Right now, I spend a great deal of time operating in circles. I think in circles, move in circles, dance, draw, & breathe in circles. I create new circles, consider what I can do to sustain existing ones, and now here I am– writing in circles, too.
This is not a process mainstream First World culture values. We want results. We want to start at Point A and get to Point B as fast as possible with quantifiable results. Keep it clean. Yes. No. Black. White. This end or that of whatever polarity spectrum is in question. Measurable gain or loss. The End. But couldn’t we work in other ways? Aren’t some of us already working those ways? How long have women, in particular, been engaged in this circular dance?
The short answer? Centuries.
We take the word “mandala” from the Sanskrit language and apply it cross culturally now when we talk about sacred or meditative circular designs. We use it to describe rose windows in medieval European cathedrals, Medicine Wheels of Indigenous North American traditions, megalithic standing stones in Celtic landscapes, symbolism in Aboriginal Australian art, Tibetan sand paintings, Carl Jung’s daily sketching, & the reemergence of the Labyrinth as a ritual tool. But what does this word mean, really?
In the original blog I explained that the students were asked to identify a private or public a problem that they could find a full or partial solution for and that their actual final had to actually implement their proposed solution. Students had to use “The Feminist Ethical Toolbox,” or what they call “Cartier’s Toolbox,” in their solution. The toolbox addresses questions such as, “Is everyone affected by the decision (the solution to the problem) at the decision making table?” and “If they are not at the table, are they represented at the table by someone who will speak to their interests?” among others.
The second blog addressed combining art with scholarship/activism so that we do not only change minds but also move hearts. Students had to attempt to combine art with their problem/ solution-consciously using art as a “toolbox” element helps facilitate social change. It is in the integration of both art and scholarship that the most poignant and effective social change strategies are birthed. Continue reading “Feminist Ethics Class and Final Problem Solving by Marie Cartier”