Wednesday, September 28, 2005

9/28 An overview of the 1950s

Hello! A couple reminders at the start of class ( a class with a lot of reading, and some discussion -- what more can we expect from a research-oriented computer class day?The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. ). Good luck on today's assignment and remember, I expect talking and discussion today, asking questions, being interactive with your assignment, you computer, and your classmates.
  1. Please sit with your mini-groups that we created yesterday.
  2. If you were not in class yesterday, join one of the groups, (no more than 5 people to a group).
  3. Please try to change the language settings on your computer.

Okay, now let's get started. In today's class, I want us to take some time exchanging information about the 50's. Why do you think we are doing this? Please, this is a question I want you to guess at. Please please PLEASE don't take 20minutes thinking about it. Take your best guess, answer it and lets have a conversation. I refuse to give the answer and if noone is willing to volunteer, I will make it a writing assigment due Friday. So, discuss if you must, but be ready to guess at an answer: why do you think we should do research on the 1950s before we watch films from the 1950's?

After we have guessed (and I predict this will take a short amount of time) lets move on to the actual work in class.
From the handout, given in class on Tuesday, I asked you to research some of the terms associated with the 1950's that you found. This is not even close to a complete overview of the 1950's (in terms of US history or the world) but it is a good starting place and with a bit of thought and research should have lead to a bit of information. Today, you will get a chance to share this.

But before you do, I want your groups to take these two quizzes. Using two computers, (one for each link below) right-click and open the two quizzes, in a new window. Your group has 15 minutes to answer the 20 questions (total) on the two quizzes. Work together. After 15minutes, I will collect the scores from each group. Good luck!

Pop-Culture Quiz of the 1950's

Political Events of Import (from a US perspective)

After the quiz, I will give you some time to share information that you found with your partners. Hopefully, with everyone's help you will have a better understand of the key words and phrases from the sheet and how they relate to films of the 1950's. Take about twenty or thirty minutes to share information. You can research links together, report on what you found, give each other copies, whatever, but sharing information is what I want you to do.

After this, we will do a bit more reading online (lots of reading today, fight on)!

Here are a few very helpful general overviews on the 1950s in the US.

50s Pop History ( a link of inventions, famous people, tv shows, etc.)

A list of some important events. Ok this site rocks (it is very very good)! I was looking for a list of important events. I googled (did an internet search using) "1950s important events famous people" and found this site from "Kingwood College Library," apparently a college in Texas. The list was great, as was the overview of the decade. I included the list of dates of important people and places (I am curious if the links work). Check it out.

Important Historic and Cultural Events
1950 - President Harry Truman ( 'til 1952) approves production of the hydrogen bomb and Sends air force and navy to Korea in June.
1951 - Transcontinental television begins with a speech by Pres. Truman.
Dwight D. Eisenhower is president from 1953 until 1961
1952 - The Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1952 is signed, removing racial and ethnic barriers to becoming a U.S. citizen.
1953 - Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are electrocuted for their part in W.W.II espionage.
1953 - Fighting ends in Korea.
1954 - U. S. Senator Joseph McCarthy begins televised hearings into alleged Communists in the army.
1954 - Racial segregation is ruled unconstitutional in public schools by the U.S. Supreme Court.
1955 - Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat on a public bus in Montgomery, Alabama.
1955 - The American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations merge making the new AFL-CIO an organization with 15 million members.
also in 1955 Dr. Jonas Salk developed a vaccine for polio
1956 - The Federal Highway Act is signed, marking the beginning of work on the interstate highway system.
1958 - Explorer I, the first U.S. satellite, successfully orbits the earth.
December 10, 1958 - The first domestic jet-airline passenger service is begun by National Airlines between New York City and Miami.
1959 - Alaska and Hawaii become the forty-ninth and fiftieth states.

I also read through the overview of the 1950s on Wikipedia. It compliments the information from Kingwood very nicely. Together, these two lists have covered some of the major events you should probably be passingly familiar with in order to better appreciate the films we will watch. Here is the begining of the entry from wiki...

The 1950s in Western society was marked with a sharp rise in the economy for the first time in almost 30 years and return to the 1920s-type consumer society built on credit and boom-times, as well as the height of the baby-boom from returning GIs who went to college under the Montgomery GI Bill and settled in Suburbia America. Most of the internal conflicts that had developed in earlier decades like women's rights, civil rights, imperialism, and war were relatively suppressed or neglected during this time as a returning world from the brink hoped to see a more consistent way of life as opposed to liberalism and radicalism. The effect of suppressing social problems in the 50s would backfire in the 60s with the counter-culture movement.

The 1950s were also marked with a rapid rise in conflict with the Eastern Bloc and the Soviet Union that would heighten the Cold War to an unprecedented level which would include the Arms Race, Space Race, McCarthyism, and Korean War. The rise of Suburbia as well as the growing conflict with the East are the two generally accepted reasons for the Conservative domination of this decade.

again, I will give you a some time to do some reading with your partners (or on your own, but I suggest discussing it with partners).

I do think you should spend a bit of time reading both of these over the next few days. I would hope that by the end of the weekend, you will have spent a few hours (two-four) reading some of these pages, clicking the links, doing your own background research. It isn't a equirement, but it will help your understanding of the films we will watch (and in your reading I gaurantee you will encounter the names of some of the films). Background research like this is helpful for you and will help you immensely over the next four weeks. It is your choice.

After we finish this part, I will give you some time to do a short comment on our blog talking about what you found/learned/discovered from your own research, from discussion in class, and from the reading you did today. It can be short, it doesn't have to be overly detailed, but just some general comments, about 15minutes of writing.

If we have any remaining time, we will discuss something else, perhaps a bit more fun!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Week1 - new blog!

To make my posting responsbilities more manageable and to better separate the in-class work from the more personal journaling, I have created a new blog. This blog will be where I make my weekly posting for class, a journal of life this semester at KGU. Please feel free to check it out at your convinience and don't forget to add this new blog's URL to your own blog. Assuming you want to read and would care to comment on what I have put up.


And here is.... liveinjapan

the address is

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Sept 21st Defining SF

Today's class is designed to get you more used to defining and explaining your terms. Defining what it is we are talking about allows us to more accurately explain how and why we feel a certain way about something. If you say I like/dislike SF, it would be helpful to first know what you understand SF to be before you tell us your feelings about it. So. The first part of class is to work in small groups (3-4 people) to share information and explanations on what this genre is, from what you have seen, what you have read in the handouts, what you have found online on your own. Homework for the past two classes was to read the handouts I gave (friday) and find other sources to help define SF, and now is your chance to share. If you didn't find anything, it is fortunate that you have computers and helpful friends in your group to help you out. You will have to work fast. in about 20 minutes, I will ask you to begin posting a comment that explains your own personal definition of this genre. Use this time to discuss and share ideas, for it is through communication and discussion that our ideas will become more clear and understandable.

After about 20minutes, I will ask you to work on answering the following question:
What is your definition of Sceince Fiction? Based on what you have read, seen, & discussed, how would you define this genre in your own words?
Remember the goal here is not to define it as Scott or any one other source has defined (I don't want you to copy what someone else has written), rather the idea here is to come up with your own personal working definition. This definition will probably change over the course of the semester, so nothing is set forever. You can change, ammend, or even recant (take back) the statement as the semester goes on, but for now, I would like to see what your definition is.

I will give you about a half-hour to write, edit and post this comment. I am expecting a decent sized paragraph (more than a couple sentences). My suggestion is that you take a few minutes and brainstorm some ideas, maybe write down a few notes and then sit down for twenty or thirty minutes and just type what you think. Take a break, then come back and do some editing. If you are feeling really enthusiastic, or lost, you might try talking with a friend from class first before you try to write something up. Sometimes that helps clarify what you think.

After we have posted, we will take the remainder of the class to discuss SF, the handouts you have, the information you have found and (maybe) the reasons why this genre is appropriate for your studies.

This weekend's homework explained. Obviously, we all need to do our first blog post, if you haven't done so already. Hmmm, I wonder what you might write about as a first post back from summer vacation? I will take a look at your posts on SF, and will try to finish a write up commenting on your ideas, your thought process and your definitions in general.

If you have a hard time with this assignment, I would suggest as follow up that you do a bit more looking and thinking about how you would define this genre, because it is important for us to have a decent working definintion before we truly start the work. Your only other homework for the weekend is to read Chapter 1 of your Textbook A Short Guide to Writing about Film. Give yourself some time on the reading, it might take you a couple hours. Come to class Monday with questions, I expect a lot of questions, (and hopefully other thoughts as well).