Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Weekly Post #9 - The Final Day

This class has proved to be educational and fun, despite what you may think Dr. Wexler. For me, personally, I have been truly grateful that I was able to get into this class to complete my requirements for my degree. Thanks for everything.
This class was probably easier this time around for me because not as many theorists were covered, and were given the assignment of this blog to help us understand the theories better. In the past, I was never given such an assignment that allowed me to see my own understanding of what I was learning, thank you for that.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Analysis #7 - Post-Colonial Theory and Said

Post-colonial theory's main trademark is discovering identity. Post-colonial theory arose from countries that once were colonies and received their freedom or in fact still remain under the rule of another country. It deals with national identity, and attempting to rediscover or uncover that which was lost as the result of being ruled by an outside government.
This theory effects many countries all over the world  that have attempted or are attempting to make themselves unique from the government that one occupied them and ruled over them. One example could be South Africa. For many years the white people of the country ruled over the blacks and kept firm control over almost every aspect of life, what was on television, in the papers, what was taught in schools, what books and films were read and shown. It took but a few to stand up, say 'no' and attempt to change this brutal rule.
Many people outside the country knew little of what it was like to live in this small country. In an attempt to change the view of the country, many risked their lives to change it. Though these changes were not always for the better, the country experiencing what is sometimes referred to as "brain drain", referring to the high crime rate of various kinds, both violent and deadly, including making the country second in line by the United Nations for murder, and first for rapes and assaults per capita from 1998-2000 following a compiled survey.
Even gaining freedom from being colonized and tyrant like rule didn't bring peace to this small nation.
The country though it became a democracy to rejoin the United Nations after getting kicked out, fell into chaos. Even attempting to reestablished cultural and national identity from before British rule, the country still has a lot of work to do.
Edward W. Said saw that imperialism wasn't necessarily a way to bring the world about to the British way of thinking as he states in Culture and Imperialism, dealing with post-colonialism or post-imperialism:
"No, cultural forms like the novel or the opera do not cause people to go out and imperialize--Carlyle did not drive Rhodes directly, and he certainly cannot be "blamed" for the problems in today's southern Africa--but it is genuinely troubling to see how little Britain's great humanistic ideas, institutions, and monuments, which we still celebrate having the power ahistorically to command our approval, how little they stand in the way of the accelerating imperial process. We are entitled to ask how this body of humanistic ideas co-existed so comfortably with imperialism, and why--until the resistance to imperialism in the domain, among Africans, Asians, Latin Americans, developed--there was little significant opposition or deterrence to empire at home" (p 1889, Said).
Britain, at the start, had the idea of simply growing their power, but instead, caused civil unrest, and slowly destroyed cultures and societies in their quest to gain as much land as possible. Even when colonies were decolonized, not all those places  entirely recovered. Many fell to pieces and are trying to pick up the pieces as they try to move towards the future.

Works Cited
Leitch, Vincent B. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. New York: Norton, 2001. Print.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Analysis #6 - Feminism and Butler

First off, feminism is a difficult subject to par down to a simple analysis, without getting to far in depth. Butler's most influential book, Gender Trouble, takes the misconceptions of feminism and goes into depth about the distinction between sex and gender. While sex is biological and gender is a social construction, but society places them separately rather than as one.
This opens the argument about what are the biological differences and the social differences between man and woman. Before the 20th century, where women began to exert themselves beyond social norms, more than before, women were considered the "fairer sex", in essence the "weaker sex". Though there is then the argument about the fact that the female body has to deal with a great deal more after puberty than a male body does. Menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth, etc. These "trials" are some of the more painful, as well as natural incidences in a woman's life that men never experience. Despite these well known facts, women were held in a position that kept them from having the same power as men outside the home, but at times not even giving much if any power within the home. A woman was supposed to act a certain way, dress a certain way, behave a certain way, but were never allowed to make decisions like the men in their lives did. This even went to the point that women had to publish their writings under pseudonyms so that their work would simply be published.
In today's society, many women now hold positions both in the home and at work that once belonged many times to men, bring much equality to the two sexes and genders.
Towards the end of Gender Trouble, Butler brings up the fact that gender has no real factuality:
 "Gender can be neither true nor false, neither real nor apparent, neither original nor derived. As credible bearers of those attributes, however, genders can also be rendered thoroughly and radically incredible" (p. 2553, Butler).
Such theories on feminism alone can be wide and varied. Even books like American Psycho, later made into a film, are more often than not looked upon as plays upon women, as having no real value to society, since they were either presented as "Barbies" in the form of Patrick's fiancee or as prostitutes. This is but one take on the subject, as are many of the takes on theories by theorists the world over.

Works Cited
Leitch, Vincent B. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. New York: Norton, 2001. Print.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Analysis #5 - Poststructuralism and Derrida

Born in El-Biar, Algeria, to a Jewish Algerian family, Derrida moved to France at the age of 22 to begin his studies at the École Normale Supérieur, university for Higher education in Paris, focusing on the phenomenology of Edmund Husserl. His particular interest was in the analysis of écriture, the writing of philosophy itself.What is not commonly known about Derrida is the fact that though he is thought to be French, he is Algerian, since at the time of his birth, Algeria was a French colony.
From 1965 to 1984, Derrida taught at his alma mater, dividing his time between universities in Paris and America, at schools such as Yale and Johns Hopkins. Over the years he wrote several books from Speech and Phenomena , Of Grammatology and Writing and Difference, all in 1967, to The Post Card: From Socrates to Freud and Beyond (1980), all of which spoke of his “post-structural” ideas as he and other French theorists had their ideas called by the Americans. He was not alone in his theories, one example being Michel Foucault himself.
After his death of pancreatic cancer in 2004, he has without question been labeled one of the most influential philosophers of the 20th century.

Post-structuralism is one of the more difficult theories to translate. In short, though, it can be said that is shows human culture to be molded from language itself.
The title itself was created by American scholars to place a name to the series of works done by French academics. The distinction between the two, post-structuralism and structuralism itself forms a distinction between organization of reality with that of imagination and ideas, a sort of ‘third order”. The precise idea of the differences structuralism differ from author to author, with common themes of rejection and self-sufficiency, as well as a series of binary oppositions throughout.
Structuralism itself was a movement during the 1950s and 60s that used analytical concepts of linguistics, psychology, anthropology and other fields to understand the construct of culture itself.
Like any theory, both structuralism and post-structuralism had their faults. Structuralism felt that systems of meaning were arbitrary and unnecessary, though critics would say that this wasn’t completely true since structuralists still found reason to find a fixed point in meaning to be studied.
Like many theorists, Derrida knew that both poststructuralism and structuralism were faulty, which kept him writing like many others in both areas, attempting to find a point that there were no faults, if that is ever possible:
"The future can only be anticipated in the form of an absolute danger. It is that which breaks absolutely with constituted normality and can only be proclaimed, presented, as a sort of monstrosity. For that future world and for that within it which will have put into question the values of sign, word, and writing, for that which guides our future anterior, there is as yet no exergue" (p.1691, Derrida).
Here Derrida gets across that so far, there is no idea where language will lead the world in its ever changing ways. We will just have to stand aside and watch.

Works Cited
Leitch, Vincent B. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. New York: Norton, 2001. Print.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Weekly Post #8 - D&G and Postmodernism

A schizophrenic out for a walk is a better model than a neurotic lying on the analyst's couch. A breath of fresh air, a relationship with the outside world.
Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus.

Deleuze and Guattari, sometimes referred to as D&G, they followed the theory started from Lacan about the human mind not being as clear as the rhyme and reason as why is does what is does, it just does. Freud didn't like to look at this view of things, finding he preferred the more mapped out more predictable map of the human mind he himself discovered.
In class, we viewed part of American Psycho, where a yuppy for no clear reason, starts to kill anyone one he just about comes across, prostitutes, co-workers, by the end of the movie, almost anyone. But then the main character discovers none of what he did happened, and he has a breakdown. This is a prime example of what Freud is against, that he believes that every action a person has is for a clear reason, and Patrick Bateman's actions have no reason, but seem to serve as an outlet from some sort of suppressed emotions, no one really knows.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Weekly Post #7 - Poststructuralism and Foucault

A major part of Foucault's theory included binaries within Poststructuralism in which he is considered one of its founders. Early in his career, he became disillusioned by Marxist, and came to reject the idea of ideology, a big part of marxism. Three parts of this part of his theory include:
1.) ideology is always in opposition with another truth claim. 2.) it refers to something of the order of a subject. 3.) it is based on determinist infrastructure (base) – superstructure model (criticism of economic determinism).
With this, Foucault saw power differently than Marx did, he saw is as something exercised rather than possessed, something that could only be practiced and had to anchors to any one place or institution.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Weekly Post #6 - No Class - A Major Issue with Spring Break

Easter break. Seems that it should come at the same time every year, but unfortunately in today's society, the actual reason for the holiday is dwindling. Its sad that people just look forward to Spring Break, and not the actual reason that this time of year is really so important. From the fact that the Ten Commandments and classroom prayer, even the Pledge of Allegiance are either stricken from public view and away from our children, but that so many people do not realize what is really going on with all these things being wrong. These are things that our country were built on, and instead of respecting them, we are throwing them away or editing them, like a shirt with a fixable tear in it. All you need is a thread and needle. But unfortunately our country has become so blind that that we do not realize that the tear has gotten bigger over the course of the last century. It takes away the fact that one day a year is the day that one man, a simple carpenter died for all of us, so that we could live the lives we have today, and so many of us do not have the gall to celebrate the holiday properly, instead, Spring Breaks are scattered all over the month of April like little kids and their candy wrappers, instead of leaving the week after Easter open for a longer time of realizing what one man gave up for us all.