Integrative Seminar

02.08.16

Words, like the Self, can be many things simultaneously – they can take on new meanings when the spaces that surround them begin to change – they can morph and alter their shapes.

Today, we looked at the ways in which our Keywords, that are seemingly simple, can come to mean so many different things and with each new meaning they take on new forms and shapes. How can we best use these keywords? What are the keywords that seem closest to our experience of our Selves? The students of the First Year Studies for Integrative Seminar I reimagined these words by sharing their experiences of the keywords, creating tributaries of new and interesting meanings.

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Integrative Seminar

Doris Lessing: Talking the Self

“I was born with skins too few. Or they were scrubbed off me by . . . robust and efficient hands.”

This, the first volume of Doris Lessing’s autobiography, begins with her childhood in Africa and ends on her arrival in London in 1949 with the typescript of her first novel, The Grass Is Singing, in her suitcase.

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Oral Narratives (Sophomore LA)

Talking Voices

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From the Mewar Ramayana

Last week we looked at the ways in which myths are created, the origin of creation myths, the archetypes that exist and persist and the binaries that exist within these narratives. But this is one way to look at the myths that surround us. As these myths begin to cross the borders, both physical and emotional, time and space, we begin to wonder how these stories are disseminated. Continue reading

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Oral Narratives (Sophomore LA)

Talking Myths

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Three Aspects of The Absolute (Mehrangarh Museum Trust, 1823)

One of the first questions we ask ourselves when we read a narrative is ‘who is speaking?’ It is important to establish a voice within the stories that we hear because it is the voice that will determine the ways in which the narrative wants to frame itself. But what about the early myths and creation stories?

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Integrative Seminar, Oral Narratives (Sophomore LA)

Meet Your New Neighbors: An Interview with DW Gibson

How do we tell stories? How do we remember them? D W Gibson explores the narratives of change in city spaces through interviews.

“In cities, trends come, go, and come again; causes rise to prominence, fall by the wayside, and emerge repackaged; neighborhoods flourish or fall out of favor. Condos, cupcake shops, and bike lanes become signifiers; shady buyouts and racist landlords fuel arguments about whether communities are being renewed or decimated.

The word gentrification is in the subtitle of DW Gibson’s most recent oral history, but the author has trouble with it: it’s too broad, he writes, to adequately capture a wide variety of experiences, contexts, and meanings. Several interviewees in his book also seem at odds with the word. One says gentrification doesn’t describe anything in the real world. Another says he doesn’t need to be able to describe it because he knows what it feels like.”

Read the full interview here:

Meet Your New Neighbors: An Interview with DW Gibson

 

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Oral Narratives (Sophomore LA)

Oral Traditions: The Problems of Literacy

This weeks discussions looked at the ideas of literacy and its impact on oral traditions and histories. Drawing from Walter J Ong’s seminal work Orality and Literacy, we discussed the nature of language. By employing language as the tool of communication, the questions that we raise become central to our argument on the nature of oral traditions. In the absence of a written document, how do oral cultures encounter and engage with material? The process of recall and remembering is tied to our ability to create visual material as keys that unlock the box that once belonged to Pandora.

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