Sadie Blackshear Unit 8 Assignment 1

The Baader-Meinhof Complex

!: I learned about Meinhof and the RAF in AP European History, but I didn’t remember that until the scene where they were being force fed raw eggs while on hunger strike.

?: The ending became very jumbled to me and I didn’t quite understand what happened. I think too many new characters were being introduced.

The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum

!: The lingering threat of sexual violence for Katharina left me feeling very anxious.

?: I’m not sure that I understand this movie. I feel as though I should have read more about it before watching. The attacking of slander in the press and critiquing “freedom” of the press is apparent, but what was the BILD-Zeitung?

Ulrike Meinhof Readings

“Shadows of the Summit Pointing West” p101

!: Conservative policy in England in the 1960s involved arms reduction.

?: Meinhof keeps writing “since Camp David” but the only thing that comes to mind for me is the Camp David Accords, which took place under Jimmy Carter in the late 70s. What is she talking about?

“Hitler Within You” p138

!: “The only possible response to Anti-Semitism is the rejection of every kind of political terror that administrative powers can impose on those who think differently, those who believe differently, those who feel differently.” p141

?: What does she mean by (lack of) resistance against National Socialism–isn’t she in support of that? Why would she include “lack of”?

“Everybody Talks About the Weather” p184

!: The police’s use of force during the Shah’s visit made the student protestors realize that money and terror were tied between Germany & Iran (Germany protecting Iran’s terror to facilitate capital) and that “opposition…in the metropolitan centers… and the opposition in the Third World countries must work together.” p184

?: I don’t understand how the RAF facilitated travel between Germany and Iran for underground training, although this is an apparent tie with the movie.

“Women in the SDS: Acting on Their Own Behalf” p209

!: The men did not feel at fault or targeted in the tomato incident.

?: How did the women organize themselves after realizing that the SDS was of no use to them?

“From Protest to Resistance” p239

!: Meinhof took inspiration from the Black Power movement.

?: What draws the line between counter-violence and violence?

Sadie Blackshear Unit 7 Assignment 1

Akhmatova’s Requiem Translation: Anderson vs. Thomas

The consensus that my AT group came to is that the Thomas translation, albeit more harsh and biting, conveys the emotion and pain present in the poems more lucidly. Personally, I preferred the Anderson translation when I read the poems because it was more accessible and understandable. I appreciate the cadence of Thomas more, as it retains the rhyme, but in my current state of being in which it’s hard to sit down and read academic jargon for long periods of time, the Anderson was much easier to understand. Furthermore, I appreciate the accessibility of language because it allows people outside of academia to read, process, and enjoy the series of poems.

Sadie Blackshear Unit 6 Assignment 2

!: “The total incomprehension [of science by literary intellectuals] gives […] an unscientific flavor to the whole ‘traditional’ culture.” pg. 11

This quotation struck me because I am one hundred percent guilty of this complete incomprehension that leads to the unscientific, then anti-scientific, tinge of our society. I had never before considered how non-inclusive of science our society is in regards to name recognition and understanding the nitty-gritty of how things work. Everyone is required to go through classes that involve deep analyses of various famous writers, but, at least in my experience, it is possible to slide by in a science class without fully grasping why things happen or who is responsible for what. I instinctively define myself as “not much of a STEM person,” even when I am fully capable of understanding it if I put in the work, thus shutting me off from many avenues of learning.

?: “Most of our fellow human beings […] are underfed and die before their time.” pg. 7

This quotation of Snow threw me off because his definition of the social condition (as opposed to the human condition) is unclear. Is he implying that the social condition is that people are “underfed” intellectually, and must strive to broaden their minds to live a fulfilling life? Is he suggesting that literal starvation and lack of access to food are not being as prioritized as they should be because Academia is taking the attention of intellectuals? Is he implying that we, as a society, in dividing ourselves between the two cultures are not helping each other because of our division and therefore not reaching our full potential?

Recognized Theories:

  1. Game theory – John Nash (John von Neumann & Oskar Morgenstern)
  2. Plate tectonics (Alfred Wegener & J. Tuzo Wilson)
  3. General relativity – Albert Einstein
  4. Quantum theory – Max Planck & Albert Einstein (Niels Bohr*, Werner Heisenberg*, Erwin Schrödinger*, Max Born, Paul Dirac)
    • *=familiar? probably just from Breaking Bad though
  5. Evolution by natural selection – Charles Darwin
  6. Heliocentrism – Copernicus

Recognized Experiments:

  1. William Harvey (Discovery of blood circulation)
  2. Rules of genetic inheritance – Gregor Mendel
  3. Nature of color & light – Isaac Newton
  4. Radioactivity – Marie Curie
  5. Conditioned reflexes – Ivan Pavlov
  6. Wavelike nature of light and electrons (Young, Davisson, and Germer)

*It should be noted that I definitely could not identify every person who conducted these experiments or crafted these theories or vice versa; I just have a simple recognition of either the occurrence or the names. I clarified which I recognized by placing the unknown info in parentheses.

Also, I think that C.P. Snow’s “Two Cultures” is a transcript of a lecture in this format.

Sadie Blackshear Unit 6 Assignment 1

Ethnic Notions

!: I find it interesting that one of the justifications of black people as inherently subordinate to white people is that the black Mammy figure did not fit into the traditional Western domestic sphere mold. Because she was portrayed as more powerful and in control than the man of the family, people argued that black people as a whole are backwards because their “norms” were backwards. One example they provided was how the Mammy was not only the loving, docile houseworker but also the administrator of punishment for the children. Because the man was not administering the beatings, he was weak while the Mammy was strong. Also, I found it really interesting how the Mammy challenged gender norms of the time further by being an asexual being and ugly rather than being the ideal beautiful, fragile, and dependent woman. She was used as a double edged sword to justify both racism and sexism because she, as a concept, was the opposite of what society expected from a woman.

?: If Mammy was asexual, how did minstrels justify the existence of children? Additionally, I am mildly surprised that there was not a portrayal of a sexual black woman. Would she pose a threat to the justification of slavery because she would be too clear of a target for slave masters “lead astray”? Would she expose racism as superficial through their attraction? How did those who lived in the South and had first hand experiences with black people still manage to watch minstrel shows and take it as fact?

Sadie Blackshear Unit 5 Assignment 1

Schneider

! : The archives are inherently racialized and class-discriminatory because of the Western assumption that “orature, storytelling, visitation, improvisation, […and] embodied ritual practice […are] primitive, popular, folk [and] naive” (102) and therefore not worthy of inclusion.

? : If performance is not the presence of “remains” but rather the “missed encounter, […the] reverberations of the overlooked, the missed, the repressed, [and] the seemingly forgotten,” (104), does performance studies validate memory as a means of preservation? Or does it simply provide a skeleton for historicizing the uncapturable?

Birns

! : “The ultra-historicism of official memorials make us assume that the past is finished, when we still have the power to construct it” (22). Without a critical eye and the belief that each revisitation to a subject or event is an “iteration,” we risk falling into complacency in regards to the established constructs of the past.

? : If what we consider cemented “historical experiences” are “in fact still taking place” (22), can we ever make a claim about the past with any definite certainty? Can we truly teach a strongly structured curriculum, or would it be better to present what we know but encourage further investigation? How is this best explained to the youth?

Sadie Blackshear Unit 4 Assignment 1

Mary Church Terrell

Mary Church Terrell was a charter member of the NAACP and the first president of the NACW. She was earned her master’s degree in education and taught at two schools. Her career in activism sparked when one of her friends was lynched, and she joined Ida B. Wells in fighting mob violence. Terrell focused on “racial uplift” to resolve anti-black violence, similarly to DuBois, which was the idea that if the race as a whole improved their social standing, education, and work ethic, then they would garner more respect. She also believed that the success of one black person positively reflected on their race as a whole. She joined the Colored Women’s League to help educated black women “lift” themselves outside of a church setting. Additionally, Terrell helped end segregation in dining facilities and largely contributed to the precedent set for Brown v. Board of Education through her activism.

Ida B. Wells

Born into slavery, Ida B. Wells was freed by the Emancipation Proclamation. Wells merged the concepts of racial uplift and religion into her activism. She believed that it was immoral for any Christian to deny civil rights to black people, because justice of all forms is intrinsic to Christian ideals. Wells was a journalist that could not and would not be silenced despite numerous threats and endless persecution. She also worked as a teacher in a segregated school, but after she publicly criticized the condition of the school, she was fired. After publishing an article against lynching, she was purged from Memphis by a mob that destroyed her property and she was “recommended” to find exile. She moved to Chicago, married a famous activist lawyer, and ran her own newspaper in which she could publish as she pleased. Wells was also a founding member of the NAACP, but unlike Terrell, she is not credited as a chartering member, despite having been there at the time. She eventually cut ties with the NAACP because she felt it was not rooted enough in action-based resolutions. Wells used her position as a journalist as an outlet for her activism, writing to critique the World’s Columbian Exposition and lynchings, among other topics. She led a protest at the White House for anti-lynching.

Overlap

Both women, while advocating racial uplift and anti-lynching campaigns, also contributed to the suffragette movement on the behalf of all women. They strived to make the movement intersectional and called upon women whose activism only favored themselves and provoked them to consider the larger picture.

Raymond Santana: The Exonerated Five

Raymond Santana graciously visited Davidson to speak about his experiences in being wrongfully accused, convicted, and continually doubted even following his exoneration. He spoke of the injustices he faced in 1989 as a fourteen year old boy. Many of his doubters asked him, “How do you confess to things you didn’t do?” He sees this questions as largely dismissive of the reality they faced. He was questioned along with Yusef, Antron, Korey, and Kevin for approximately thirty hours on end with no sleep and no food or water to sustain his body. Additionally, the power dynamic created a fear of the unknown within him because he was not educated on his rights. The interrogators removed all safety and familiarity from the boys’ surroundings by isolating them in questioning rooms without their families for hours on end until the boys finally cracked in hopes of being anywhere but the room they were stuck sitting in. This created a seed of desperateness within the boys that the interrogators fed on by crafting a “good cop bad cop” dynamic to coerce the boys into lying to a savior figure and creating a fed-fact testimony that the boys themselves did not write. No other evidence surfaced against the Exonerated Five aside from their coerced testimonies, but nonetheless the policemen continued to “shove a square peg in a round hole” to close the case.

After years of injustice and then finally being exonerated, the previously incarcerated are left with the question: how do you reclaim your life? Santana believes that you need to not only tell your story, but also dig for a deeper underlying truth. Investing time and love into the youth in order to mold them into considerate leaders and makers of change is Santana’s vision for changing the system from within. He argues that we must plant seeds of strength in our children because even if we cannot sit under the shade of their trees, somebody will reap the benefits.

Common Ground: Microaggressions Panel

Common Ground is an organization of affinity groups formed to spark discussions within the Davidson community, such as #ITooAmDavidson in the past.

Microaggressions:

  1. Are often not intended to be harmful
  2. Gain power from their cumulative effect (similarly to mosquito bites)
  3. Usually communicate a larger social message

Despite lack of mal-intentions, there’s no reversal for your actions. Microaggressions can easily, and often do, come from parents and friends. They’re usually far from being the first or last, as well; through time, they become less “micro” and more “macro.”

The best thing you can do when you witness a microaggression is to acknowledge it. Call it out for what it is. Don’t alienate, but rather correct ignorance of what may have been intended as a compliment or a joke. Cancel culture is not an effective remedy; finding resolutions is much more important.

To prevent microaggressions, research consistent modes of oppression and be mindful in what you say and do.

We mustn’t hate each other for how our parents treated each other; instead, we must grow and form a more mindful society. In response to those that say “you can’t fight stupid,” Uyen rightfully replied that “everyone is capable of learning.”

Don’t be afraid to spread your thoughts and opinions, but be willing to be corrected. You don’t accept another person’s humanity if you do not acknowledge the ways in which they have been oppressed, systematically or otherwise. However, it is important to note that it should not be the sole responsibility of the minority to justify their own humanity. Herein lies the importance of allyship. Expose the embedment of racism. Speak out when you see or hear injustice. Fight for what is right. Recognize that your commonalities do not equal shared experience; it is not a fight for who hurts more.

Sadie Blackshear Unit 3 Assignment 3

The excerpt about dogs eating the massacred Tutsis, on page 148 of Gourevitch’s We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families, neatly ties into Sontag’s Regarding the Pain of Others. After asking about the curious lack of dogs in Rwanda, he receives the general consensus of what happened to the population. One person tells Gourevitch that the dogs were preserved on film, and he morbidly describes the many videos he subjected himself to. He describes horribly explicit videos, and it makes me think of what Sontag had to say about press coverage and censorship for images of a country’s citizens versus images of “exotic” postcolonial locations (pg 71). She notes that though in America, for example, oftentimes in mainstream media photos of Americans in war have shrouded or hidden faces, “this is a dignity not thought necessary to accord to others.” The media is much more likely to willingly expose in plain sight the identities of individuals who are seemingly locked into a life that is “inevitable” for their “benighted or backward” (code words for impoverished) country. People see images such as those of dogs savagely feasting on rotting corpses and think, “How terrible that that is happening,” and they may even feel sympathy, but there is no action taken from these feelings that show proper empathy as Sontag sees it. The UN peacekeepers in Rwanda at the time had not intervened in any of the killing of Tutsis and Hutus by the Hutu Power party, and yet they found it a “health problem” to allow the dogs to live and eat the dead bodies that remained. This reaction is twisted at best, because rather than saving the dying or clearing the bodies, they eliminated the animals that were following their instincts to survive. This brings a question to my mind: during other genocides, were bodies left were they fell as they were in Rwanda? Did peacekeepers find it necessary to exterminate an entire animal population from countries in which genocides occurred in order to avoid the “health problem” of human flesh being consumed?

Sadie Blackshear Passport

Entering the Make Your Own Passport workshop hosted by visiting artist Tintin Wulian, I did not know what to expect. At the beginning of the workshop, we all were required to draw our assigned country from a jar which is very similar to reality in that we have no control over the determination of our original citizenship. As I sat decorating, sewing, and gluing my passport, those around me that drew “Stateless” from the jar told me real-life stories of individuals that faced this reality. Their stories added to my knowledge of the complexity, diversity, lack of accessibility, and oftentimes discrimination that lies behind citizenship. Truthfully, going into the workshop the only things that I knew about Yemen were its geographic location and its capital city. The process involved me learning much more about the struggles it has faced as a country, and many it continues to face to this day.

The cover of The People’s Republic of Southern Yemen’s passport that I created.
Artist Tintin Wulia’s description of the Make Your Own Passport project and its intents.
A brief history of Yemen’s struggles taken from its Amnesty International country profile.

Sadie Blackshear Unit 3 Assignment 2

1: Sontag considers Woolf’s view of photographs being a way to prevent war as insufficient. She argues that photographs can be interpreted in whatever way in most beneficial to the viewer’s perspective. Photographs stripped of their context and caption can be twisted to mean something completely opposite of the photographer’s intentions. People rally behind violent pictures, arguing that they are cause to never fight again only to slip back into a war-state a year later. There is privilege in being able to ignore what may be happening in an image as opposed to actually having to live in the reality in which it was taken.

Single liner: Question whose pictures are not being shared.

6: There exists a gray space in capability for violence and brutality. One can be extremely sympathetic or incredibly apathetic and still reserve the same capability for destruction. Being appalled by something does not mean that one lacks the ability to commit something akin to it. There is a perverted desire within humans to look at tragedy and acknowledge how glad they are that it didn’t happen to themselves. Passivity is the true killer.

Single liner: Inability to empathize with a situation different from one’s own is not equivalent to a complete succumbing to despair.

8: Indignation is no more effective than compassion. It is not a deficit to not feel the pain of the people in the pictures or make a move to stop looking at the images because they are easier to ignore than confront. Conversely, images are merely an invitation to begin relieving some of our ignorance; they will never fully fix it. They intend to provoke conversation and consideration. They prompt us to ask questions. Though we can always stop watching (in person or through technology), we can never stop hearing. This may be a key disparity.

Single liner: Images command us, “Don’t forget, and think of it often; not only when it is convenient to.”

Sadie Blackshear Unit 3 Assignment 1

Hannah Arendt — Banality of Evil

  • Immensity of Eichmann’s crimes and the ordinariness of the man.
  • Insisted he was a Zionist and seek understanding from his Jewish interrogators in Israel but was responsible for transporting millions
  • Fervent, relentless dedication to the Nazi movement.
  • Eichmann feared “to live a leaderless and difficult individual life,” in which “I would receive no directives from anybody.”
  • He found in the Nazi movement a sense of importance.
  • Desire to prove himself meaningful rendered him unable to think clearly
  • https://hac.bard.edu/about/hannaharendt

Banal definition?

Criticism

Hannah Arendt — The Origins of Totalitarianism

  • Culminates in a vivid account of the system of concentration and death camps that Arendt believed defined totalitarian rule
  • Set of fundamental questions about how tyranny can arise and the dangerous forms of inhumanity to which it can lead
  • Origins of totalitarianism, not explaining its “causes”
  • Freedom is fragile, and when sensationalist demagogues speak, and others start following them, it is wise to pay attention
  • “Grotesque disparity between cause and effect”
  • Central condition of the rise of totalitarianism was a crisis in the functioning and the legitimacy of party politics and of parliamentary government
  • https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/12/17/how-hannah-arendts-classic-work/

Adolf Eichmann

  • Traveling salesman, lost job in depression
  • Joined Nazi party April 1932 & rose in the hierarchy
  • Joined the terrorist school of the Austrian Legion at Lechfeld, Germany
  • Dealt with “Jewish Affairs” in the Security Service (???)
  • Eichmann was to coordinate the details; thus, although it was not yet generally known that the “final solution” was mass execution, Eichmann had in effect been named chief executioner
  • Organized the identification, assembly, and transportation of Jews from all over occupied Europe to their death sites
  • Became POW to US, but escaped and fled to Argentina
  • Israeli troops captured him in Argentina & smuggled him out of the country for trial (extradition is illegal)
  • Ex post facto justice?
  • He had continued to oversee the deportation of victims but that he sought to keep his distance from the actual killing (supposedly) after hearing the screams
  • Manager who relied on a variety of strategies and tactics to secure scarce cattle cars and other equipment used to deport Jews at a time when equipment shortages threatened the German war effort. He repeatedly devised innovative solutions to overcome obstacles; more than “following orders”
  • https://www.britannica.com/biography/Adolf-Eichmann