Month: September 2016

Commonplace Book: Entry 3

“Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.”

– Cesar Cruz

Root Sentence: Art (noun) should (verb) comfort and disturb (describes the verb)

“the disturbed” and “the comfortable” describe who art should comfort and disturb.

“and” is a coordinating conjunction used to combine both parts of the sentence.

New Sentence: Innovation must strengthen the unsettled and unsettle the strong.

Continue Reading

Social Action Begins With a Question

In chapter six of her book Distant Publics: Development Rhetoric and the Subject of Crisis, Jenny Rice explains why inquiry is instrumental in bringing about social action. Rice argues that we are all members of a complex network and in order to fully understand this system we must learn to ask questions.

Protestors at an Arco gas station (a subsidiary of PB) in Los Angeles, California in June 2010.

Protestors at an Arco gas station (a subsidiary of PB) in Los Angeles, California in June 2010. (Click image for article link)

Rice uses the nation’s reaction to the BP oil spill as an example to show how ignorant we all are to the complexity of the networks around us. The national boycott of BP oil did nothing to combat the petroleum mining problem. Instead, it allowed participants to feel like they were doing something, even though the little they were doing was actually contributing to the problem. Rice argues that choosing to buy gas from another company did not stop the overall problem because it ignored the invisible connections among a much larger network. The BP oil spill was one occurrence in a much larger system. Boycotting was an easy way to address the problem without doing much work, but did nothing to actually stop the problem of petroleum mining and drilling. Rice uses this example to prove how complex networks work and how little we, as public subjects, know about these complex systems.

Rice argues that in order to fully understand these networks, we must first be educated in “patterns of public talk” (165). Understanding public talk begins in the classroom. Rice believes that educators have the ability to shape public subjects, and argues that the production of these well rounded civilians begins with rhetorical pedagogies. Using a conversation between two students Rice explains why writing only about what you are passionate about is not for the best. If you are only required to write about what you enjoy, you are allowing yourself to be closed off from all new thoughts, ideas, and passions. Instead of only writing about things you enjoy, Rice urges students and educators alike to use rhetorical pedagogies to find new interests. Rice states “Rhetorical pedagogies have a deep commitment to helping students make connections with public issues, including helping them to understand how those issues affect them” (165). In order for social action to occur so must inquiry, and in order for inquiry to occur so must learning. When we learn new things, we open ourselves up to a variety of new questions, and from these questions come new concerns and passions. Rice argues that without the ability to learn new things, new questions could never be formulated, and social action would never occur.

Inquiry is necessary for social action. Without the ability to learn new things, we would be unable to ask questions and to raise new concerns. Without these concerns, social action could not take place. Things happen when passionate people work together to make things happen. Rice believes that rhetorical pedagogies are the key to producing public subjects. Her definition of a public subject is an individual who understands the complex networks that make up who we are and where we live. Rice argues that the key to understanding these complex systems is learning how to ask questions and seeking out solutions. Rice uses the BP oil spill, an overheard conversation, and importance of rhetorical pedagogies to argue that inquiry is instrumental in bringing about social action.


Works Cited

Pizzello, Chris. Protestors at an ARCO Gas Station in Los Angeles. 2011, The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/12/your-money/12money.html

Rice, Jenny. Distant Publics: Development Rhetoric and the Subject of Crisis. University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012. pp. 163-196.

Continue Reading

Architectural Exclusion and the Effects of the Built Environment

In part one of her article “Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation through Physical Design of the Built Environment,” Sarah Schindler argues that the built environment dictates behavior by regulating the daily lives of individuals in a given community. Schindler provides everyday examples of architectural exclusion and describes the harmful effects of these design decisions.

Benches like this one are divided to prevent homeless people from sleeping on them.

Benches like this one are divided to prevent homeless people from sleeping on them.

Common architectural features can be used to exclude a specific individual or even a group of people. Features such as bridges, walls, benches, and even sidewalks often have a hidden meaning. A divided park bench is an example of this concept. Schindler argues that many people look at a divided bench and assume the design is an aesthetic choice; but in reality, the dividers are a preventive measure setup to stop homeless people from lying down to sleep.

While exclusion due to the built environment is common, many consequences of these architectural choices are overlooked. These features are so built into the community that citizens walk by them everyday without fully understanding their consequences. Schindler states that while architectural exclusion may be overlooked, it is a real and present form of regulation in our communities. She argues that architects have the power to restrict behavior by preventing an individual from traveling to a certain area of town, or by making it difficult to maneuver between locations. The built environment makes it possible for low bridges, walls, and the placement of transit stops to restrict the behavior of a community. Schindler argues that decisions made by architects and urban planners, “create architectural constraints: features of the built environment that function to control human behavior or hinder access” (1948). These decisions are instrumental in bringing about architectural exclusion.

In June 2016 a huge debate took place among residents of a Northwest DC neighborhood called Hawthorne. Some residents believed the neighborhood would be safer with sidewalks, and some believed sidewalks would take from their community.

In June 2016 a huge debate took place among residents of a Northwest DC neighborhood called Hawthorne. Some residents believed the neighborhood would be safer with sidewalks, and some believed sidewalks would take from their community.

While architects acknowledge that their decisions can be beneficial for some and crippling for others, nothing is done to change this and legal action is never taken. Schindler states that architects have to power to create spaces that exclude individuals based on race, gender, and socioeconomic standing. Although architects and city planners admit that they are cable of this, legal scholars are just becoming aware of these concepts. Schindler emphasizes that architectural regulation should be “subject to scrutiny that is equal to that afforded to other methods of exclusion by law” (1953). She proposes a question: why are so many other forms of exclusion addressed by lawmakers while architectural exclusion is ignored? Schindler argues that architectural exclusion should be viewed as a civil rights issue because it has the ability to discriminate against an entire race, gender, or socioeconomic class. While regulation caused by the built environment is less known by the legal system and the general public, Schindler urges lawmakers and judges to give these issues their consideration.

Schindler uses part one of her article to argue the exclusionary effects of architecture and the built environment. The behavior of an individual can be regulated by the architectural features of their environment. The location of transit stops, the presence of sidewalks, low bridges, and wall are examples of architectural features that can be used regulate and dictate behavior. Schindler urges legal scholars to take notice of these concepts because she believes they are civil rights issues that need to be addressed.


Works Cited

Schindler, Sarah. “Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation through Physical Design of the Built Environment.” The Yale Journal, vol. 125, no. 6, April 2015, pp. 1934-1953.

Continue Reading

Commonplace Book Entry 2: The Conversation

Bolded sentences = “I say”

“Legal scholars addressing constraints on behavior traditionally focus on regulation through law, which is often termed simply “regulation.” However, as Lawrence Lessing has asserted, tools besides law may constrain or regulate behavior, and those tools function as additional forms of regulation. These include norms, markets, and architecture. While many legal scholars have begun to consider both norms, and markets in their work, here I focus on the regulatory role of architecture. The built environment does not fit within the definition of “regulation” as legal scholars traditionally employ that term; it in not a rule promulgated by an administrative body after a notice-and-comment period. However, the built environment does serve to regulate human behavior and is an important form of extra-legal regulation” (Schindler 1943-1944). 

This is a paragraph from part 1 of Sarah Schindler’s article “Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation through Physical Design of the Built Environment.” The “They say” in this introduction are the references to both legal scholars and Lawrence Lessing. Schindler references the opinions of legal scholars, and the research of Lawrence Lessing to strengthen her main point which is found in the last sentence. The “I say” in this introduction is the last sentence, where Schindler introduces her point. In the next paragraph she backs up her claim by referencing more sources.

“Most Americans’ image of public housing is of a large concentration of run-down high-rise building in a major city—crime-ridden and inhabited by the poorest of the poor. The principles of defensible space help to explain why crime rates in such projects are both so high and so hard to bring under control. There are, indeed, many such projects, but this single image of public housing is something of a media distortion. In 1989 one- and two- story structures accounted for almost one-third of the 1.4 million public housing units nationwide. Buildings with three to six stories accounted for almost another quarter. Defensible space techniques have had considerable success in several smaller scale developments, and they have made at least some dent in the crime problems of certain high-rise developments. I believe this approach can me highly cost effective and should be applied much more widely” (Cinsneros 19).

This paragraph is from Henry Cisneros’ article “Defensible Space: Deterring Crime and Building Community. I believe the “they say, I say” format is seen twice. Cisneros begins the introduction referencing the opinions of “most Americans” and then goes on to state one of his main points. Next, information about public housing in 1989 is provided. This information is cited from another source and therefore another “they say.” In the final sentences, Cisneros states his opinion, making the last sentences the “I say.”

Continue Reading

Commonplace Book: Entry 1

Sentences from my public health listeriosis case study:

1. ”The babies had been born in the previous two weeks in towns in the western part of Pennsylvania. They were not well.”

The babies had been born in the previous two weeks in towns in the western part of Pennsylvania, and they were not well.

The babies had been born in the previous two weeks in towns in the western part of Pennsylvania; they were not well.

2. ”The babies were not part of the outbreak. Their PFGE patterns had not matched the outbreak strain.”

The babies were not part of the outbreak; their PFGE patterns had not matched the outbreak strain.

The babies were not part of the outbreak because their PFGE patterns had not matched the outbreak strain.

3. ”She was the oldest; she had a brother and sister who were twins.”

She was the oldest. She had a brother and sister who were twins.

She was the oldest since she had a younger brother and sister who were twins.

4. ”Taupe was an internist approaching fifty whose thick hair had gone prematurely silver; he sported a formidable mustache and almost always wore a bowtie.”

Taupe was an internist approaching fifty whose thick hair had gone prematurely silver. He sported a formidable mustache and almost always wore a bowtie.

Continue Reading