Discovery Writing: Groundwork Activity page 55

From a fieldworking perspective, I want to study issues that focus on equity here at East Carolina University. Some issues include:

  • Male vs. female professors
  • The amount of black people that work in the cafeteria
  • Older professors vs. younger professors
  • English as a first language professors vs. English as a second language professors
  • The amount of opportunities provided at East Carolina University to learn about other cultures
  • The amount of multicultural student organizations offered at East Carolina University
  • The amount of multicultural students in an honor society
  • How one might start their own student organization for their culture
  • Those involved in Greek Life
  • High school students of Pitt County

The three issues that I am most interested in further researching from my list above include: the amount of opportunities provided at East Carolina University to learn about other cultures, the amount of multicultural student organizations offered at East Carolina University, and how one might start their own student organization for their culture if it does not already exist as an organization. To step in to learn more about a culture’s rituals, rules, behaviors, and languages, I would have to get to know the people of the culture. I could do this by making conversation, befriending, and interviewing them. I could also find some information online, but I would verify it by asking an actual individual of that culture to make sure the information obtained online was true. To step out to gain a more distanced perspective on that group’s ways of being and operating, I would look up some of the individual’s included in this group on facebook.com.

Some problems that I may encounter while researching a multicultural topic include: not being able to understand what an individual is either saying or what exactly they might mean, a cultural disconnect between my culture and theirs, and by having to take myself out of my social context and put myself in theirs.

      Starting out with this fieldwork, I will most likely not have a lot in common with the culture that I decide to research, so at first, I may feel that I do not have a place in the culture. However, if I decided to research the amount of opportunities provided at East Carolina University to learn more about other cultures, I may actually be faced with a less culturally diverse group of students since I would most likely attend the classes offered at East Carolina University to learn about other cultures. Although I would be learning about other cultures, I am not sure that I would be surrounded by people of another culture. If I were to do this study, then my place in the culture would be a student. Choosing to study the amount of multicultural student organizations offered at East Carolina University would probably put me right in the middle of multicultural students. At first, I would feel like I had no place in this culture, but, hopefully, after getting to know those who are involved and getting a chance to further research the topic, I would feel more like I had a place in their culture. I might actively contribute my insight and ideas (where they are needed), and I will also contribute my support by helping them as if I am, myself, an active member of the multicultural student organization. By further researching how one might start their own student organization at East Carolina University for their culture if it does not already exist as an organization, I might feel like I have more of a place in their culture by possibly being able to help the student start their own multicultural student organization. By possibly helping out a student to start their own multicultural student organization, I will have given back to their community by helping them to gain recognition and to bring those who share the same culture together. I would actively contribute my support by helping the student get their organization started and by temporarily becoming an active member of the multicultural student organization. I thought of this particular topic by browsing the East Carolina University website and looking up the multicultural organizations that already exist. There are only eleven of these multicultural student organizations. It seemed to me that there was plenty of room for more student organizations that place their value in being multicultural.

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Annotated Bibliography #2

Nikolic, I. (2007). House for the homeless: A place to hang your hat. In B. Sunstein & E. Chiseri-Strater, Feildworking: Reading and writing research (3rd edition) (pp. 45-54). Boston: Bedford/ St. Martin’s.

Author, Ivana Nikolic recalls her experience of working and researching in the local homeless shelter. She describes her own experience of being a refugee for eight years during the heat of the war in Bosnia when she was only thirteen, which is important in understanding her keen interest in the subject of those who are homeless. Nikolic strives to figure out why people in America are homeless. This source helps readers to understand why some people are homeless in America. It also shows some of the struggles that endure on an everyday basis. More importantly, it helps quiet the common assumption that everyone who is homeless is a drug addict, and alcoholic, or both. This source has helped me understand that not all homeless people are the same- that there are many who are homeless simply because they cannot keep or even get a job, especially with the economy the way it currently is. This information could potentially help me study those who are homeless or who have been homeless that are either students or faculty and staff members.

This source was intended for the general public and anyone who would like to have an insider’s look on being homeless. However, those who have been or are currently homeless may find this source more interesting. This source was written as a narrative. It is quite formal and meant to inform the general public about homelessness in America. The author is Ivana Nikolic- a student who studied a homeless shelter called Ramsey House, while also volunteering at it. Since she was once without a home, she is certainly qualified to write on the topic of homelessness. There are no known affiliations that exist with Ivana Nikolic other than her providing her research to be included in the textbook Fieldworking: Reading and Writing Research. Nikolic enters her researching with the bias generalization that all homeless in America are drug addicts or alcoholics. After her research is conducted, she realizes that there is quite a variety of reasons that people have for being in a shelter.

Bedford/ St. Martin’s publish a wide array of material including communication, English, history, philosophy and religion, and music and theatre. Bedford/ St. Martin’s mission statement indicates that they are sales people with relationships, not just accounts. They publish works for high school or college purposes.

Nikolic uses her own personal evidence that she acquired while volunteering and researching at the Ramsey House homeless shelter. Her evidence is quite convincing since she, herself, obtained it firsthand by talking with and interviewing the homeless that were staying at the Ramsey House, which also provides the alternate viewpoint of the homeless.

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Anotated Bibliography #1

Malwitz, R. (2010, August 22). College freshmen bring cultural differences with them. In My Central Jersey. Retrieved January 17, 2011, from http://www.mycentraljersey.com/article/20100822/NEWS/100822007/College-freshmen-bring-cultural-differences-with-them

Author, Rick Malwitz, explains the idea that college freshmen have quite a few differences with their professors. With an edge of comedy, he goes over a list that is made every year by Beloit College. Included in this list are popular media events, people and phrases which are supposed to help professors understand the age gap that exists between professors and their freshmen students. A key point of this source is how with each year, professors are encountering more and more differences with freshmen as the age gap between the two. I enjoyed this source because it made the subject a bit funnier than one would think an article about an age gap between professors and their freshmen students would be. This source could be used to help me further study how the age gap between professors and freshmen potentially affects how well students are taught at East Carolina University. This article is written for the general public or those who are interested in college life. The style used is relaxed and informal. It is both meant to inform and entertain. Malwitz is a staff writer or journalist covering the information in this article. He does not seem to have any particular expertise on the subject of cultural competence. There are no other known affiliations that Malwitz is a part of other than MyCentralJersey.com. There does not seem to be any author bias in this piece. However, since this piece is delivered in a positive way, it does lead me to believe that he thinks that the list provides a bridging of cultural divides, which would also mean that he thinks it is a useful tool. Mycentraljersey.com is an online news source, affiliated with Home News Tribune and Courier News that features local, state and national news stories. Their mission statement is very simple and doesn’t indicate a bias or political affiliation. The evidence that is provided is anecdotal to support the idea that a cultural divide does, indeed, exist between professors and their freshmen students. Malwitz provides quotations from his interviews that are from professors at various campuses. Since there are no interviews or quotations from actual students, it suggests that there may be some bias. The professors that were interviewed have attributive tags to indicate what they said, but there is no evidence to lead me to believe that other viewpoints or different ways of thinking are provided about the age divide.

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Discovery Writing Box #1

             It is surely safe to say that everyone belongs to a subculture. They can help a person feel that they belong and to possibly further their interest in a certain subject whether it be sports or writing. However, subcultures do not only have to be about interests. A subculture could be defined by a geographic location, an ethnicity or a language. It is often true that people belong to more than one subculture.

            A subculture that I am a part of is the fashion community. What makes me included in the fashion community are my strong interest and the desire to pursue fashion in my life. In my case, I aspire to pursue fashion as a career. Just because this is my aspiration does not mean that it is the aspiration of everyone who is included in the fashion community. One could be a part of it because they love reading fashion magazines or even just because they love shopping. Simply put, those in the fashion community include a wide variety of individuals. There are certainly distinguishing characteristics that are shared among those in the fashion community. These include rituals, insider phrases, behaviors, and values.

            A common ritual that is shared among those in the fashion community is reading fashion magazines religiously. It can become quite an addiction- a feeling may ensue that you must know what is next in the fashion industry! Of course, magazines provide these answers. Fashion shows are often attended. These vary from being free to the public to only a select exclusive few in the fashion industry. For those who are interested in actually designing or drawing clothes, inspiration must be found. A popular way to put all inspirations together is by creating an inspiration board. Included on this board are usually pictures either taken or from a fashion magazine, different fabrics, colors, patterns, and sometimes actual artifacts like, perhaps, a feather or a cd to represent a style of music.

            While overhearing a conversation between two individuals involved in the fashion community, one may think that he or she knows what they are talking about. Do not get alarmed when the word “cut” is used. The designer or stylist is not going to cut up a garment; they are just talking about the width, length, and shape of it. If you are a designer in the fashion community, phrases that hold meaning to you are those such as silhouette, pattern, material (of fabric), line, collection, trends, and fads. Most of the time, designer’s do not want their line or collection of clothes to be a fad. A fad, in the world of fashion, is a fashion that is temporarily in the main stream of fashion. An example of a fad in the world of fashion is the purses with the owner’s initials on it.

            If you absolutely must get the attention of someone who is in the fashion community, either wear something that is a new, stylish trend, or wear something that is utterly tacky. Chances are, if you are wearing something plain and not exactly interesting, you will not be noticed by the “fashionista”. This, both fortunately and unfortunately, means that they often judge others by their clothes. It is only unfortunate because the wearer may not know or care about how they look, and that is just how they are. But it is hard for someone who cares so much about fashion not to make certain assumptions about a person just because they do not like their clothing choice.

            So much is valued by those in the fashion community. Beauty, perfection, inspiration, models, designers, clothing, art, fashion shows, music, and even imperfection are just a few things that are highly valued by those in the fashion world. Although not everyone in the world cares about fashion, they (being everyone) are a part of it, whether they like it or not or even know it.

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