I actually really enjoyed the two movies and readings for this assignment. While I do not know much about the time period, I am hoping to learn more in the upcoming weeks. I was especially interested in the two movies. I want to learn more about the context behind the two stories, and dive into the stories of each of the women highlighted in the films.
Shadows of the Summit Facing West: ?: “Germany is not the center of the world.” If not, why is it the center of everyone’s problems at the time. Yes WWII just ended, but not all the blame is on Germany. !: I found the Soviet Union to be very very selfish in all of this!!!
Hitler Within You: ?: What did the older generation not learn about race/ethnicity? Clearly there was a war for a reason and everyone must have learned something. !: A young child does not inherit racism- that is taught to them by their parents/ older generations. The stories on pages 103-104 shocked me.
Human Dignity is Violable: ?: Is democracy truly fair for all of the people, or does it always seem to favor a side? !: I had no clue that the Nazis ruled for 12 years! What were the worst years of the Nazi regime, and where would say the peak was?
Everyone Talks About the Weather… ?: How aware are we on what is happening in the world around us? This piece seems to say that we are very ignorant. !: All women in any sort of wartime effort deserve so much more appreciation than they recieve.
Women in the SDS: Acting on Their Own: ?: The women just wanted to be left in peace, so why bother them?? !: It seems like everything a woman did these days was wrong- they could never get anything right.
Columism: ?: What did it mean to be a communist in Germany in the 1950s-60s (since it was outlawed in ’56)? !: I know that this thought sounds crazy… but why outlaw the thought of communism? In a democracy- everyone has the right of freedom of speech. While the democracy decided on NO COMMUNISM, that does not mean that a person cannot still believe in it? They were getting punished for their own thoughts- which does not seem right to me.
The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum: ?: I am still really confused on what Katharina did wrong? Was she arrested for knowing Ludwig? Having sex with him? Stealing? Please enlighten me. !: I am so surprised how objectified women are in the media during this time. In the 1970s in America, women were having free sex all the time and not getting in trouble. Why in Germany?
Baader-Meinhof Komplex: ?: What exactly was the RAF in detail, and in the end- what happened to them and what was their final mission? !: I mean… major bad ass energy. That is all I have to say. That takes major guts, and I had no idea this was happening. Incredible.
While reading both translations, I came to the conclusion that I liked Anderson’s better because of the emotion he puts into it. It is much more raw and to the point, so you really understand the depressing message he is trying to convey. Thomas’s piece is much more poetic. While it is pretty, I feel that it contains less emotion and that depressing factor that Anderson’s has, which makes one understand the time period better.
In my AT group, Gwen also agreed with me that she liked Anderson’s better. Her argument also referred back to the emotional scales the two pieces have. The rest of the group seemed to agree to her claim. While Thomas’s poetic words flowed really nicely, it does not match up to the rawness of Anderson’s narrative.
The Bryan Stevenson talk a couple of weeks ago was incredibly moving and beyond inspiring. He had my attention at every second, and he is easily the best speaker I have ever heard.
The one point that really stuck out to me was the one about proximity. Stevenson was absolutely correct when he said that we need to get out of our comfort zone and help those who we do not see everyday. However, Michaela made a great point in another class we have together (Race, Gender, Migration (German 351)). She said that we cannot make a difference in the world unless we fix our own community first. There are plenty of things to do around your own community, and that is a good place to start if you want to make some sort of a larger difference.
To be quite honest, there is not much I am doing right now to be making a difference. Besides learning the history of racism in some of my classes, I would say that I am not being very productive in changing the way we view race in our country. Even at Davidson, our school is still very segregated, and people usually tend to stick to members of their own race.
To “change the world,” we need to step outside of our comfort zone and actually deal with the worldwide phenomenon which is racism. It can be hard to accept the fact that you may be more comfortable being around people that are more like you, everyone is, but the only way to expand your mind and the minds of others is to do something you are not comfortable with.
In this world, we need to change the idea that staying only within your comfort zone is okay. The best way to learn how to appreciate our world and culture is to delve into others. If one only spends time with someone they are familiar with or never leaves the comfort of their familiarity, they will never grow as a person or learn to appreciate what our world has to offer.
At the David Shneer lecture last Thursday afternoon, I learned some more interesting things about his time and his studies with Soviet Jew photography. I wrote down a couple quotes and anecdotes that really stuck out to me during the lecture.
- I knew that Jews had to give up their glasses once they arrived in the concentration camps, but it never resonated with me that they really could not SEE. Some of them could not see properly until they were out of the camps, or if they were killed in the camps, could not properly see for the rest of their lives. Some of those in the camps never had a clear vision of what they were going through.
- “Those sentenced to death were forced to dig their own graves.” Could you imagine digging your own grave? Carving the hole where your body will lay for the rest of eternity? That is possibly one of the scariest things one could ever think of.
- Shneer talked about grief photographs, and how they shaped a lot of people’s visions and perceptions of the war.
- During the question section, fellow humster Alec Stimac asked a question about what David Shneer thought about this certain Susan Sontag quote, “There is no war without photography.” I can so see how this quote can be true (even though there were wars before photography was invented- yet there are tons of pieces of art which depict the horrors of war) and how this could shape a lot of his research.
(!)- “There is a moral trap which comes through the insight into a man’s loneliness: it tempts one to sit back, complacent in one’s unique tragedy, and let others go without a meal.” page 7 This quote really stuck out to me because it helped me understand those who are depressed and feel like they have no one. Reading this aided me in understanding the struggles and worries of some of my friends who suffer from depression or feel as if they are lonely.
(?)- “That total incomprehension gives, much more, pervasiley than we realise, living it, an unscientific flavor to the whole “traditional” culture, and that unscientific flavor is often, much more than we admit, on the point of turning anti-scientific.” page 11 This quote confused me because I am not so sure what it is saying. Is it claiming that things we do not usually associate with science are more closely affiliated than we think? This is a section of the text I want to unpack and think more deeply about. Everything does a science to it, so what are some examples that we do not think about?? (art, dance, history, literature?)
theories I recognized: Quantum theory, Second Law of Thermodynamics, Evolution by Natural Selection, Plate Tectonic theory, the Mathematical Tripos theory, Einstein’s theory of Relativity, and Radioactivity.
Experiments I recognized: Pavlov’s classical conditioning andRobert Millikan’s oil drop experiment.
In the documentary, “Ethnic Notions,” I decided to pay close attention to the section we already watched in class, about the minstrel shows, which proposed these observations:
Why would members of the black population humiliate and demote their status to one of complete degradation? They were not enslaved when these films were shot- and were not forced to do this… so why get volunteer yourself to publically demote your status like that?
These shows were described as a “doorway to opportunity.” What is this opportunity? One to get out of hunger, or an opportunity to plummet your status lower than it already is?
Minstrel shows were continued to be performed until the late 1970s. People could even consider other things to be compared to minstrel shows today. This awful and depressing history could still be continuing.
“America is a society without any palpable relation to history, a society particularly ahistorical when it assumes it is ultra-historical.”- Birns
I do not understand how our society is “ahistorical.” We look at our past everyday, and that has influences the present. What am I not grasping?
I personally thought the Schneider reading was repetitive, and not as revolutionary as I was expecting it to be. To me, the passage seemed to be “trying too hard,” to make a subject sound more deep and obscure and abstract than it actually is.
“Indeed, remains become themselves through disappearance as well.”- 104
This afternoon, I went to see the play, “Macbeth”, which featured some of the humanities community in the cast and crew. I read Macbeth in high school, but it was cool to see it being performed in real life. As someone who worked with technical theatre in high school, I payed close attention to the tiny details that can make a show even more spectacular. One of my favorite details about the show was the repetition of certain themes and the foreshadowing. As Lady Macbeth progressed deeper into madness, her costume changed from black to red, which symbolized her decent into the madness. I also enjoyed the trapdoors that were incorporated into the set, which added to the spookiness and eeriness of the show. I also thoroughly enjoyed the lighting design of the show, and especially liked how some lighting represented madness and some represented the weird sisters, etc. Macbeth is a difficult show to pull off due to the fact that it contains so many meticulous details, but I think the theatre department did a beautiful job.