Saturday, April 28, 2012

Final Entry?! Summaries of Papers. Future Plans. Reflections on Clark.

Hello! For, I suppose, the last time.

May I express some excitement?



Anyway. I'm all done with classes, I've completed my final exam for Women in Jewish Culture, and I've presented my hypotheses/results for my Lab in Social Psychology. There are three papers remaining to be completed, all due on May 8th.

Brief summaries of papers:
  • Lab in Social Psychology - this includes the standard intro/method/results/discussion of a psych paper. I'll be reflecting on my own individual hypotheses (that women would reflect more empathy than men and that men would reflect more individualism/independence than women). My results did not reflect these gender differences, which is swell, because now I am able to discuss somewhat some problems with gender difference research (reinforcing the dichotomy, people's tendency to report differences rather than similarities). I will also discuss things like using a WEIRD (Western Educated Industrialized Rich Democratic) sample, and questioning its external validity or applicability in other areas.
  • Women in Society - this paper will be focusing on gender roles, specifically within Jewish tradition. I'm hoping to look at different points in history, including some Jewish traditions and sections from religious texts that suggest the subordination of women, and looking at how these traditions and texts have affected the roles that women and men have adopted within Jewish culture. I will be utilizing some of the books & articles I read for Women in Jewish Culture this semester. I'm likely to focus on Judith Plaskow and Cynthia Ozeck near the end of my paper, in order to suggest ways in which feminists have been working more recently to alter these ingrained gender roles.
  • Jewish Studies capstone/independent study - I'll be examining changes over time regarding causes of and cures for illness within Jewish tradition. I'll look for times when people found it appropriate to look to God for aid, as opposed to seeking help from physicians. I'll examine specifics when visiting the sick; where you sit, what you do, what you say, how you pray, how much you do these things. I'll contrast older traditions with newer ones, trying to determine when chaplaincy arose and in what form.

And then I'll be done! I'll be hanging around Clark with my fellow seniors, engaging in some senior week activities, and then commencement.

Afterwards I'll be returning home for some amount of time to be in Portland/at home, with my mom and cats. I'm quite pumped. Lately I've been considering purchasing a pet guinea pig, as a part of my post-graduation plans.

But in all seriousness (re: post-graduation, though I would quite like a pet guinea pig), I'm hoping to continue with Jewish feminism in some form. After I've turned in my papers, I will ponder this further/talk to folks who are interested in similar things. Chaplaincy/hospice work is still a very real possibility, but I'm not certain how to pursue those things yet.

Anyway, I wanted to spend a bit of this entry writing about Clark, and of how much I've enjoyed it. Recently I was feeling rather bland because, unlike many of my peers, it seems, I did not choose to complete a senior thesis, nor to present anything during academic spree day. I have had no extravagant object to present; I had no display to show what I've learned or how I've changed.

But perhaps it's not necessary. I have learned so much at Clark. Academically, socially, personally. Freshman year I began by taking courses in a variety of topics and through that exploration I ultimately realized that I care very deeply about women, Judaism, and care during illness and death. As I further delved into those topics of interest to me, I found my voice and found the courage that had been lacking previously; while taking courses of less interest, it was endlessly more difficult to express myself. But in taking classes that I cared deeply about, I finally felt that my thoughts and expressions were of value.

I became involved in activities that were interesting and fun. Being a co-president of the film society was difficult and frustrating at times, but I enjoyed something that previously I had shied away from (err, responsibility, and being in a leadership position for others). Having a weekly radio show with friends was quite enjoyable.

The friends that I've made here are very dear to me. Some of them I've known since freshman year, and some of them are newer. Through classes, clubs, work-study, and mutual friends, I've met so many wonderful and interesting people. I will always maintain that Clark is unique because of the lovely people that are drawn to this school.

I am so grateful for my time at Clark. My undergraduate years were so enjoyable and meaningful. Through these past four years, I have become a more confident, intelligent, and comfortable person.

Thank you for four swell years, Clark. I'll miss you, and I'm definitely going to come back to visit.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Jewish Women! And a Review of the 2012 CLPP Conference

Hello! I apologize for the delay in updates - things have been busy! And very enjoyable.

Since I last wrote, I completed and turned in my research paper about Judith Plaskow (Clark alumni!) & feminist Midrash for Women in Jewish Culture. Hooray!

Here are some tidbits from my paper (mostly regarding Lilith) that were new to me/surprising/interesting:

  • According to Aviva Cantor (1976), it is likely that the Lilith story was first created during times of exile because fears of women doing anything to break apart the traditional patriarchy would be especially prominent during periods when survival was already being threatened.
  • Judith Baskin (2002) suggests that the first female (the “first Eve”) depicted in Genesis 1:27 could have become amalgamated with other ancient stories about a disobedient woman: “The figure of the ‘first Eve’, who refused to be subordinate to her husband, ultimately merged with ancient traditions about the female night demon Lilith and in this guise became a central character in post-rabbinic Jewish folklore”
  • The Lilith story could potentially reveal women's earlier experiences: "the Lilith story may be a clue to our own history, reflecting some assertive, rebellious behavior of women in the past” (Cantor 1976), 
  • or it could reflect past women's secret desires, unable to be actualized in a patriarchal society (Cantor 1976).

Overall, this paper was satisfying to write because I was able to examine the manner in which traditional (male-voiced) Midrash (such as Lilith's depiction in the Alphabet of Ben Sira) worked to justify the subordination of women under men. However, I was also able to focus on the manner in which theological Jewish feminists are working to create new Midrash (such as Judith Plaskow's "The Coming of Lilith") in order to reclaim biblical stories to fit a viewpoint that empowers women.

And speaking of Jewish women (when am I not?)! My research paper topic was approved for Women in Society; I'm planning to focus on gender roles specifically within Judaism. This is something that has interested me since last semester when I first read Tradition in a Rootless World: Women Turn to Orthodox Judaism in American Jewish Life with Prof. Tenenbaum. I haven't planned out much of the Women in Society paper yet, but I am excited to begin researching within the next week.

I was going to write so many things about the 2012 Civil Liberties and Public Policy conference that I attended at Hampshire College (with Clark's Student Global AIDS Campaign group) a couple weekends ago, but it's sort of difficult to describe, at least in how great it was. On Friday (April 13th, oohh Friday the 13th), I attended an Abortion Speak Out, in which women who had experiences with abortion were invited to speak to those attending the conference. It was really powerful to hear these women's voices, but I had a difficult time listening and trying to understand while still maintaining enough distance to not feel affected by some of the difficult experiences these women described.

On Saturday I attended three workshops, each about an hour and a half. The first was called "The Political, Policy, and Public Health Landscape of HIV/AIDS", with a panel of three people who discussed with us the political and public health context of HIV/AIDS. Everyone from SGAC, all of whom I attended the conference with, went to this workshop. I personally went into this workshop not knowing many things, and I left feeling well-informed.

The second workshop I attended was called "Our Bodies are Beautiful, Our Bodies are Political", with a panel of three people who discussed somewhat "fat activism" and media (mostly, things like tumblr). There was a brief discussion of female circumcision, from the viewpoint of one of our panel members, who came from a cultural context in which this practice is accepted. I appreciated hearing her views, because I am wary of the Western context in which I've heard of female circumcision (in the past I have mentioned my own qualms regarding male circumcision, and I certainly appreciate hearing many views regarding the variety of reasons different people choose to circumcise).

And the third workshop I attended was called "Masculinities", with a panel of four people who discussed what it means to identify as male/masculine within a feminist movement. I mainly chose to attend this workshop because it was focused on a topic that I did not know much about. It was somewhat difficult at points to feel comfortable with some of the things expressed, but overall it was interesting and informative.

Those were the highlights of the conference! It overall involved some mingling and talking to different people, and making new friends, and learning new things about topics I was familiar with, and topics that were new to me. I'm so glad that I was able to attend the conference.

That's all for now! I have a meeting in about twenty minutes with the professor of my Lab in Social Psychology to discuss my final paper/presentation. I hope that everyone is doing well! Happy last week of classes!

Friday, April 13, 2012


I am leaving this weekend! Hooray for exciting weekend trips. After my 2:50 - 4:05 Women in Society class finishes, I will packing up some last-minute things and then heading to the 2012 Civil Liberties and Public Policy Conference: From Abortion Rights to Social Justice: 26th Annual Activist Conference at Hampshire College! I'll be traveling to the event with friends and students from Clark's Student Global AIDS Campaign. I'm very excited!

I have some homework to finish up and some emails to send before I go, so I will not write much now. However, I am pumped to write so many things about the conference upon my return! I hope that everyone has a lovely weekend.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Gender in Research

I am always very fond of the overlaps that occur between classes. Normally I find them between classes with similar focuses (like Women in Society and Women in Jewish Culture, or Women in Jewish Culture and my capstone for Jewish studies). More recently, however, there was an overlap between Women in Society and my Lab in Social Psych! Which is great, because throughout the semester so far I've generally been viewing the lab as a graduation requirement that is, unfortunately, not all that catered to my interests.

However! We more recently were assigned an article for class called "New Feminist Approaches to Social Science Methodologies" by Sandra Harding and Kathryn Norberg. Although this article addressed possible solutions within research methodology suggested by feminists - to eliminate power differences between the researcher and the researched in field work, for example - it did not address the idea that research methods are structured around the dominant groups. It seems that research was likely initiated by men, who began by researching other men. So by the nature of researching men, does it then exclude an entire half of the population? Are the research methods that are catered towards men the same that should be catered towards women?

But then the question of gender differences comes into play. Basically, do they even exist in any sort of tangible way? In Women in Society, we spent our most recent class period focusing on gender difference research. It was determined that this dichotomy is somewhat troublesome, in particular the manner in which gender difference research is used to reinforce better-than-the-other dichotomies (as some examples of this: males as better than females, straight as better than gay/lesbian/queer, white as better than black). Even today, while sitting in a doctor's office in Worcester, I heard a radio ad that suggested that women need more sleep than men because they are better at multitasking, and this apparently warrants a greater need for sleep. What?!

People are much more likely to report difference research. Few people would be interested to hear the manners in which men and women are not so different, because then they would be unable to feed into the one-party-as-better-than-the-other dichotomy.

Additionally, gender difference research does not tend to take into account the manner in which gender is socially constructed, and that tremendous variability does exist.

Prof. Falmagne suggested that we restructure the manner in which research questions are constructed, that we denaturalize this tendency to structure our research questions as difference questions; difference research is only one way of examining a research question, based on categorical thinking, which is based on categories that are assumed to be uniform.

And so, instead, she suggests, we focus on the understanding of two separate parties, not on their differences. Contrasts between the groups may arise, and these are helpful in highlighting variations between the two, but without feeding into that dualism so common in Western thought (specifically, the manner in which gender is constructed in dichotomous terms). To further stress the importance of why we should attempt to limit our difference research: there are social consequences to this research, mainly concerning the manner in which the outcomes are interpreted. Going back to that radio ad I heard in the doctor's office: that specific sleep research was interpreted in a manner which enforces certain general traits attributed to gender, and then those interpretations were announced to the public as being backed by science. Though generally a harmless interpretation, this displays the manner in which gender research can be consumed, interpreted, and used by society in order to normalize and naturalize the dichotomy of gender.

How does all of this play into the Lab in Social Psych, you ask? Well, I shall tell you.

For my main project/paper, I needed to create a hypothesis based on the "Views of Life" survey that we were distributing to our participants. I ended up choosing a hypothesis based on gender difference, without quite realizing that I was feeding into a somewhat frustrating practice within research. I hypothesized that, based on the manner in which women are suggested to be more empathetic than men within society, that women would report more feelings of "focusing on others" (a sub-category within the emerging adulthood questionnaire) whereas men would report more feelings of "focusing on self". Results? Women were overall more focused on themselves and on others than men were, but there were not enough differences to report anything significant.

So what have I determined from all of this? Basically, that it's easy to buy into things that continue these dichotomies so ingrained in society. It seems much more common (and possibly more interesting) for someone to approach another person and say "hey, did you know that women are better at multitasking than men?" than for someone to approach another and say "hey, did you know that men and women are both empathetic?"

But gender is socially constructed, and socially constraining, and it doesn't necessarily mean anything. At all. People are complex and complicated, and to say that a person is a certain way simply because they identify as a certain gender, or look like a certain gender, is a completely unfair thing to do. Our society continues to organize through these dichotomies because it is comfortable. But that doesn't mean that it's accurate, honorable, or the best way to continue organizing society.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Types of Jewish Feminism: Theological & Sociological

In Women in Jewish Culture, we've been discussing lately some different feminist viewpoints. In particular, I've found the contrast between two types of feminism to be especially interesting. In focusing on two women's writings, Judith Plaskow (a Clark alumni!) and Cynthia Ozick, I've found myself struggling to decide where I fit on the spectrum of Jewish feminism.

Judith Plaskow suggests that the core of Judaism is sexist. Basically, that the problem is theological, and that we need to formulate new traditions that include women, and new prayers that recognize feminine aspects (or gender-neutral aspects) of God.

Yoel Kahn, in writing of the liturgy of gay and lesbian Jews, suggested that a ritual for coming out may be a positive addition to Jewish traditions; that we need extra prayers and traditions for a broader range of constituents.

But overall, how much change can be tolerated? Should we replace these traditional texts? Do we read them side-by-side with newer, more inclusive texts?

The writings of Cynthia Ozick were interesting to me because they presented a feminist viewpoint with which I was not familiar. In contrast to Plaskow's concept of sexism as theological, Ozick suggested that the problem of sexism is a sociological problem; women are exempted because of cultural/sociological interpretation.

Where Plaskow suggests things like women's minyans (a meeting of ten Jews required for public prayer), Ozick is critical. Traditionally, a minyan is made up of males over the age of thirteen. Women are excluded. And yet, an all women's minyan, while presenting a tradition for women that is identical to that of men, is still endorsing the idea of gender separation.

In class, my professor quoted the Talmud, which reads something along the lines of: rabbis taught that all are qualified to be among the seven who read a Torah, even a minor or a woman. But the sages say that a woman should not because of the congregation's esteem.

Basically, then, that women can read from the Torah, but that they shouldn't to protect the honor of the congregation; a woman reading would suggest that there aren't enough learned men to do so.

Because where men are the standard, women are the exception. And, as Ozick would say, sexism is sociological.

Anyway! Having only been exposed to the theological lenses of Jewish feminism, I had for years considered the "adding women and stir" method of creating alternate traditions/prayers to be an apt way to deal with the inherent sexism ingrained in the texts and traditions. However, having experienced some of the sociological views of sexism, I am now starting to reconsider past views.

I'm not suggesting that any specific type of feminism, nor any certain way of viewing such topics, is the right one! Only that there are so many new viewpoints that I have yet to be exposed. 

Monday, April 2, 2012


Lately I have been spending a fair amount of time considering various dichotomies. In discussing the across-culture devaluation of women, Michelle Rosaldo suggested the dichotomy of the public and private spheres: with women existing mainly in the private sphere, men in the public sphere. She suggested society's interpretation of biology as a foundation for its division.

Sherry Ortner suggested a similar sort of dichotomy, one which is based on the cultural notions of women, which are based on their biological functions. A division where men are represented as "culture", and women as "nature", with women constantly struggling between the "natural" notions of pollution and purity.

These are things that I am presenting in Women in Society tomorrow! Additionally, I will be saying some things regarding cognitive developmental theory and social learning theory, as well as mentioning some other ladies' views (Chodorow and her thoughts on the organization of family as reflecting the ideology of a society, and Baker-Miller and the attributes often ascribed to one sex or the other).

Dichotomies are everywhere, though. I completed an exam for Women in Jewish Culture recently, with a prompt that asked us to distinguish between gendered experiences with immigration in Western Europe and Eastern Europe. One answer suggested a dichotomy similar to Rosaldo's: women were mainly in the private sphere in Western Europe, whereas in Eastern Europe they were present mainly in the public sphere. In Eastern Europe men were being rather traditional and studying Torah, while women maintained their domestic roles and additionally took on the role of breadwinner. Therefore, while men were attending all-Jewish schools, women were more likely to receive secular educations in order to aid in their bread-winning (still, it should be noted, men's studying was still more valuable than women's work).

A dichotomy! But, somewhat flipped. Which is super interesting.

In reading about illness and health in the Jewish tradition (for my Jewish Studies capstone), I have found a more broad dichotomy which seems to extend from biblical times to more modern teachings: praying to be healed versus seeking the care of a physician.

There are teachings which suggest the importance of prayer, and hope, and relying upon God to heal ailments. Some suggest that those who are stricken with illness are sick for a reason; God has given them such ailment so as to provide a period of reflection for the individual. And there are various teachings which point to the power of God in order to aid in healing. Turning to God for health, with prayer, is a common theme among the Psalms, Midrash, and teachings.

However, there is a teaching, common within Jewish tradition, that one is able to disregard any tradition if it interferes with one's health. For example, if someone is sick during Yom Kippur, he or she would not be required to fast during the holiday. If one has other dietary restrictions already in place, it is okay to not maintain a kosher diet during Passover. And there are teachings which stress the importance of a physician! Things which suggest that physicians are as valuable as prayer and faith during times of illness.

I am excited to spend more time with readings for my Jewish studies capstone within the next couple of days - data entry is finally done with (for my Lab in Social Psych), so for the time-being, and find myself with more free time.

I hope that everyone is doing well! Happy April!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Inglorious Updates

Lately all I've wanted to do is write letters from the 4th floor of Goddard Library and to lie in bed and watch "Scrubs". But then I probably wouldn't do any of my work and then I might not receive favorable grades. So, instead of doing those things aforementioned, I am preparing a presentation for Friday's Women in Society class while I screen Inglorious Basterds for SCRN 114.

On Friday, my presentation-partner and I will present on six theories related to the construction of womanhood. Using course readings and class notes, we are supposed to examine the theories and answer the following question: "are the explanations proposed in these various theories similar, compatible, complementary, or inconsistent? Which is which? Explain your answer."

Each group in the class has their own question to answer, but since the course is a seminar set-up, everyone will be required to have done at least a bit of preparation for each question.

In addition to preparing for Friday's presentation, I have also been spending my time on data-entry for Lab in Social Psych, and on a bit of research for my Jewish Studies capstone. I am sad to report that I'm fairly far-behind, at least when taken into consideration a reasonable expectation of how much I can write in a short period of time while simultaneously continuing to do work for my other courses. I am hoping that as data entry wraps up and as I move past smaller projects, more time will open up for other things. But that is a silly supposition, because by that time it will be finals. I'm sure I'll find some time somewhere to squeeze everything in.

Anyway! This weekend there are some great events happening. On Friday, at 7pm, International Gala is holding its annual event in the Kneller Athletic Center, this year called "The Beat Goes On".
And on Saturday, at 7:30pm in Razzo Hall, Clark Sinfonia is holding its Spring Concert! Hooray.

I hope that everyone is doing well! 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Pictures from the Campus Green

Students on the green outside of Atwood Hall

Jonas Clark to the left, with a bit of Goddard Library on the right

Some of the cast of Footloose (wearing blue shirts) singing on the campus green

Atwood Hall in the background

Students playing hacky sack 

Students playing Frisbee

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Lovely Weather, Papers, & Events

It has been so lovely in Worcester lately! Earlier this week, I was able to spend two days (in a row!) sitting on the green with friends. I was working on papers, which makes it slightly less pleasant, but still! A nice change from sitting inside all day. So many students have been milling about; playing Frisbee, laying around, reading, playing music. I meant to take pictures, but forgot my camera both days. Luckily, Clark University's facebook page posted some of their own. Take a look here.

This week has thus far been busy, but will be full of fun things after tomorrow. For Tuesday I completed both my interview paper for Women in Society, and my introduction & methods drafts for my final research paper in Lab in Social Psych. The interview paper ended up being around fourteen pages, plus an additional twelve/thirteen for each transcript. So many pages! I am endlessly pleased to be done writing it, though it was super interesting to me; I focused on ageism in society, comparing & contrasting my two participants' experiences within the context of articles and books on the subject. So neat! I found, mostly, quite a bit of overlap between their experiences and literature on the subject.

Currently I am at work, screening a Quentin Tarantino film in Razzo for SCRN 114. Soon I will begin studying for my exam in Women in Jewish Culture, which is tomorrow.

But then, after my exam, so many fun things! Tomorrow evening I will be attending opening night of Footloose, hosted by CMT (Clark Musical Theater). I saw Pooter McGraw is Not Dead Party last weekend, but it is playing again this week. Shenanigans is having an improv show tomorrow! And lastly, Clark Historical Society is hosting a Speakeasy club event in the grind on Friday! Which is neat. So many fun things.

I hope that everyone has had a lovely week so far!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Research Approved! & Other Updates

My research proposal (for Women in Jewish Culture) was approved! Hooray. I will be focusing on a piece of midrash by Judith Plaskow; "The Coming of Lilith", written in 1972. It utilizes the rabbinic legend of Lilith to present some significant concepts such as: feminist interpretation of Judaism (anger toward the patriarchies!) and a metaphorical representation of sisterhood to display the strength of the feminist movement. Judith Plaskow is a Clark alumni, which makes this even cooler.

I won't begin working on this paper until a bit later in the semester, however. Currently I'm in the process of transcribing my interviews for my Women in Society paper. I'm excited to be done transcribing so that I can begin to look into how my participants' experiences fit into the overall conceptualizations of ageism displayed in media and texts. This paper is due on Tuesday - fifteen pages! Which feels like a lot, but since I'll be including quotes from the interviews and relevant information from the literature, it shouldn't be so difficult.

Also due on Tuesday are my introduction & methods sections for my final research paper in Lab in Social Psychology. In class we'll be working on data entry, so I anticipate gathering more data over the weekend so as to make the best of that class time.

And, finally, for my Jewish Studies independent study I'll begin to examine a book titled Illness and Health in the Jewish Tradition: Writings from the Bible to Today. This book seems 100% relevant considering the topic I'll be focusing my final paper on - biblical dictations of how to treat ill folks compared to more modern interpretations. I'm excited to begin formatting an outline of thoughts for how I'd like to write the final paper.

It's a bit rainy today, but I've been hearing rumors that Monday will be much warmer. I hope everyone is doing well!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Photos of Clark Buildings & American Gothic

I'm having a bit of a busy week, but here are a couple pictures of Clark buildings (they are in my computer but were taken by another Clarkie) to tide you over until my next text-post. I hope everyone has been enjoying the lovely weather, and happy pi day!

Carlson Hall - photo credit to Curran O'Donoghue '15

23 Maywood - photo Credit to Curran O'Donoghue '15

Our version of American Gothic (in front of 23 Maywood) - photo credit to Katie Baer

Monday, March 12, 2012

Post-Spring Break! Quick Class Updates

Spring break is over! And I am surrounded by beautiful sunshine and warm weather and piles of so much homework (but surprisingly little snow). All I want to do is hang out on the green with the hundreds of other Clark students who, it appears, have finally emerged from winter hibernation and are, as I type, likely playing Frisbee. Alas. Homework prevails.

Over the break I spent time in Portland (Maine!), where I hung out with cats and pals and successfully completed a portion of the interview project for Women in Society. I interviewed two women of two different generations regarding their experiences with age and ageism. The interviews were successful, thanks to lovely participants, and this week I will transcribe the interviews, and then hopefully write the paper this weekend (the class received an extension on the due date! Great things).

For Lab in Social Psychology, we are still in the process of data collection. At some point this week I hope to have time to collect the majority of the data, if not all of it. Soon we will have drafts of our introductions and methods sections due, and then we will have to start the process of data entry and conclusion-gathering. I have thus far found one article to aid in my literature review, but am still on the look-out for more.

Right before Spring Break began, each student turned in a research proposal to the professor for our final papers in Women in Jewish Culture. I am hoping to write about feminist midrash, but will not know until sometime this week if my proposal has been approved.

And for my independent study/capstone for Jewish Studies, I have looked through a bit more of the psalms (despite my original discomfort with them) and am looking forward to reading a book that Prof. Fox ordered regarding illness and comfort.

This week will be busy (I have a pal visiting! + homework and things), but I will try to keep updating on my courses. This Friday is a senior event: the "2012 Hours Till Graduation" dance, which is exciting. Also beginning this week is a Clark play called "Pooter McGraw is Not Dead Party", which is also exciting. And on Friday, CUFS will be screening a documentary regarding suicide at 9pm in Jefferson 320.

I hope everyone is enjoying the lovely weather! To contrast Worcester's recent warmth, here's a photo of the snow in a cemetery in Portland through which I strolled only days ago.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Spring Break! Woo.

So, it's nearly Spring Break. And... we just had a lovely snowfall yesterday. Oh, weather, you're so confused.

Happy belated Leap Day! Clark hosted a LEEP (Liberal Education and Effective Practice) event on February 29th - judging from the facebook photos posted of students leaping on LEEP Day, I'd say it was successful. I was unable to attend, but have heard good things from those who were able to go.

Things are more or less calming down for week; I have one more class to attend (Women in Society), a brief meeting with my professor to discuss my preferred topic for the interview project, and then I'm finished! Well, a bit of packing and deciding on which bits of homework to bring home, and then it's Maine & cats until the 10th.

I hope that everyone has a lovely Spring Break!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Women, Aging, and Ageism

As a part of Women in Society, each student is required to conduct two interviews with two women of different generations. The interviews must share in common a specific focus; something based on one of the fourteen topics of study we've covered thus far in the course.

Last week I was struggling with which topic I'd choose as a focus, but after engaging in class-time related to our most recent topic - women in midlife and aging - I'm feeling good about the interviews.

Here are some thoughts gathered from my readings related to women, aging and ageism:

Historically, women's value has been based mainly on reproductive ability. Whereas in contrast, men's status could be attributed to achievements, money, or power. Because women are evaluated throughout their lifetimes by their bodies, it can be particularly frustrating and challenging for women to live in an aging body.

Messages in our society suggest that being old is a negative experience, from jokes to media portrayals. Women are no longer sexual past a certain age, and when they are portrayed as such, it is seen as a humorous because it deviates from the perceived norm of what it means to be elderly.

Traditionally all forms of mass media excluded older women, and when they were portrayed, they were stereotyped as an evil mother-in-law (Sex and the City's Bunny, + a smattering of Disney characters), a manipulative and selfish elderly mother (The Sopranos' Livia), or a powerless "little old lady". Even more recent portrayals of older women in media, like Hot in Cleveland, still utilize comedy in order to portray older women's sexuality and lifestyle choices which differ from the perceived norm; these things are not normative enough to portray as simply something that just happens (like a non-comedic sex scene between younger folks).

The effects of negative stereotypes concerning elderly folks have been seen in studies. Hausdorff, Levy, & Wei's (1999) study displayed such effects. Participants with ages ranging from sixty-three to eighty-two played a video game which exposed them to either positive or negative stereotypes about elderly folks. Before and after the game, their speed and manner of walking was measured. Those who played the games with positive stereotypes walked faster and more energetically, "suggesting that the slower gait of older people may be partly due to internalized stereotypes and not entirely to the physical changes of aging".

Women often engage in creating distinctions between self identities (subjective feelings of age) and social identities (the manner in which she appears to others) because to emphasize distance between oneself and the "typical" elderly person creates distance between the perceived self and the concept of the deteriorating and decrepit elderly member of society.

But what does it mean to feel a certain age? And why are we so afraid of growing old?

We watched a movie in class, Acting our Age, which presented a number of women's perspectives on growing older. One woman in particular said something about how folks will say to her, as a compliment, "oh, you look great for seventy-five!", because implicitly, in our society, it is something of a misfortune to look old.

But! Why? Why is it so terrifying to claim age, to embrace wrinkles, to get rid of the medicalization of menopause, and to stop fighting a war against our bodies and the naturally occurring biological process of aging?

Acting our Age portrayed many women's concerns about taking care of husbands, husbands or friends dying, or reclaiming identity at an older age. However, as a classmate of mine pointed out, only one woman in the film suggested fear of her own death, and only in the context of having realized her own mortality following the death of a friend. So as a society we're afraid of and repulsed by growing older, and yet possibly the scariest aspect of growing older, the inevitability of death, is not clearly present to most folks?

There are so many topics regarding elderly folks and plights within society, I could type words about it forever. But I will not, and am instead just really excited to interview two women about their experiences with aging and ageism.

I know that I've posted a link to this previously, but I really enjoyed Young@Heart, a film watched during my COPACE (On Death & Dying) course last semester.

So, click here to see the Young@Heart Chorus' version of the Talking Head's "Road to Nowhere". It's swell.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Independent Study Update & Tidbits

Yesterday I was able to meet with Prof. Fox regarding my independent study/Jewish Studies capstone, and now I officially have a focus for my paper! Hooray.

I will be writing first of the Bible and midrash and their suggested views regarding illness, visiting the sick, and other such practices. And then I will contrast those ideas with more modern psychological (and likely some religious) texts regarding pastoral care.

This is exciting. Before, I was reading through the stacks of books that Prof. Fox had given me, and finding tidbits interesting, but having no notion of what I would possibly focus my final paper on.

Here are some of my tidbits of interest:
Anne Brener, in her book Mourning & Mitzvah, wrote of how people are able to find comfort through Jewish rituals because these are embedded with universal truths about the needs of people in tradition. This struck me because I had previously struggled concerning religious rituals, wondering if they lack applicability to those who not believe in God. I appreciate her distinction regarding Jewish rituals as a manner in which to find comfort, and to build a context in which one is able to stay during this time of difficult transition.

In Jewish Relational Care A-Z, Jack H. Bloom wrote an essay regarding language; more specifically, language as it defines our own personal realities, and ways in which to build rapport (as a pastoral care worker) while visiting with the infirm (he mentions normalizing other people's experiences through acceptance and respect, while keeping in mind the person's individual background). His article was interesting to me because I have been recently pondering how one would go into a pastoral care situation feeling prepared to discuss tough topics with folks - I don't think that his article is the end-all-be-all of proper language usage in these situations, but it was an interesting beginning in starting to read about such things.

In Jewish Reflections on Death, Daniel Jeremy Silver wrote an essay entitled "The Right to Die?". I was drawn to this article because this is a topic that I have struggled with in the past - last semester I wrote a final paper for my COPACE (On Death & Dying) course regarding suicide and an individual's right to die versus overall implications for society. Albeit informative, his article didn't deal with suicide and other such end of life issues, so much as it dealt with Jewish reflections on mitigating pain while not sanctioning euthanasia. He personally defined death as "departure of the soul", with the soul being made up of personality, control, individuality, capacity, and awareness. I'm still unsure how I would personally define death (ad hoc committee of Harvard University criteria?), but I am 100% against extending life if it is being done only to assuage guilt. Of course, our reasoning for keeping folks going are never so simply stated.

On other notes (unrelated to death/illness/mourning), I've begun collecting data for my Lab in Social Psych! Hooray. Three participants down, a billion more to go (not really, but neeearly).

I'm going to finish up a bit of reading for my Women in Society class, so I will end here. I hope that everyone has a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Exciting Events! And Brief Updates

Hello, Internet! It has been a while. Well, a week. But many exciting things have happened since then! Things like:
Clark University's own Vagina Monologues!
"Vapor, Liquid, Snow, Solid" (a play), presented by CUPS & PARADOX!
A performance by the Peapod Squad!
A Community Youth Art Show, presented by Fiat Lux!
A performance in Razzo Hall by Karen Discoll called "Women on the Edge"!

And also I've been a bit sick! I lost my voice for a bit, but it has returned in full (I was hoping it would come back sounding like 1. Tim Curry, 2. Marina Diamandis, or 3. Morgan Freeman. Oh well. There's always hope for next time).

Today I spent a bit of time in the library, reading about death and mourning and more death, for my Jewish Studies independent study. I'm still struggling with finding a focus for my paper, specifically if I should examine pastoral care and pre-death care (such as helping folks when they are ill), or if I would rather look into post-death care, like counseling or funeral-type things. Maybe it's just all the "Six Feet Under" that I've been watching, but I am now considering funeral home work post-Clark.

And I have successfully completed one midterm exam, for Women in Jewish Culture! On Tuesday I got to write a lot about images of women in the Hebrew Bible, which was the best in-class-exam-prompt ever.

Today I am generally lacking in insightful comments regarding my classes, so I will end here. Until next time!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Ideals & Expectations for Jewish Women in Medieval Ashkenaz

It's Wednesday! And, oh, what a Wednesday it is.

Yesterday I attended my three Tuesday classes (Lab in Social Psych, Women in Jewish Culture, & Women in Society). The lab was full of its usual bizarre/goofy 9am occurrences, made sillier by the addition of donuts and orange juice (my professor's Valentine's day treat. Later in the evening I enjoyed a gluten free/egg free/dairy free/corn free (etc) cake to make up for my lack of ability to consume donuts. Anyway)

Much of Women in Jewish Culture yesterday was spent discussing ideals & expectations of women in Medieval Ashkenaz. Here's what it boils down to:
1. women must sew, spin, and weave (clothing, in addition to fringes and Torah scrolls)
2. women must enable their husbands and sons to study
3. women must marry at a young age and have many babies
4. women must be modest
5. women must maintain ritual purity

We read through commentaries, epitaphs, and a bit of the Sefer Hasidim to glean from the words some ideals for women. This one was my favorite:

"A certain man, leaving on a journey, told his wife: 'On such and such a day, I shall return and be with you.' The woman, knowing the time of her husband's return, prepared for his return by going to the ritual bath. Her husband thereupon said to her: 'Since you bathed in anticipation of my return, I shall present you with a gold piece with which to buy a garment.' The woman replied: 'Allow me, with that gold piece, to purchase a book or to hire a scribe to copy a book for lending to students, enabling them to pursue their studies.' Subsequently the woman became pregnant and gave birth to a boy. While all of the brothers of the boy were devoid of learning, that boy himself was the exception."

Isn't it great? The woman is ideal because she
1. prepares for her husband's return by going to the ritual bath (performing ritual purity)
and then her husband gifts her a gold piece, and rather than being greedy or superficial she chooses to spend her newly acquired wealth by
2. enabling (male, it can be assumed) students to study! What a gal.
And then she is further praised and gives birth to not-only-just-a-boy, but a learned boy! Whee.

In class we discussed the extent to which Gluckel of Hameln met these traditional expectations. First of all, she married at a young age (twelve) and had many children (FOURTEEN). Secondly, she certainly enabled her husband to pray/fast/study, by otherwise taking care of her household. However, her reality was different from these ideals & expectations in that she maintained with her husband a marriage likened to a partnership. Unlike what I gather from the suggestions of these expectations, Gluckel was unique in that she maintained mutuality in her marriage and she took part in her husband's business decisions. Her relationship with him was more complicated than a female role of enabling study; their relationship could be interpreted as more respectful, and more equal.

Another way in which Gluckel appears to be unique is seen through mention of her and (one of) her daughter's regular attendance at the synagogue; this would suggest ritual observance extended beyond the private realm. And public ritual observance for women would seem rather unusual for the time period.

Gluckel was also unique in that she clearly was of a wealthy background - beyond her being learned and literate, her memoirs mention wealth from her family, and additionally from her husbands (though, she remarries after her first husband dies in part to help provide relief from financial burden). But it's significant to take into account that the memoirs of the literate (and thus more wealthy) are those that we have to examine; and their experiences likely differed from those folks with less wealth.

Which moves into the realm of Women in Society, in which the intersections of race/class/gender/ethnicity are frequently mentioned. ! Overlaps are the best.

And now it is time for some readings regarding pastoral care.

Here's Donny Osmond and Rosie O'Donnell serenading Mork and Mindy.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Monday Avoidance of Homework

Today I participated in a quick undergrad-run study for the psych department, and have since then been avoiding my homework by looking through my music library to pick songs for The Omelette Factory's first ROCU show of the semester tomorrow evening. One of our hosts, Heather, will be unable to join us (she has rehearsals for the Clark Vagina Monologues all this week), but you can join Mike and me as we complain about love and other such nauseating things during our Anti-Love We Despise Valentine's Day Special.

In order to avoid homework further, I also spent a bit of my time today working on a short story for the English department's annual poetry/short story/drama/essay contest. I have yet to enter, and it's my last chance to do so (graduationgraduationgraduation)!

Tonight there is a talk, funded by the Office of Student Leadership & ProgrammingBlack Student Union, and a number of other Clark organizations. It's called "Black is... Complicated", and is being presented by Melissa Harris-Perry. I'm a bit bummed to be missing it, but I am scheduled to screen (not one, but!) two movies this evening for SCRN 120. I shall spend some of my time at work examining a few of my readings for classes tomorrow. I have four articles related to linguistics to read for Women in Society, some Gluckel of Hameln review to do for Women in Jewish Culture, and I need to add the finishing touches to my method's section draft for Lab in Social Psych. Additionally, I'm still looking through the copious amounts of books that Prof. Fox has lent to me for my Jewish Studies capstone/independent study. I'll hopefully be posting some relevant/interesting information from my class readings this week.

That's all for now! Happy (almost) Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Class Updates + Time Travel through Books (sort of)

Movies watched this week: four
(Jaws (for SCRN 114),
Insidious (for "fun"/PURE TERROR)
Little Miss Sunshine (with CUFS),
North by Northwest (for SCRN 120)
Papers written: one and a half
Books read: one (The Memoirs of Gluckel of Hameln)
Videos of cats watched on youtube: too many to count

Currently I'm working on the method's section draft for my project in Lab in Social Psychology - though we haven't actually started the data collection yet, we are going to be drafting different sections of the paper throughout the semester in order to reduce the overall workload at the end of the semester. Things like data entry and analysis and conclusion-gathering will be a tad frustrating and tedious, so it's nice to get other aspects of the project out of the way early.

For Women in Society, shortly after Spring break, we will have due two half-hour (minimum) interviews with two women of different generations. Likely I'll end up conducting my interviews over Spring break with ladies from Portland (we'll be able to choose the focus for the interview so long as it covers something previously discussed in class). However, we will have to transcribe the interviews. In class yesterday my professor noted that for about every hour of interview, it takes about four hours to transcribe. !!! Goodness, nooo.

Prof. Fox lent to me two more books on Jewish pastoral care to read for my independent study/JS capstone: Jewish Pastoral Care: A Practical handbook for Traditional and Contemporary Sources and Jewish Relational Care A-Z: We are Our Other's Keeper. I'm excited to look through them! Considering they're applicable to what I anticipate as being a field I'd like to enter career-wise. I'm super pumped to have access to all of these interesting books.

For Women in Jewish Culture we've most recently been discussing a book titled The Memoirs of Gluckel of Hameln, the diaries of a German Jewish widow who started writing in the year 1690 when she was forty-four-years-old, following the death of her first husband. Basic timeline: she was betrothed at the age of twelve after her family was expelled from Hamburg, then they moved to Altona, then back to Hamburg (when Altona was "overrun by Swedes in the winter of 1657-1658"). In total she had fourteen children (!!!), remarried once, and died in the year 1724. THAT IS SO LONG AGO. It blows my mind to read the words of someone from so long ago. Gluckel is practically speaking to me from the past! Aaahhhhhh. Time travel through books.

Anyway. Today I'll try to finish up the draft of my method's section and complete my weekly assignment for Lab in Social Psych (weekly papers based on the readings is certainly one way to ensure that students will actually read the assigned articles).

I hope that everyone has a lovely weekend! Supposedly there will be snow, but I haven't seen anything impressive yet.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Psalms, Prayer, and an Abundance of God

Oh, Monday, Monday. You are the worst sometimes. Specifically when equipment for screenings is discombobulated and the projector is out to get me (stop un-muting yourself, silly picture mute! Stop freezing, blu-ray player!). And when there is no chocolate delivery service that will bring allergy-free chocolate to me in the places where chocolate generally is not allowed (no eating in the projecting booth, shh). 

But beyond faulty equipment and a lack of chocolate, today has been generally alright. Earlier this morning I met with Prof. Fox regarding my independent study/capstone for Jewish Studies. I barraged him with comments concerning the substantial amount that God is mentioned in the Bible passages generally regarded as comforting - mainly, the Psalms

Examples of God's mention in verses of various Psalms:
"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me."

"The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.
I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.
The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid."

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;"

I borrowed a book from Prof. Fox, 'The Healing Power of Psalms', which discusses the importance of the Psalms in creating comfort. This book's context was the framework in which I was examining the Psalms (that is to say, I was using this book as a guide and wasn't just looking through the Bible and reading various psalms). My main complaint about the book/its viewpoint centered on God. Specifically, why is God a necessary part of feeling comforted? What about folks who do not believe in God? Are these texts, ridden with praises for God, still comforting to those who do not believe in God? 

A woman made a lovely youtube video called "How to be Alone" (it's wonderful, watch here). It's not quite applicable to this situation - regarding God, that is - in the way that I would like it to be, but it does touch on the concept of alonedom, specifically the woman's comment that "society is afraid of alonedom". And I wonder, in the context of death/dying/the Psalms, why feeling alone is not conducive to comfort. I'm assuming that even if one chose to not believe in God, comfort would be drawn from friends, from family, from members of society in some form. But can one be alone and also feel comforted?

'The Healing Power of Psalms' also touched on the concept of poetry as comforting. But why? Prof. Fox suggested that poetic expressions are innately comforting because their expression of emotions is executed in such a succinct and beautiful way. In other words, he suggested, they express how you're feeling, but more accurately than you likely could. 

So, poetry. Poetry as a theme for comfort, in addition to the theme of God/not feeling alone. What else is comforting?

Prayer, apparently. In the introduction to 'The Healing Power of Psalms', the authors wrote of a prayer-study, in which patients with similarly severe heart conditions were broken into two groups; one group was prayed for (by strangers), whereas the other was not. Supposedly, according to the study results, the group that was prayed for had smoother stays in the hospital, with overall fewer complications. 

But is there another explanation for this? 

But regardless, prayer could be comforting in that it allows people to go through the motions of a traditional act, an act done for generations. Which could create comfort regardless of its seeming lack of ability to improve health; simply going through the motions of something you've done (and others have done) many times in the past could create comfort in itself.

I borrowed another book from Prof. Fox, a collection of essays and thoughts regarding death and dying in Jewish tradition. Perhaps I'll find some other Major Themes of comfort inside. 

Here's hoping that everyone has had a more technologically-savvy Monday than the Razzo booth is having currently.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Mostly Movies, and a bit of Social Psychology

Tonight I will be screening 'The Royal Tenenbaums' for SCRN 114: Writing About Film. Over Winter Break a pal told me that he was feeling like an abundance of Roald Dahl characters, and then subsequently asked me what/who I felt like. My response was that I felt like John Cusack's character in the film 'High Fidelity', Audrey Tautou's character from the film 'Amélie', and Gywneth Paltrow's character from 'The Royal Tenenbaums'.

I don't really feel like any of those folks. I certainly only slightly feel like Margot Tenenbaum. She's a bit rebellious, and I am not. On Monday I screened 'Rebel Without a Cause' for SCRN 120, and realized that even though I am not a rebel, I am actually slightly similar to James Dean in that I also have no cause.

Anyway. Today's been a strange day because the weather was so very warm and Spring-like. Half a dozen people were on the green playing Frisbee, and the fourth floor of the library was swamped with students in t-shirts, studying by the windows. I wrote letters to friends and read a bit of 'The Healing Power of Psalms', a book borrowed from Prof. Fox to use for reference in my Jewish Studies capstone/independent study. I haven't gathered any huge concepts yet, but hopefully through more reading I'll find something tangible to focus my paper on.

On Tuesday's Lab in Social Psychology, two graduate students from the psych department, Katie and Joe, came in and gave presentations. In groups of five, the students of my class will be helping with their research projects (collecting/entering/writing about data, whoo-hoo!). My group chose to work with Joe, who is doing his research on emerging adulthood - we'll be examining the time of life between the ages of eighteen and twenty-nine, that Jeffrey Arnett (a Clark professor!) initially conceptualized as a unique period. The other option for research also sounds interesting - Katie is investigating motivating emotions and behaviors.

I'll keep you updated. But not right now, because I'll be listening to the soothing sound of Alec Baldwin's narration in 'The Royal Tenenbaums'.

Oooh, and happy February! I nearly forgot.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Descendants of Lilith

I've found the majority of my classes to be thought-provoking lately, but SOC 258: Women in Jewish Culture is especially wonderful in that it simultaneously makes me want to yell in frustration (especially regarding the passages which suggest subordination of women (coughTheGenesisAppleStorycough)) and also to laugh so hard that I cry. In our most recent class period the professor began exclaiming a bit about Leah hiring Jacob for mandrakes in a Genesis (chapter 30, verses 14-18) story. I can't exactly express exactly why (unfortunately this feels like a "you had to be there" type of story) it was so funny, but I nearly could not contain myself. Examining the Bible from a feminist perspective and with a bit of humor is the silliest/best way to spend my Tuesday and Thursday mornings.

In addition to the discussion of mandrakes on Thursday, we also talked about the second creation story - that which references Lilith. Yes! There are two! The first:
"So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them" (Genesis 1:27).

And then the second:
"So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man" (Genesis 2:21-22).

As one could imagine, the idea of woman being created from man could be used to suggest subordination; aka, women as being created in a less-than-equal-manner. However, as my professor suggested, Adam, whose name comes from the Hebrew word adamah, ground, is more or less made from dirt. Tsk tsk, because if the woman had been made from dirt, likely the Biblical interpretation would have covered concepts such as women, overall, as dirty.

At this point in time, I'm making a disgruntled face, because women as dirty is certainly expressed in other ways, such as the inability for women and men to touch during & following menstrual cycles (until the women have been cleaned at the mikveh, the ritual bath) and giving birth (impure for longer if you give birth to a female!). But the disgruntled expression won't remain on my face for long, because I've already previously expressed many feelings regarding women as subordinate in Jewish culture; I'll move right along.

Anyway. To explain places where the Bible may be (for lack of a better word) lacking, folks will write Midrash to try to fill in the gaps/explain why things appear the way that they do. Ben Sira wrote a Midrash examining the creation story passages, particularly regarding the first. It is suggested that God messes up the first time when he creates man and woman as equal, so he banishes the first woman (!), Lilith, who reacts less than favorably by patriarchal standards. Following her banishment, he tries again (thus, the second creation story of Eve being made from Adam's rib). But! Going back to Ben Sira's Midrash, Lilith must be punished. Her punishment? That one hundred of her descendants will die each day.

It's an interesting story, and although generally known and embraced (despite the connotation of Lilith as a demon) within the feminist Jewish community (there is a magazine catered towards Jewish women called Lilith Magazine) there is surprisingly little Midrash regarding anything further; mainly, the descendants of Lilith. Who are the descendants of Lilith? Could it be surmised that one hundred of the people who die daily are, in fact, the children of Lilith (this being said from someone who doesn't interpret the Bible as truth, so my suggestions are more of a somewhat silly supposition of metaphor, or something)?

I wonder if I could work in something regarding the descendants of Lilith into my capstone/independent study for my Jewish Studies concentration, especially considering the main topic of study for the paper is death. Once again, I'll stress how neat it feels when my classes overlap a bit.

A brief google search of "the descendants of Lilith" revealed that someone else has already taken my idea for that phrase to be utilized as a totally awesome band name. Bummer.

Today, for SOC 258, I'm planning to begin looking through a book called Four Centuries of Jewish Women's Spirituality: A Sourcebook in order to find a research topic; the proposal isn't due until March 1st, but I don't really want to read about research methods for PSYC 201 right now (I'm sorry, Lab in Social Psyc, but you're just not nearly as interesting as feminism or death).

Monday, January 23, 2012

Monday, Movies, and Breakfast Cereal

Currently I'm half-watching 'Pickup on South Street' with SCRN 120 - my first screening of the semester! For those unaware of what I'm referring to, I lead a double life as a student and also a student projectionist; I project films for screen studies courses at Clark (it's a really neat job, especially because I love films, even more so when I can sit alone in the booth and laugh at the things that, in general, only I find really funny (most things)).

This past weekend was the Official First Weekend Back at Clark (capitalized to stress importance). The CPB clubs (Student Activities Board, Pub Entertainment Committee, Speakers Forum, and the Clark U. Film Society) successfully hosted a "Casino Night" in Higgins University Center. We showed 'Ocean's Eleven' in the cafeteria, had card games in Tilton Hall, and improv performances (by the Clark Peapod Squad) in the Grind. Overall it appeared to be well-attended and full of fun things.

I didn't have any classes today, so I spent some time in the Goddard Library reading for Women in Society (PSYC 249). I definitely have a heavier workload this semester, especially regarding reading, but thus far I have found everything to be interesting. Earlier I was reading a lot about gender roles socially ingrained, and potential ways in which these have become cross-culturally applied (likely a biological basis, as a general beginning?). Super interesting, though I'm only about three-quarters through the article.

Once I'm done projecting in Razzo Hall (easily misinterpreted, if you're fond of Freudian terms), I'll be meeting up with the other (current) co-president of CUFS, in order to discuss some last minute details. I'm officially being phased out as a co-president! During last night's meeting we held elections, and soon my duties will be passed on. This only ascertains for me the inevitability of the Great Big Impending Graduation of 2012.

Soon 'Pickup on South Street' will end, and I'll be left to wander the booth, fiddling with the projector and sound and lights. I hope everyone has had a lovely Monday! Cheerio.