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Course Correction, please

I'm a month into my MA English Lit degree and to let you know how it's going ... I'm already shopping for a different program to start in Fall. Casting no aspersions on the program, the school, the professors, or the other students (all of which/whom I adore) this is very much not for me.  I feel a bit like I'm losing my mind - the stress, the workload, the lack of direction of statements like 'make a substantive post of what you found interesting' when I found it all too tedious to be of interest - is sucking the life out of me. I honestly can't figure out how I'm getting good grades so far - I have no idea what this crap is, what I'm supposed to do with it, or why I'm doing it.  I feel utterly lost, and that every word I write in these courses is BS. This is just too theoretical and I can see clearly that, for me, this is going to kill my love of reading in general and literature specifically. There is, after all, such a thing as picking someth

Places in Motion - Reading Response 3

Places in Motion: The Fluid Identities of Temples, Images, and Pilgrims by Jacob N. Kinnard. Thoughts on Chapters 6 - 8 The very first thing I thought of when reading about the supplanting of one ‘holy’ site over another was Mexico. When I traveled in Mexico a few years back I went on several tours, including one of Mexico City which highlighted the Templo Mayor (an Aztec temple); part of which rests under the Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral. Also, on a tour of Puebla, the Great Pyramid of Cholula has the Iglesia de Nuestra SeƱora de los Remedios sitting atop it. As I understand it, from tours I’ve taken and books I’ve read, placing a Catholic site on top of a previously pagan/indigenous site was a routine thing in both the Americas and Europe. I believe in European history it was referred to as the Interpretatio Christiana (Christian reinterpretation). I also seem to recall reading somewhere that something was found under St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican which was probably

Places in Motion - Reading Response 2

Places in Motion: The Fluid Identities of Temples, Images, and Pilgrims by Jacob N. Kinnard. Thoughts on Chapters 4 & 5 I was most struck this week by what Kinnard refers to as “the “museumizing” of the temple complex” (pg 119), especially via the UNESCO World Heritage Site determination process. The mentality of imaging there is an “original” state to which the otherwise “active and fluid place” of the “living temple” (pg 118) should be returned, and then subsequently frozen in time to be “preserved” like an insect in amber, is mind-boggling to me in relation to an active religious site. Even if it were a genuinely disused archaeological ruin, the idea of ‘returning’ it to some imagined original form could be problematic – but in light of the current usage of this site I cannot comprehend how altering what is there currently could be anything other than destructive to how it is being used. I was particularly provoked by what Kinnard called “the ambiguities of preservation” (

Places in Motion - Reading Response 1

Places in Motion: The Fluid Identities of Temples, Images, and Pilgrims by Jacob N. Kinnard. Thoughts on Chapters 1-3 The thing which struck me most from these chapters was actually where Kinnard discusses the blurred identities of the Buddha/Vishnu footprints around Bodhgaya and Gaya. I was especially intrigued by the part on page 78 where he mentions asking Bodhgaya pilgrims over the course of years regarding the origin of the footprints. He explained that when asked whether they were the footprints of Vishnu the pilgrims would answer ‘yes’, but they would do the same if asked if they were Buddha’s footprints. Kinnard noted the same person looking at the same image would see “two interwoven or overlapping identities.” As if to say that the footprints were, for those pilgrims, holy (and meaningful) regardless of their origin. And, in fact, they might even be doubly holy if attributable to both figures. Or as Kinnard wrote, “[w]hy limit oneself to one or the other when one can hav

It got much worse

After my last post things got even worse in the form of a fire which destroyed the house where my parents were living and killed three of our dogs. Since then I've been back on Zoloft, my mom has been in the hospital (and a nursing home) trying to heal a broken femur, and my dad moved in here. It's been one of those moments when the entire boat of your life capsizes, leaving you treading water and unsure of how you even ended up in that situation.     That's about all I can manage to say about these past four months right now - I'm not a person who processes feelings contemporaneously - I shut down and go into survival mode (resorting to whatever coping mechanism carries the day). This house here has been coming along, slowly but surely, and I started my final undergrad semester last month - it consists of a required public speaking course and the capstone course. The capstone is covering sacred spaces and places of pilgrimage (instructor's choice) so anticipate (or

Long-winded update

Well, that was a way longer hiatus than I ever intended. Things got chaotic at the end of the Fall semester (as usual), but "thanks" to Covid it ended early (before Thanksgiving!). So, I had the entirety of December off from school, and I think I slept, watched TV, and ate for most of the month, lol. But Spring semester started up in January and by Feb I was flattened by a flare up of my probable Rheumatoid Arthritis (didn't make it into a Rheumatologist for the official diagnosis before Covid made that an impossibility - currently waiting for my new referral to come through). I am still in the throws of whatever this is, though it is improving slightly and slowly with the meds I've been on for almost a month now. Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels Spring was not kind. It included putting two of our dogs to sleep (old age). Because I was a wreck all the way around, I dropped down from 4 classes to 2 (bumping my graduation from May to Dec in the process), and

The Ethics of Eating Meat - Animals and Society Class Discussion

Q: After reviewing the course materials for Weeks 6 and 7, discuss the concepts of moral equality and moral recognition. How do they impact the treatment of animals and people? What are the ethics of keeping animals in captivity and killing animals? How do animals become meat? How does the consumption of meat establish borders between classes, races and genders? What are some of the ethical questions surrounding the consumption of animals?  Photo by Christopher Carson on Unsplash A: Moral equality is the principle that all people have equal human rights – or that at least is the way it should be; the ideal. Moral recognition is the acknowledgement that there are differences between various groups of people (different genders, races, beliefs, behaviors, levels of intelligence, etc.), but the ideal of equality should still be applied; the differences should not merit different treatment.  However, this idealized equality – which we still struggle to apply to all people – is most defin