What is a dualism
The second assignment is a challenge to dualism. Your job will be to detect a dualism that is organizing some aspect of your personal practice, to devise a strategy to refine, unseat, or otherwise challenge that dualism in practice (note: for the rest of this document, we’ll refer to these attempts as disruptions). Then, thoughtfully document what you learn from the effort.
What is a dualism? Here is a working definition:
The practice of conceptually splitting some aspect of the world into two opposing entities or objects. A dualism is also sometimes called a dichotomy.
This assignment is best done when you are present with others.We (the teaching team) prefer this to be non-virtual.If you have a strong conviction about doing virtual disruptions, you will need to confer with your TA to ensure you are disrupting a dualism and not just creating disruption. This is true for every student completing the assignment, but it is especially of concern for the digital sphere that distances our bodies from the immediate stakes of action. The experience of stepping outside the framework and rules of the dualism is an embodied one, and you are the vector of that experience.
As a warm-up, reflect on the following examples (e.g., Where do you usually noticethese dualisms at work?How do you behave in relation to them?):
Present-Future Success-Failure Humanities-Sciences
East-West Emotional-Rational Body-Mind
Life-Death Peaceful-Aggressive Nature-Culture
Happiness-Grief Beginning-Ending Anthropologist-Tourist
Us-Them Adulthood-Childhood Strong-Weak
Known-Unknown Civilian-Military Fast-Slow
Armed-Unarmed Big-Small Sick-Well
Female-Male Empathy-Observation Organized-Disorganized
Mother-Father Son-Daughter Alien-Local
Ally-Enemy High culture-Low culture Manager-Worker
School-Real Life Reality-Fiction Truth-Lie
This assignment is meant for us to explore ways that dualisms influence situated practice (communication as an aspect of people’s day-to-day practices) in terms of our (in)attention, intention, (non)participation, and (in)action.Some questions we can ask in order to sharpen our awareness of dualisms in practiceare listed below:
- What is rendered invisible (and for whom)?
- What are the situated practices for maintaining this dualism and how is that labor distributed?
- What kinds of actions begin to make sense? What kinds of actions become misaligned with the situation?
- How can we trace the history or cultural-history of a present dualism?
- What makes dualisms so resilient?
The Task in 5 Steps
Step 1:Select one of the following dualisms (oneyou can “encounter” in your daily life):
Steps 2-4:Complete each of the following tasks:
NOTE:While it may be tempting to center current pandemic conditions, there are plenty of dualisms at work in typical everyday practice, and we prefer you focus there. We will NOT accept disruptions that involve mask-wearing practices.
- Describe your selected dualism by attempting to define its role, its scope, and the primary ways you experience it in relation with others. Where and when does your dualism matter? How do you know?
- Generate a list of contexts in which you are likely to encounter this dualism. Then, go in search of opportunities to experience this dualism at work in real time.
- Devise a strategy and attempt to disrupt the dualism3 times. To be clear, your task is NOT simply to disrupt. It is to disrupt the dualism with the aim of recognizing how these are not simply opposites. Rather become attentive to ways they occlude fluid, intersectional, and/or mutual aspects of relationship.
Document your attempts (e.g., photos of yourself, notes, etc.). Minor attempts to disrupt will do the job.
IMPORTANT: You must operate within campus principles of community (https://ucsd.edu/about/principles.html) and expectations of the law.
Notice the following: where your selected activity begins, how it resolves, and what maneuvers are made (or not made) to restore the dualism.
Step 5: What to turn in and where to submit it:
Use the attached template to organize your assignment submission. Document the result of your efforts and include your reflection on the experience in a memo. This can include visual aids and written text. Please respect the word limits listed in the sections in the template.
Post the electronic copy of your assignment (documentation & memo) to our Canvas site by Tuesday, November 24 at 9:30 am.
On Documenting Attempts to Challenge (disrupt) a Dualism
Recall Assignment 1 and the practice of writing field notes. Build on that experience to create a detailed description. Use observation strategies that separate description from interpretation. A strong assignment will develop evidence through observable data. Your notes and visuals become your data. Description should focus on practice (that is, what people actually do). Interpretation should be saved for the memo.
On Memo Writing
A strong assignment will have a memo that clearly explains the situated practices to a reader who wasn’t there. Your planned disruption will reflect a nuanced analysis of situated practices that sustain the dualism. You will describe your disruptive attempts carefully and descriptively. If you perceive your disruptive strategy to be “unsuccessful,” your memo will address why that might have been the case. A strong assignment will connect your claims to evidence & support, both through observations and course texts.
If you’re Stuck
Your TAs will be helpful if you’re not sure if your idea is viable, or if you’re not sure whether you’re simply creating disruption versus disrupting a dualism.
If you need some ways to get ideas flowing around whatdisrupting a dualism can mean, reflect on a few examples, and consider what other examples comes to mind as you listen/watch. Likewise, the films we’ve watched in class raise several dualisms. Try naming a few from particular moments of the films.
Seth Godin’s Podcast, Akimbo, Season 3 Episode 4: “Anthem, Pledges, & Change” (first 18 minutes): https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/pods/akimbo/e/56867975
Blog Post for the Akimbo episode: https://www.akimbo.me/blog/s-3-e-4-anthems-pledges-and-change
Boy Meets World Television Show, Season 4 Episode 10: “Turkey Day” (aired 1996)
Assignment 3 Template
|1. Name your selected dualism (must be selected from Step 1):
|2. Briefly describe your selected context& why you chose it (50 words MAXIMUM):
Word Count: _____
|3. Disruption #1Documentation (100 words MAXIMUM/2 visuals MAXIMUM):
Word Count: _____
|4. Disruption #2 Documentation (100 words MAXIMUM/2 visuals MAXIMUM):
Word Count: _____
|5. Disruption #3 Documentation (100 words MAXIMUM/2 visuals MAXIMUM)
Word Count: _____
|6. Memo Prompts – address each prompt (500 words MAXIMUM for this section):
a. Describe your disruption strategy, and explain why you thought it might be effective.
b. What did you notice or learn about relations among people?
c. What restoration strategies (attempts to restore the dualism) did you observe?
d. Now that you have attempted your disruption and reflected on its (in)effectiveness, what can you say about the social world in which the dualism operates (STRAUSS)?
e. When and how did objects play a role in mediating your selected dualism and your disruptions (LATOUR)?
Word Count: _____