Archive for February, 2010

Remarks on Bartholomae

February 28, 2010

Out of all the student essays evaluated by David Bartholomae, I feel he was most impressed with the essay referred to in the article as the “clay model”.  He uses it as the example to compare the other essay samples to.  The challenge to the writer is to convey his thoughts under time constraints and pressure as he feels is appropriate for the University. His ability to use descriptions in his writing that identifies him as a researcher rather than a high school kid is able to draw the reader’s interest and attention apart from everyone else.  Bartholomae is also impressed with the writer’s rhythm and expressions which gives him command over his creative moment.  He was very impressed with the final sentence, “Creativity is indeed a tool which has to exist, or our world will not succeed in the future and progress like it should”.  I find the writer’s sentence is very expressive of his personality.  It is believable that he celebrates uniqueness not just as an individual’s desire, but also as a necessary product for the future of society.
Bartholomae identifies a break in the writer’s style when he changes tone from that of a student to a teacher.  He sees it as a slip which “basic writers” make, an inability to remain in control of the subject and yield authority.  I feel his writing is quite good for a student not having prior knowledge to the topic and not having instruction beyond basic writing.
The description of creativity is more impressive for someone who is identified a part of generation that Blum says, “shifts in trends and behaviors from authentic to performance.” A generation identified by Helene Hegemann in the Nicholas Kulish article “that freely mixes and matches from the whirring flood of information across new and old media to create something new.”  Bartholomae believes that writers must imagine for themselves.  His point is that we have the capabilities to create power discourse since we are our own tour guides of our experiences.  I think all individuals bring an authentic approach towards conducting themselves.  Everyone has different challenges and expectations to meet.  Being creative or authentic does not require one to be isolated.  With the benefits of technology and the popularity of social networks, uniqueness and individuality have become more interactive.
I’ve had a hard time between trying to determine what part of a person is more authentic or performance, or if one trait is better than the other.  I see beneficial qualities in both as the authentic self abides by the production of original work, while the performance self follows a collective model, where involvement is a requirement in everything we do.  I currently intern for the EPA, designing maps for specific toxic waste sites throughout California.  My maps are my creation; no one else has produced maps pertaining to the subject matter or the specified the same data before.  The maps are supported by an institution and are designed to motivate and encourage better decision making in human behavior and ignite better government intervention in protecting vulnerable communities.  I think the decision of abiding a principle of authenticity or performance is personal and a reflection of each individual acting according to their views.  I don’t anyone needs to struggle trying to follow one certain path. Originality and performance both require and emphasize multiple truths.

The Authentic Self and Performance Self

February 27, 2010

In the discourse of academic integrity, the identity between writer and their work is put through critical assessments of plagiarism.   In “Observing the Performance Self: Multiplicity versus Authenticity” moral judgments of plagiarism depend on fundamental views of personal-hood and values.  The author distinguishes between two identities of students: the authentic self and the performance self.  The authentic self creates work identified as theirs, derived from their own expression of their thoughts.  They are recognized as being “genuine, integral, individual”.  The other classification is the performance self.  For practical purposes, the follow a “whatever works approach”, meaning the performance self’s overall concern is getting to an ends regarding matters of presentations and writing.  While the authentic self celebrates uniqueness and individuality, the performance self sees little importance in personal achievements and originality.
The choice between performance and authentic is a personal that is determined by discipline and curriculum.  Students formulate different approaches towards conducting themselves academically based on the materials at their disposal, whether it’s access to libraries or electronic resources. The most important requirement for students to reach their potential is to find inspiration from teachers and subjects.  Teachers who demonstrate integrity and credibility can help create the proper environment to guide students to become flexible.  Being authentic does not mean one must sacrifice their principles in order to perform in group settings. Society requires collaboration not only in the classroom, but also in the workplace.  The purpose of institutions are help students reach their potential and to prepare them to function in collaborative settings.  Group projects, study sessions, and even athletics are preparatory measures.  Uniqueness does not have to be compromised.  It just has to be flexible. Individual contributions to any collaborative is theirs and creates a greater end: solitary. Participation may require a compromise of principles and may challenge one to remain critical and original.  It is up to the individual to learn multiple means and still be true to themselves.

Response to Something Borrowed and Ch. 2

February 10, 2010

“The Picture Problem” talks about intellectual property and copyrighting, using a case story of psychiatrist whose published papers on serial killers influenced a playwright and her work.  The problem was, the playwright decided to borrow enough of the psychiatrist’s work that the doctor’s associates recognized the similarities. Although not the entire play focused on the psychiatrist, details about the doctor’s work and personal life were incorporated into a fictional play, where the fact and fiction became blurred.  However, the issue which brought the psychiatrist to the brink of filing a lawsuit was that she was never given recognition or credit for her work used in the play.
The article compares the situation to cases of intellectual property battles from the music industry.  Examples of resemblance in song structures and melodies vs. theft of complete scores have been matters of importance with musicians since the classical era.  The author talks about these cases as examples of resemblance, inspiration, and influence, part of the creative process.
Eventually with the intellectual property doctrine, there are certain situations where you can steal. Time limits of 20 years are given to copyrights for  protection of economic incentives more so than intellectual preservation.
I believe that it all comes down to properly crediting the playwright’s sources. If she properly credited the psychiatrist’s stories as an influence into her play, then plagiarism is disconnected from the other issues, royalties. Towards the end, plagiarism seemed  disconnected from questions regarding the playwright’s ethics.  The psychiatrist seemed to become more concerned about her personal affairs tied into the fictional situations of the character.  The psychiatrist became more concerned with questions of her personal affairs relating to the fictitious situations. The people who recognize the character may question her credibility since her work and life are combined with imaginary sets of circumstances.

The chapter “Intertextuality, Authorship, and Plagiarism” focuses on originality and ownership of creative writing and literature.  Using examples of human influences, from parental upbringing or church scripture, to reactions of students and their experiences with writing, the author presents the question about the seriousness of plagiarism: is it so harmful?  Is it criminal? Plagiarism is viewed as fraud.  The author examines the use of other people’s ideas orally through quotes and in writing.  The author looks into new resources such as open access to creative and academic work online.  Questioning plagiarism has become so incensed that if writer provides citations and footnotes on materials used, readers wont be able to decide if every thought has been properly credited.  It is left to the writer to build one’s credentials as a student or scholar to be removed from suspicion.  Fear of one’s argument belonging to that of another person questions the concept of original thought.  It is believed that there is more than one way of saying something or interpreting work, but is it possible to be original?

Writers continue to  focus on the property of ideas, when scholars should be more concerned about who they are influencing. The purpose of writing  is suppose to reach a greater audience with one’s art and ideas. Only then can others learn from it, build on it, and come up with alternatives.