June 1, 2013
(David Caselli, 2013)
March 21, 2013
“Functioning in a linear framework finds it’s strength in it’s utility, depth even. However, where it lacks is in its willingness to cast aside, indiscriminately, factors that are not deemed useful to its respective project. It is simply a matter of choosing between the more substantive practice and the less difficult practice. If we are to make progress beyond rhetoric within the American project, and elsewhere, regarding the Seventh Sons (those who deviate from a normative standard, White Male Heterosexual, for example) it will not be a project of ease and utility. It will be an intimate, honest, substantive discussion at the table we have been at, and will be at, for quite a while.”
- Of The Seventh Sons: A Discourse on Development
Mary J. Blige ft. D’Angelo – Paradise
February 17, 2013
“Discussions on the institutional level among individuals with different backgrounds, differing ideologies, and different motivations are necessary, for this is how diversity in thought is brought about. However, as Baldwin implies, what begins to render such discussions problematic is the transcendence into a sphere of ineffectiveness, the illusion of progress often fed by rhetoric which subsequently is affirmed by collective ‘politeness’.
When the “measure of our politeness” becomes a transition, rather, a regression into a way of life and means of interacting with others that consists of hypocrisy that rarely involves substantive discourse and practice, our “politeness” is all we have. Baldwin’s argument is one that is reasonable, practical, and ultimately constructive in that it allows room for equitable human relations no longer bound to the confines of rhetoric and abstraction by civilized women and men who have failed to consider the very real consequences of their negligence to assess themselves individually.”
MeLo-X – Heartbeat (Quadron Remix)
January 24, 2013
Here, among many places, we can see the influence on Foucault - insofar as the framework, not substance is concerned (Yet).
“If the morality of ‘thou shalt not lie’ is rejected, the ‘sense for truth’ will have to legitimize itself before another tribunal: as a means of the preservation of man, as the will to power.
Likewise our love of the beautiful: it is also our shaping will. The two senses side-by-side; the sense for real is the means of acquiring the power to shape things according to our wish. The joy in shaping and reshaping – a primeval joy! We can comprehend only a world that we ourselves have made.”
- Will to Power, Fragment 495
… we unpacked this fragment from Nietzsche’s Will to Power earlier today, and I found it interesting. What he’s hinting at, and what I can agree with for the most part, is that in order for one to defend their sense of truth – i.e. systems, sets, and perception of reality – one must constantly seek to affirm their reality as a means of survival of the ‘sense for truth’. The only world we have is the one we make, and it must be maintained in order to affirm one’s perception of truth as valid, as expressed through through power in language, art, science, music, etc. What happens when one doesn’t have the means to power?
January 23, 2013
*Photography is courtesy of David Caselli (c) 2013.
January 12, 2013
“When politicians, from Barack Obama all the way down, talk about higher education, they talk almost exclusively about math and science. Indeed, technology creates the future. But it is not enough to create the future. We also need to organize it, as the social sciences enable us to do. We need to make sense of it, as the humanities enable us to do. A system of higher education that ignores the liberal arts, as Jonathan Cole points out in The Great American University (2009), is what they have in China, where they don’t want people to think about other ways to arrange society or other meanings than the authorized ones. A scientific education creates technologists. A liberal arts education creates citizens: people who can think broadly and critically about themselves and the world.”
- William Deresiewicz, “Faulty Towers: The Crisis in Higher Education” The Nation (May 4, 2011)
December 18, 2012
The chief motivating factor of the discourse here is the recent discussion of the issues that lead to te shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. I take no interest in engaging in the polarizing thus fruitless debate of who is to blame, whether it be shooter, mother, guns, etc. Here, in this space, the goal is to inquire upon the essence of our perceptions of masculinity and whiteness. The following is a musing set forth by New York Times opinion blogger and Princeton Assistant Professor, Christy Wampole:
“Young, African-American men are often imagined to be violent on the street, killing one another in gang-related violence or murdering convenience store clerks while trying to empty the cash register. The stereotypical image, even in its wrongheaded reduction of the black man to an inherently violent being, does not leave room for that other kind of murderer, the one who plans and executes a calculated, non-spontaneous large-scale death spree.
The angry white man has usurped the angry black man.
I would argue that maleness and whiteness are commodities in decline. And while those of us who are not male or white have enjoyed some benefits from their decline, the sort of violence and murder that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary will continue to occur if we do not find a way to carry them along with us in our successes rather than leaving them behind.”
To the highlighted notion, I wouldn’t suggest such so surely. The stereotypical image of which Wampole is alluding, though merely a perception, has very real and dangerous manifestations. One need not look too far to the incidents of Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, and Darius Simmons, who were only a few of a great number young men with a similar fate for example. To the notion of color, we sung of freedom and emancipation from Great Britain, yet we never sought – or, more accurately – fought against the very ideas of universal freedom we so adamantly purported. In the 1940′s, we – those who engage and invest in the continuance of the American project – shunned Hitler for his actions of mass genocide with shortsighted dissonance, seldom, if ever, recognizing that his sentiments and practices where a continuance of a Western idealism very much akin to that from which we derive. Let us look to Ernest Renan’s La Refonne intellectuelle et morale, the influence in this regard from the academic mill:
The regeneration of the inferior or degenerate races by the superior races is part of the providential order of things for humanity. With us, the common man is nearly always a declasse nobleman, his heavy hand is better suited to handling the sword than the menial tool. Rather than work, he chooses to fight, that is, he returns to, his first estate. Regere imperio populos, that is our vocation. Pour forth this all-consuming activity onto countries which, like China, are crying aloud for foreign conquest. Turn the adventurers who disturb European society into a ver sacrum, a horde like those of the Franks, the Lombards, or the Normans, and every man will be in his right role. Nature has made a race of workers, the Chinese race, who have wonderful manual dexterity and almost no sense of honor; govern them with justice, levying from them, in return for the blessing of such a government, an ample allowance for the conquering race, and they will be satisfied; a race of tillers of the soil, the Negro; treat him with kindness and humanity, and all will be as it should; a race of masters and soldiers, the European race. Reduce this noble race to working in the ergastulum like Negroes and Chinese, and they rebel. In Europe, every rebel is, more or less, a soldier who has missed his calling, a creature made for the heroic life, before whom you are setting a task that is contrary to his race – a poor worker, too good a soldier. But the life at which our workers rebel would make a Chinese or a fellah happy, as they are not military creatures in the least. Let each one do what he is made for, and all will be well.
Further, one could, and should, look to the manifestations of oppression via the avenues of gender compounded with race that often goes either unnoticed or discredited as a valid topic of discussion in the canon of the oppressed (Kimberle Crenshaw brings forth the idea of Intersectionality of race and gender in her landmark study “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race & Gender“, 1989).
Where Wampole and I depart is in the understanding of what should be restored. Wampole, suggests that we must repatriate the White Male into society, keeping in mind the feeling of need as well as the pains of having been excommunicated from the dominant place in society. We must practice empathy, as they step down from hegemony.
But, let us refocus our lens of empathy. Women, and particularly colored women, have served as a receptacle for the pain that one must seek to avoid in order to actualize and achieve, if possible, the idealized versions of ‘Male’ and ‘Whiteness’. For the black male, there is an escape route due to gender privilege. As for the White woman, there is an escape route due to Racial privilege. It is a dangerous practice to continue deductive reasoning where one is afforded the comfort of denial where “Anywhere but here violence, turbulence, and oppression is acceptable” is the concluding point. The fact of the matter is that violence, at any capacity, whether “here” or “there” affects the human condition in it’s totality. This is true whether the halfhearted engagement – in which the male, and white world tends to practice – says so or not.
What is important here, and I think Wampole – partially – misses, is that we are trying to forge a new identity, an identity no longer defined solely by white and masculine normative behavior. Whiteness, in the scope of western epistemology, is an identity based in moral erosion having relinquished all forms of responsibility for the humanity of the “others” within a “Self v. Other” dichotomy. Having divested from the responsibility of upholding the humanity of other’s, one has in effect robbed oneself from his or her own humanity. Here is where our problem lies, the moral degeneration fueled by development at the expense of the “other”.
In deconstructing our perceptions, and the perceptions of those who perceive themselves as both white and male, we must also actively seek to build an understanding of and with those who suscribe what it means to be white and male in a non-hegemonic, yet still important and inclusive manner. Yes, maleness and whiteness is on the decline, but we cannot afford to restore it in it’s traditional sense, it has proved costly and degenerative to a holistic human equation.
(Christy Wampole’s Article can be found here: “Guns and the Decline of The Young Man“)
June 21, 2012
EdX will build on both universities’ experience in offering online instructional content. The technological platform recently established by MITx, which will serve as the foundation for the new learning system, was designed to offer online versions of MIT courses featuring video lesson segments, embedded quizzes, immediate feedback, student-ranked questions and answers, online laboratories, and student paced learning. Certificates of mastery will be available for those motivated and able to demonstrate their knowledge of the course material.
MIT and Harvard expect that over time other universities will join them in offering courses on the edX platform. The gathering of many universities’ educational content together on one site will enable learners worldwide to access the course content of any participating university from a single website, and to use a set of online educational tools shared by all participating universities.
This is monumental, it reminds me of Academic Earth in a lot of ways, but differs in the sense that it is a joint effort between two of the most reputable institutions in the United States. Many times I’ve expressed my sentiment on the comparative advantage of higher education losing it’s ground with steadily raising institutional costs across the country, I for one, believe this is a fantastic step in re-aligning the cost of higher education. I plan on enrolling to get a feel for the program, but it’s supposed to be launching Fall 2012. Another example how technology can be used in a positive way. I’m interested to see where this goes!
May 19, 2012