Aug 29 (Tu) – FIRST DAY OF CLASS: Syllabus, Introduction, In-class response
Aug 31 (Th) – Contract suggestions due on blog
Sep 5 (Tu) – Irving, Washington. History of New York (1809): ” […]
You don’t have to have this read for class, but if you’d like to get a head start, it’s an excerpt from Paulo Friere’s Pedagogy of the Opressed.
Following our discussion on 11/26, I’d like you all to read this short essay “What is True in Our World. A Revivial” by Imani PerryPerry.
While reading it, I would like you to think about how words are as […]
If you want me to make comments on your draft, email it to me before class.
Please read “Signs and Symbols” by Vladimir Nabokov for class. It’s a strange short story. So, please come with at least three questions.
If you have seen my email, you know that because of technical problems, we’ve had to move our class online for today. Still, we should be able to make this productive. You have several activities today. The blog post and the emailed Works Cited page will count as participation for today’s class. Tomorrow, I’ll provide feedback, so I encourage you to check back before class on Wednesday to see what comments I’ve made. On Wednesday we’ll discuss the articles and I’ll answer questions about citations.
Read “The Urban Home Away from Home” on NYTimes.com. This short article is similar to the community center topic that many of you expressed interest in for you second paper. It combines evidence from the author’s personal observation, research on “naturally occurring retirement communities,” and interviews to describe the culture of a non-traditional community center in Queens (it’s in a McDonald’s).
Read “Tibetans’ (Forbidden) Special Treat” on NYTimes.com. This article, while not focusing on a community center, is similar to the topic above but also to the first topic you can choose to write about in your second paper. It links a cultural shift (largely in Queens) to international events, but creatively focuses on an important Tibetan cultural food: the momo. It incorporates research on restaurants in Queens, anthropological work on the traditional diets of Tibetans, and reporting on current events.
Read “Developers of Islamic Center Try a New Strategy” on NYTimes.com. It describes a more traditional community center, albeit a controversial one: the Muslim community center that was proposed for downtown Manhattan. It highlights the struggles that a community center can have even within its own community while also discussing what services the center provides for members of that community. I encourage you to take a look at the accompanying slide show (available from the article but also from this link: slideshow). It is part of an art project on display in the center that highlights photos of children from around the world who live in the New York (many of whom live in Queens).
After reading the three articles, select one of them to respond to as a response to this blog post. Discuss a question you have about the article. Your question can be about the methods used to research, about possible connections to other articles we’ve read for class or about possible implications of what you’ve read. Responses should be short, about 250 words or so.
I can’t adapt my PowerPoint presentation quickly enough to post here, so we’re going to have to use some presentations that are available online. Watching a PowerPoint presentation can be exceedingly dull (there’s actual research to support this), so I just have to apologize in advance. Still, it gets the points across.First watch this presentation on in-text citations (it includes sound). NOTE: Easybib and other such services are often incorrect. So, while I don’t mind if you use them, you have to know how to cite correctly so you can make sure what you’re getting is correct and up-to-date. I often find it’s just easier to do it myself. Also, note that the Works Cited page displayed incorrectly underlines titles. They should be italicized (this is corrected in the second presentation I ask you to watch below).
Next, watch this presentation on formatting your Works Cited page. Some of this information we’ve discussed, but this goes into detail about using the most common forms of research.
Finally, create a correctly-formated Works Cited page for the three New York times articles I asked you to read. Email this to me as an attachment.
The article, “The Urban Home Away from Home”, by Michael Kimmelman, makes it clear that the elders of Flushing have no convenient community center to spend their days. The elders are not looking for trouble; they spend hours at McDonalds because it is the only close place to hang out. They don’t have any ties to McDonald’s except that it is within a 2 block radius of their homes and has a bathroom.
I wonder why nobody in the community takes action and builds a local community center near the large elderly community of Flushing. To me, it is very clear that there is a high demand for it. Besides for the elders, it seems that a local community center would be a success and helpful to the rest of the people of the town. Someone needs to service the changing community and listen to the unspoken voice of their needs.
I’m curious about why the McDonald’s even has a twenty minute dining policy. I have never heard of a dining policy in any establishment I’ve ever eaten at. I wish the author would’ve delved deeper into why this was even allowed. With that being said, the analysis on why the elderly choose that particular establishment seemed to be well thought out and effective. The sociological element about why other establishments were not seen as viable options for a community gathering center was especially interesting to me and seemed to make a lot of sense. Although the reasons may have seemed obvious, it is important to ask such obvious questions of those you are interviewing so you can avoid making assumptions and concluding incorrectly. As the demographic in the community changes I wonder what is going to happen to this gathering spot. Will those who gather at this Mcdonald’s be essentially kicked out by the new people moving into the community? What will these elderly people do if/when this happens? Perhaps this is just a process of changing times and new generations taking hold in a place where an old generation is dying. Perhaps its just a natural part of any community and was bound to happen at some point. The article hints at this fact as younger couples are moving to wealthier areas and leading to a situation where new people of different backgrounds are coming into Flushing and causing the issues that are affecting the elderly Koreans in the area.
As we discusses in class, a community center can be anywhere from a church/ synogague to a park in which people often meet. In The Urban Home Away From Home by Michael Kimmelman, elderly Koreans are meeting up at McDonalds as their non-traditional community center. The author is using personal observation as one of his methods stating: “in the vein of the urban sociologist William H. Whyte, who helped design better cities by watching how people use spaces, I spent some time in Flushing.” By using personal observation he is going to a deeper,more personal level. He is visiting Flushing himself, instead of just hearing about it, In order to make It better. By visiting McDonalds and interviewing the locals, he is aware of why the Koreans congregate at that specific McDonalds: location, convenience, independence,etc. If he is trying to make better use of the space, Why doesn’t someone fix the problem? It seems like a clear solution to make a naturally occurring retirement community in Flushing, like they have in other communities. Wouldn’t This would solve the community issue?
The effort to build this Muslim community center and mosque in Lower Manhattan will indeed raise tensions and debates among New Yorkers. As an American it’s a sensitive issue which of course shouldn’t be over looked. However the intentions seem realistic and beneficial to not only Muslims but non Muslims as well. Activities like swimming, theater, programs like raising awareness for bullying are not religious ones. Therefore this center is not just for Muslims but for kids of all race and religion. The decision should be entirely made based on what the public wants. As long as the ideas and motives seem safe the project should continue.
Not everyone is against this project, there are non Muslims who disagree with the controversies against Muslims , such as the aunt of a 9/11 victim mentioned in the article. The growing population of Muslims in New York and everywhere else in the country will play a huge factor in making this decision. I would like to know the rationales of non Muslims who support this project. Why they believe this may be healthy for the community. These interviews may be a persuasive proposal for the ones who are against it. In my opinion this isn’t something new, there are hundreds of mosques in the city, so why is this one a huge issue?
After reading the article “Developers of Islamic Center Try a New Strategy” this question comes to mind: How can religious derogative and discriminative terms be used as a valid argument against this project? In this article, politicians and bloggers opposing the project use insensitive names such as: “The Ground Zero Mosque: Second Wave of the 911 Attacks” and “victory mosque.” The events of 911 are still fresh wounds for those who did and did not lose dear ones, and the opposition is using this tragic event as a defense mechanism against the Muslim/Islamic culture. The opposition’s inconsideration of the weight of their own words amounts to slander and an invalidity to their justifications. Mr. Sharif El-Gamal seems like a genuine and considerate person. He has not retaliated to this opposition, rather he seeks the support of community members and organizations. He understands where the controversy stems from, but at the same time states that “…we had nothing to do with those events, and those events defaced our religion.” I strongly believe that one should not stigmatize a religion solely by the wrong doings of a few. Not every Muslim is a radical or a extremist, and everyone has a religious right as long as it is morally, socially and legally respectful. Mr. El-Gamal’s visions is to build a community center where people can come to feel culturally connected. This might be a way to symbolize our progress from hate and anger to forgiveness.
Even though the article, “The Urban Home Away from Home,” pertains to the elderly Koreans, I would like to know what the young Korean Americans of this generation think about this issue. Since all the interviewees in this article are all elderly Koreans that enjoy hanging out at the local McDonald’s, would the younger Koreans born and raised in NYC support the idea of letting them stay there? From personal experience, when the dismissal bell rang back in my high school days, a majority of Korean and Chinese students, would get on the Q17 to Flushing. When the bus arrived to Main Street, at least a quarter of the people accompanied with their friends would go into McDonald’s to get some food and hang out before going home. A good amount of those people that I knew all lived in, or near, Flushing. So, would it be safe to say that the local McDonald’s is not just for the elder to socialize, but also for the younger generation? On the other hand, the article also says that more younger and affluent Koreans are moving eastward toward Bayside, leaving the older generation of Koreans behind. Does that imply that the younger generation doesn’t care about the elderly because of the fact that they are younger and are more mobile? This generation gap between the young and the elderly could be a key factor for all the change that is affecting the elderly Koreans in this Flushing area.
I think this article really connects to the question we had in class about what is really considered a community center. The elderly Koreans acknowledge the fact that the community has an actual senior center for the purpose of meeting, but due to personal reasons- it is too far to walk, and they don’t want to be constricted to the van’s time schedule- the McDonald’s has become their meeting point. The article shows that what makes something a community center isn’t just about its title or its original purpose; how a place benefits members of a community is what defines it as a community center. The McDonald’s is close in distance to the elderly Koreans’ homes, which is important because they can’t walk far, and has plenty of dining space for the seniors to meet with their friends. Like the article states at the end, “McDonald’s the corporation serves billions and billions. But the hamburger joint at Parsons and Northern Boulevards is theirs.” Sometimes a community’s interests override the intended function of an establishment.
I have a question on this article. Why does it matter how much a customer spends? If the twenty minute rule is in place for everybody to follow, then the amount of money the Koreans spend shouldn’t matter- unless the owner just doesn’t like them in the place for some personal reason.
“The Urban Home Away from Home” is a very interesting article, touching upon a situation that is often looked over by the faster lives of younger people. But to elderly people who look forward to meeting at the fast food establishment, it’s kind of demoralizing to have such a convenient place taken even though they’re breaking the restaurants policy of twenty-minute dining. When it comes down to it, this is not a widely publicized story, or huge in any matter (though it made it’s way to Seoul) however, to this small community of elderly people it’s rough. They have limited mobility, and probably don’t want the injustices of an elderly home, so this specific McDonald’s just happened to be that restaurant that was conveniently placed with the right prices of course. The question that struck me after reading this article would be, why can’t McDonalds make some sort of effort to make an establishment like a community center just for this part of Queens? Who knows, it may even catch on in other communities. I feel if people in the community who are concerned about the issue want to get something done, they should reach out to the fast food giant and discuss terms on how to make this a profitable and better situation for both parties. I’m sure, as a business McDonalds would not shy away from a partnership to help make a community center for people in the neighborhood. To me, that’s actually a plus for the company who’s always shunned upon as the bad guy in nearly every single article I read about fast food. If something like a partnership community center that is partly funded by McDonald’s and figures in the community was made it would do a lot for the elderly and young from this part of Queens. It would lessen the number of squatters in the restaurants and give the company credit for caring about their customers, so I see it as a win win.
After reading the article “The Urban Home Away From Home”, my question would be, “If the elderly Koreans are being evicted for dining at a local establishment, why isn’t their community coming together to come up with a solution and building a community center close to their home?” The article states that the residents only really dine at McDonald’s because it is close to their home, not because it has any personal ties. They like going to McDonald’s because it is close to their home and because they don’t feel that they have a set time or date on when they can meet and mingle with their friends. I feel that they have a right to this decision and matter. McDonald’s is a public place; if no one is sitting at a seat, they have the right to sit there for as long as they want if they have purchased something and isn’t disturbing anyone.
After reading the article “The Urban Home Away From Home,” I was initially surprised by the twenty-minute dining limit. Upon further investigation, it is revealed that the elderly is being condemned for taking up spaces in their local restaurants; it’s hard to decide who’s right and who’s wrong because the elderly is simply going there to soothe their worries. During summer time, because of the hot and arid weather, the elderly would go to Mcdonald’s to get some free air conditioning, whereas during winter, the weather is really cold so going into a restaurant would keep them warm. This is very understandable. However, from an economic stand point, since the elderlies are taking up spaces, there would be fewer customers, hence the profit is diminished. The government should provide some solution because the population of the elderly is incrementing. It could open some comfortable community centers to ease the elderly from their boredom. There, they can play chess, socialize, sing, dance, etc. Not only does it promote health, but also it promotes sociability as well. However, community center workers are merely there for the sake of work, not for the wellbeing of the elderly. People should step back and start treating the elderlies with more care because someday, we will be elderlies as well.
After reading “developers of Islamic center try a new strategy” the main question I think of is why do people want to still use 9/11 as a reason to not have the center built. Not every Islamic person is responsible for 9/11 so why hold it against everyone else who is religiously affiliated with them? For a city that is so diverse and cultural there is still bias, ignorance and prejudice.
In this article entitled “The Urban Home Away From Home” grabs an attention from the McDonald’s clash with older Korean that the reason behind they gathered by spending more time in this place is an community issue. Author gave an example of sociologist who examines how people use spaces to spend their time is depend on their economical position. As some older city dwellers has tight budget and doesn’t have any car, they are choosing nearest and suitable place to meet others. In this case they are choosing McDonald’s which is in the corner of Parsons and Northern Boulevards, in Flushing considering by sitting facility, air-conditioning ,restroom for the customers and also because of outdoor is not suitable all time for cold or hot weather. Thus, they prefer to go this McDonald’s instead of other stores. Another reason to choose this place is because it becomes a common place for some Koreans who are not even living in Flashing. As most of the Korean moved another places when Chinese population in downtown flashing has grown, they often come to visit their friends in this place. Therefore, the author said “McDonald’s is the NORC that has bound together the elderly Koreans”.
Paul Hebert wrote a new post, Conference Schedule (For the rest of the semester), on the site College Writing: Reading & Writing Queens, NY 3 years ago
Below is the conference schedule for the rest of the semester. If you miss your conference, contact me so that we can reschedule.
Nov 17 (Monday)
Nov 19 […]
Photographs, as many of you argued in your first essay, are interpretive objects. From the conscious choices photographers make, to the social rituals that govern how pictures “should” look, to the physical limitations of technology, photographs represent only part of the scene they are often assumed to capture. In this respect, research essays are the same.
In a research essay you choose a topic and present collected data on that topic. However, the value of a research essay is derived from the theoretical lens that the author chooses to present his or her data and the interpretive conclusions that he or she makes based on that data. Because of this, research essays are similarly limited by the conscious choices researchers make, the conventions of research writing, and the physical limitations of the technology. The trick to writing a good research paper is making thoughtful choices about what to include and making sure the reader understands those choices.
Write a research essay that is roughly five pages in length and follows correct MLA guidelines for formatting and citations. The research essay should be focused on one of the topics below. You should use at least five substantive, authoritative sources taken from newspapers, magazines, books, scholarly journals, census data, etc. In some cases, your research may be general (on a particular history of immigrants or of a movement), but part of your thoughtful framing in this essay will be to narrow your focus on a particular community, ideally in Queens.
Often in courses in which you are asked to write research papers it is easy to read about a topic and produce an essay that you are relatively detached from. Sometimes, this makes it difficult to tell how “true” this data really seems. So, for this assignment, I would also like you to conduct some of your own research. If you choose your own community, you’ll have some sense of how people “on the street” feel, and if you do not choose your own community I encourage you to do some research on your own through observation and interviews to include in your paper.
As we read in the article about LaForest, the international character of Queens often means that international events intimately affect the lives of its inhabitants. Immigrants to Queens may be refugees, active in politics abroad, or tensions between nations may affect how groups people who identify with those nationalities interact with each other in neighborhoods and communities. For example, Flushing is home to many recent immigrants from mainland China. They have a different language and history than the Cantonese and Taiwanese immigrants who came before them and so the Falun Gong, a religious group persecuted in mainland China, has a more active role in the community than in historically Cantonese-dominated neighborhoods such as Chinatown in Manhattan. A year ago, Dominican born Haitians in New York City protested a Dominican high-court ruling to deny citizenship to anyone born to a non-Dominican citizen prior to 1929 – affecting many of those who identify has Haitian or Dominican here in the city. New York City is home to the second-largest Jewish community, many making their homes in Queens, and they have often taken an active role in Israeli-Palestine issues.Choose a community in Queens with international ties and analyze those ties through the lens of a particular movement or event in that community.
Communities often have a community center that acts as a gathering place for members, a place to the social network is formed, local news discussed, and social hierarchies established. In Jackson Heights, the restaurant The Himalayan Yak is a community center for the large Tibetan community there. In, Flushing, the Hindu Temple Society of North America serves as a central gathering spot for many followers of Ganesh.Research the history of a particular community center and the community it serves. Discuss the ways it functions, its culture and society. How do people use the center? If it is a center dedicated to a specific purpose, such as religion, what other social functions does it serve? Is the community insular or do the people at the center actively reach out to non-members in the community?
As we discussed when we read the Flushing Remonstrance and Baldwin’s essay on the “Harlem Ghetto,” communities change significantly over time. Choose a community and research its history and how it has changed over time. Use census data and historical newspaper articles to identify how changing in housing, transportation, population, and community make-up have been integral to the changes in that community.
A source I strongly urge you to consult (and to play around with) Social Explorer: http://www.socialexplorer.com/
The application allows you to explore communities based on ethnicity, education, income, employment location, religion, nationality, and more. It also allows you to look at specific cross-sections. For example, as of 2013 in the U.S., roughly 77% of the population identifies as “white.” In 1970, 88 % of the U.S. population identified as white. In my neighborhood, in 2013 less than 40% of the population identifies as white, in 1970 it was 93%, higher than the national average. You can still see the effects of this in my neighborhood, however, even though it looks like so many “white” people have left. In 2013, among adults 75 and over, between 40-60% are white. So, the older population in my neighborhood, presumably those who have been here since 1970 and before, are disproportionally white compared to the average.
Paul Hebert wrote a new post, Describe your Community — Following Baldwin (due 11/6/2014), on the site College Writing: Reading & Writing Queens, NY 3 years ago
James Baldwin was a prominent author, essayist, poet, playwright and public intellectual in 20th century America. His works usually focus on complex personal dilemmas and how they relate to larger social structures such as the integration of African Americans.
Notes from a Native Son was published in 1955 and is composed mainly of essays that Baldwin had already published in popular periodicals. The time in Notes From a Native Son was published is significant. Written 10 years after WWII, it coincides with major changes in the demographics of New York City and the beginning of the non-violent Civil Rights movement in America. The Great Migration, in which millions of African Americans moved from the rural South to urban centers in the North East changed fundamentally the make-up of cities like New York, but so did the wave of immigration from Europe of Jewish families seeking refuge from the pograms prior to and during WWII. The granting of U.S. citizenship to Puerto Ricans prior to WWII also opened up a pathway for Latino families to come to New York. Now, New York has the largest populations of African American, Jewish and Hispanic people in the U.S. In the essay we read for class, Baldwin is attempting to analyze these changes from an on-the-street perspective.
For this assignment, I would like you to follow Baldwin’s considerable focus on the media and how it relates to your own neighborhood (be it in Queens or elsewhere). Find 5 articles in local newspapers, magazines or blogs from within the past year. Paste links here so that we can all take a look. Then, underneath, type up a summary and analysis (2-4 paragraphs seems about right). This does have a thesis, you’re arguing for a particular reading of these articles, a method similar to Baldwin. Some questions you may wish to consider: What impression would someone have of your neighborhood looking at these articles? How are the articles different depending on where they are published? How do these impressions compare to your own impressions of your neighborhood? What trends do you think you might be able to explain?
Examining the articles has shown me that Baldwin’s point about Black media outlets has some merit. In the smaller articles, from more local media outlets, crime and dangerous incidents were more often reported than anything else. Whether it be a construction accident or an untimely death, the extent of these articles was merely sensationalizing incidents. These articles do not do any justice to Maspeth because they do not make mention of what the community is like or what the people who live there are like. Someone reading these articles would not get a sense of Maspeth, and would not be able to distinguish it from any other place they were unfamiliar with.
The NY Times article on Maspeth does better to represent the culture in Maspeth. It makes mention of Maspeth proximity to New York City and the pride with which people from Maspeth have. The article is very descriptive and makes mention of Maspeth’s unique history, and unique current conditions. Instead of sensationalizing crime and accidents, the article runs down Maspeth’s immigrant population, school system, economic areas, and real estate. This article gives us a far more accurate representation of Maspeth than the other local articles, proving Baldwin’s ideas about local media to be true.
The community I live in is often referred to as the 5 Towns because it is made up of the 5 neighborhoods of Woodmere, Cedarhurst, Hewlett, Lawrence and Inwood. My community is made up of mostly Jewish people who are similar in their religious beliefs. The community is mostly Modern Orthodox, a sect of Judaism that tried to combine religious beliefs with the modern, secular world. The goal is to see and use what the modern world has to offer through the lens of the Torah.
With that goal in mind, most of the schools and institutions in my community are built on the foundation of this mission. The schools offer a strong dual curriculum, comprised of both religious and secular studies.
My community is a very close nit one. People are always willing to help each other out. For example, when Hurricane Sandy hit our town, everyone joined together and offered their services. People opened their homes to others and set up places for people to get hot meals. Others donated money, clothing, food and other non-perishables. The town set up places for kids to hang out with Sunday activities and carnivals to distract and keep them busy. Most importantly, our community came together in prayer, asking Gd to protect all those hurt by the tragedy and wish them a speedy recovery.
Besides this one event, there are countless opportunities where people raise money and partake in community services. There are many official, well-known organizations that people are apart like Chai Lifeline i-Shine and Ohel Bais Ezra, where help is provided for the entire family of the sick or disabled. There are also many fundraisers like marathons and carnivals to gain support for the organizations.
There are also many service programs that kids or teenagers took initiative and created on their own. One such program is Heart to Heart, where a girl raised money in the local high schools to make packages and buy toys for kids in hospitals. I believe my community is a special one that has so much to offer.
At first glance, reading these articles about my hometown, it seems like any other place. The local newspapers emphasize sensationalizing incidents, just like Baldwin pointed out. In The Five Towns, everything and anything that happens is reported. People like to call it a town of gossip. Everything from politics, to community events, to championships of the local high schools is spoken about. Taking a closer look at my hometown, the thing that I pinpointed as different than other communities is that it is very community oriented.
If people were to look at articles of The Five Towns, they would get the impression that we’re a tight knit community and all very close. Our community has many communal events, and majority of the residents know each other. Things are reported on all scales, including crimes and local school events, but, predominately what is emphasized is the community fundraisers and events. Looking at these articles a person can see some of the community’s charity events include the donating of hair, FIDF, where they support the soldiers who fight, and a 5K Run and Family Walk. There are community-wide bulletin boards where events and schedules are posted including trips, events,shows, and local speakers. The community always has events going on, and the newspapers cater to the people reading them, keeping them informed.
In the articles that I read, the local media characterizes Fresh Meadows as a community that is proud of its inhabitants, law enforcers (police), and local businesses. Additionally, each of these articles implicitly has its own point to why it would be great to live in Fresh Meadows. For example, the article about the police officer lets the reader know that Fresh Meadows is a safe place to live in because the police are a symbolic figure of security in a neighborhood. The other articles show that Fresh Meadows is also an entertaining place with newly renovated movie theaters and a clean place with new dental offices for young or old people. Ultimately, someone reading these articles would get some sense of what living in Fresh Meadows is like but the person won’t fully understand what people living here are like.
The article that might tell the reader what people living here are like is the Daily News one about the Barnes and Nobles located near St. John’s University that is set to close its doors in December, which is creating a lot of buzz around the community. There is also a blog post in connection with this article where some people feel sympathetic for the closure of one of the three remaining Barnes and Nobles in all of Queens, while others criticize and compare the store to a library, where no one buys the books rather people just go there to socialize. I believe that the blog article is the most important part because it gives a strong voice of the community for the reader to listen and understand how they feel about a given situation. It shows that the people in Fresh Meadows are bold and won’t lose something, not even a bookstore, without a fight. The combination of both these articles gives a clearer idea of what Fresh Meadows and its inhabitants are like than the other articles shown alone.
I live in Bayside near the border of Douglaston. Without reading any articles, from what I see and know of Bayside, it is a family community with hard working individuals and families. The majority of people are Asian, German, and Italian. People here are quite friendly and have more than 1 child. The schools around here are also really good. PS203 elementary school is a Blue Ribbon School which means it was ranked the highest and best elementary school because of the state and city tests. I am lucky enough to live here and have my son attend school there.
Reading the articles you can see that Bayside is s great community as any other who has supporting neighbors and people who want to see their community prosper. With any good there is always some bad. Queens like anywhere else has crime. People can read from the article that there is crime and people out there who don’t do the right thing however, everyone can see with these articles and knowing what they know about Queens is that it is a regular community with real people and real events happening.
From reading these articles, I found that there is no one true face of Lawrence, NY. Almost every publisher seems to have an agenda as to what they are trying to portray of the town. Much like the Harlem newspapers in 1955, Newsday and LongIsland.com focused largely on articles about the most recent crimes in the area. LongIsland.com even categorized each article under a title such as “news,” “events,” “restaurants,” etc. What was interesting was that almost all of the articles categorized as “news” displayed headlines of crimes. Whatever the website is trying to accomplish, whether it be to lure readers with enticing headlines, or perhaps instill fear in the town’s citizens, it is definitely trying to paint a very specific portrait of Lawrence that may or may not truthfully depict what the town is like. This is not to say that other websites didn’t have their own agenda as well. The Jewish news presented mostly articles that focused on Jewish affairs and events in the community, with an emphasis on politics and the push to end Anti-Semitism. I learned that publishers with an agenda seem to have two goals: to attract a certain audience, and to give that audience exactly what they want to hear. These goals go hand-in-hand; in order to attract a certain audience, the publisher must produce articles that it knows that certain audience wants to hear.
With all of these websites focusing on specific things, there was one- Patch.com- that I found gave a very multi-faceted view of Lawrence. The link i viewed was actually a list of the headlines of articles about the happenings in the area. Interestingly enough,
the list made Lawrence seem like an ordinary town, filled with a jumble of political happenings, community gatherings and acts of charity, along with a few crime updates that all started with the same reassuring words “Police Seeking Man” that made it seem like there was nothing to worry about. Although the website did try to give a better view of Lawrence, one can say that that was the agenda itself- to make the town seem like an ordinary, close-knit community.
I don’t know much about Lawrence, as I’ve only been living there for the past couple of months; but even from just looking at the different news websites on the area, I can tell that each has its own goal that it wants to accomplish in terms of how the town is viewed.
In your own words, post a summary of the Bourdieu passage we discussed in class. Make sure that your summary includes all of the key points that Bourdieu is making.
Bourdieu is implying that everything we say and every time we act requires us to have some sort of background knowledge. As you said in class with the “basic b****” example, in order to say those things, we must have some idea as to what makes someone a “basic b****.” We must have knowledge of the language so we know what to say, and we must have the social awareness so we can make these statements and judgments appropriately.
In this passage, Bourdieu is bringing up his concept of the habitus as an influential way of how we all speak and act. The habitus is a collection of experiences that make up each individual’s way of thinking and one of the those experiences is language. Agreeing with what David said that we all must have knowledge of the language so we know what to say, the habitus uses that knowledge to also know when and where we say things based on the social environment. Bourdieu also talks about the linguistic market, and by definition, a market is a place of exchange. In this case, when we try to exchange languages in a foreign place, we need to enable out habitus to speak appropriately because what we say can mean something totally different.
When someone speaks to you or you are in conversation with another person there is always some sort of disposition to always try and express interest in what they are speaking about. And some times to show this interest or way of expression you want to use the system of the linguistic market, or certain types of “better” words to express yourself towards them. But since the linguistic market is described as a market, not every word that you use is free and up for grabs when addressing someone of authority.
Bourdieu links our linguistic habitus to the effects of the linguistic market on how we choose what is appropriate to say in a certain setting. Our habitus is comprised of two concepts: 1. we have in our mind a database of the words we know, sort of like a language bank account, and 2. we are able to use that database to form sentences that we know make sense just based on pure instinct that we developed through our upbringing. Bourdieu then explains that based on the linguistic market, or setting that one finds his/herself in, one is able to discern what is appropriate and not appropriate to say in a situation.
Bourieu describes how every word and action one does is not a result of an isolated event. It is a culmination of a series of independent events. Our society is one where language is an important part of our interactions with others. One’s personal preferences are socially constructed, during the exchange process between people. Each language though also has a specific set of rules, which each person must incorporate when speaking to others. If you do what others want, then you will get ahead or get capital, called the “Marketplace of Language.”
Bourdieu accentuates that a person’s trait is usually derived from his or her environment and the experiences that occurred. The background of an individual has a significant impact on what the person values such as the type of art, food, clothing, music, etc. The social skills developed by one are also influenced this way as well. Finally, in each situation, there’s always an appropriate way to act and respond, also known as etiquette; in other words, the linguistic market contains a circulation of words and discourses that serves as what’s apt and what’s not.
Bourdieu explains that speaking involves a prior understanding and knowledge of the cultural and structural conventions in a language. A native speaker will have learned the “linguistic norms” of the language through his/her cultural upbringing; such as school or other form of social interaction. This knowledge is the linguistic habitus. For example, the reason why idiomatic expressions are only understood by native speakers is because they have a linguistic habitus.
Bourdieu is stating that everything we say has a background knowledge. We use the language we speak based on the knowledge of what things mean. He brings up habitus stating that it is a collection of experiences that makes up the way of thinking for each individual. In terms of what he says about the marketplace of language, he simply means that we need to appropriately speak to each individual differently based on their status whether it is a teacher, parent, child, or someone of a higher rank than you.
Bourdieu’s social theory on Habitus explains why ones language, habits and skill are so. He believes that our language and habits are strongly influenced by our life experiences and the culture and social environment we grow up in. In different situations sometimes our skills and dispositions are not useful. Bourdieu also argues that our unique “taste” for cultural objects also depends on our social class and culture. Most believe that if one lacks the dinner things in life he/she cannot appreciate high class preferences. The linguistic capacity is what Bourdieu uses to describe independent speech acts and actions. The linguistic market is ones proper manner that fits the circumstances. It includes proper words, grammar, tone and body language.
Your assignment this weekend is to start preparing an ethnography. Go to a public space in Queens where you can sit or stand and observe for 20-30 minutes. Write down anything and everything you see. What is the […]
It was an embarrassing day today. I showed up 20 minutes late to class. I’ve never done this before and I’m unhappy about it. So, I first would like to apologize. I had a harrowing Q88 experience, but as your professor it’s my responsibility to be to class on time and prepared.
As I told the students who waited around, when I was in college there was always talk of a “10 minute rule” whenever a professor was late. This rule did not exist, but the rumors were persistent. I’m not proud to admit that I was the first person out the door as soon as we hit that 10 minute mark. As a result, I didn’t expect anyone to be in my classroom today. While I don’t see this ever happening again (I’ve been teaching for more than five years and it’s never happened, yet), you have my expressed permission to get out as soon as 10 minutes are up.
Still, there’s a few general announcements I need to make.
The QC email system is apparently being updated and this is affecting when students receive my reply emails with feedback (if you sent me your rough draft). IT assures me the issue should be cleared up by this evening. Please email me tomorrow (10/16) if you have still not received comments on your draft.
Speaking of which (writing of which?), the final draft is due next Wednesday 10/22.
You have no reading over the weekend. I had hoped we would talk today about thesis statements and supporting your arguments with outside sources. We’ll do this on Monday. In the meantime, since you’re preparing your papers, here’s the handout we’ll use. We’ll also have in-class work, but it might be helpful to take a quick look at these. Here’s the sheet for Using Sources and here’s the sheet for Thesis Statements.
The Flushing Remonstrance is quite short and we’ll read it in class. It’s actually an old Dutch legal document from the 1600s and will introduce us Queens from the beginnings of its history.
Enjoy your Columbus […]
You don’t have to do the Oyster reading for Monday — we’re going to do something else in class.
Write a 5 page essay, properly formatted to follow MLA guidelines. Although we have been sharing these texts and reading them together, you should write this essay assuming that the reader has no knowledge of them. This is standard for most academic essays. That means that you have to introduce, summarize and analyze key quotes and ideas from the readings as well as describe your through process in detail.
This essay is due in class, printed and stapled on 10/8. You should also email me a copy so that I can provide feedback.
Our class readings and discussion have lately been focused on photography. Primarily using Sontag and Barthes we have discussed how photographs influence the way we present ourselves, record our experiences, and even how photographs influence how we remember our experiences. Although Barthes and Sontag present different theories of photography and they mostly discuss different aspects of photography (Sontag from behind the camera, Barthes from in front of the camera), they both approach the subject using their own experiences as the basis for their theories.
For this first assignment, I am asking you to follow their method and use your personal experiences with photography to create a theory of how you take photos and relate that to how others take photos. Another way to phrase this might be to say that you should use yourself as the specific example of your general theory of photography (or to follow the lesson on Orwell, your the concrete example of an abstract theory of Photography). In making your generalizations, you should incorporate some aspect of the theories of Sontag, Barthes or both.
In the strictest terms, the goals for this essay are threefold:
To demonstrate your ability to critically read the texts
To argue for a specific theory of photography (basically, just present a thesis)
To support this theory using specific evidence drawn from the readings and from your own experience (quotes, summaries, anecdotes, etc.)
Some students may feel most comfortable talking mostly in general terms, relying heavily on the readings to discuss photography. Some students will focus largely on themselves, relating their experiences to the readings and presenting the implications for a general theory of photography only in the conclusion. These, and all other permutations are perfectly acceptable as long as it meets the three, simple criteria listed above.
You’ll see I’ve posted all of the pictures that have been handed in. They’re on Views around Queens page, which you can get to on the main menu. Each time you load the page, they are placed in a random order, so there’s something to be said for taking a look a few times and seeing new connections between photos.
If you want to see a complete picture or zoom in, just click one.
Choose one of the three photos you emailed me for class, today (9/17).
Describe a scene from your own experience that relates to to the photograph you have chosen. You should do it in a way that makes sense to […]
Take ten digital pictures of a particular place in Queens that has some significance to you. You do not necessarily have to be aware of its full significance. Allow the photographs of Frank Gohlke and Joel Sternfeld on display in Powdermaker Hall to serve as models (the link connects to a New York Times article about the photos and includes a slideshow).
Email me 3 of the photos and I’ll post them on a page on this website. This is due by Wednesday’s class.
I’m asking you to take 10 because it will give you more to work with when you’re making your choices. Also, since you’ll eventually have to write about one of these photos, you may want to have options, later.
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