Sentence Fragments (for Wednesday’s class)

Sentence fragments usually come in one of two varieties. You can do a quick check to see if you’ve accidentally written a fragment:

  1. Do you have both a subject and a verb in your sentence? This issue is generally pretty easy to spot—the most frequent culprits are modifiers where there’s a verb or participle but no explicit subject. Ex. “Trying to get her work done on time.” “Worried about the exam.” “Having a great weekend.”
  1. If your sentence DOES have a subject and verb, there’s still a chance it might be a fragment! Make sure that you haven’t written a DEPENDENT CLAUSE (i.e. a fragment that needs to be connected to a full sentence). You can spot a dependent clause with what I’m going to call “suspense words,” words that suggest there should be more to the sentence. Examples are when, although, because, while, after, as, even if/though, if, unless, until, and whether. Ex. “When I met Beyonce,” “Because I forgot my lunch,” “Even if you make it to class on time,” “Unless we all join forces”, “Whatever you do”

Time for some FI Mad Libs! Write a few dependent clauses in your group, then pass them over!

From Teresa (Librarian Extraordinaire!)

Teresa was so happy to work with you all last week and shared some additional resources for research; check these out if you’re still looking for material:

Participate in the Read-in!

VCU Libraries and the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs are co-hosting the African-American Read In on Thursday from 11am-4pm (folks can stop by any time and stay for as long or as little as they want). The Read In will take place in the Common Grounds (bottom floor of the Student Commons). Food will be provided throughout, with lunch from 12-2pm and snacks before and after.

Come just to listen OR pick a text to share! If you want to read, please use this Google form to sign up for a time slot. Books will be provided by Cabell Library–or bring your own selection!

2 p.m. Fishbowl Reflections

Dear all,

Thanks for participating in fishbowl today! Here are some thoughts after our conversation; feel free to comment on any of these in the comments section below or in class on Monday.

  1. A few of our discussion points today pushed us close to authorial intent (i.e. what did the author MEAN to do when she made this text?) As we work to be strong close readers, it’s more important for us to focus on the effect of the text. At the same time, if you’re curious about Redniss’s process, you can listen to her Ted talk about the book
  2. When we keep talking about some of these topics, we’ll want to get a lot more specific about what we mean by “the media.” Especially in our contemporary moment, media is a fractured, complex thing, and we want to be specific about who is calling the shots about what gets published and circulated.
  3. Finally, you all inspired me to think more about the relationship between chemo and legacy. If, as the Curies help us realize, radiation targets both bad and good cells (causing a reduction of cancer cells but also making the patient sick), maybe legacy works in the same way; we have to take all the pieces of a story as they come, good or bad. We’ll keep thinking about this idea with your books next week!

1 p.m. Fishbowl Reflections

Dear all,

Thanks for such a wide ranging conversation today. I’d had a couple thoughts (alongside my still burning question about who would play Marie Curie in the Hollywood adaptation) for us to keep thinking about. Feel free to comment here or in class on Monday.

  1. I would have loved to see us unpack the questions about how women face different challenges in different eras. Some of you may be familiar with the concept of multiple “waves” of feminism, which tend to address certain issues at certain moments in time (i.e. suffrage, equality in the workplace, rights for queer and transgender women). You can get a brief synopsis of each wave here. If we get more specific about different fights for equality, our conversation about rights and equality will start to get more complex.
  2. You made some interesting points about science, responsibility, and guilt. Some of you suggested that there is not space for ethics and morals in science—instead, the focus is on needing to know. I want to encourage you to think about ethics and morals as things that have the potential to change based on community goals and perspectives. In particular, we might think about “the need to know” as an ethical imperative for the scientific community. As we move through the semester, we need to come back to this idea.

Looking forward to more of your thoughts!

Some thoughts after 11’s Fishbowl

Thanks to you all for such a dynamic fishbowl! As I was listening, I had a few major thoughts I wanted to share. Feel free to comment on any of these ideas below or in class Monday:

  1. I think we all have to get better at questioning what we mean by “society” or “culture.” Neither of these categories are monolithic, and neither does things to us alone. Things we think of as “societal” problems have been imbedded into the structures of our lives by human action, decision, and legislation. We always want to keep asking “why” and encouraging our peers to define these terms more carefully. [I noticed a moment where a participant referred to someone’s parent as “Middle Eastern,” as if that cultural designation explained why he acted a certain way. All cultures—not just the ones we are a part of—are diverse and need to be carefully contextualized.
  2. I’m glad we started talking about Marie Curie’s move to Paris, and I wanted more from that conversation. What KINDS of resources were available to her in France but not Poland? I also thought it was curious that no one mentioned Pierre being born in France; it’s another big difference between the two, and I wonder if that could be just as if not more significant than their gender differences.
  3. You all were asking great questions about women in STEM professions; the flip side is that men are not being recruited for what we call HELP professions even as STEM is making strides to recruit women.
  4. I also found our conversation about how “gender roles” came to be fascinating. You all gestured toward biological and sociological explanations. I wanted to throw a wrench into the conversation with Frederick Engel’s The Origin of Family Private Property and the State, which makes the argument that many early communities were matrilineal (inheritance went from the mother’s side of the family). How would this idea change your thinking?
  5. Finally, I’m so glad Carol encouraged us to keep resisting a binary of male and female experience. Lauren Redniss is indeed a woman, but I’m not convinced that fact along makes her better suited to tell the Curies’ story or to create art in a particular way (Walker pointed us to Quentin Blake, and I’m a huge fan of Marc Chagall, two men who use similar palettes and strategies in their art.) Whenever we make the move to say that something is more male or female, we should constantly question why we think that—what or who has taught us to make those associations?