Saturday, June 24, 2006

Extra Office Hours

With Thursday's deadline for the mid-term paper in sight, I hope that at this point you have your thesis clearly stated, a draught of your all-important opening paragraph, and an outline of your essay's structure (how many paragraphs you will have, what the specific content of each will be, how the logic & transitions of each cohere, and an approximation of the sentence order.)

For help with any points of technicality, I will be in office hours this week as follows:

Monday, 12:00-3:00.
Tuesday, 10:30- 11:20, 1:45-3:00
Wendesday, 12:00-3:00
Thursday and Friday as usual.

I can also arrange individual appointments those three days from three o'clock until a quarter to midnight.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Mark Pedrosa's tutorials for the week of June 19

hi hi hi - today i had an excellent question regarding joan of arc as a protestant figure, as mentioned by shaw in his preface (i recommend reading this)!

[interlude: furthermore, the Epilogue is part of the play, not just an "aside" that you don't have to read... so read it! it's chalk-full of super important stuff, and is one of the main aspects for which shaw came under fire in his representation of joan].

anyway, back to it. i'll try to explain briefly how shaw sees joan as a protestant. but first, i'm going to need you to do some reading of your own. so here's the plan:
1. go to -- you need to be connected to the sfu server to access this link. it's just the fulltext of shaw's preface and play.
2. search (under Edit > Find) for "protestant"; you'll find many instances of it. one of the earliest claims her to be both a "devout catholic" and a "protestant martyr," all in the same sentence.

as you continue to search for your key word, note how it's being used: to refer to the ideas embodied by protestantism, namely INDIVIDUALITY (taking out the middle man in connection with God). many catholics take issue with shaw's interpretation of joan of arc, claiming she couldn't be either protestant or nationalistic based solely on the historical timeline (when something is out of its timeline, it's said to be anachronistic). of course joan (and all of the characters, for that matter) wouldn't know about the results their actions evoke, such as a move away from a feudal system to one of nationalism, or even the emergence of protestantism (undermining the "need" for the church to provide a link to God). this is one of shaw's literary techniques -- giving his characters a healthy dose of foresight, as though they have the knowledge of all the social and political events that will unfold from each major action taken. this is, after all, why the english and french finally come to a compomise to end joan's rise to power.

that's all i can think of at the moment. if you have any questions or comments, don't be afraid to do it up on the blog, or else in tutorial, or else in my office hours, or else over email, etc etc.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Another topic option for the Midterm Essay

Pick one of the two Henry V film adaptations viewed in tutorial. How does it hold up to the Shakespearean original when based on the criteria of Aristotle or Dr. Johnson? Analyse the film in comparison to the play, keeping in mind the goals of the course as projected by Dr. Ogden in his outline. You still have to import at least three items from lecture.

Helpful hints:
-This topic is fairly wide open; as such, treatment of the texts in their entirety may produce a far too generalized paper (remember, it’s only 1500 words!). Focus your investigation. Consider analysing a specific Act, Scene or group of related scenes. Similarly, hone in on the Aristotle or Johnson criteria.
-Some questions you might ask yourself: what is the purpose of drama? What do Aristotle and Johnson feel is the preeminent characteristic in good drama? How does film help or hinder the dramatic representation of Shakespeare’s play? Do you find the film it to be a faithful adaptation of the original?
-Remember to look at your notes: taking into account context, affect and realism can be helpful.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Group Project: Updates

How are your Group Projects going? I have updates from some of you, and am delighted to see that these are well on their way. Hopefully you are well on your way in your note-taking an analysis and have found the opportunity to touch the crease with your fellows. If you have and questions or wish for good advice, by all emans check in with your tutorial leader.
By all means forward your choice of drama to study, and I can post them all for us to share. In my tutorial, our groups have selected Star Trek, Canada's Next Top Model, and the World Cup broadcasts respectively for the project.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Introduction to Affect Theory

What we did in Mark Pedrosa's tutorials, and then some.

Part I - The Basics

- Developed by Silvan Tomkins
- Chronicled in his major work, Affect Imagery Consciousness (1963)
- From work with children, Tomkins posited that our emotional lives can be traced back to nine organ-like structures in our brain. He called these structures "affects.”

Positive: joy, interest
Neutral: surprise
Negative: fear, disgust, dissmell, anger, distress, shame

ALL experience is FILTERED through these 9 AFFECTS, or physical areas of the brain. There are no other options. If we are aware of something, we are aware of it in relation to one of these areas. A feeling is what we only become conscious of AFTER AN AFFECT (that biological part of our brain) HAS BEEN TRIGGERED.

Part II - Contagious Feelings: The Epidemiology of Affect (excerpts from Gibbs)

Tomkins distinguishes nine discrete innate affects, each of which acts to amplify the gradient and intensity of a neural firing, producing a positive feedback loop in which more of the same affect will be evoked in both the person experiencing the affect and in the observer (a phenomenon known as 'affective resonance').The face, according to Tomkins, is the primary site of affective communication and plays a crucial part, along with the voice, in the phenomena of feedback, resonance and contagion, because any one component of affective response will trigger the other neurological and physiological components of the entire pattern of response.

The subject's response to her own affective experience, which draws on memory (socially and familialy produced or learned sequences of affects, as well as defenses against particular affects, and specific meanings attached to them) but which also includes future-oriented projections, will be of cardinal importance in determining how or whether new experiences will be able to be integrated into the existing self-formation. Affects exist in complex interaction: in the therapeutic situation, some affects can be used to modulate or amplify other affects: here as elsewhere familiar sequences of affects (of which the subject is unaware) will often be triggered. Prolonged unrelieved distress is an innate activator of anger, though for social reasons it may also trigger shame, which may in turn produce contempt towards the self or others – and all this may happen internally and automatically, outside awareness.

Attitudes tend to carry with them certain very general ideas about the way the world works. Because of this, the affects that comprise attitudes may be thought of as media for such ideas. Further, because particular affects are innate activators of other affects, or can activate learned affective sequences, if one of these affects is 'caught' it may trigger the sequence of other affects which reactivate a characterisitic attitude (or possibly produce an available, culturally familiar, attitude as a posture).

Part III - Further Reading, interest permitting

A. Tomkins and Affect - A thorough and accessible overview of Affect Theory
B. An Affect Theory of Social Exchange - Edward Lawler claims that emotions are a central feature of social exchange, which is in turn responsible for the production of positive or negative global feelings. This is a dense but rewarding read; of particular interest are the five theoretical assumptions, outlined on page 327. Accessing this article requires that you be connected to the University's proxy server.

Final Thought:
The important "thing" to notice is what happens when we experience a text (in writing, in theatrical performance, cinema, television, music, and so on). Consider the unique properties and limitations of each -- how is the architect manipulating his or her medium to elicit certain responses from the audience? A play in its raw written form will inevitably differ from its adaptation on stage and on screen but, as viewers, we expect the core, central "essence" of the work to be present in each adaptation. The question, then, is how effective (or affective) is each adaptation in embodying the essence of a given work? And further, how is reception of each new adaptation related to its temporal and social /cultural context? (Hint: think of what Dr. Ogden was saying in class about Olivier's WWII-era version of Henry V).