Friday, October 31, 2008

Response to Events

Kegan Refalo

Invisible Inc.

The gallery exhibition was remarked by attendees as being haunting and eye-opening. The gallery was filled with a mob of people weaving through the clothed mannequins suspended from the ceiling, which brought to life the photographic narratives on the walls. Invisible Inc. was the final presentation of a collaborative project between Will Connelly and myself. Connelly was the eye behind the camera and I was the hand behind the stitches. We came together to reveal the underlying meanings of fashion. Fashion is more than a superficial decoration of the body according to media and trends. Fashioning one’s visual presentation is a semiotic charged practice that people engage in everyday without awareness of their participation in a larger social system. The everyday rituals of dress are embedded with the social and cultural norms of a person’s environment; the choices of an individual situate her/him/hir in racial, gendered, class and subculture appositional communities. The semiotic meanings of fashion were explored and communicated in this exhibition, with specific emphasis on gender and class.

The show was made up of three separate series. The first one was “Zewi Ze’s,” which focuses on gender identity. The setting is an expansive open field with a sapling with hollowed out eggs hanging from it. The models interact with each other, the tree and the grassy landscape. The eight photograph series is accompanied by a written narrative describing the journey of the two models to find a social space free from the constraints of the binary sex-gender system. Both of the models identify as genderqueer, which is a gender identity under the umbrella of transgender, where the individual identifies as both a man and a women, neither a man nor a women or the spaces in between genders. The title of this series “Zewi Ze’s” use ze a gender-neutral pronoun, sometimes preferred by genderqueer people. The models were each wearing a suit. One of the suits was brown, felted wool, tailored in a classical Italian style accompanied with brown, straight-leg cords with contrasting pocket details. This outfit is specifically gender neutral; the body inside the garment adds the gender or in the case of this a genderqueer model maintains the gender ambiguous neutrality. The other suit in this series was a navy, wool, jacket with brown and cream plaid silk, piecing and piping accompanied with brown, herringbone pants. This suit is made from elements of 16th century, Japanese armor with a Dior influenced silhouette. This suit is a deliberate amalgamation of a traditional masculine garment with a feminine silhouette and flamboyant design elements.

The second series was called “Formal Service.” In this series of five photographs, the models are enacting the ritual of eating a meal a formal meal. The setting is a dark and eerie room lit with candles; the meal critiques fine dinning by serving the guests canaries, mealworms and crickets elaborately arranged on the plates. The models uphold social dinning norms, but the setting turns the ritual in its head. The garments in this series work to further the critique of formality, because neither model is wearing a shirt. Instead both have formal wear tattoos on their torsos that use the characteristic lines and forms of a tux shirt, a bow tie, suspenders and a neck tie to communicate the social significance of these garments without their textile presence. The tattoos were handmade temporaries; I made them using a modified lithography process on moisture release paper. The models were also wearing custom made, wool, black and gray, dress slacks with top stitching details. The slacks acted as accompanying pieces to the formal wear tattoos.

The third series was titled, “White Collar Exposure.” In this series of five photographs, the models are attending a cocktail party. The setting is a dimly lit room, which acts only as a neutral backdrop for the glowing martinis. The models are wearing custom altered suits that have been cut away to expose their tattoos. The body art is original and personally significant to the individual models. The models are also wearing white gloves and theater masks. The models interact as a group, in pairs and individually posed to reveal their body art. The masks act as a reminder that professionals must hide their full identity to be successful in the white-collar job market, while the gloves take a symbol of formality to also represent the professional distance maintained in the workforce. People that see each other everyday are never come in contact with one another; they are stranger’s to one another, covered and confined by their suits. This series works to reclaim the personhood of workers. The suit becomes the frame for the body art, a visual signifier of the individual’s identity. The suit becomes a window to the layers of the person’s individuality instead of the defining caricature of her/his/hir uniformity.

The tile of the show, Invisible Inc., has a lot to unpack. The word “Invisible” is in reference to the layers of meaning implicit in fashion that are over looked. It highlights specific themes in different series. In “Zewi Ze’s” it represented the invisibility of transgender people as a minority population that lives as second-class citizens without protection against discrimination or violence. It highlights the invisibility of the gender queer identity even within the transgender communities because it is outside of the binary sex-gender system, and lastly it acknowledges the lack of fashion that caters to transitory bodies and shifting identities. In “Formal Service” it reveals the how the fabric of a garment is rendered irrelevant when specific class-charged signifiers are employed. The models did not need fabric on their torsos because the lines were enough to communicate the formal attire and the class status signification. In “White Collar Exposure,” the invisibility of white-collar professionals, who often have body art under their suits and are forced to keep it hidden, is addressed. Also the loss of respect for body modification by majority culture; the loss of an awareness of the tribal roots of body modification, where the markings on the body were a social symbol of class status equivalent to the modern suit now used to obscure it. The use of “Inc.” communicated two main concepts. The simple association with tattoo and body markings, and the influence of institutionalized social norms that are ingenerated in our lives yet go unnoticed. The power dynamics of othering minority populations and subcultures and then producing a consumer culture that denies their existence. When a person attempts to purchase clothes for their body and their manner of embodiment and there is no available garment it is a form of social erasure and discrimination. Invisible Inc. was a project of putting the people back into the garments and consequentially discussing how personhood is simultaneously enabled and made invisible by the fashion system.

This exhibition was my first attempt to visually articulate the ideas and critiques I have concerning the fashion system, and to combat the lack of awareness our everyday participation in this system. Previous attempts to orally articulate the ideas in my head were often lost in translation. Often my audience was at sea level and I was speaking from a mountainous altitude based on my specialized studies and life experiences. Without common ground nothing was communicated. I was pleased to find that the exhibition enabled common ground to be established. The images and garments communicated complex ideas in an easily digestible form, thus when people came to me to ask questions or discuss a concept communication was possible and both participants moved forward in common understandings. This exhibition was not only a valuable lesson on collaboration and problem solving, but also a successful integration of two mediums, two peoples visions and complex theory with visual arts.

Republican National Convention Protesters Speak Out

The presentation by the students and community members about their experiences at the Republican National Convention was overwhelming. The abstract knowledge that somewhere in America cops are brutalizing American citizens and abusing their power is very different from peers and close friends detailing these abuses. The RNC was a politically monumental case of government sanction violence against American citizens. The numbers of riot cops, the pre-convention raids, the brutality of their actions and the charges filled against the protestors, set new precedence, especially because it was the first time the patriot act was used against American citizens. Many protestors were arrested under the charge of conspiracy: conspiracy to incite a riot, conspiracy to resist arrest, and conspiracy to commit terrorism. These charges were trumping up disorderly conduct arrests to felony offences, which enabled longer jail holding, higher bail and more police license for abuse. Americans are currently on trial as conspiring terrorist for organizing demonstrations and direct actions to voice their criticism of the government. This is a scary reality.

One point that struck me as particularly interesting was the fact that possessing a handkerchief soaked in lemon or line juice could inspire a conspiracy to riot charge and arrest. Twelve square inches of citric infused fabric became contraband because of its social significance. Lemon and line juice help ease the painful burning of mace and pepper spray, common weapons used against protestors, so prepared activists will soak their bandanas in the juice as a precaution. Handkerchiefs, also known as bandanas, have been adopted many activists because they are a utilitarian accessory that can act as a face mask, eye protection, bandage, snot rag, hair tie and head covering. The bandana, an American symbol of the working class, has been made into criminalizing contraband. Why? At what point is it necessary to pre-soak you bandana because police spraying the crowds is a given and sanction response to citizens taking their critiques to the streets. At what point is the cycle fulfilling its self. We would never fault a backpacker for being prepared for the worst-case scenario and yet it is criminal for a citizen. The Twin Cities prepared for the worst with record numbers of riot cops and funding new tactical equipment to prevent citizens from interacting with elected officials. Activists, anarchists and enraged citizens are not the kind of people worthy to talk with the body of people that governs them. And in recent days not even our veterans of the Iraq war.

Interestingly enough, during the election campaigning of the 2004 election, activists did find themselves granted access to political representative. Groups of activists dressed in business suits and had professionally printed signs and literature, which was mocking the candidates and revealing their corruption in subtle clever ways. These groups were able to have presence on the streets and hand literature to a typically unreachable demographic. The groups employed garments and social signs of class status to meet their aim. Police used social stigmas and stereotypes to legitimize their actions. Both instances are interesting examples of how the social significance of garments directly affects political resistance, awareness and direct action tactics, and the safety of the participants.

Monday, October 27, 2008

2 more events

Hi, here are two more events which will be fun and help explain what my major is about:

1. Do it to Julia's CD Release Show, Wednesday Oct. 29th, at Legends. Presale tickets are only $3 and are $5 at the door. Doors open at 8. If getting tickets is an issue, let me know and I can possibly work something out!
2. Tim Reynolds and tr3 is performing at Canyons, Nov. 9th at 10 PM. Tim Reynolds is best known for his collaboration with Dave Matthews over the years. Tickets are $15 and again, if tickets are an issue, please let me know.

I booked both this shows and have incorporated several different fund raisers for the High Country Conservancy at the shows.
Call me with any questions, 919 818 2614.

I almost forgot to post this.....

William Lehman

Statement of Purpose

International Studies: Asia

I am studying International Studies: Asia with a Concentration on Japan; with the intentions of using this degree to return to Japan for a teaching position. The IDS degree was a good fit for me because it allowed be to do a significant amount of observing into the concepts behind Second Language Acquisition, Teaching Methods and Education in Japanese Society, History, and Culture. This is my goal as a learner in the IDS department.

I hope to teach English as a second language in an established public/private school in a full time position or a night/cram school, while I seek further education in the Japanese Language to the point of fluency and possibly seeking a Masters in TEFL or TESL. This allows me to continue to teach English, in a well established position, abroad or to return to the United States to teach Japanese, preferably at an Undergraduate level.

The reason this degree is a good choice for me is because to teach a second language effectively it is very important to teach to nature of the students. A Montessori style of teaching is very similar to my ideal pedagogy but seeing as that would not be an option in a Japanese public school setting I have to try hard to meet on a middle ground. To do this I have to learn as much as I can about the Japanese Culture, Society, and even Identity. Being able to reach students is a large part of transferring the knowledge, but if one can’t connect it is very difficult to pass on the knowledge.

Due to the furthering Globalization of the world it is important for successful young people to be multi-lingual. For the “youth of tomorrow,” to triumph in the economic world around them it is imperative to adapt to their surroundings and that means overcoming language barriers. Right now the most highly successful business language is, arguably, English. Furthering the international market is important to the world economy and success.

The interest in my concentration on Asia/Japan came from my precious experience of living in Japan. While there I fell in love with every aspect of Japan and the people. I have wanted to return to that country, to live, ever since I left. While there I had my first paying job, being an assistant teacher of English in a classroom setting for three to five year olds. Since then I have assisted in teaching most age ranges in official settings. This is what I think my calling is for my future. That is why I wish to continue on this path. However; since there is neither Japanese nor a TESL/TEFL major at Appalachian State, I decided the IDS: Asia with a concentration on Japan and a minor in Teaching English as a Second Language. I have been using my free hours to study other languages, learning methods, and technology. I think these are the key to my future and my efficiency as a teacher in the future.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Statement of Purpose

Statement of Purpose

Event Promotion and Production

Jimmy Hunt

My concentration is Event Promotion and Production, with specific attention within the music industry. I am pulling from all my different backgrounds, such as my two prior majors; Business Management and Political Science. In addition, I am using my real life experiences and company to help guide me through my concentration.

Event Promotion and Production covers many areas of study which I’ve already taken and many I wish to pursue while at ASU. The events which I’ve already produced tie in other aspects of my study, such as Sustainable Development which I now take with Chuck Smith.

Specifically, Event Promotion and Production is the ability to plan, promote, and produce community events, with music being the main feature. These events are important because they are my medium to which I transfer other important life messages, such as sustainable living. Moreover, I use my business background to gage the correct logistics of large scale production, such as budgeting, finances, and break even points. I intend to fully support myself and my family with the events which I promote and produce, so my major is a directly effecting my future by giving me hands on guidance.

The classes I am taking for my concentration range from Sustainable Development to Histories of Knowledge. I intend to pull the tools from each class I need to help make the events more successful. For instance, another class in my IDS studies is Karl Marx’s Capitalism. From this class, I’ve been able to draw out vital theories on labor and why people work. Theories such as these better me to understand approaching others to work for my events. It is helpful to understand which kind of people will work with what incentives, etc. Another class I am taking is Sustainable Development. My last event, our goal was to have as little trash/waste as possible. We encouraged people to only pack in what you were going to pack out and also required our vendors to serve on all compost-able material. In SD, I am learning that though my actions were in the right direction, they were only the tip of the ice berg. SD is helping me find ways to produce events in the long term and keep a long term sustainable aspect.

I choose IDS and my concentration for several different reasons, but mainly because the discontent I felt with other schools with ASU. I wanted a major and class structure which would allow me to create and move unrestricted throughout my studies. In doing this, I learn much more because my mind works better with this approach. I am so pleased so far with my short time spent with IDS because of many reason; class size, open discussion and theory based lectures, and an open minded approach. It is crucial for kids our age (18-22) to be able to think on their own and not be shipped in to a major, taught the basic fundamentals, and then shipped out. My concentration and IDS studies have left room for me to grow, make mistakes, and learn from those mistakes.

ally's statement of purpose, part one

This is a critical time in the history of our world. Rainforests are being demolished, global poverty is rising, and people are being kicked off their land and out of their houses. The earth around us is being bought and sold and privatized, and shopping malls are replacing community gardens everywhere. How can we put a stop to this domination and exploitation?

The nature of my course of study requires that I draw from several disciplines in order to examine overlapping areas in relation to my topics of interest. I will draw from history, sociology, anthropology, sustainable development, women’s studies, and political science to explore power relationships in our dynamic world.

I am designing my major to address issues revolving around globalization, power relations, and the nature of social change. I want to examine several aspects of globalization, including effects on local cultures and identities, labor and workers, and the environment. I intend to examine the structure and effects of current institutions of global economics, such as the World Trade Organization and World Bank. In addition to studying private systems of power, I plan to study social revolutions, social movements (such as the Global Justice Movement), and collective behaviors as avenues for social change.

As the cultures and peoples of the world become more interconnected and corporations have a growing influence on many of the world’s countries, the need for a critical examination of our interactions on a global scale magnifies. How democratic is the spreading system of capitalism? What forms of oppression and injustice are being fostered by corporate globalization? In what ways are local identities and diversity being traded for hegemony, monoculture, and assimilation? What forms of globalization foster democracy and social justice, preservation of human rights, and sustainability? What sort of society would maximize democratic involvement and minimize social stratification? How would such a society be organized, and how would power be distributed?

Another focus of my course of study will be on social power dynamics and inequalities in relation to class and gender. What systems and ideas perpetuate sexism and classism? Who benefits from globalization? Who benefits from capitalism? How does the state of globalization reflect the power relations present within a society, and how does it affect or reinforce them? What role does government play in all of this? What impacts do transnational corporations have on global structures of governance? How do current structures of governance act to support or restrict the power of corporations?

I am especially interested in examining the effects of corporate globalization on agrarian populations and on farmworkers, with a specific focus on Latin American populations. I plan to consider the effects of globalization on immigration and poverty, as well as the effects of free-market ideas and capitalism on globalization. I will focus on indigenous resistance to corporate globalization, water privatization, ecological devastation, worker exploitation, cultural domination, and imperialism. What are people doing everywhere to fight for their land and for human rights?

This is just a broad and basic look at my studies of interest, and I hope that more detailed and specific questions will arise and be explored throughout the course of my study.

Statement of Purpose, Part 1

Throughout the history of intricate social structures among human relations there has always been a dividing line between right or wrong, good or evil, respect or callousness, and simply the willingness to understand and appreciate or not. During my numerous years of continuing education in order to actually learn, I find myself always pondering why it is so difficult to find a median between absolute power and equal distribution of power. Of course, I am not one to offer any specific answer that is the answer, but it is necessary, in my opinion, to question why people are homeless, why children are dying by the thousands every day, why women are so abused and made into objects of pleasure, why men deem themselves the hierarchy of all living things, and why some people are just simply forgotten and cast aside. The ultimate question each of us should be asking is: how can I make a difference?

So here I am at Appalachian State University seeking two degrees in Communication Studies BS and Interdisciplinary Studies: Third World, not simply to earn two degrees and consider myself intelligent, but to acutely listen to other opinions on social issues, shape my understandings through each course, and to see where there is a connection between the Third World and Communication, if there is one. I theorize that there is link between these two very different studies, and in order for me to make a

difference, I must seek this correlation and find a way to use the betterment of human communication in order to help those who need it the most.

My degree in Third World Studies through the Interdisciplinary department offers a liberal view of different courses to better profile why the Third World exists in the first place. There are no courses that say ‘IDS: Why should you care about Third World Studies’, but rather areas structuring around specific regions of the world that are considered to be “Third World” and historical, geographical, political, artistic, and anthropological fields are offered in order to surround this idea of ‘what is Third World?’ This creates a substantial amount of thinking and understanding on my part since no person is telling me what there is to do to change political and social constructions to decrease the potent definition of Third World, and since I want to achieve finding this molding point of two areas of study, then this degree allows me to search on my own time and in my own way without giving me one specific way to think.

This links directly as to why I chose to go into the Interdisciplinary department, this freedom of seeking a different opinion and way of thinking, but I feel it is important because human power was initially created and made substantial due to this idea of ‘thinking’ and how those who are able to do it better in order to manipulate win. They are the monarchies, hierarchies, and democracies today. My question is why can’t we manipulate in a resourceful, practical, and dignifying way in order to create stability socially, economically, and politically in order to find a solution to poverty and the unjust treatment of victims of race, class, and gender. Is it possible or not?

This is how I plan to make a difference or, hopefully, some sort of change. If I fail, I fail, but it is reassuring to know that one can think, feel, and understand through a typically strict construction of learning.

Monday, October 20, 2008

EP&P Statement of Purpose

Environmental Policy and Planning Concentration
Connecting Social Consciousness with Environmental Awareness
John Fitzgerald

To develop a clear and functioning understanding of the biological processes of our environment, study our interactions with them, and attempt to improve upon them is my purpose for choosing my major. Environmental Policy and Planning incorporates three different dynamic fields, environmentalism, politics, and development. Personally I feel that these three fields have very strong ties that will become increasingly important in our future development.
Currently the economic values of our natural resources are not evaluated on a realistic basis. Our producer driven economic system does not support an everyday environmentally friendly schedule. What once was a land of bounty is being destroyed for nothing more than profit at the loss of ideals that we as a nation once held dear. Our environment as well as our politics, and our physical development as a nation are interconnected systems that rely on each other to exist. The habitat we live in provides us with a physical plane on which we can determine how to interact with a: our habitat, b: the other people, animals, plants and various organisms which are sharing this habitat, and c: the best methods for organizing, managing and adapting our activities to promote the healthy function of these systems.
Through my studies in various academic organizations I’ve come to understand that my preferred method of perception is awareness and appreciation of the whole while allowing magnification of more intricate microscopic aspects of functioning. Applying analytical knowledge to systems is a successful approach to gaining knowledge and problem solving. The skill of understanding these systems as whole and their interactions with each other, as well as the smaller processes acting within them and allowing them to function is contingent upon positive development. My choice of major reflects my manner of perception, as well as my personality. I have a strong faith that human beings have a large impact on their surroundings, and have a large potential for positive growth. I think that the promotion of a disconnect with nature is a promotion of a wasteful lifestyle. While at the same time the promotion of a stronger connection with our natural world could inspire generations to come, and restore cultural and traditional aspects of human life.
A major stepping stone in the current environmental movement which is specifically relevant to us, considering our geographic location is mountain top removal. Mountains in the Appalachian region are marbled with rich coal seems. Modern mining methods have embraced mountaintop removal, which is the use of explosives to completely destroy the upper parts of the mountains so that the coal can be easily accessed. The “fill” or debris from what once used to be a mountain is then deposited into the surrounding valleys. The coal is then washed in slurry ponds, which seep water contaminated with heavy metals into nearby water killing off fish and other organisms which cannot tolerate overly acidic water. Damaging our natural systems that provide vital services like cleaning water, providing sources of food for other organisms, and diversifying our environment are small issues that affect the major functioning of our environment. A local organization: Appalachian Voices is one of the major non-profit environmental organizations focusing on this issue.
Creating awareness of these issues, as App Voices does with their paper, is a key part in educating people about the weight of our impact on our planet, which is a first step towards adapting our lifestyle to be one that is in harmony with our habitat. I am mentioning both mountaintop removal, and App Voices, because they are local issues that involve all the aspects of my major. I would like to be involved in the transition from educating the public about our impacts on the environment, to inspiring the public to make a positive change in their own lives, and possibly the planet.

Interdisciplinarity in terms of Film

Katy Barnard

In the packet “Interdisciplinarity: Essays from the Literature,” edited by William Newell, I found that even the authors or supposed ‘interdisciplinarians’ didn’t know how to describe interdisciplinary studies. Each person seemed to have a different explanation for how they went about doing something. One of my favorite definitions of interdisciplinarity was by Bryan Turner, he said that “interdisciplinarity aims in principle at academic fusion… it seeks a reorganization and integration of disciplines.” A few more important pieces that I found in the reading were when Newell talks about the nature of interdisciplinary integration. First he asks about what changes, does the integration change the contributions of disciplines or do the disciplines themselves change? I found myself answering that in my case the integration changes the contributions of the disciplines that I am studying. Second, he asks if interdisciplinary integration must lead to a solution or if it can lead to a mere appreciation of the complexity of the problems. To that question I thought definitely the later part because I’m not looking for strict answers, I want to appreciate film as an art and learn how to make my own art through film.

One of the most helpful things about the reading was stating the difference between multidisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity. Multidisciplinarity is described as the absence of any deliberate form of integration of disciplines and transdisciplinarity is more of a mix of disciplines. At first I didn’t really get these definitions until Newell mentioned the idea of the “metaperspective” and the fruit basket concept.

I think the closest match to what I am studying is transdicsiplinarity. I say this because transdicsiplinarity was defined as “seeking integration so comprehensive and fundamental that the contributing disciplines are subsumed under or replaced by a kind of superdiscipline...” I thought this was closest to my area of study because I am a film studies major and I will take classes from the English department, the Theater department, and the Curriculum and Instruction department. Though these three departments seem to have nothing in common, they actually have the perfect mix of information for me to study film. The English department offers film history and screenwriting classes, the Curriculum and Instruction department offers hands on production classes, and the Theater department offers technical theater classes that help with blocking and setting scenes. My main concentration is the technical aspect of film, but I need to understand film history and screenwriting to be able to put forth my ideas. In the sense of the interdisciplinary fruit basket, I am taking my fruit and mixing them together while adding other ingredients to bake into a pie or something that requires them to be fully mixed to produce something different from what each was alone.

In the vision statement for the Interdisciplinary Studies department it mentions that knowledges are disconnected by several barriers and that the objective is to bring the knowledges into appropriate and transforming relationships with each other. Some of the barriers include economic class, disciplinarity, collegiate structures, race, and gender. I definitely agree with collegiate structures being a barrier because Appalachian doesn’t have a specific film major, and that is what I am studying. Therefore I must pull from different disciplines to get to what I want. In the Carp and Wentworth Manuscript it talks about interdisciplinarity being a transdiscipline in that whoever teaches it seeks a view of the world as complex but inextricably interrelated as a whole. But, individually whoever takes it on studies a particular interstice of knowledges while leaving loose ends behind. Through studying the different disciplines the loose ends eventually come back and end up being attached to other aspects of other disciplines. For example in the film history classes that I take we talk about different angles and shots that make certain scenes from films look more dramatic than others, but we don’t necessarily learn how create them. That’s where my hands on production classes come in. In those classes I learn how to set up certain shots then I learn how to edit and make it all seem real.

According to Armstrong I am led to believe that I am at the second level of integration because at the second level “the institution provides the opportunity for students to work together toward integration.” I know I am not the only one to come to Appalachian and study film, therefore I learn from what others do to see what might help me to achieve my goals. I could set up my plan and just go with whatever comes to me, but there are certain classes that I know would be more helpful to me than others. I know other students doing what I am doing too, so we work together in a way to figure out what is the best course of action for our specific fields.

enlightening events

Christina Fisher

Interdisciplinary Praxis

Monday, October 20, 2008

Infusion of Heart and Mind-Event Reviews

Masankho Banka is a storyteller, dancer, and drummer from Malawi, Africa. I was excited to see his talk at the Turchin Center on Wednesday, October 15th was that the basis of his performance style is to bring about change and understanding of other cultures, through the dance and relation of his cultural heritage. He explained how people in his community are named for the events or occasions happening at the time of their birth. His name is Masankho Kumsisi Banda. Masankho means choose, Kumisi means small root, and his family name Banda means group. Because he was born during the fight for independence in his country, his name signified the hope for choosing the small grassroots group movement for this independence. He said that as a child he knew that his career path would involve helping to find peace for people in whatever way he could. His forte happens to be the dance and the drumming.

His lesson for this hour long program was to share with the audience how to see and think by the heart, and respect people and the Earth that holds us. The people in his community greet each other with a dance called the ‘welcome dance’. During times of strife and political persecution, people from other areas of the country would come long distances, so the dance is the way the receiving group would show to the strangers that they see them and recognize that they are friend, not foe. They greet them with both hands as well to show and convey trust between the visitor and host.

My major involves the use of alternative media and integration of sociology and sustainable living, by helping to teach people how to infuse community activism with a general healthy lifestyle. The program itself was fairly short but the reason I was so eager to see it is because part of his works involve teaching children how to live in harmony with the land that supports them. He and some of the organizations that he has worked with exemplify the interdisciplinarity in clearer context how I see myself incorporating my skills in eco-design into that broader context of creating better social environments for families to raise children in. His group, Interplay, is a “system of ideas and practices that can help shape your life and communities. Get mind, body, heart, and spirit working together again.”

The next event I attended was the film, “The Greatest Silence, Rape in the Congo” on Monday, October 20, 2008. In this film was a real look at the wars in the Congo which started with the Rwandan and multinational corporations’ theft of the mineral Coltan which is used in all cell phones and laptop computers. The base of the film was the effect of rape on the women in the Congo, during this time of war. Every day 30 women are raped as a spoil of the war. Men in Congolese society, more often than not, abandon their women after the assaults happen. Soldiers use the women to exhibit their dominance over the whole people, showing the villagers that they can and will have everything they want.

This issue is heartbreaking all around. It is definitely an interdisciplinary issue because helping to resolve these conflicts, in and of themselves, requires reconfiguration in chain of power by governmental bodies who are allowing this to happen, including more aid from the United Nations. As well, the global economics of today need to be reevaluated by corporations. Deciding who should take responsibility for regulating the exchange of Coltan between countries is fairly hard at present. Most importantly, the resounding effects psychologically and physically on the women and children affected needs to be addressed. Only one hospital does reconstructive surgery for women who are suffering from damaged bladders and other delicate organs. Beyond hospital care, social workers are trying to build housing and create jobs for the women who survive. Then when you add unwanted or, at the least, unexpected births and AIDS, more medical and psychological help is required. Educational programs to help men understand and accept their women are also being instated. As sad as this situation is, as in Darfur, national media attention and protests by students and other organized peoples can help, but it does require analysis and help from many sources.

Going to these events has opened me up to feeling much better about going into a field that will help people through the environment they live in. Even though the tone of each event was different, the messages were somewhat the same. Social change involves a real reevaluation of what our global concerns should be, but when people work together in unique ways, the change is still possible.

Statement of Purpose

Statement of Purpose
Erin Devlin

In the fall of 2003, I was enrolled in Praxis, and given the exact assignment I am now writing, my statement of purpose. I didn’t realize it then, but it is not a coincidence that I withdrew from the University that same semester. The following string of events, which at the time seemed random, started creating a pattern of which I began to realize was anything but arbitrary.

I headed to New Zealand for some time to myself. I stayed with a midwife in a small town in the North Island. At the time, I thought I was there to get away, not realizing I would take that trip with me for the rest of my life. What I have kept with me from that trip is seeing Jan, a midwife, a massage therapist, a nurse, a doctor of osteopathic medicine, and an acupuncturist going about her day seeing patients with an abundance of knowledge, wisdom and the most humble demeanor. I also keep with me my journal of my time there, filled with sketches of views and sketches of ideas, homeopathic recipes, lines from the Tom Robbins books I read, and my thoughts. I didn’t know how much I kept with me from that trip until I looked back at that journal. Everything is so clearly written out, by me and for me but I still didn’t connect the dots.

I traveled a bit more in the States when I returned, but I mostly worked. I began remembering a lunch I had with my mother shortly after leaving Appalachian. She was telling me about a local massage school and asked if I would ever consider attending? I set up an interview and I remember walking in the front door, looking around, smelling lavender and eucalyptus and knowing instantly I would be enrolling. I fell in love with learning for the first time in my life there. The human body was so interesting to me and massage school sure did get me over a lot of my insecurities. I was learning a great deal about myself, and how I work as a person. I became interested in nursing school. I wanted to learn as much as I could so I could help others in any way I was able. I learned that you could only help other people if you at first help yourself. So I was ready to go back to Appalachian to finish my BA.

I was planning on declaring as a philosophy major when I returned, but one dinner with my parents changed that. I remember telling them that I was finally ready to go back and finish my degree. I told them about my plans of studying philosophy and they nodded. My dad then burst out as if he had been holding it in for years, why aren’t you going back to get your art degree? I was a bit taken off guard, but I said I would at least apply. I was accepted into the art department so that was that.

As I began to get deeper and deeper into my art classes I began to notice that art is how I deal with everything in my life. I have always used art as a way to explain and understand my experiences. It seemed so natural for me to be here, and studying something that I have always been interested in. I decided on a BA in studio art because I do not want art to be my main financial source, instead I want it as a tool to process my experiences. When I graduate I will receive my degree in Art with an IDS minor. I decided on an IDS minor because it made sense of all my decisions in life and in school. It gave me the vision to see life patterns and a guide to see in the grey areas. My art degree is something just for me. I wanted to learn and create more tools for myself to use, so in return, I can help other people. After graduation I plan on attending nursing school and without my degree in art and my minor in IDS, I would not have a grounding to stand on to continue on to nursing.

Statement of Purpose

I am an Interdisciplinary Studies Major, individual designing my course of study. My concentration is Non-profit development and learning the skills and abilities one must have in order to create an organization. I aspire to make a non-profit that give positive influences to children and adults with disabilities, as well as, helping parents learn the skills needed to have a child with disabilities. The question I am working towards is "How can I educate the surrounding population about the different disabilities while at the same time developing more opportunities for the disabled population to succeed and grow?" The organization I would like to create is going to be called Yahweh’s World (Come and you are, Be who you Be) and be a refuge for people to come. There are four parts to the program. Part one will be a life skills program set up for the adults in the area. This will give them a chance to work on skills such as setting the table, counting change and using cleaning supplies. There are a good percentage of people who could live in a group home or even with a group of friends, if they had extra training and practice. Part two will be a summer camp. Counselors will have a child with disabilities and a child without disabilities. The counselor will be responsible for facilitating growth between campers to teach love and acceptance at a younger age. Part three will be a mentorship program set up in a similar way to the camp where the Big Sibling will have two younger ones. This will occur throughout the year, and the requirements will be to do at least 3 hours of service as a group each month. I believe that the best way to be accepted into a community is to give back to it. Part four will be a support network for the parents of the organization. This will be a chance for them to get out and have fun, as well as, learn skills as a parent, and be able to talk to each other to get tips and encouragement.

In order to be able to create this organization I need to be skilled in a lot of different areas. I decided to major in IDS because it gave me the chance to do that. I have taken classes such as Communication in Organizations and Public Speaking in the Communication Department which helped develop my ability to speak in front of large groups, as well as, understand how people interact within a group. I have taken Careers in non-profit in order to understand the tasks and basis of a non-profit organizations. I am in the process of getting a minor in sociology and have taken Social Problems in America. Through this department I have gained an understanding of the problems in our society and also how to make a step towards progress. I have also been taking Special Education classes since that is the target population for the organization.

This is important to me and enables me to make a difference in the community. There is a lack in programs for the disabled population and also a lack in education about the different development issues. This is something I feel called to and I would like to make a change in how our society treats and views disabilities, IDS is giving me the chance to.

Statement of Purpose

Therorizing Fashion
Kegan Refalo

The Associates degree in Fashion Design that I completed before transferring to ASU was focused in conceptual design, trade skills and preparation for employment in the fashion industry. The school offered no courses to explore the theory of fashion design; there was no opportunity to discuss the context of the fashion industry as a social institution and how designing and making clothes affects American culture. The primary motivation for my transfer to ASU was to critically analyze the fashion industry; I wanted to view it from the other side of the looking glass.

The questions that I am exploring are: historically, how has fashion acted as a social control? How has the subjection of a population related to the cultural laws or mores concerning appropriate attire? How is fashion a social skin? Is there a separation between body adornment and fashion? What makes up an individual’s visual presentation? How does an individual’s environment shape his/her/ze’s visual presentation? Who has authority over what the social significance of garments and/or body adornment means? Is visual presentation limited to the race, gender, class stereotypes? What elements of a person’s visual presentation have higher social significance in situating their gender? Is gender only the visual presentation and daily performance of the individual? How is fashion used to perpetuate a dichotomous understanding of gender and can it be used to deconstruct the binary gender system? How is the body negated or emphasized by person’s visual presentation?

The classes that make the core of my study are a combination of philosophy, religion, history, gender studies, body studies, and apparel construction courses. These courses provide multiple perspectives in my attempt to answer the above questions. I originally applied to ASU as a sociology major, but quickly discovered that my exploration of these questions was limited by the meager options in the sociology department to talk about fashion, visual presentation and the body. The sociology minor that I am earning to complement my IDS major is enabling me to acquire useful research skills, social observation skills, and sociological theories of fashion as a social control. The full breadth of my exploration, however, required the combination of multiple disciplines. Each department had a few classes to offer, but no single department facilitated an education that answered the questions I have about the fashion industry.

The overreaching motivation of my degree is to enter the fashion industry as an aware participant- conscious of the effects of the fashion industry in terms of race, gender, class, historical precedence, and economic motivations. The education I received at FIT prepared me to enter the industry as a well skilled designer, but as a pre-programmed cog in the machine; I would have been perpetuating a system that I knew little about and with little awareness of the consequences of my design choices. I understand that I am idealistic in my hope to affect change on a massive social institution, but feel that a solid foundation in theory and analytical skill is the best place to start.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Series on Republic of Congo: Breaking the Silence Week

October 19-25th- "Breaking the Silence Week"

A week to raise awareness of the Congo War.
Monday, October 20th. I.G. Greer 7pm-FREE The Greatest Silence Movie: Rape in the Congo
Wednesday, October 22nd. 12-6pm Cell Out- Turning cell phone off for a day.
Saturday, November, 1st. 10am State Farm Intramural Fields- Run for Congo- 5k run/walk $10 pre-registration, $15 day of event

for more info contact Beth Davison or Robin Potawsky

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

2008 Hispanic Heritage Festival - 10/24
Blue Ridge Ballroom, Student Union - 7:00pm-10:00pm

Come celebrate the different latino cultures that Hispanoamerica brings together! We will have music, dance lessons, free food, games and so much more! This event is held once a year so don't miss it!

Event in November

This is a little while down the road, but I am planning an event called International Cafe which falls during the week of International Education week November 17-21. The Cafe will be that Monday night the 17th starting at 7pm in the Blue Ridge Ballroom of the Union. There will be free food, performances by the international students and hopefully faculty, and towards the end a dance for everyone to participate in. It will be really fun and I hope everyone can make it. Peace, Bri
Questions? Talk to me in class
A Servant of Two Masters
by Carlo Goldoni
Directed by Joel Williams

Valborg Theatre
November 19-23, 7pm
Adults $10
Students/Children $6

The action of The Servant of Two Masters, one of the world's great comedies, centers on how an out-of-work servant, Truffaldino, tries to make his way in life by hiring himself simultaneously to two employers, keeping each ignorant of his other job. He unknowingly thrusts himself into a world of disguises, broken marriage contracts, duels and incorrectly delivered letters. The struggle of this upwardly mobile innocent to keep afloat creates a 'man-versus-society' comment as hilariously valid today as it was in 1745.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Hello All!

The Queer Film Series continues tonight (Monday) at 7 in room 114 in the library if anyone is interested. If you can't make it tonight, I believe it's every Monday until a certain date.. when I know that date I will let you know.

The Apple iMovie Contest is back, and this years theme is "An Appalachian Experience."
The proposals are due this Wednesday in the basement of East Residence Hall. A couple of friends and I are submitting a few proposals hoping they will choose one. There are three different categories you can submit proposals to: first year (groups comprised of freshman using imovie only), open (groups comprised of any year students using imovie), and pro (groups comprised of any year students not using non-imovie software). The judges said they will only take 15 submissions, 5 for each category. For any more information please visit
(Sorry this information is so last minute, I only found out about a few days ago myself.)

Hunger Banquet

Hey friends,

On October 30th at 7pm in the Blue Ridge Ballroom there is going to be a hunger Banquet. This is part of Hunger and Homelessness week and is a great way to inform yourself on the topic. If anyone wants to go let me know. :)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

oct. 23

on october 23rd at farthing auditorium at 8:00p Robert F. Kennedy jr. will be speaking---

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Global Opp. Conference

This is coming on friday. I hear its gonna be great forum for Globalization.
More information.
Stacey Lane, jeweler, is coming from Penland to spend the afternoon with our
advanced and beginning level Metals students. She is here as Angela Bubash guest
artist (Teaching in Metals & 2011)

We have decided to form a panel discussion for life after grad school:

Stacey, Sunny, Sean, Adam (maybe), Angela and myself. Will share some of our
experiences, but will primarily be answering questions.
Stacey will be able to answer questions about Penland, residencies, life as a
studio artist
Sunny - business practices and life long safety for studio artists - also
building a studio
Angela - Studio practice, Penland residency, and adjunct teaching studio practice
Sean and Adam - grad school after this program and adjunct teaching.

Should be good. Sorry about the short notice. Opportunity presented itself and
so - threw it together. . Hope you can make it.

All are welcome to come and bring classes.

Thursday 10/9 from 1:00 to 2:00 in the Sculpture Woodshop: Wey Hall

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Writing Assignments

Interdisciplinary Campus Events

1. Post invitations on our class blog to at least TWO campus/local events with some connection to your major concentration. Be expansive and creative in imagining the connections with your area of study. The events may be scholarly, artistic, cultural, or just fun. They may be free or not.

2. You are to GO to at least TWO of the campus events posted. At least one of the events should be connected in some way to your area of study. The other should be unrelated.

3. Write a brief 300-600 word essay about BOTH of the events you attended. Be sure to explain why (or why not) the events could be described as interdisciplinary along with specifics describing the events. Post your essay to the class blog and hand in a printed copy to your instructor.


Theories of Interdisciplinarity

1. Pick ONE of the three handouts we have read and discussed in class (the multi-author packet on Interdisciplinarity; Stanley Fish; Richard Carp).

2. Carefully explain and explore the vision of interdisciplinarity being discussed by the author/s.

3. Then explore and explain the connections and implications of these arguments for your own area of interdisciplinary study. Be specific and focused in applying the discussion to your own concentration.

4. What conclusions can you draw about your own interdisciplinary work from this discussion? What particular challenges does your area of interdisciplinary study raise? Why? How might you try to address these issues. Explain.

5. Your essay should be 750-1500 words. Post your essay to the class blog and hand in a printed copy to your instructor.


Statement of Purpose

1. Write a 500-1000 word essay describing exactly WHAT you are studying and WHY you studying it. That is, explain your interdisciplinary concentration as clearly, directly, specifically, and concretely as possible. Then explain why you chose this area of study and why it is important. Post your essay to the class blog and hand in a printed copy to your instructor.

2. Write a 500-1000 word essay explaining HOW you will study your particular interdisciplinary concentration. And WHY you will approach your concentration in this fashion. Be clear, specific, and concrete in your discussion including a discussion of methods, areas of knowledge, and strategies for integration; a list specific courses for your program of study; and an outline of your portfolio plan. Post your essay to the class blog and hand in a printed copy to your instructor.

3. After discussing your essays with your instructor, revise and integrate your two essays into a final Statement of Purpose. Post your final essay to the class blog, hand in a printed copy to your instructor, and submit a completed individually designed packet to the IDS program director if appropriate.


Due Dates:

10/15: Post invitations on the blog to at least two campus events related to your concentration.

10/21 Essay due in class (any one of the four described above).

11/4 Essay due in class (any one of the four described above).

11/18 Essay due in class (any one of the four described above).

12/2 Essay due in class (any one of the four described above).

12/9 Final Integrated Statement of Purpose Due in class.

TBA: Attend Senior Seminar Presentations.

This Week

No class on T 10/7 and TH 10/9. But I'll be in my office during class times for individual conferences as needed.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Little Late

There is a International Econ Guest Lecturer in Raley tonight. The Campus econ group is bringing in a man that works for a fiber optics company to speak. I know its last minute but I will be going. Its in Raley 3017 at 6pm.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

This event is random and for fun.. but you might be able to write something about it. The hypnotist Jim Wand is coming here again on Saturday Oct. 4 in Farthing at 9pm.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Body and Embodiment

Humanities Thematic Lecture Series: Body and Embodiment
they have a lecture every month. the one i feel would most relate to my concentration is titled " Evolutionary Narratives: Gender and Embodiment." The presenters are from the women studies, English and philosophy departments.

date: Tuesday, Oct 28
time: 7-9
location: Price Lake (student union)