Monday, September 20, 2010

Speak Up

In my Children's Literature class (I fondly call it "kiddie lit") this week we are reading Speak, a young adult novel by Laurie Halse Anderson. This is a dark story of the rape of a young high school girl and her emotional response to the horrifying event. The book is the child of the New Realism movement in children's literature.

Emotionally, the book is at times difficult to read, but it is well worth reading regardless of your age. In addition to the topic of rape, it covers such issues as depression, underage drinking, bullying, and parental alienation. Not once while reading Speak did it occur to me that the book might be pornographic or inappropriate for young readers.

I bring this up because a local professor wrote a letter to our newspaper decrying the use of the book in high school English classes because it is pornographic. The school district in question has recently banned another children's book, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, a book which I have not read.

While I respect a parents right to monitor their children's reading material, I don't believe that right should extend to other peoples children or to an entire school district. It is my hope that people will read the book and decide its value for themselves rather than take someone elses opinion as gospel. Censorship should not be an option.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

On rainy days like today the campus is a sea of umbrellas and colorful rubber rainboots. The girls wear them with jeans, sweats, skirts, and shorts. Nothing is off limits with a pair of rain boots. What I want to know is, am I too old for these?

Monday, September 6, 2010

What is Historiography

A few semesters ago I took a world history class at the community college. Our first assignment was to write a historiographical paper about an event in history and how it relates to something in our life. Unfortunately, I didn't know what historiography meant and had no idea how to apply it to my own life. I got a big fat "C" on the paper, even after a re-write that didn't impress her at all.

A couple of years down the road now and I am taking Intro to Historiography at what Caz and Student Mum call "Uni". I'm learning terms like historicism, historical awareness, periodization, antiquarian, and social memory. The list goes on. This week we are reading about the different subjects historians study, such as political history and economic history. And, finally, historiography. Simply put, it is the study of how history is written. It is how historians do their work. So now I know what it means, but I can still barely spell it. Hopefully this deficit will not hold me back.

One thing I appreciate about the History department is the varied age group of the students. I was the only non-trad in the Spanish department, but I can always count on a few people who are my age or older being in my history classes. It's a nice break from being the oddball in class.

I'm not very hopeful about the Ecuador trip. My husband doesn't think he can do without me for four weeks. I guess I should be happy about that, right?