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[Xmca-l] Re: Halloween, Yale and other complications



Thanks to all for following up on my random thoughts. I agree with you,
Ben. Maybe the notion of carnival/party was closer to what I thought than
that of play. And I agree that rules are never entirely suspended. That's
what makes the issue interesting. How far can you go when you party without
ruining the party? That said, the whole sequence of events at Yale is
telling and it says more about other on-going issues (being a minority in a
mainstream elitist institution, the role of mentors in undergraduate
education, and the tensions between freedom of speech and political
correctness) than about how to dress on halloween.
David




On Wed, Nov 11, 2015 at 5:40 PM, Peter Smagorinsky <smago@uga.edu> wrote:

> While searching to see if Ehrenreich drew on Bakhtin for her understanding
> of Carnival (apparently not), I came across the following, which might
> interest those who want to explore this topic:
>
> https://books.google.com/books?id=8HmOAwAAQBAJ&pg=PA195&lpg=PA195&dq=Barbara+Ehrenreich+-+%27Dancing+in+the+streets:+a+history+of+collective+joy%27+carnival+bakhtin&source=bl&ots=uJvA6riXI6&sig=M2jNF_zso8Pl0GjL1lz-9HemVkI&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CDUQ6AEwA2oVChMIwZry75yJyQIVzJUeCh3CNAEC#v=onepage&q=Barbara%20Ehrenreich%20-%20'Dancing%20in%20the%20streets%3A%20a%20history%20of%20collective%20joy'%20carnival%20bakhtin&f=false
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: xmca-l-bounces+smago=uga.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:
> xmca-l-bounces+smago=uga.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Rod
> Parker-Rees
> Sent: Wednesday, November 11, 2015 2:33 PM
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Halloween, Yale and other complications
>
> I have just been reading a lovely book by Barbara Ehrenreich - 'Dancing in
> the streets: a history of collective joy' which deals with the familiar
> arguments about the role of carnival as an opportunity to play with the
> rules and constraints of everyday life - a culturally important function
> for playfulness.
>
> Rod
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: xmca-l-bounces+rod.parker-rees=plymouth.ac.uk@mailman.ucsd.edu
> [mailto:xmca-l-bounces+rod.parker-rees=plymouth.ac.uk@mailman.ucsd.edu]
> On Behalf Of greg.a.thompson@gmail.com
> Sent: 11 November 2015 18:43
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Halloween, Yale and other complications
>
> Stanton wortham has done interesting work on role playing in the classroom
> and how the identities of the roles bleed into the identities of the role
> players.
> -Greg
>
>
> Sent from my iPhone
>
> > On Nov 10, 2015, at 7:27 PM, Ben DeVane <ben.devane@gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > David,
> >
> > I have some awareness of the literature on play, and I have to object
> > to your characterization. I would invite correction, but most
> > contemporary literature on the anthropology or sociology does not view
> > play as a complete or even thorough "suspension of the rules regulating
> social life".
> > In fact, the rules of social life are often thoroughly embedded in
> > play, albeit altered in some way. Gary Alan Fine's work on live-action
> > role play does an excellent job of examining the layers of "nested
> > identities" that are made manifest in such play, and my colleague
> > Thomas Malaby explores the blurred lines between work and play in
> > contemporary games in depth (drawing on Ortner's work on Himalayan
> mountaineering).
> >
> > Your example of the costume party serves to illustrate the point: All
> > rules are not suspended. At a costume party, one cannot crudely insult
> > the other guests, abuse the furniture, be careless with one's drink,
> > or grope the other guests, without being ejected for misconduct. (I
> > include groping because 'in-character' sexual harassment is an
> > infamous problem in live-action role-playing games). And if one were
> > to show up with a costume crudely mocking a number of participants,
> > one might expect said partygoers to give voice to their displeasure.
> >
> > If one were to show up at a Yale housemaster's Halloween party in
> > costume as an oblivious, overpaid, and unqualified residential hall
> > administrator, I doubt one would be warmly received. In said example,
> > the resulting lecture would likely tackle the topic of civility
> > instead of "thinking for one's self".
> >
> > Ben
> >
> > P.S. No rules were "set up" at Yale. Only educational materials about
> > cultural sensitivity were distributed.
> >
> >> On Tue, Nov 10, 2015 at 6:58 PM, David Preiss <preiss.xmca@gmail.com>
> wrote:
> >>
> >> Thanks for the link, Peter! I will hear it.
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> It is curious how Halloween became a mirror of how difficult is to
> >> deal with cultural and other differences.
> >>
> >> When is a costume celebratory and when is a costume offensive? There
> >> is not clear-cut line.
> >>
> >> One wears a costume because one is borrowing other (living or dead)
> >> person’s identity to play a game. Indeed, wearing a costume always
> >> involves some sort of pretense. I pretend to be somebody else as a
> >> part of an activity that intends to be non-serious and involves and
> >> agreed (or
> >> collaborative) suspension of the rules regulating social life.
> >>
> >> Problem is we all take our (cultural, other) identities quite seriously.
> >> Yet, if we don't suspend the serious rules we adhere to build our
> >> identities at some point in our daily lives there is no chance at all
> >> to make a costume party. And if we can’t make a costume party, we may
> >> become not only boring but eventually fundamentalist.
> >>
> >> Therefore, there has to be room to play, to make a costume party, at
> >> least in a society that allows for some difference.
> >>
> >> Question remains, how far can we go in this game so it does not
> >> become an aggression instead of a celebration of difference. If we
> >> set up rules, as some people made at Yale, we kill the party. If we
> >> don’t, we risk an identity conflict. There is no clear way out of this.
> >>
> >>
> >>> On Tue, Nov 10, 2015 at 5:09 PM, Peter Smagorinsky <smago@uga.edu>
> wrote:
> >>>
> >>> In case anyone's interested, I recently was a guest on the Atlanta
> >>> NPR station, talking about political correctness (the implicit theme
> >>> of
> >> David's
> >>> article on Yale).
> >>> 2015 WABE (NPR) 90.5FM Atlanta: College PC Culture: It’s Not About
> >>> Offending But Respecting
> >> http://news.wabe.org/post/college-pc-culture-it-s-not-about-offending
> >> -respecting
> >>>
> >>> -----Original Message-----
> >>> From: xmca-l-bounces+smago=uga.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:
> >>> xmca-l-bounces+smago=uga.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of David
> >>> xmca-l-bounces+Preiss
> >>> Sent: Tuesday, November 10, 2015 2:22 PM
> >>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> >>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Halloween, Yale and other complications
> >>>
> >>> And so it goes with Halloween... It seems that this holiday is
> >>> becoming a college issue. Here, a college master (I never liked the
> >>> term because of the slavery implications it has), got in trouble
> >>> because it did something different than the other university
> >>> president: she asked the students to think independently. And the
> >>> students were, of course, disgusted because
> >> of
> >>> the request.
> >> http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/11/the-new-intoleran
> >> ce-of-student-activism-at-yale/414810/
> >
> >
> >
> > --
> >
> > ***********************
> > Ben DeVane, Ph.D
> > Assistant Professor
> > Psychological & Quantitative Foundations University of Iowa
> > ***********************
>
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