Akhmatova Translation Discussion – Peter Rock

The rhyming in the Anderson translation suggests a translation that prioritizes rhyming the translated words, possibly changing the choices made by the translator. Anderson’s translation’s use of poetic language and rhyming suggests that the focus of his translation was to convey the poetic value of the original. Thomas’s translation seemed much choppier, suggesting a more direct translation of words and not rhyme or poetic nature.

!: I didn’t know Stalin was a poet

?: Does persecution of writers lead to more honest and perceptive work?

Unit 6 Assignment 2 Peter Rock

!: People are naturally alone and unhappy, on page 6 Snow expresses a belief shared with scientists that “each of us is alone: sometimes we escape from solitariness, through love or affection or perhaps creative moments, but those triumphs of life are pools of light we make for ourself while the edge of the road is black.” This expresses a belief that people are naturally alone and sad. Any happiness a person experiences is a brief respite from a bleak life.

?: Does Snow quote a scientist accusing great poets and authors of contributing to the Holocaust? On page 7, Snow mentions several famous writers including Nobel Prize winning poet William Butler Yeats and asks: “Didn’t the influence of all they represent bring Auschwitz that much nearer?” This is odd, as it does not provide much explanation of how these writers were in any way evil, even a sort of evil that is banal.

Top 10 Scientific Theories:

  • General Relativity, Albert Einstein, 1915
  • Evolution by Natural Selection, Charles Darwin, 1859

Top 10 Scientific Experiments:

  • Pavlov’s Dogs

Unit 6 Assignment “Ethnic Notions” Peter Rock

!: Black people were often portrayed in popular media in full uniform and smiling, or portrayed as dancing constantly including during slave auctions. Through this dancing, it was meant to be understood that black people were indifferent to poverty and subservience. This portrayal painted a picture of “happy servants” used by slave owners and supporters of slavery to justify racial injustice and to paint a picture of racial difference.

?: Cartoons played a major role in painting a picture of racial and difference and obscuring the similarities between white people and people of color. How does cartoon still perpetuate racist stereotypes and issues of racism in today’s media?

Campus Event Commentary Peter Rock

Last night I attended the Bryan Stevenson lecture. Mr. Stevenson spoke incredibly well, and made several points that resonated with me. The goal of the lecture was to provide students with ideas and information that could not only help them confront and understand racial injustice, but to move forward and counteract racism’s harmful effects. Mr. Stevenson’s first point was to become proximate. The idea behind this is you cannot work against ideas and institutions if you do not confront them personally. You cannot help people that you do not understand or interact with. The second point was that the narrative surrounding race that currently exists in America needs to be changed. The trope that there is a difference between white people and nonwhite people started as a justification for slavery and has existed in America ever since. Americans must work to change this narrative to begin moving forward. The third point was that people must remain hopeful in dark times. It is easy to be cynical and give up, but having hope is our only chance to create change. Mr. Stevenson’s fourth and final claim was that to move forward you have to be ready to put yourself in uncomfortable positions. It’s necessary to say and do things that feel uncomfortable. The comfort that we experience in our lives has been made possible by a system of inequality. To confront this, we have to have conversations about difficult topics and put ourselves in situations that may feel unnatural or challenging. One of the most powerful quotes in the lecture, a quote that is also used in Just Mercy, is as follows: “I believe that the opposite of poverty is not wealth, but rather the opposite of poverty is justice”. I think that this was a super important part of Mr. Stevenson’s lecture. This quote is an important reminder that conflating wealth with justice is unproductive. American ideals of capitalism functioning as a perfect system may be clouding, in this case, solutions that could help impoverished people and those suffering from injustice.

Unit 5, Post 1 Peter Rock


! – History can be understood through performance, and it is important that this understanding is separated from ideals of archival history, “If echoes , or in the performance troupe Spiderwoman’s words ‘reverberations’, resound off of lived experience, such as performance, then we are challenged to think beyond the ways in which performance seems, according to our habituation to the archive, to disappear” (106)

? – Archival history is patriarchal and limits modern understanding of history, how can this be modified to include performance and redefine archival history? “No-one, Derrida notes, has shown more ably than Freud how the archival drive, which he labels a ‘paternal and patriarchic principle’, is both patriarchal and parricidic” (104)


! – Performance and the body act as historical communication in ways that are entirely unique and important in remembrance of the past “the body serves as a distilled history” (19)

? – How can we consider history in our everyday lives, breaking it down in smaller parts as opposed to taking off big chunks once in a while? “Artists have long struggled with the challenge of bringing history into their works, without that history being undigested or monumental. Lemon’s work is a model for how art can register the burden of history without claiming a bogus historical self-importance” (22).

Peter Rock Unit 4 Assignment 2

I selected page 48 to examine closely. This page comes after a bus with freedom riders is attacked upon arrival in Birmingham. The use of art on this page helps the reader appreciate the events and power that allowed the bus to be attacked even though the police were informed that the freedom riders would be arriving. The page is set up to give the impression of watching a television interview. the police chief is introduced in the second panel. The second and fourth panels both show the police chief’s face, framed in the same shape as the television screen. These shots are zoomed in closer and closer. The fifth panel shows the police chief the closest yet, with text over his eyes. At no point can you see the police chief’s eyes through his glasses. Adding to this, he is given the nickname “bull”. This gives the impression that his presence is inhuman and detached. The text tells that even the governor fears him. The third panel, the final text on the page, and the bottom third of the background on this page are darkened. This gives the impression that the police chief is a dark, cruel figure. The third panel shows a man with a satisfied face committing an act of violence from the perspective of the victim. There is a dark cloud in the background. The final text on the page explains to the reader that the police chief gave the KKK 15 minutes with the bus before making arrests. He wrote it off as giving officers time off for mother’s day. The sinister facial expressions and the clouding of his eyes make this statement even colder. This page stuck with me in large part because of the severity and intensifying nature of the art. The use of the zoom-in on the police chief and increased use of darkness painted a vivid picture of the effect that police violence had on the anti freedom rider violence. Racist police forces amplified the violence and hatred that the freedom riders faced. The only legal authority in many of the towns, not just Birmingham, where the riders stopped actively disobeyed the law. Police allowed violent acts to be committed, often times initiating violence. This is communicated clearly and unflinchingly on this page. The line “Everyone was afraid of him- even the governor” particularly stuck with me. This line, coupled with the stern, blank, cold expression of the police chief communicated more than just words could.

Unit 4 Assignment 1 Peter Rock

Mary Church Terrell was a women’s civil rights and suffrage activist. She became an activist following the lynching of a friend of hers in 1892. Terrell focused her work on achieving suffrage for black women. Terrell placed an emphasis on the difficulty of being not only a person of color, but a woman of color. Terrell was a founder and became the first president of the NACW (National Association of Colored Women). Terrell believed that universal suffrage would be a huge achievement for women of color. Following the passing of the 19th amendment, Terrell broadened her activism to encompass all civil rights issues. Terrell sometimes joined Ida B. Wells in anti lynching campaigns.

Ida B. Wells was a civil rights activist who worked to eradicate lynching. Wells was a founder of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). Wells, like Terrell, placed an emphasis on improving treatment of women of color. Wells focused much of her activism on reporting on lynching. Wells was often shunned by women’s suffrage organizations due to her journalism and anti-lynching activism.

Wells especially used statistics and data to prove that black men were being lynched as a response to alleged crimes they had committed. Wells worked hard to report on this issue and show that lynching was being used to reinforce and continue a system of white supremacy. Both Wells and Terrell worked hard to increase suffrage and ensure that information about racism was represented accurately. Through these avenues, both hoped that violence against people of color would diminish.

Rock Peter Campus Event 3

This past weekend I went to Macbeth. I haven’t read Macbeth and hadn’t seen any interpretation of it. I went with someone who has read it, so I had a general concept of the plot and the main themes of the play. I experienced some difficulty in understanding the specifics of the plot in large part because Shakespeare’s language is much different from conversational English, and hearing it in real time makes it more difficult to follow than reading it. However, the strong acting and expressiveness made it a very enjoyable show. Having only seen this interpretation of Macbeth, I was very interested in the role the weird sisters played. It seemed almost as if they were simply a hallucination, or figment of Macbeth’s imagination. Macbeth became power crazed early in the show, unable to act as a virtuous king and instead trying to guarantee his power lasted. It seemed to me that Macbeth became very insecure in his title and became highly paranoid of the people he previously trusted. As a result he believed he was seeing three witches, predicting the future and helping him maintain the kingship. However, the results of the future happened only because of Macbeth’s brash actions. While I don’t think this is a correct interpretation of the show, I thought it was an interesting watching that was made possible by good acting on the part of the witches and the vivid nature of the scenes in which Macbeth is the only person in the room that can see corpses/the witches.

Unit 3 Assignment 3 Peter Rock

The main point of connection in these two sections of the texts is the discourse on onlookers interacting with violent events. There’s a passage in the Gourevitch reading in which Gourevitch discusses visiting the Holocaust memorial museum during the time in which the genocide in Rwanda was happening. Gourevitch notes that many employees wore buttons saying “Remember” and “Never Again” (152). Gourevitch looks up from a newspaper containing pictures of corpses and wonders if people are ill informed or are simply refusing to accept that another genocide is occurring. Sontag notes that “Generally, the grievously injured bodies shown in published photographs are from Asia or Africa. This journalistic custom inherits the centuries-old practice of exhibiting exotic–that is, colonized–human beings” (72). People, especially in America, are quick to express sympathy and engage with acts of violence and genocide when the victims are white. However, one issue and cause of the denial that what happened in Rwanda was genocide was the race of the victims. The event was written off as a crisis and issue of civil unrest. “Never Again” stretches farther than white victims, and these books help uncover that.

Unit 3 Assignment 2 Peter Rock

Chapter 1 Paragraph: This chapter explores different uses and interpretations of war photography, and more broadly photography depicting violence and pain. Sontag delves into different uses of war photography, such as informing people, deterring governments and citizens from allowing war to happen and forcing people to learn about war. However, Sontag notes that these uses do not always have the intended result. It is common for the intended audience of photography depicting violence to view the photography through a narrow lens. Pictures meant to act as a deterrent may be seen as artful by people that are not opposed to war. They may be interpreted simply as a part of history by people hoping to learn from the photographs, and fail to inspire action or critical thought. A danger of this type of photography is that the reaction it incurs may seem grand to those reacting, and they may miss out on the idea that the photograph is simply a microcosm of a larger epidemic of war. 

Chapter 1 Sentence: Regarding photography depicting horror, there is often a disparity not only between the intentions of a photographer and the consumer interpretation, but also between the various interpretations of consumers.

Chapter 6 Paragraph: People are drawn to images of violence. Often times, people know that it is frowned upon to enjoy looking upon images of violence and war, and this makes it all the more compelling to do so. Images of violence can seem fascinatingly shocking, and oftentimes provide the viewer with the satisfaction of not being the one harmed. People are indifferent to cruelty, even relish cruelty as long as it is happening to others and not to themselves. People may be upset by or shocked by violent images, but as long as they are not the subjects or potential subjects of violence they may have no further reaction. 

Chapter 6 Sentence: People enjoy viewing shocking photography and revel in the fact that they can observe it from a distance.

Chapter 8 Paragraph: It is regressive to be surprised every time you see an image depicting violence or horror. Acting shocked that violence and horror occurs and is perpetrated by people fails to acknowledge the frequency and scale on which violence happens. It is important to remember violent events that occurred, but it is equally important to critically think about those events and the implications they have on humanity and what people are capable of. No, photography is not a perfect way to interact with violence, and no it does not always help solve problems. But it is also unrealistic to have a solution that causes direct and immediate change, and in the meantime interacting with photography and thinking critically about it is productive. 

Chapter 8 Sentence: Being surprised by violent photography wastes time that could be spent thinking critically about the implications of the photography.

Peter Rock Unit 3 Passport Assignment

I think this project was very interesting. Going into it, I thought mostly about what the implications of having a non American passports in the context of trying to enter America. I did not consider enough the implications of having a passport and citizenship from a country that is in itself restrictive. I drew Laos as my country. I did not know this, but Laos is restrictive regarding allowance of protesting and and right to assembly. Having a passport from Laos implies a different level of liberty from that of an American passport.

Unit 3 Assignment 1 Peter Rock

  • Believed that Jews assimilating into society meant Jews had to assimilate into Anti-semitism
  • Believes evil is the absence of good, and can never be grandiose in the way that goodness can
  • https://www.csmonitor.com/1982/0602/060201.html
  • In Origins of Totalitarianism Arendt discusses the “grotesque disparity between cause and effect [of totalitarianism]”
  • Arendt talks about alienation and the rift that dispossession and disenfranchisement create
  • The mob mentality created by resentment and fear can result in acts of evil that are felt by no particular person in the mob
  • https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/12/17/how-hannah-arendts-classic-work/
  • Eichmann was hanged following the trial in Jerusalem
  • Was a traveling salesman before becoming a Nazi
  • Was just doing a job as a part of a bureaucracy
  • Claimed his innocence and lack of evil feelings during his trial. Said he was not anti-semitic or particularly interested in violence.
  • https://www.britannica.com/biography/Adolf-Eichmann

Rock Peter Campus Event 2

Baik Art Residency: Yesterday I had the opportunity to go to the opening of the Baik Art Residency at the VAC. The most interesting aspect of this for me was listening to Jagath Weerasinghe explain the art he was working on in the gallery. The theme for this residency is borders. Weerasinghe spoke about the idea that the two times in which people allow strangers to touch them is at the doctor and at borders. He spoke about the ideas of autonomy, and how you are never a complete self when you cross a border. Humans are never finished, always working and improving. Similar to art, which is never finished. Weerasinghe compared this to the Myth of Sisyphus, the man in Greek Mythology that, in the afterlife, has to push a boulder to the top of a hill only to let it roll back down. Weerasinghe said this is also like love. Every time you fall in love it is new, and every heartbreak is heartbreaking. Experience does not make life easier. This stream of consciousness was interesting to me. It felt like an insight into Weerasinghe’s artistic process. My takeaway was that life is interconnected, and finding similarities and continuities can make life more interesting.