Monday, April 19, 2010

Class Activity Parallels American Studies

Our class activity on Wednesday was quite enjoyable. I think the activity is related to American Studies in a few ways. One of them is the way in which we were asked to examine or re-examine the places, cultures and their meanings that are all around us.

We walk by the gazebo here, the Berlin Wall there, the campus green somewhere else, the statue of the man climbing to the top of the world at another location, and we hardly, if ever, stop and think about these places, these structures, or their meaning. Much like American Studies, we are asked to examine the things we know or believe we know so well. Where we, as Americans are so involved, so immersed, so saturated with our culture, our way of life, and our structures, that we hardly ever stop to examine them.

This is probably my favorite aspects of American Studies. It is so important to re-examine the things we are fed everyday, the things we are such a part of. And to some extent, it can be difficult to capture this mindset or to participate in such an exercise, whether it be self-criticism or the effort to be objective in looking at ourselves, our nation that we belong to in some form or another.

So, we walked around campus and we were made to ask questions! The power of the question! Oh the Socratic method! In some ways, a question can reveal much more than a statement. And then, in another way, we were asked to answer these questions through our writing--a poem, a list, so on. Overall I think it was a very beneficial activity and it correlates to American Studies as a discipline to a great extent.

1 comment:

  1. I’m glad you enjoy the Socratic Method so much. I have a few questions for you. *Insert scary music.* You mentioned that it is important to re-examine the things we are fed everyday…Why? If we have already been fed the information…why do we need to look at it again. What was the point of the questions? How was the exercise beneficial to you, other than getting everyone out of the dull classroom?

    I enjoyed the exercise as well. I just can’t understand how it was necessary to the class. I’m not drawing any kind of clear connection between the wonder-around-campus-and-write-funny-poems-if-you-become-inspired exercise and the class. It seemed to me a waste of time, though not necessarily unpleasant.