leave things out, or put extra information in.

Unit 4 Assignment 1 Harrison Diggs

Mary Church Terrell was the daughter of former slaves who became one of the first African-American millionaires in America. She grew up in a religious, conservative family that valued the importance of education. Terrell was able to attend Oberlin College, one of the few integrated colleges in the United States at the time. Terrell’s activism began after her friend Thomas Moss, was lynched by whites who owned a competing business. Her activism focused around the idea of racial uplift, the idea that “blacks would help end racial discrimination by advancing themselves and other members of the race through education, work, and community activism”. Terrell worked actively with the National American Woman Suffrage Association and was later appointed a charter member for the NAACP.

Ida B. Wells was born in Mississippi in 1862 during the Civil War. Similar to Terrell, her family stressed the importance of education to Wells at an early age. Wells attended Rust College, but was expelled after a dispute with the university president. Wells focused her activism on white mob violence and lynchings. The roots of her activism are similar to Terrell’s as one of her close friends was lynched pushing her into discussing mob violence. Wells traveled nationally focusing on exposing lynchings and white women in the suffrage movement who ignored lynchings.

Wells and Terrell both focused on anti-lynching campaigns. While Wells primarily sought to expose the realities of lynchings and bring awareness to them, Terrell focused on the advancement of African-Americans through racial uplift. The roots of their activism come from the witnessing of lynchings of close personal friends. Both women propose responses to anti-black violence instead of solutions, but Terrell’s concept of racial uplift was considered a solution by some.

Sources:

https://www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/mary-church-terrell

https://www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/ida-b-wells-barnett
 

 https://www.britannica.com/biography/Mary-Eliza-Church-Terrell

Unit 3 Assignment 3 Harrison Diggs

Gourevitch discusses how the international community turned a blind eye to the Rwandan genocide throughout the book. As he said it, “when Rwanda had a genocide, the world’s powers left Rwanda to it”(Gourevitch 149). The way the world was able to allow a genocide like this to happen and not act on it qualifies Sontag’s point about photography. Because the genocide does not directly effect the world powers, they “Can’t understand, Can’t imagine”(Sontag 126) as Sontag says. The horrifying violence that is captured by photographs does not strike emotion out of those who did not have to experience the genocide firsthand. The victims do not look like the photograph viewers and the genocide does not effect their “pleasant lives”, so meaningless sympathy is felt, but no empathy.

Make Your Own Passport Reflection-Harrison Diggs

Completing the Make Your Own Passport activity really made me realize how privileged we are to have belonging to a country and to be able to obtain a passport. Hearing the stories of the stateless people who live their lives without the privileges we get to experience really opened my eyes to the power of passports. I was given Nigeria as my country for the passport which has dealt with constant violence committed by the group Boko Haram. The violence has led to people being tortured and thousands evicted or forced to flee from their homes. The safety that we take for granted at home is not experienced by people in other countries such as Nigeria and those that are stateless.

Unit 3 Assignment 2-Harrison Diggs

Chapter 1

Photographs are an important part of telling the story of war and captions dictate everything. A caption of someone dead can elicit sympathy to one group or hatred from another. Additionally war is arbitrary. Photographs can depict awful images of children who have been killed horribly showing that war is ubiquitous and effects all people.

Photographs have immense power in describing war, but the caption that accompanies it dictates different reactions depending on the groups who view it.

Chapter 6

Humans have a natural attraction to look at gruesome and repulsive images. These images create an inner conflict, between desire and reason. We have been so exposed to these gruesome and horrific images, that humans are basically numb to them. The images can even become enjoyable for people who live pleasant lives as the images are so vastly different from what they go through. Overall, there is a sense of apathy towards the images and they do not cause real feeling in people who are not being tasked with the situation those in the photo are in.

Humans have become numb to the vast amounts of violent images and gore present in the world.

Chapter 8

Humans are capable of committing atrocities and often they do not “enthusiastically” and “self-righteously”. Many people try to ignore this concept and live in immaturity and ignorance about the acts that humans can commit. Sontag also discusses how people are too quick to remember and not truly think and reflect about events of evil. Memory is just an excuse to pass over the event and not truly understand the pain and suffering that occurred, where as reflection is actually thinking about the suffering and magnitude of the evil and investigating questions for a truer understanding of the pain.

Remembering atrocities creates an apathy towards the evil that humans commit.

Unit 3 Assignment 1 Harrison Diggs

Hannah Arendt’s “Banality of Evil”

  • Arendt was a German born philosopher and political theorist
  • She grew up in a Jewish culture under politically progressive parents who were supporters of the Social Democrats in Germany.
  • In 1933, Arendt was imprisoned for researching anti-semitic propaganda for the Zionist Federation of Germany. Following her release, Arendt fled Germany and settled in Paris.
  • She later immigrated to the United States where she would publish multiple books and work as a professor
  • Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hannah_Arendt
  • Arendt’s concept of “banality of evil” came about when being assigned by The New Yorker to report on the war crimes trial of Adolph Eichmann.
  • The “banality of evil” describes the collective characteristics exhibited by Eichmann. He performed evil deeds but did not necessarily have evil intentions.
  • Her concept was widely refuted as people did not believe that Eichmann could commit such atrocities without having evil intentions
  • “Can one do evil without being evil” is the question discussed by the concept of the “banality of evil”.
  • Source: https://aeon.co/ideas/what-did-hannah-arendt-really-mean-by-the-banality-of-evil

The Origins of Totalitarianism

  • The Origins of Totalitarianism was first published in England in 1951.
  • It was structured into three essays “AntiSemitism”, “Imperialism” and “Totalitarianism”
  • Discusses totalitarian governments in Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia
  • Arendt argued that totalitarianism was a “novel form of government” as it used terror to “subjugate mass amounts of people rather than just political adversaries”.
  • Totalitarianism in Germany according to Arendt was about “terror and consistency” not just the targeting of Jews.
  • Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Origins_of_Totalitarianism
  • Key Characteristics of Totalitarianism in power from Arendt: mobilized terror, concentration camps, arbitrary arrests, a secret police, and a party apparatus that rises above the state
  • Totalitarian movements are different from regular movements according to Arendt as totalitarian movements go beyond propaganda and embrace violence
  • Movements can be central elements of totalitarianism as they provide the psychological conditions for “true loyalty”.
  • Source: https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/arendt-matters-revisiting-origins-totalitarianism/

Adolph Eichmann

  • Born in Solingen, Germany
  • Worked as a traveling salesman in Austria for an Oil Company before losing his job during the Great Depression
  • Joined the Nazi Party in 1932 and quickly rose through the ranks primarily dealing with Jewish affairs.
  • Eichmann became essentially the chief executioner in the Nazi’s plan for Jews and organized the identification, assembly and transportation to German extermination camps.
  • Following the conclusion of the war, Eichmann was captured by US troops, but escaped in 1946 fleeing to the Middle East.
  • He was eventually captured in Buenos Aires, Argentina on May 11, 1960 by Israeli Secret Service and smuggled back to Israel shortly after.
  • At his trial Eichmann argued that he was not anti-semitic and was just carrying out the orders he was given.
  • Eichmann was sentenced to death and hanged on May 31, 1962.
    • It was the only death sentence ever handed down by an Israeli court
  • Source: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Adolf-Eichmann

Unit 2 Assignment 3-Harrison Diggs

Option 2

Reducing the amount of bullshit in contemporary society begins with a revolution to dispel a common ideology that exists in our society. This idea is that people are obligated to give an answer even if they do not know the answer. We live in a world dominated by social media and instant news where opinions about any and all topics are splattered all over for our eyes to see. This environment has created a world where people feel obligated to give opinions on every possible topic even if they are not informed about it. The desire to give an opinion although misinformed creates the avenue for the excessive amount of bullshit seen in todays society. Therefore, it is necessary to encourage opinions only when performed and provide accessibility for people to be informed about issues before expressing their opinion. The concept is something that will be hard to change because of the emergence of social media, but it can be done with baby steps at a time.

Option 1

In my opinion some of the texts that could be considered adversarial from units 1 and 2 that we have read are “Black Matters” by Toni Morrison, “Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen” by Olympe De Gouges and “The Allegory of the Cave” by Plato. Specifically, many of the texts from unit 1 discussing equality could be considered adversarial as they challenged Western ideas about race, gender and much more. Some texts that take the more accommodative route that we have read so far are “Pragmatism” and “Two Treatises for Government” by Locke. Although these texts hold strong opinions that differ from the norm, I feel they provide more leeway for differing opinions than some of the other texts we have read. In terms of my essay, I would consider it more accommodative than adversarial. Although my essay takes into account two texts that could be considered adversarial due to the hard stance they take on the rights of women and African Americans, my essay appears to be more of a casual diagnosis and doesn’t take a stand to the magnitude the authors of the text do.

Unit 2 Assignment 2

Option 2

While listening to the translation panel, I realized that I had never thought about all the work that goes into translating a text. When reading texts not originally written in the language of the reader, people commonly glance over who the translator is, instead admiring the work of the author. This realization prompted me to pose the question: “should the translator be considered an original artist like the author or is their work just a result of the original text?”. Based off my newfound understanding from the panel, I would consider translators original artists. The choice of language when translating a text is is just as pivotal as the language the author chooses when writing. Due to the varied meanings of words when translated and the cultural ties certain words have, the word choice of a translator is the work of an artist.

Option 3

The evolution of translations can fit the definition of what Kuhn called a paradigm shift. As mentioned in the panel, the assumptions previously held about translations have been rethinked. These assumptions, such as correct translation requires sameness of meaning, have been changed to different idea about what modern day translation is. This is a clear example of a revolution from old science to new science about the ideas of translations. In addition to the concept of translation, there are many other examples of paradigms that have been discussed in class. The lecture given by Professor Thompson gave many examples of paradigms, but specifically geocentrism vs heliocentrism was an important example of a paradigm shift. The past ideas of geocentrism were widely accepted by scientists until later models and observation led to the discovery of the heliocentric model. The new observation leading up to the shift in ideas were frequent anomalies creating a revolution or paradigm shift to a new view of the universe.

Unit 1 Assignment 3 Harrison Diggs

Toni Morrison’s essay “Black Matters” delves into the impact that Africans and African-Americans have had on literature, while discussing the lack of credit given to these groups for the role they have served. Morrison immediately opens her essay with her main critique of the assumption that American literature has not been shaped by Africans and African Americans. I found Morrison’s idea particularly interesting because it relates a lot to our discussions of identity and power structures in class. The identity that has become associated with American literature is one characterized by white Americans and fails to recognize the contributions of Africans and African Americans as Morrison points out. Like identity, understanding the full cannon of American literature requires you to know all aspects of it, and the black presence in literature that Morrison speaks of impact is undeniable. Morrison also talks about the necessity of understanding Africans and African Americans role in literature in order to understand literary whiteness and the entirety of American literature. I found this point especially interesting and relatable to professor Quillen’s discussion of history and storytelling. Just like history, the identity of American literature is told by the winners, but understanding the other stories helps get a better understanding of the truth. Therefore, understanding the literary “blackness” Morrison speaks of is vital to knowing the full story of American literature.

If I were to put Morrison on a panel along with 2 other authors we have read this year, I would select Maalouf and Spivak to engage in a conversation about identity and power. My three questions to provoke a discussion would be:

  1. How much of an influence have power structures/powerful groups of people had on the identity of canonical American literature?
  2. What are the best ways to go about understanding the complexity of the identities of people, topics, etc?
  3.   How would you define identity?