Feedback plan for 10/2

You are on your way now. images-28

Protocol for early proposal feedback:

Please open each proposal doc in the MA early proposal folder and add a paragraph or so of feedback/thoughts for each of the authors.  You can add your name at the bottom of the author’s proposal.  After your name, add your feedback.  I would also suggest color coding your response so each of our comments is distinct and easier to digest for the proposal writer.  images-27If you have not done so already, please make sure each of us (in this MA Thesis group) have access to EDIT your early proposal doc so that we can place our commentary directly in the doc.

Please respond as a fellow writer and as a reader, in a spirit of helpfulness and respect.  Share observations of what you notice in your colleagues early proposal, but also share observations of what you notice occurs inside of you as you read the writer’s text.  What questions emerge? What connections do you make as a result of the writer’s inquiry? I believe this approach to feedback will be helpful to each of you.

Deadline for proposal feedback: Thursday 10/2.

There should be five colored paragraphs after each proposal by Thursday afternoon (actually six, since I will add my comments there too).  When we meet on Thursday, we will review what has been covered thus far and make plans for “next steps”.  I will also post some new guidelines material for all of you soon regarding the development of an effective literature review.   We will devote the next few weeks to the next phase (active research and developing a lit review). In other words, we will focus on the collection of materials which will inform the development of your project.  Many of you are well on your way with this part of the process already, but I think this “stage” in our work together will be a worthwhile exercise for all of you to participate in as we proceed with our benchmarks for thesis progress.

o-INTUITION-facebookPlease remember that the writing and research process for a project like this is inherently more intuitive and unscripted than the mere adherence to such benchmarks, but they are in place (for now) in order to GENERATE the foundation for the work.

A note regarding blogging:  Some of you are doing a fabulous job of keeping up with your weekly reflections about your process.  I would like to remind the rest of you that a weekly post on “how it is going” will keep you faithful to your own journey.  Props to Dre for embracing the medium in a most writerly fashion, and to Larissa for her insightful layout of her work thus far.  It helps to do this, trust me.  So keep up the blogging!  Make it a weekly habit (even if it is a just a quick entry).

Looking forward to connecting both virtually in the docs, and f2f on Thursday evening.

Sincerely,

Dr. Zamora

Blog…3, or 4?

This’s me trying to be all gung-ho with it, hence why I am at present hunkered down in the Starbucks on campus in a booth all to myself at a garbage and notebook-strewn table with nothing in particular streaming through my headphones, hence why I can make out the music playing across one, two, three, four overhanging speakers I just counted, which is probably Al Green, and all the while two young ladies in a pilgrimage-to-Mecca-like queue to the registers boogey to Al Green, or who I think is Al Green, though I’m pretty sure it is Al Green, as I once again try to be all gung ho as I weather a sick laptop whose trackpad is busted so as to make the cursor do things I don’t want it to, never want it to, and shouldn’t unless I want it to, which is why I have to say lastly that if this attempt of mine should go unfinished it’s because. Just because. And excuse the typos.

1

It may or may not be fair to say that unbeknownst to most whites, or those whites behind the depictions of radicalized characters in comics, or more specifically those behind the manifestations of characters in the midst of increasing popularity to portray historically classically handsome straight white male superheroes as anything but, it is easy to believe that They themselves believe that such characters should be represented with dignity and not as they have been since time immemorial where they were arguably mostly reflected the external signifiers of, say, a one late-ODB; or even Jay-Z for that matter. But now, hm, Jay-Z, now he is an interesting fellow to bring up here, I think, and for whom I have the utmost deference as a fan of the music he makes for mass appeal and the fattening his et al’s pockets, or so I speculate, as one tends to concerning the motivations of rich people who don’t seem to be satisfied with how rich they already are, because then why would they continue doing things they of are only going to make people want to throw more of their conceivably hard earned money at them for whatever their peddling this time.

Anyway: What makes J so interesting is the fact that as a black man in American (BiA hereafter) he has done more than what any considerable numbers of blacks let alone black males will do and can do in this country, which is (albeit born a ghetto youth into BK’s Marcy Projects, who statistically in relation to geography and a # of other contextual factors such as, for one, drug dealing on Mr Jay-Z part, shouldn’t’ve even be walking among us now here today) become a worldwide sensation and multiplatinum artist whose music for a lot of, I want to say, young and old people, is a gateway into hiphop, and what’s more is that he’s been able to do this–that is, gain status and rub shoulders with the best of them not just in music but in business and then some–while maintaining his black masculinity, and by black masculinity I mean Jay-Z as a rapper embodies the type of exaggerated manhood, i.e., hypermasculinity, recognized in black males as a recipe for disaster,  or in theory What Makes One A Legit Rapper.

Note that this brand of masculinity is a policed masculinity in association w/ badassery, too much tattooery, and overtly crass word and lifestyle choices that are not recognized by the Dominant Consensus, unless it is to codify what constitutes what’s good and what’s bad. There’s that and there’s the brooding, the disdain for The West, the departure from what is considered “okay” and “PC, the “cool pose,” and the reluctance to appeal to the sensibilities of the Dominant: things that mark the black body as “problematic” or a “nuisance” and whose inherent qualities are to be staved off from if one should ever at all to be considered for mainstream qualification within a predominantly white social order that race-wise: disqualifies BiAs from privileges and opportunities conceived of in the minds of white people for other white people; and gender-wise: prohibits BiAs from exhibiting any authenticity (read: Blackness) as a requisite for entry into (white) middle-class.

And so: Jay-Z is truly a unicorn in this regard: because having done none of the shapeshifting or genderbending or whitewashing or UncleTomming asked of of BiAs looking to better themselves, he (Jay), made it.

2.

The aforementioned racialized gender performance is not ltd. to the black community, or just black males, but to all colored folks. What it means is that the rules for how, say, black males should act both publicly and privately is specific to them (blacks); in other words: a black dude not gonna act the same way as a white dude, or vice versa, nor is either expected to. Another way: the rules or standards by which they are measured in determining authenticity are different, i.e, radicalized. “Or, more generally, [Vershawn Young argues] that in relation the mainstream, white masculinity defines black male gender performance within a patriarchal American culture” (“Compulsive”). Reasons for this amount to slavery and Jim Crow and legislation that made it so that blacks were less than, i.e., subhuman, and a multitude of other sordid, draconian feats we disparage and condemn today thanks to time and blips in time that amounted to movements and after-movements and laws and to refrain–time–and the wonderwork thereof. Bullshit or not that it took this long, does not trump the fact that, friends, we made it(, sort of).

“African American culture has historically been deemed contrary to the norms of heterosexuality and patriarchy” (Ferguson, 04); “assigning heternormative behavior to black men historically exists as a way to disenfranchise us from the opportunities reserved fro white men in this country and thus from perceptions of “true” manhood, and from that “true” heterosexuality (Young “Compulsive”). This results in behavior and gestures that run counter to heteronormalcy, “deemed deviant, in need of correction, straightening out” (Young) and marks black men as anti-men and not black enough. A common invective that I myself can attest to having heard growing up as a burgeoning black youth who constantly found hisself against his volition in Public White Spaces and thronged by whites is “[Andre,] You act white” or “Stop acting white,” or “You talk like a white person,” or “You’re the whitest black person I’ve ever met,” and so on. Mind you I encounter people in my so-called adulthood who in their so-called adulthood still think it is just fine to say things like this to me and mean it as a joke, or can’t believe that I have the interests I have, or the vocabulary I have, or the sensibilities I have, because I am black and they don’t know jack–that is, to say they probaly couldn’t wrap their brains around it–about intersectionality and that I am a nexus, a confluence of things that do not necessarily go together all that easily…..


Blog…3, or 4?

This’s me trying to be all gung-ho with it, hence why I am at present hunkered down in the Starbucks on campus in a booth all to myself at a garbage and notebook-strewn table with nothing in particular streaming through my headphones, hence why I can make out the music playing across one, two, three, four overhanging speakers I just counted, which is probably Al Green, and all the while two young ladies in a pilgrimage-to-Mecca-like queue to the registers boogey to Al Green, or who I think is Al Green, though I’m pretty sure it is Al Green, as I once again try to be all gung ho as I weather a sick laptop whose trackpad is busted so as to make the cursor do things I don’t want it to, never want it to, and shouldn’t unless I want it to, which is why I have to say lastly that if this attempt of mine should go unfinished it’s because. Just because. And excuse the typos.

1

It may or may not be fair to say that unbeknownst to most whites, or those whites behind the depictions of radicalized characters in comics, or more specifically those behind the manifestations of characters in the midst of increasing popularity to portray historically classically handsome straight white male superheroes as anything but, it is easy to believe that They themselves believe that such characters should be represented with dignity and not as they have been since time immemorial where they were arguably mostly reflected the external signifiers of, say, a one late-ODB; or even Jay-Z for that matter. But now, hm, Jay-Z, now he is an interesting fellow to bring up here, I think, and for whom I have the utmost deference as a fan of the music he makes for mass appeal and the fattening his et al’s pockets, or so I speculate, as one tends to concerning the motivations of rich people who don’t seem to be satisfied with how rich they already are, because then why would they continue doing things they of are only going to make people want to throw more of their conceivably hard earned money at them for whatever their peddling this time.

Anyway: What makes J so interesting is the fact that as a black man in American (BiA hereafter) he has done more than what any considerable numbers of blacks let alone black males will do and can do in this country, which is (albeit born a ghetto youth into BK’s Marcy Projects, who statistically in relation to geography and a # of other contextual factors such as, for one, drug dealing on Mr Jay-Z part, shouldn’t’ve even be walking among us now here today) become a worldwide sensation and multiplatinum artist whose music for a lot of, I want to say, young and old people, is a gateway into hiphop, and what’s more is that he’s been able to do this–that is, gain status and rub shoulders with the best of them not just in music but in business and then some–while maintaining his black masculinity, and by black masculinity I mean Jay-Z as a rapper embodies the type of exaggerated manhood, i.e., hypermasculinity, recognized in black males as a recipe for disaster,  or in theory What Makes One A Legit Rapper.

Note that this brand of masculinity is a policed masculinity in association w/ badassery, too much tattooery, and overtly crass word and lifestyle choices that are not recognized by the Dominant Consensus, unless it is to codify what constitutes what’s good and what’s bad. There’s that and there’s the brooding, the disdain for The West, the departure from what is considered “okay” and “PC, the “cool pose,” and the reluctance to appeal to the sensibilities of the Dominant: things that mark the black body as “problematic” or a “nuisance” and whose inherent qualities are to be staved off from if one should ever at all to be considered for mainstream qualification within a predominantly white social order that race-wise: disqualifies BiAs from privileges and opportunities conceived of in the minds of white people for other white people; and gender-wise: prohibits BiAs from exhibiting any authenticity (read: Blackness) as a requisite for entry into (white) middle-class.

And so: Jay-Z is truly a unicorn in this regard: because having done none of the shapeshifting or genderbending or whitewashing or UncleTomming asked of of BiAs looking to better themselves, he (Jay), made it.

2.

The aforementioned racialized gender performance is not ltd. to the black community, or just black males, but to all colored folks. What it means is that the rules for how, say, black males should act both publicly and privately is specific to them (blacks); in other words: a black dude not gonna act the same way as a white dude, or vice versa, nor is either expected to. Another way: the rules or standards by which they are measured in determining authenticity are different, i.e, radicalized. “Or, more generally, [Vershawn Young argues] that in relation the mainstream, white masculinity defines black male gender performance within a patriarchal American culture” (“Compulsive”). Reasons for this amount to slavery and Jim Crow and legislation that made it so that blacks were less than, i.e., subhuman, and a multitude of other sordid, draconian feats we disparage and condemn today thanks to time and blips in time that amounted to movements and after-movements and laws and to refrain–time–and the wonderwork thereof. Bullshit or not that it took this long, does not trump the fact that, friends, we made it(, sort of).

“African American culture has historically been deemed contrary to the norms of heterosexuality and patriarchy” (Ferguson, 04); “assigning heternormative behavior to black men historically exists as a way to disenfranchise us from the opportunities reserved fro white men in this country and thus from perceptions of “true” manhood, and from that “true” heterosexuality (Young “Compulsive”). This results in behavior and gestures that run counter to heteronormalcy, “deemed deviant, in need of correction, straightening out” (Young) and marks black men as anti-men and not black enough. A common invective that I myself can attest to having heard growing up as a burgeoning black youth who constantly found hisself against his volition in Public White Spaces and thronged by whites is “[Andre,] You act white” or “Stop acting white,” or “You talk like a white person,” or “You’re the whitest black person I’ve ever met,” and so on. Mind you I encounter people in my so-called adulthood who in their so-called adulthood still think it is just fine to say things like this to me and mean it as a joke, or can’t believe that I have the interests I have, or the vocabulary I have, or the sensibilities I have, because I am black and they don’t know jack–that is, to say they probaly couldn’t wrap their brains around it–about intersectionality and that I am a nexus, a confluence of things that do not necessarily go together all that easily…..


Second entry

The following thoughts and views of Yr Corresps (your correspondent) are thesis-centered and a way, or are ways, to stave of any self-destructive deeds he or those he might conscript for them from actually being rolled out; see infra, and please feel free as my friends and cohorts in thesis mode to comment, demur, as you see fit.

…And so. Much like comics itself (unless it’s themselves?) the thesis is made up a lot disparate parts that will ultimately come together in the form of an intelligent and coherent working doc with which I’ll springboard myself into something, and hopefully a job; or at least that is the plan. Here’s hoping.

Next. This weekend I practiced truncating my thesis topic into 20-30 word chunks, and the whole thing was and still is sort of preemptive, really. For fear that I’ll get asked what I’m working on by someone who has no idea what “multimodality” means, or “phenomenology,” or who Brian Bendis and Miles Morales are, or can even wrap their pink matter around what the big deal is if so-and-so is white or black, or gay, or whatever. That and because it’s incendiarily enviable, for me, when someone just busts it like it’s nada; there’s no reconciling that for me, in all honesty. That is, inadequacy. Though in truth it is probably true they toiled with their baby just as much as me with my baby, if not more than, but even so: forget that.

Another thing this weekend is that I got in touch w/ a one Hillary Chute, a prolific scholar now teaching at U of Chicago, who has done a lot, a lot, a lot of great work in the field of comics/graphic narratives; her thesis: “Contemporary Graphic Narratives: History, Aesthetics, Ethics”; my friend thinks she’s in serious need of a haircut, but see infra for more:

  • Chute on comics as lit(erature): http://www.jstor.org/stable/25501865?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents
  • Chute and (Art) Spiegelman (sp?): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vnb2D4FySro
  • Chute & Comics Journal: http://www.tcj.com/hillary-chute-interview/
  • Chute in the Harvard Gazette: http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2007/12/chute-on-graphic-narratives-—-they’re-not-just-comic-books-anymore/

…And you get the point, I think. We also talked a li’l bout Biggie Smalls–No-No-No- Notorious!–and how he always referred to hisself as The Black Frank White, the actual Frank White being a fictional thug-somebody played by Christopher Walken in (the film) King of New York. How we got on the topic of Biggie was by my bringing up how Miles is a BK native, and how the first thing I think of when I think of BK is Biggie.

What else to tell you? Currently, I’m mostly preoccupied with understanding all of the working parts of comics so as to understand how those respective constituent parts play a role in validating voice and skin color, and other related issues that really shouldn’t be issues. A lot of folks incidentally have a lot to say about the magic of comics, and for that there’s (again) Chute, Spiegelman, whose Maus I & II, if you haven’t read, you should read; Derek Parker Royal, Will Eisner, Marc Dipaolo, et al. — all of whom I regard super highly and could not be more grateful to have in my back pocket as lifelines right now.

What, you want a bibliography, too? Thesis Christ, man.


Second entry

The following thoughts and views of Yr Corresps (your correspondent) are thesis-centered and a way, or are ways, to stave of any self-destructive deeds he or those he might conscript for them from actually being rolled out; see infra, and please feel free as my friends and cohorts to comment, demur, as you see fit.

…And so. Much like comics itself (unless it’s themselves?) the thesis is made up a lot disparate parts that will ultimately come together in the form of an intelligent and coherent working doc with which I’ll springboard myself into something, and hopefully a job; or at least that is the plan. Here’s hoping.

Next. This weekend I practiced truncating my thesis topic into 20-30 word chunks, and the whole thing was and still is sort of preemptive, really. For fear that I’ll get asked what I’m working on by someone who has no idea what “multimodality” means, or “phenomenology,” or who Brian Bendis and Miles Morales are, or can even wrap their pink matter around what the big deal is if so-and-so is white or black, or gay, or whatever. That and because it’s incendiarily enviable, for me, when someone just busts it like it’s nada; there’s no reconciling that for me, in all honesty. That is, inadequacy. Though in truth it is probably true they toiled with their baby just as much as me with my baby, if not more than, but even so: forget that.

Another thing this weekend is that I got in touch w/ a one Hillary Chute, a prolific scholar now teaching at U of Chicago, who has done a lot, a lot, a lot of great work in the field of comics/graphic narratives; her thesis: “Contemporary Graphic Narratives: History, Aesthetics, Ethics”; my friend thinks she’s in serious need of a haircut, but see infra for more:

  • Chute on comics as lit(erature): http://www.jstor.org/stable/25501865?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents
  • Chute and (Art) Spiegelman (sp?): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vnb2D4FySro
  • Chute & Comics Journal: http://www.tcj.com/hillary-chute-interview/
  • Chute in the Harvard Gazette: http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2007/12/chute-on-graphic-narratives-—-they’re-not-just-comic-books-anymore/

…And you get the point, I think. We also talked a li’l bout Biggie Smalls–No-No-No- Notorious!–and how he always referred to hisself as The Black Frank White, the actual Frank White being a fictional thug-somebody played by Christopher Walken in (the film) King of New York. How we got on the topic of Biggie was by my bringing up how Miles is a BK native, and how the first thing I think of when I think of BK is Biggie.

Currently, though, I’m mostly preoccupied with understanding all of the working parts of comics so as to understand how those respective constituent parts play a role in validating voice and skin color, and other related issues that really shouldn’t be issues. For that there’s Chute, Spiegelman, Derek Parker Royal, Will Eisner, Marc Dipaolo, et al.

What, you want a bibliography, too? Thesis Christ, man.


Early Thesis Proposal Draft

This is the draft of my proposal:

  1. My problem/question: Students in urban schools are subject to strict controls to keep order in the classroom and school. Teachers then ask students to be creative, to think outside the box, and to use their own voice in their writing. Not surprisingly, students are frequently at a loss where to begin. How can teachers in urban English classrooms give students the freedom to express their ideas? What are the best practices for teachers to encourage students to create arguments, write theses, and find their voice?
  2. Current research is focused on the maker movement and student creativity. While schools were built in the industrial era with a factory-model, our society has moved into a digital age where creativity, not conformity, is valued. Educational research asks teachers to develop best practices for our classrooms. Combining these two ideas: what are the best practices to cultivate student creativity in their writing?
  3. There is a great deal of research on teaching argumentative writing (possibly the most difficult writing form to teach). Newer research on teaching in the urban classroom and creativity will also be applied. My proposal grew out of the work of a teacher in North Korea who posited that her students could not write because they lacked access to outside information, particularly the internet, and because they had been told what to think, do and say their entire lives by their totalitarian regime. It occurred to me that while our students have access to outside information, they are forced to mold their behavior to fit the confines of urban public education. The lower the achievement level of the students and the more dangerous the environment, the more controls are placed on student behavior. On the other hand, more affluent students not only have greater access to technology and resources, they are also privy to greater freedom in and out of the classroom. How does this dichotomy feed the achievement gap? What can teachers in urban schools do to narrow the pernicious achievement gap and get our students ready for a world where they are asked to think, speak and write creatively.
  4. My approach is to explore any methods that have been effective for writing teachers. Then I would evaluate those methods for effectiveness in an urban classroom. I will gather resources from personal experience, from the work of my peers and cohort, and from a variety of resource sources. My focus is not on theoretical ideas but on concrete methods teachers can use tomorrow in the classroom.
  5. I hope that my outcome will be a catalog of options that urban English teachers can use in their classroom. After initially exploring the unique challenges of the urban classroom, I would like the focus of my project to be a collection of lesson plans and classroom ideas the teacher can adapt to his/her situation. I would like to end up with both narratives and videos of lessons that have worked in my classroom and in classrooms of other teachers.

Early Thesis Proposal Draft

This is the draft of my proposal:

  1. My problem/question: Students in urban schools are subject to strict controls to keep order in the classroom and school. Teachers then ask students to be creative, to think outside the box, and to use their own voice in their writing. Not surprisingly, students are frequently at a loss where to begin. How can teachers in urban English classrooms give students the freedom to express their ideas? What are the best practices for teachers to encourage students to create arguments, write theses, and find their voice?
  2. Current research is focused on the maker movement and student creativity. While schools were built in the industrial era with a factory-model, our society has moved into a digital age where creativity, not conformity, is valued. Educational research asks teachers to develop best practices for our classrooms. Combining these two ideas: what are the best practices to cultivate student creativity in their writing?
  3. There is a great deal of research on teaching argumentative writing (possibly the most difficult writing form to teach). Newer research on teaching in the urban classroom and creativity will also be applied. My proposal grew out of the work of a teacher in North Korea who posited that her students could not write because they lacked access to outside information, particularly the internet, and because they had been told what to think, do and say their entire lives by their totalitarian regime. It occurred to me that while our students have access to outside information, they are forced to mold their behavior to fit the confines of urban public education. The lower the achievement level of the students and the more dangerous the environment, the more controls are placed on student behavior. On the other hand, more affluent students not only have greater access to technology and resources, they are also privy to greater freedom in and out of the classroom. How does this dichotomy feed the achievement gap? What can teachers in urban schools do to narrow the pernicious achievement gap and get our students ready for a world where they are asked to think, speak and write creatively.
  4. My approach is to explore any methods that have been effective for writing teachers. Then I would evaluate those methods for effectiveness in an urban classroom. I will gather resources from personal experience, from the work of my peers and cohort, and from a variety of resource sources. My focus is not on theoretical ideas but on concrete methods teachers can use tomorrow in the classroom.
  5. I hope that my outcome will be a catalog of options that urban English teachers can use in their classroom. After initially exploring the unique challenges of the urban classroom, I would like the focus of my project to be a collection of lesson plans and classroom ideas the teacher can adapt to his/her situation. I would like to end up with both narratives and videos of lessons that have worked in my classroom and in classrooms of other teachers.

Working on the early proposal document

images-21By now you should be in the midst of the development of your “Early MA Proposal Document”.  I have spoken with each of you about your early ideas, and that should serve as the basis for this first attempt at a formal articulation of your project.  Please follow the guidelines posted in the Early MA Thesis Proposal Document in order to get the most out of this step in your overall thesis journey.

Your document is due by Thursday Sept. 24th.  Please send me that document in google doc form, and please also share the document with your thesis co-hort (Larissa, Christina, Andre, Melissa, and Matt).  On 9/25, I will be sending you a collaborative google doc which will serve as a shared feedback document which we will all work on together.

Please read the four early proposals from your colleagues, and submit some initial feedback in our shared document.  Include any questions that come up as a peer reader.  There will be a section in this document dedicated for each writer’s proposal.  Please write to/for each author, sharing aspects of the proposal that seem to lead to productive points of inquiry, and which aspects of the proposal could use further articulation or clarification.  Is there a clear argument or goal for this project?  What questions come to mind as you read your colleagues early thoughts?  This exercise/document is meant to help each of you.  It is a powerful source of learning to consider peer work (not only for the writer receiving the feedback, but for the reader as well).  It will help in honing your own editorial/analytical lens.

images-22

Please note that although your early proposal document is due on 9/24, we will not be meeting in person that evening.  Your next step is take the time to read and offer your feedback to your colleagues in the collaborative feedback document.  This work will be due for the night of 10/1.  We will be meeting on the evening of 10/1.  On 10/1 we will discuss the feedback offered each thesis writer, and then we will cover “next steps” as we consider the literature review portion of your research.

Deadlines for now:

If you haven’t already, please send me your thesis blog url and be sure to post about how it is going thus far.  I will be syndicating your blogs in to this site shortly.

9/24 – Early proposal document sent to Dr. Zamora and fellow MA thesis colleagues. No meeting.

10/1 – Feedback on each early MA thesis proposal in the shared collaborative document (to be sent to all of you by Dr. Zamora on 9/25).  Meeting to discuss feedback and literature review phase.

As always, if you need to connect to discuss your unfolding work, please contact me so we can keep you on track.

Sincerely,

Dr. Zamora