You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Education’ category.

pomoHow We Reached the Point Where We Can’t Hear Each Other” is a article on Counterpunch by Joseph Natoli.  I’ve excerpted some of the beginning bits for context, but the best is when he focuses on what is happening in Education and how people are taught to think these days.  I’m also a fan of his borrowing of radical feminist methodology that focuses on the the material reality of the situation and the naming of the problem.  I heartily recommend you read the full article, as it suggests reasons why we are becoming less social despite ‘social’ media and the corrosive effect that identity politics, one of the crown jewels of post-modern theory, is having on our society.

[…]

“The intent of a past analog world to put us all on the same page so we could all direct ourselves in common to our common, societal problems is something now disseminated into an infinitude of self-designed enclaves. We have connectivity between the like-minded, or opinionated, but not conjunction which Bifo Berardi defines “as a way of becoming other.” (And: Phenomenology of the End, 2015)

If you want to reflect beyond the entrapment of your own personal experiences and the personal opinions derived from such, you are desiring something that has been superseded.

If you want not to be the blind man who feels the tail of an elephant and pronounces the elephant to be shaped like a snake, you are hoping for a door that leads out of the room of your own limited experience.

Unfortunately, there is no longer any need to leave that room because cyberspace has designed the whole world to be your room. You can blog, tweet, text. Video, emoji your reflections online without any intent to augment social knowledge or understanding or to encounter a counter-punch that will cause you to adjust your views.”

[…]

“We exist now within narratives, not impeccable logics and sound proofs, air-tight arguments or binding adjudications. For reasons too elaborate to condense, we have accepted Nietzsche’s view of reason as a pawn of power and have retreated to our own personal reasoning.

This retreat to personal arbitration of all matters is expressed in the politics of identity, a politics concerned with the full emancipation of the individual not as defined within any cultural, religious, historical, or anthropological notion of the individual, but defined by each and every variety of individual. It is as if the individual is a knowledge within itself.”

[…]

Education is also in a special dilemma considering the mission here is get a student to put his or her personal opinions and preferences and different experiences out of sight and attend to a rationally validated collective representation of a subject.

Nathan Heller points out that elite colleges find that the cultivation of the individual is not an easy matter when students will not leave their personal “experiential authority” at the door. (“The Big Easy,” The New Yorker May 30, 2016) One is not reading to extract eternal verities, the Enlightenment dream, or to deconstruct the pretenses of those same verities. In the climate that Heller describes, no content can be permitted to transgress the personally defined identity of the reader or listener.

An Oberlin student who Heller describes as “a trans man …educated in Mexico, walks with crutches, and suffers from A.D.H.D. and bipolar disorder …lately on suicide watch” objected to a discussion of Antigone without a trigger warning, i.e., characters in the play committed suicide. Identity-based oppression is responded to with a theory of intersectionality, which contends, “who knows what it means to live at an intersection better than the person there?” Thus, personal experiential authority now contends with a pedagogic tradition of minimizing the effects of personal experiential authority on objective, rational reflection.

Education attempts to respect individual arrangements of the results of critical thinking but not allow those arrangements to taint the process of critical thinking. This long standing agreement is no longer in effect. We have reached the point where we cannot engage in any way what may “trigger” our personal dislike or what may upset a private space we have self-designed.  Long standing notions of both education and society are dissolving.

We now listen to our own voices and our clones in “social” media, a pathological condition that undermines much needed social and political communication and interrelationships. The way out, as with all pathologies, is to first recognize the condition, observe the point we have reached and reorient our compass.”

Teaching critical thinking in public education has always been a revolutionary activity, as this article confirms, it looks like it shall continue to be in the revolutionary category for quite some time.

 

I spent my years learning French in Highschool(and now forgotten). Now with double the disappointment as I realize how word-awesome German is.

Consider this small list of bon mots:

Weltschmerz – world weariness.

Schadenfreude – a feeling of enjoyment that comes from seeing or hearing about the troubles of other people

Backpfeifengesicht – It describes someone who you feel needs a slap in the face.

Sitzfleisch — (seat meat) – it describes a character trait. Those who possess a lot of seat meat are able to sit through and weather something incredibly hard or boring.

Dreikäsehoch (Three cheeses high) – However, what it describes is a person who is vertically challenged, implying they’re only as tall as three wheels of cheese placed on top of each other.

Schattenparker (Shadow parker) – This word is part of a series of insults for men which accuse them of unmanly behavior. In this case, of parking their car in the shadow to avoid heating up the interior.

Forget French as Canada’s second language it ought to be German. :>

german

gn1 gn2 gn3
-Allan Johnson on compulsory femininity
(the systematic expectations and goals of female socialization)

The Gender Knot

 

David Cromwell excels at identifying key points of friction between public and private interests.  In this excerpt he examines how higher learning is being bent to fulfil its corporately mandated responsibilities to society.

“This [Academia] is a privileged sector where critical thought and enquiry into human society, the natural world and the cosmos ought to be the norm; not where overwhelming pressure to conform to state-corporate interests should be exerted on teaching and research agendas. 

    why_are_we_the_good_guys How can academic ‘collaboration’ with large corporations which are, after all, centralised systems of illegitimate power, not lead to compromise, distortion or worse?  It is clearly not in the interests of such institutions to promote rational and honest study into the problems of a corporate-shaped society.  It is in their interests to commandeer the publicly-funded research while co-opting supposedly neutral and objective academia as ‘partners’.  And all the better if highly trained university researchers working in narrow, focused disciplines remain disconnected from the interests in other disciplines, or more importantly, from the concerns of the general populace.

     ‘To work on a real problem (like how to eliminate poverty in a nation producing eight hundred billion dollars’ worth of wealth each year) one would have to follow that problem across many disciplinary lines without qualm, dealing with historical materials, economic theories, political obstacles’, observed historian Howard Zinn, author of The People’s History of the United States, who died in 2010.  ‘Specialisation ensures that one cannot follow a problem through from start to finish.  It ensures the functioning in the academy of the system’s dictum: divide and rule.’  Zinn provided a potent example: ‘Note how little work is done in political science on the tactics of social change.  Both students and teacher deal with theory and reality in separate courses; the compartmentalisation safely neutralises them.’

    Any management vision of how the university sector, or any place of higher education, ought to develop that does not recognize the nature of the iniquitous capitalist society in which the university finds itself embedded, is short-sighted.  And, moreover, any such ‘vision’ that is not committed to making radical changes in the way society is structured is tacitly, if not actively, supporting the status quo.  The same argument applies to any major institution in society.”

-David Cromwell.  Why Are We The Good Guys? pp. 216 – 217

   So, great you have a degree, well done sport!  Did they teach you to comply or to question the society that you inhabit?

Rebecca Reilly-Cooper continues her examination of sex and gender in part 2.  (Did you miss part 1?)

 

Gender

10. The oppression linked to sex begins at birth, operating through the social imposition of gender. Gender is the label that feminists use to describe the value system that prescribes and proscribes forms of behaviour and appearance for members of the different sex classes, and that assigns superior value to one sex class at the expense of the other. (That’s the same link as the one I said to bookmark in the previous post. I really, really want you to read it.)

11. Gendered socialisation is a lifelong process of inculcation into the gender role for your sex. It begins at birth, is imposed and enforced consciously and subconsciously by us all, in myriad ways, large and small, and operates to enforce certain forms of behaviour deemed desirable for members of the different sex classes and to prevent those deemed undesirable. This is what Simone de Beauvoir meant when she told us that “one is not born, but rather becomes, a woman”. To occupy the position of woman is to be socialised over the course of a lifetime into membership of the inferior sex class. Gender prescribes submissionweakness and passivity as desirable female traits, and dominancepower and aggression as desirable male traits. The way in which gender is expressed will vary according to culture and context, so different times and places will impose different norms of appearance, behaviour and comportment for males and females. But the underlying values are the same: females are supposed to perform gender in ways that signal their inferiority and submission; males are supposed to perform gender in ways that signal their superiority and dominance. The function of this system of oppression is to make female weakness and dependence on males seem natural and inevitable, and therefore to facilitate the exploitation by males of female emotional, sexual, domestic and reproductive labour.

12. It is perceived reproductive capacity, not actual reproductive capacity, that determines the sex class you will be assigned to, and therefore the form your gendered socialisation will take and the oppression you will experience. It doesn’t matter if you are actually infertile, and therefore incapable of performing the reproductive function of your sex. Nor does it matter whether or not you are inclined to perform that function. The fact of sexual dimorphism means that you will be socially read as belonging to one sex class or the other, and will henceforth be subject to the gendered socialisation, and sanction for non-compliance, deemed appropriate for your sex. Women in their twenties and thirties will experience workplace discrimination on account of their appearing to be potential mothers, even if as a matter of fact they could not conceive or have no desire to conceive.

13. Crucially, gendered socialisation and gender oppression happen regardless of how the individual happens to feel about herself or her identity. The injustices that are inflicted on girls do not occur because those individuals happen to know that they are girls and to think of themselves as girls. They occur because those girls inhabit female bodies, and so were placed into the inferior sex class at birth. To deny this fact is not only to fail to understand how gender operates; it is also to engage in a form of victim blaming, where girls and women who suffer gender-based violence and oppression are assumed to have identified with this subordinate social position, and to recognise and endorse their own inferiority and submissiveness.

14. Many individuals of both sexes are uncomfortable with the constraints that gender places upon them. All women who call themselves feminists are. The reason we come to feminism is because we feel that gender is an oppressive hierarchy that limits our potential, and we want to be liberated from the demands of femininity, which just is the expression of female submission. Similarly, many men feel uncomfortable with the norms of masculinity, which requires the expression of dominance, often in the form of aggression and violence. Males who find masculinity painful and intolerable, and who choose to rebel against its strictures, face prejudice and discrimination, and we should want to end this. But it’s worth remembering that gender punishes females whether they conform or not. Non-conformity is punished and socially sanctioned for both sexes, but for females, conformity is also a form of punishment, since compliance with femininity is in itself submission and subordination.

15. The degree of distress and discomfort individuals experience trying to conform to the appropriate gender norms will vary from person to person. There are very few, if any, persons who conform perfectly to the gender ideals prescribed for their sex. We all of us make compromises to survive, and to flourish as best we can, under the constraints that gender imposes upon us. We all of us actively endorse some bits, passively acquiesce with some bits, and positively rail against some bits, and the balance we eventually settle on will be an individual, personal matter. While we should be prepared to critically examine and reflect upon our choices, and to scrutinise our complicity in the perpetuation of gender, no individual is to be blamed for the choices she makes in order to survive living under an oppressive system.

16. Wanting to abolish the oppressive and limiting effects of gender does not mean that radical feminists want to stop anyone expressing their personality in the ways that they enjoy. Feminists do not wish to ban make-up or high heels, or to prevent girls from playing with dolls and dressing up like princesses. All feminists want is to liberate all of this stuff from perceived reproductive capacity, so that boys and girls, men and women, can dress however they like, play with whatever toys they like, perform whatever jobs they like. Men and women would be free to develop their capacities and reach their full potential, free from the constraints imposed on them by powerful social norms prescribing submission and passivity to females and dominance and aggression to males. The ideal world would be one in which one’s perceived reproductive capacity has as little bearing on one’s social treatment and expected achievements and outcomes as blood group or dominant handedness currently does.

17. The behavioural choices that any individual makes, their tastes and preferences about dress and appearance, and how they choose to express their personality, are independent of biological sex and – quite obviously – have no impact on it. People can dress however they choose, behave however they choose, modify their bodies however they choose, as long as these choices do not harm non-consenting others. This is to be encouraged, and indeed is an important part of the project of liberating humans from the oppressive constraints of gender. But none of this alters the underlying biological fact of their maleness or femaleness. No amount of challenging and modifying gender norms – or “queering” gender – will make a male person female, because to be female just means to be a member of the class of humans capable of gestating a child. Challenging and playing with gender norms in one’s behaviour and presentation, so that one appears androgynous, is a valid and useful tool in dismantling the structures of gender; but on its own it can never liberate females from the oppression that accompanies living in a female body. You cannot identify your way out of an oppression that is material in basis.

Greetings everyone, today, like everyday is a good day to learn or reinforce basic concepts.  Today’s lesson is in what a social construct is.  Many thanks to actual ex-radfem, for all of her hard work.

image

This is a one dollar bill. It is an excellent example of a social construct. This piece of paper represents a specific amount of spending power in the society that it exists in (the USA). An individual person could decide personally that it represents 1000$ worth of spending power, but it would not matter because like all social constructs, the collective agreement between individuals in society is what determines the meaning of the construct. There are laws on the books about currency but it doesn’t stop society from changing the meaning of a dollar; after all, in times of scarcity a dollar is a much more valuable asset than in times of plenty. The exact value of a dollar is something that fluctuates in tune with other factors, including things like consumer confidence- meaning, how consumers feel about the economy. Social constructs can change based on changes of opinion in the population.

One way to test if something is a social construct is to remove it from its native society and see if it retains the same functionality. The US dollar is accepted in some foreign countries, but in other places, it is just a piece of paper.

Another way to test if something is a social construct is to remove people from the picture entirely and see if it retains its functionality. Without people to give a dollar meaning it simply becomes paper. 

Contrast the attributes of a dollar with say, biological sex.

image
image

Male humans produce sperm and much higher levels of testosterone than females. Females produce ova and offspring if their eggs are fertilized and implanted. Individuals who are sterile still have either male or female anatomy which serves sexual functions for the individual. Virtually everyone on earth qualifies as one sex or the other, with or without malfunctioning or variations. Is this binary a social construct?

Does the collective agreement of society give male and female organs their functionality? Absolutely not. Humans did not always have an understanding of how pregnancy happened, and yet it happened anyway. Individuals who don’t know about or understand reproduction can and do get pregnant via sex. No matter how many people got together and decided that females inseminate males there would be no change in the function of testes or ovaries.

The functionality of human reproductive organs is also impervious to cultural or geographical differences. All over the world people get pregnant and have babies by mixing sperm from males with ova from females. There is no exception.

Removing humans from the equation also has no effect on the biological reality of mammalian reproduction. Male mammals are male, female mammals are female, and only one of the two can give birth.

Biological sex is not and never has been a social construct.

Another example is gender. Femininity is the easiest example to discuss. Lets look at different examples of femininity from around the world:

image
image
image
image

As you can see, what it means to be feminine or girly is very different depending upon the society. None of these is the “correct” femininity, just different versions from different cultures. There is no objective way to determine what makes someone feminine in any given culture- you have to ask people.

The nature of femininity is totally subjective and relies on the collective agreement of society. If you move one of these women into a different society their defining feminine characteristics instead become physical characteristics with no gender designation at all. In fact, what would make you gender conforming in one culture would make you gender non conforming in another. Gender also changes in individual societies over time, so the meaning of being feminine in America in the 1800s would differ markedly from what it means to be feminine in America right now. How people feel about the construct changes its meaning.Thus we can easily say that gender is a social construct.

Power is not a mistake in which the powerful can be educated, it’s not a misunderstanding, and it’s not a disagreement. Justice is not won by moral argument, or exertion, or individual transformation, and it’s not won by spiritual epiphany – It’s won by taking power away from the powerful and dismantling the institutions.”

– Lierre Keith

This Blog best viewed with Ad-Block and Firefox!

What is ad block? It is an application that, at your discretion blocks out advertising so you can browse the internet for content as opposed to ads. If you do not have it, get it here so you can enjoy my blog without the insidious advertising.

Like Privacy?

Change your Browser to Duck Duck Go.

Contact Info

Need to send me email? I have a infrequently monitored email account. Reach me at : arbourist at outlook dot com.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 306 other followers

Progressive Bloggers

Categories

August 2016
M T W T F S S
« Jul    
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031  

Archives

Blogs I Follow

The DWR Community

Coalition of the Brave

A Voice against the Darkness

Root Veg

dig deeper

TERF is a slur

Documenting the abuse, harassment and misogyny of transgender identity politics

In Permanent Opposition

Notes from the Feminist Underground

Revolting Europe

On Europe, the left, labour and social movements

OffGuardian

because facts really should be sacred

shrikecentral

The Killer Songbird

a rain and a gale

Feminism, mental health and stickin' it to the man

WolfWomanoftheNorth

radical feminism - female liberation from male domination.

~Burning Woman~

This WordPress.com site is for thoughts from "the other side"

Skin City Sister

The radical feminist musings of a simple Vegas girl.

Our Rape Blog

Everything we never wanted to know about sexual assault

glosswatch

humourless mummy, cuddly feminist

First, Do No Harm: Youth Trans Critical Professionals

Professionals Thinking Critically about the Youth Transgender Narrative

My Only Path to Power

Diary of a Trans Widow

leftmiddleground

Just another WordPress.com site

Esme's Cloud

The Wanderings and wonderings of a sentient cloud.

45ragestreet.org

IN INCARCERATION NATION BE A SUPERHERO OR DON'T MATTER

Cross All Boundaries

Don't listen to them. Just live for YOU.

Writing in the AM

One english student attempts to write something during the 'golden hours' of the morning

Transgender Reality

What Trans People Are Really Saying Online

Critiquing Transgender Doctrine & Gender Identity Politics

Over 400 curated links to blog posts and online articles that question and critique transgender doctrine, genderist dogma, and gender identity politics.

OUT of My Panties, Now!!!

Confronting Gender

BEND IT TIL IT BREAKS

Nolite te bastardes carborundorum

No More Paper Towels

The Patriarchy is a goddamn mess, and I'm not cleaning it up.

Feminist Valkyrie

Radical Feminist Haven

XY Feminist

Confronting misogyny, male privilege, and the masculine mystique.

Welcome to Cork Feminista

A feminist collective in the people's republic

Steel Kachinas

...and Asphalt Rainbows - Be careful what you worship.

good marriage central*

*Not really about marriage. Welcome anyway.

Behind the White Coat

Beats a real human heart...

firefly465

Writer of horror/fantasy/urban/worldbuilding. All those nice things which mean I get to use my imagination.

tnt666

Just another WordPress.com site

Story Ending Never

a twisted tale of feminism, atheism & other stuff

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 306 other followers

%d bloggers like this: