Friday, May 7, 2010

Scampia, Napoli

Saturday, April 24, 2010

the campo

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Writing Assignment #10

Dear Group,

Your final writing assignment is about memory. What is your most striking visual image that is now attached to a memory about Rome (or Naples, Florence, Venice, Prato).

Here is a prompt to get you started:

Suppose you lost all your photos from Italy (!). What “image” would stay with you without a photo to reference. What do you want to remember about Italy and how would you share this "image" of Italy with others now that you are back in Seattle? Again, take your time with this assignment. Find a quiet moment to think back on your time in Rome, What is a specific memory that brings with it sensory images and sounds (it does not have to be a "dramatic" moment or experience; it can be a subtle thing that might tell you a lot about the depth and complexities of your experiences in Italy).

Remember the details of this memory and the nuisances of the images that come to you.

For example, I dropped and broke my camera midway during the program. I was reliant on others to take photos, and, now I am realiant on my memories of Rome to deconstruct the experiences and my discoveries. Now, that I am in Marrakech, I remember vividly the image of St. Peters from my apartment window. St. Peters is layered with the images of the mosques and the sounds of the "call to prayer" that I hear several times a day in this city. The memories of Italy are now combined with my current experiences in Marrakech. When I return to Seattle, there will be more layers to add.

This last assignment does not have to be a long assignment. Make it meaningful to you and dig deep, be honest, and reflective. What did you gain from your time away? What did you bring back with you and what will stick?? Are you different now? How is Seattle now that you are back in the "comfort zone"? Is it comfortable or does the familiar now seem foreign?

Again, take your time and sit with all of this, then write....

It was a pleasure sharing this experience in Rome with all of you. Please do come visit me in Seattle. Honors Suite, Mary Gates Hall. I will be there!

I will send comments on your writings when I am back in Seattle next week.

ciao, and salaam,


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Writing #9

Writing assignment #9 asks that you contribute a chapter to a travel writing collection. This anthology* captures the theme of Italian identity and will illuminate the complicated and ongoing discussion of "what and who is Italian?"

Think through all that you have experienced here in Rome and other cities you have visited these past view months (both inside and outside of Italy). What is your take away and what do you want others to know about Italy and this topic? What have you discovered about the topic of identity and borders through the various components presented in the class: stories (Clash of Civilizations with author visit; Multicultural Literature short stories); theoretical readings on identity (South/North reading; "The Other"; etc.); films (Facing Windows and The Golden Door); presentations on border studies, contemporary art, Caritas and the migrant experience, Campo Nomadi and the Romas (Gypsies) in the city, Jewish presence/identity in Rome; excursions to discover street art, urban gentrification and the periphery, Riones and Rome communities; presentations from your AH course; independent research; and, as always, your own personal explorations and what you have seen through your perspective as an American in Italy.
Consider the questions with which we started the course:
•Where are the covert and overt borders in Rome? (Physical, psychological, cultural, and national borders).
•How is "insider" or "outsider" status determined?
•Borders are at the same time becoming more rigid and also more fluid. What are the dynamics behind this and how is this fluidity and ambiguity expressed.

Your chapter in this collection will give another glimpse into identity politics in Italy and will showcase your now more informed perspective on this moving target, this ambiguous, contradictory, paradoxical topic of identity. And, finally, show us the connections that this topic of identity has between the local, national, and global contexts.

From your reading in THE OTHER by Ryszard Kapuscinski, pages 91-92):

"Perhaps we are tending towards a world so completely new and different that the experience of history to date will prove inadequate for understanding it and being able to move about in it. In any case the world we are entering is the Planet of Great Opportunity--not an unconditional opportunity, but one that is only open to those who take their tasks seriously, proving by this token that they take themselves seriously....we shall constantly be encountering the new Other, who will gradually start to emerge from the chaos and confusion of modern life. It is possible that this Other will be born out of an encounter between two opposing trends that form the culture of the modern world--one that is globalising our reality, and another that is preserving our dissimilarity, our differences, our uniqueness....Who will this new Other be? What will our encounter be like?"

This writing assignment is due by Saturday, March 13.

* title suggestions welcome

Please note: Writing Assignment #10, your last writing for this course, will be posted on the blog by Thursday March 12. It will be due when you return to Seattle, but no later than March 27.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Writing Assignments #7 and #8

"The most loathsome nest of human caterpillars I was ever forced to stay in--a hell with all the devils imbecile in it."
-John Ruskin

" reveals itself only to the simpatici." -Peter Gunn

"Like the twin masks of tragedy and comedy, Naples constantly shifts between splendour and misery, beauty and squalor" (2) In the Shadow of Vesuvius.

"Naples is in Southern Italy." - student

"Romantic guitar and mandolin originated in Naples." - student

"In Italia Naples is said 'Napoli'"- student

"Naples was the most bombed Italian city in WWII." -student

"Naples has 248 churches" -student

"Neapolitan ice cream flavor = chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry." - student

Yes, Naples gave the world pizza and spaghetti and ice cream (although not Neapolitan, that originated in the U.S.). The city, as you noticed as soon as you walked out of the train station on Friday morning, is Italy's best and Italy's worst, but the combination leads to a feeling that it is neither. It is hard to define. It is truly a city of ambiguity and contradiction.

The combination is dynamic and exhilarating . The combination is also exhausting and can be terrifying. It's one of the most densely populated cities in Italy (or the MOST densely populated in Europe even). It's the gateway to Southern Italy and showcases the many stereotypes that Italy's north has about the south. Yet, Naples is famous for its intellectuals, dramatists, and musicians. It also has the Camorra and Vesuvius.

For writing assignment #7
, consider the Images of the South reading and the short readings from the Naples reading packet. Also, remember Greg Smith's discussion on Naples and the techniques of seeing a city, really observing the details. Consider also the images that are constantly being shown to you in Naples. It is a visual city. A city of the senses. Finally, consider the looming threat of an active volcano, the Camorra, and The Church. What is it like to live in a city that has all of these elements. What is it like to visit?

Write about Naples and the paradoxes and the contradictions. You will know Naples differently than just through the myths now that you have experienced it first hand.

Some ideas for your Napoli writing assignment:
Write about your arrival in Naples and how the images of arrival in Naples are different from the images of your arrival in Rome. Rome gates vs. Naples skyline. What borders do you see in Naples?

Write about the paradox of Naples. Is there anything you would call ethereal about being in Naples?

What about fear? What is it that you feared about your visit to Naples and entering into the unknown. Has the fear melted away now that you've seen so many aspects of the city, now that you have met the people of Naples?

People in Naples have their own dialect (just as Romans do). Learn a phrase that is distinctly Napoli. Write about the sounds in Naples. Language, cars, markets, etc.

Writing assignment #8
--What did you feel when you arrived back in Rome? What did you notice about Rome that you didn't notice before (and how was it that being in Naples made you see Rome differently)? How do the Romans seem to you now that you have returned. Again, consider all the materials that you have to inform your writing assignment: course readings, discussions, excursions, your personal observations of the city.

Due by next Friday, March 5.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Immigrants or Foreign Residents--editorial

Immigrants or Foreign Residents--Editorial
On 1 March foreigners in Italy are organising a 24-hour strike to underline their role in the country and to protest against recent episodes of racism and discrimination. Inspired by a similar protest in France on the same day, the event is being coordinated by a network of local committees with the support of social networking sites such as Facebook. In early February the group “Primo marzo 2010 sciopero degli stranieri” had over 45,000 members.
There is currently much talk about how to integrate foreigners living and working in Italy and the language used to frame the debate is all-important. Many foreigners are referred to as immigrati, often with a negative connotation of people who live on the margins of the host society, performing menial jobs and finding themselves at the centre of social conflict of the kind that led to the race riots in Rosarno, Calabria, in January. The term straniero residente, foreign resident, with its more positive connotation of someone who plays an active part in the life of the country, is rarely used.

But what makes a person one rather than the other? It seems that the answer often depends on country of origin and skin colour. This magazine’s readers from the United States, Canada and Australia, like their counterparts from western Europe, have probably always considered themselves – and been treated as – foreign residents and may feel that most immigration issues don’t really apply to them. But what about the people labelled as immigrants? The domestic workers from Romania, who are in fact members of the European Union? The factory workers and small-scale entrepreneurs from Ghana? The pizza chefs from Egypt? The retailers from China? All may have lived in Italy for years, put down solid roots and have families. What must it take to call these people foreign residents too?

for full text go here

Friday, February 12, 2010

Writing Assignment #6 and more

First, I'd like to share a passage I received from a favorite Honors professor who was inspired to send this reference after reading through the Borders' blog and seeing the work in which we are engaged.

This passage below is from Herman Sinaiko's Reclaiming the Canon: Essays in Philosophy, Poetry, and History (University of Chicago):

"In *The Human Condition*, Hannah Arendt proposes a distinction between behavior and action, a distinction rooted in the classical thought of Plato and Aristotle but almost extinct in the modern world. Most of the time, in the ordinary course of our lives, we are engaged in behavior. The things we do are predictable and in character. But once in a while, Arendt thinks, we stop behaving and begin to act. From the point of view of the neutral observer or the objective scientist, the difference may be hard to see. But to those of us who undertake to act, the difference is clear. We act when we cease to be determined by the past, when habit no longer defines what we do in the present and no longer reliably predicts what we will do in the future. We act, Arendt thinks, when we initiate, when we break the chain of causation that binds the present and the future to the past; when we start a new line of causation, create a situation that is inherent *un*predictable.
"Behavior is fundamentally repetitive; action, by contrast, is original and unique and individual. Animals behave; humans can act. Action, the occasion of creating something new, carries with it the possibility of greatness. That is why we celebrate actions in song and story and record them in history and not the everyday behavior of people who do today and will do tomorrow what they did yesterday. In both poetry and history we celebrate those unique initiating events that somehow make our world different."

Your assignment for this coming week is to #1) review the Rione assignment guidelines (posted on Jan. 11) and #2) write what you have learned so far about your Rione; write your initial observations. You may use the Rione guidelines to help you structure this writing assignment.

Things to consider:
-For this assignment, you need only focus on one street, or even one street corner, of your Rione.
-As you get to know your neighborhood and its community, utilize and weave in your insights gained from the program thus far. See your Rione as a text and, like a text, engage it, and insert yourself into the pages of the neighborhood. Think about what you don't understand as you go out and observe, engage, and interact with your Rione. Be humble and let the place and people, sounds and rhythms of the area, tell you its story. Listen, look, and be open to discovery, and to the unpredictable and predictable reactions that the neighborhood evokes.