Notes on Whorfian Relativity

The study or linguistics over the last century, as in the social sciences in general, has been characterized by a departure from the historical comparative method dominant in the 1800s. Modern students of language left behind the strongly evolutionist search for origins and took up the investigation of language as a working system and its implications for humans who use language in society. The foundation for such synchronic investigation was laid by Ferdinand de Saussure, from whom all following investigations have either developed or departed (or both). [Continue reading]

Female Genital Cutting, Sexuality, and Anti-FGC Advocacy

This post is a response to the increasingly heated thread at Feministe on Female Genital Cutting (FGC). Nearly every mention of FGC in our society elicits condemnation of the practices and the people who practice them as “bestial”, “barbarian”, “inhuman”, “uncivilized”, “heinous”, etc., which has a tendency to set me off. For a long time I’ve wondered about the incredible and disproportional response FGC incites in Westerners, feminists and non-feminists alike, responses which generally are very far removed from the reported responses and experiences of women who have undergone some form of FGC. [Continue reading]

Social Construction

As part of my class preparation, I often write essays about the topics I plan to lecture on. I don’t read them directly in class, but it helps me get my thoughts together to write out what I want to talk about. This is the essay I wrote for my upcoming lecture on “social construction”. [Continue reading]

We Are All Postmodern

I am often surprised by the scorn that the term "postmodern" (and its variations) meets with, both in academia and in the general population. I find that "postmodern" is a term that is "bandied about" quite a bit without much substance or conviction behind it, in much the same way that a secularist like myself will yell out "Damn you!" without actually considering him- or her- or myself to be imploring a vengeful deity to consign one’s interlocutor to Hell. [Continue reading]

Between a Job and a Third Place

I have a strong interest in ideas of space and place. Whether it’s the use of places as sites of memory and memorialization, the construction of spaces for expression and community, or the mapping of different sorts of activities onto the social landscape, my interest is always sparked by the ways people think of and use physical and metaphorical space.
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Notes on The Matrix

I wasn’t going to write about the new Matrix film here. I’ve been posting comments to some of the discussions of the film around the blogosphere, but didn’t feel I had enough to say to make it worth a post of my own. But it’s a funny thing–certain ideas kept reprocessing, some of my earlier sureties about the movie have come under question, and I find myself admiring the movie a lot more today than I did when I saw it 10 days ago. [Continue reading]

More Things My Language Told me to Say

(Follow-up to Things My Language Told Me To Say )

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Things My Language Told Me to Say

There is a debate going on at several blogs (starting at EmptyBottle and continuing at the heart of things , akma’s random thoughts , commonplaces , Ming the Mechanic , Ep [Continue reading]


I saw X-Men 2 on Friday, not so much because I’m a big fan of the X-Men (I don’t really read comic books) but because I love seeing “event movies” like this on opening night–there’s such a charge from all the hard-core fans and the interaction with the movie. [Continue reading]

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

Donna Schaper is a garden hobbyist and author of The Art of Spiritual Rock Gardening. Schaper lives in Florida and was recently rejected admission to the Coral Gables Garden Club on the grounds that she is “too liberal”. [Continue reading]