Reading Analysis 4: His and Hers: Designing for a Post-Gender Society

In her article, “His and Hers: Designing for a Post-Gender Society”, Suzanne Tick urges designers to make their work accommodating for everyone because in the Twenty-First century traditional gender roles havera-4-image-1become obscure. To put it bluntly, in modern day society gender is no longer defined as just either male or female, but rather gender has become a wide spectrum of different identities. This change in how we view gender has become the framework for Tick’s argument, “In our post-gender world, masculine and feminine definitions are being switched and obscured. But this is a
n essentially human phenomenon, and we need to design for the accumulation of different human beings who are out there by being respectful to individual needs, and creating environments in which people can create their own individuality” (Tick). Essentially, Tick is saying that since gender roles are changing designers need to design in such a way that fosters individuality because we should be cognizant of a person’s individual needs.

Despite Tick’s call for gender inclusive design, most of today’s design is based in Modernism because of outdated gender roles in which men went to work and women stayed at home. The article defines Modernism as, “a movement shaped by a predominantly male perspective” (Tick). Ira-4-image-2n making this comment, Tick urges designers to realize that most workplaces are designed with strictly men in mind. She then challenges designers to break free from the modernist movement because it no longer fits in a post-gender society. When the Modernist movement was first on the rise the workplace was a predominantly male space, however now the workplace is no longer predominantly male and should not be reflective of these outdated gender roles.

In addition to traditional gender roles no longer being accepted in modern day society, Tick argues that androgyny has become a societal norm, further smashing historical views on gender. She notes that historically transgender people have struggled to be accepted, but today it has become much more acceptable to be transgender. Between the rise of androgyny and the Transgender Rights Movement Tick explains that, “Cra-4-image-3orporations have taken note, and bathrooms have become the focus of this change. Big companies like Google are adopting gender-neutral or unisex bathrooms, in addition to conventional ones, to allow all individuals to feel comfortable, safe and included-and not have to choose a gender while in the workplace” (Tick). Tick’s point is that gender-neutral bathrooms
in the workplace serve to make a more accommodating environment because they allow people to not feel pressured to select a gender identity while they are at work. While Tick acknowledges that gender-neutral bathrooms are a monumental step in the right direction, it is not enough. She argues that gender inclusivity should be incorporated into the overall design of the workplace, rather than just the bathrooms because that is the only way to create a truly safe environment.

In her article, “His and Hers: Designing for a Post-Gender Society”, Suzanne Tick urges designers to keep in mind the needs of all people when designing workplaces because today traditional gender roles are no longer valid. Designers should design workplaces that foster individuality and that reject outdated stereotypes. The way the world views gender has changed and it is time that the way designers design change as well.  

 

Works Cited

“Gender Neutral Bathroom Sign.” http://maxpeoplehr.com/2014/07/30/closing-new-gender-gap-assessing-issues-gender-identity-workplace/.

“Gender Spectrum .” The Cornell Review, http://www.thecornellreview.org/cornell-university -assembly-votes-for-gender-inclusive-restrooms-and-locker-rooms/.

Pan, Landyn. “Gender Unicorn.” Trans Student Education Resources, www.transstudent.org/gender.

Tick, Suzanne. “His & Hers: Designing for a Post-Gender Society.” Metropolis Magazine, Mar. 2015, http://www.metropolismag.com/March-2015/His-or-Hers-Designing-for-a-Post-Gender-Society/.

Reading Analysis 3: Recognizing Campus Landscapes as Learning Spaces

  ra-3-image-3In their article, “Recognizing Campus Landscapes as Learning Spaces”, Kathleen Scholl and Gowri Gulwadi argue for the necessity of college campuses which incorporate natural landscapes because such landscapes improve the overall welfare and academic success of students. The importance of their argument must not be downplayed because in the Twenty-First century students are faced with new challenges that previous generations of scholars have not encountered. The authors reiterate this claim by stating that, “Today’s university must be rera-3-image-2silient spaces in which the learning environment encompasses more than technology upgrades, classroom additions, and its academic buildings – in fact, the entire campus, including its open spaces, must be perceived a holistic learning experience. Learning is a lifelong and year-round pursuit, which takes place throughout the campus, not just fragmented indoors in designated instructional spaces” (Scholl and Gulwadi). The essence of this quote is that since learning takes place outside of the classroom, college campuses must reflect a more comprehensive environment. Ultimately, colleges that succeed at creating dynamic campuses by integrating natural spaces into the learning environment are able to foster a sense of community and a college identity.

The article continues by arguing that the college campuses that incorporate nature into their landscapes are able to improve both their students’ direct and involuntary attentions, which in turn will improve the over well beings of their students. The authors define direct attention as, “an important cognitive skill required on a daily basis for students processing multiple sources of information, and working towards their academic goals at universities. After a period of prolonged cognitive demands and mental saturation, difficulties in concentrating, reduced performance on tasks, higher rates of irritability and tension, and more impulsive and hostile behavior may arise” (Scholl and Gulwadi). In other words, the authors define direct attention as the attention people use when they are introduced to multiple different stimuli at once. However, after a person uses their direct attention for too long they become irritable and may struggle to concentrate. It is crucial for this to be understood because the overuse of a student’s direct attention will have negative consequences on both their academic careers and their mental wellbeing.

The article contends that the only way to prevent the overuse of a student’s direct attention is for students to utilize their involuntary attention. Involuntary attention is defined in the article by stating that, “Involuntary attention occurs when individuals are presented with stimuli that are ‘inherently intriguing’. Interaction with natural environments with natural environments (especially green nature) employs faculties of concentration not normally usera-3-image-1d – involuntary ones – thus allowing the neural mechanisms underlying direct attention a chance to rest and replenish” (Scholl and Gulwadi). Essentially, the point the authors are making in this quote is that involuntary attention developed from green spaces is able to counteract and balance out the direct attention developed in day to day life. This is important to keep in mind when planning out college campuses because when designed effectively college campuses can promote involuntary attention within their students are able to better the overall well being of their students.

The main argument in Kathleen Scholl and Gowri Gulwadi’s essay, “Recognizing Campus Landscapes as Learning Spaces”, is that colleges that incorporate green spaces into their campuses better the overall well being and academic success of their students because the students are able to utilize their involuntary attentions more often. This is crucial to understand because it demonstrates how a student’s learning extends far outside of the physical classroom setting.  

Works Cited

“Brain Learning.” Brain Learning,http://brainlearning.com/developmental-trajectories-in-children-assessment-considerations./

“Nature Play Poster.” Wilder Child, http://wilderchild.com/nature-play-poster/.

Scholl, Kathleen G., and Gowri Betrabet Gulwadi. “Recognizing Campus Landscapes as Learning Spaces.” Journal of Learning Spaces, vol. 4, no.1, 2015, http://libjournal.uncg.edu/jls/article/view/972/777

“University of Washington in Seattle .” Great Value Colleges, http://www.greatvaluecolleges.net/35-great-value-colleges-with-beautiful-campuses/.

Reading Analysis Two: A New Civic Map For Our Time

David Fleming looks to find the ideally sized political setting in which optimal citizenship is achieved and in the end settles on the city, in chapter three of his book, City of Rhetoric: Revitalizing the Public Sphere in Metropolitan America. He first examines both the nation and the neighborhood as ideal political settings, but ultimately he develops the claim that the city, a physical space with a large diverse population, is the ideal political setting. The city is large enough to foster an environment of debate and differences, but small enough so that the ordinary citizens have the chance to participate in it.

While some would argue that the nation-state is the ideal political setting because it provides room for debate and multiplicity of ideas, Fleming disagrees because he believes it does not provide ordinary citizens with the space to participate in politics. In regards to the nation as the central political setting Fleming writes “It has encouraged them, I believe, to see democracy as unfolding primarily on large canvases, where ordinary individuals like themselves participate, if at all, indirectly, and where most decision makira2ng is conducted by professional politicians and technocrats, who are motivated by special interests and supervised by the mass media. The role of individual citizens in such politics is almost entirely, therefore, spectatorial”  (41). The essence of Fleming’s argument here is that the nation is too large to be an effective political setting, despite the fact that it harbors diversity of ideas, because it does not allow the average citizen the chance to participate.

On the other end of the spectrum, others would claim that the ideal political setting is the neighborhood, a community of 5,000 to 10,000 people living within a 160 acre space, because “In such places, people are more likely to be members of organizations and to know their local representatives, two variables associated with high levels of polneighborhood-01itical discussion and participation” (Fleming 47). In other words, some believe that neighborhoods are the optimal political setting because they foster high levels of political participation of everyday people. To this point, Fleming also disagrees. Fleming maintains that, “Small democracies promote and rely on direct participation by ordinary citizens in public life… but they typically lack the conflict that generates debate to begin with as well as the resources and independence needed to solve the members’ most significant problems” (50).  Basically, Fleming is saying that while yes the size of the neighborhood is ideal for letting average citizens be active participants in the political sphere, it does not offer diversity of ideas or the resources needed to fix the citizen’s problems. Neighborhoods lack the capacity to accomplish any of the citizen’s goals, hence making participation by the average citizen obsolete.

Since Fleming disputes the idea of having the nation or the neighborhood as the ideal political setting, he offers his own belief on what the ideal political setting would be. To him, this is the city, a community with a population of 50,000-100,000 living within an area of one and a half square miles. He claims that “The city is, first, a well-delimited physical place, a ground for its inhabitants’ embodied lives, of a size big enough to provide for their needs and wants but small enough to still feel like it is their’s… Finally, the city is a place of difference, where residents are aware of their constant potential for conflict” (53).  Fleming’s point is that the city offers the ideal political setting because it is large enough to be self-sufficient and nurture diversity, and small enough for the political participation of the ordinary citizen.

David Fleming’s argument that the city is the ideal political setting matters because it shows the reader that the current political setting in America, the nation, is doing American citizens a disservice since they can not be active participants in political life. This connects to the problems the Cabrini Green faces, which he brings up in his introduction, because he believes that since citizenship is tied to the nation state we are unable to meet our responsibilities to our fellow humans.

Works Cited

Fleming, David. City of Rhetoric: Revitalizing the Public Sphere in Metropolitan America. State University of New York Press, 2009.

Harris, Sidney. 2002,http://mdk12.msde.maryland.gov/assessments/high_school/look_like/2007/government/images/34_q.gif. Cartoon.

“Pleasant Grove Living.” Pleasant Grove Living, 13 July 2015, http://www.pleasantgroveliving.com/index.php/2015/07/13/8-steps-to-a-safer-neighborhood/.

Reading Analysis One: The Placelessness of Political Theory

In chapter two of the novel City of Rhetoric: Revitalizing the Public Sphere in Metropolitan America, David Fleming claims that in the postmodern era republicanism and liberalism no longer work as forms of political life, and instead political life must now be centered around the commonplacClassical Librealisme. According to Fleming “Both republicanism and liberalism were tied to systems of exclusion, enslavement, and violence and based on models of ‘publicity’ that are no longer acceptable: republicanism, with its subordination of the individual to the community; liberalism, with its dream of an ‘unencumbered self’ whose rights are set over against the community” (30). The essence of Fleming’s argument is that both republicanism and liberalism are flawed because they both have deeply embedded histories of inequality and hate. To replace these outdated systems of political life, Fleming proposes the creation of commonplaces which are grounded, unitary, and official.

A crucial aspect of Fleming’s thesis is the role that a citizen plays in political life and what actually defines citizenship in America. The most common way to teach citizenship in America, at least according to the 1994 document National Standards for Civics and Government, is by saying that “The identity of an American citizen is defined by shared political values and principles rather than by ethnicity, race, religion, class, language, gender, or national origin” (Fleming 20).  Fleming, on the contrary, disputes this popular claim because historically  race and gender did have an impact citizenship in the United States up until the middle of the Twentieth Century. Additionally, even today in order to become a United States citizen a person needs to have some proficiency in the english language. In fact, the actual questions asked on the citizenship test have nothing to do with so called American values and principles. Furthermore, he argues that by disillusioning oneself into believing that gender, race, or class have nothing to do with citizenship, is way of preferring the white, cisgender, heterosexual, christian male.

Fleming counters the “typical” view of citizenship by providing his own theory on citizenship, in which everyone has a place to share their own ideas without being considered any more or less then anyone else. In Fleming’s view “Still prominent in our social imaginary are literal places where we come together, as citizens, to manage the world we hold in common: middle grounds-accessible, open, attractive- where we all belong but are not under the threat of assimilation, where we retain our freedom and equality but still connect, where we oppose, contend, and argue but still Republicanismshare, where we are human without denying the humanity of others” (34). Essentially, Fleming is saying that acknowledging differences as something that is okay and important is key to creating political spaces that actually work in a postmodern society. The commonplace that Fleming describes here differs from previous forms citizenship in that it provides for a political space in which anyone can express their views, while at the same time still be able to maintain their freedom and equality.

David Fleming’s argument that political life today should be centered on the commonplace, rather than around old school theories such as republicanism and liberalism, is important because it demonstrates how current political ecology has failed to foster an environment that cultivates equality and individualism. Fleming makes a similar argument in the next chapter when he explores what is the ideal sized political setting. The purpose of Fleming’s book is clearly to explore how place affects citizenship and the consequences of not having a proper political atmosphere in place.Ultimately, what is at stake here is a political life in America in which all citizens can have an active and productive role. If the political ecology in America is not adapted to fit a postmodern society than this political environment is lost.

Works Cited

“Classical Liberalism.”  Buzzle.com, http://www.buzzle.com/articles/what-does-classical-liberalism-mean.html. Cartoon.

FLAMA. “Americans Try U.S. Citizenship Test.” Youtube, 14 Nov. 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZtvQtMy064

Fleming, David. City of Rhetoric: Revitalizing the Public Sphere in Metropolitan America. State University of New York Press, 2009.

“Republicanism.” YouTube, YouTube, 18 Mar. 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xv-aQ2wo6u0&t=4s. 

Reading Analysis 1 Draft

In chapter two of the novel City of Rhetoric: Revitalizing the Public Sphere in Metropolitan America, David Fleming claims that in the postmodern era republicanism and liberalism no longer work as forms of political life, and instead political life must now be centered around the commonplace. According to Fleming, “Both republicanism and liberalism were tied to systems of exclusion, enslavement, and violence and based on models of ‘publicity’ that are no longer acceptable: republicanism, with its subordination of the individual to the community; liberalism, with its dream of an ‘unencumbered self’ whose rights are set over against the community” (30). The essence of Fleming’s argument is that both republicanism and liberalism are flawed because they both have deeply embedded histories of inequality and hate. To replace these outdated systems of political life Fleming proposes the creation of commonplaces which are grounded, unitary, and official.

A crucial aspect of Fleming’s thesis is the role that a citizen places in political life and what actually defines citizenship in America. The most common way to teach citizenship in America, at least according to the 1994 document National Standards for Civics and Government, is by saying that, “The identity of an American citizen is defined by shared political values and principles rather than by ethnicity, race, religion, class, language, gender, or national origin” (Fleming 20).  Fleming on the contrary disputes this popular claim because historically that race and gender did impact citizenship in the United States up until the middle of the Twentieth Century, and that even today in order to become a United States citizen a person needs to have some proficiency in the english language. Furthermore he argues that by disillusioning oneself into believing that gender, race, or class have nothing to do with citizenship, is way of  prefering the white, cisgendered, hetrosexual, christain male. Fleming counters the “typical” view of citizenship by providing his own theory on citizenship, “Still prominent in our social imaginary are literal places where we come together, as citizens, to manage the world we hold in common: middle grounds-accessible, open, attractive- where we all belong but are not under the threat of assimilation, where we retain our freedom and equality but still connect, where oppose, contend, and argue but still share, where we are human without denying the humanity of others” (34). Essentially, Fleming is saying that acknowledging differences as something that is okay and important is key to creating political spaces that actually work in a postmodern society.

David Fleming’s argument that political life today should be centered the commonplace rather than around old school theories such as republicanism and liberalism is important because it demonstrates how current political ecology has failed to foster an environment that cultivates equality and individualism. Ultimately, what is at stake here is a political life in America in which all citizens can have an active and productive role. If the political ecology in America is not adapted to fit a postmodern society than this political environment is lost.