Wesleyan in a Nutshell

I’m reading Wendy Spero ’97‘s recent book Microthrills. It’s hilarious and I adore every page. Particularly page 136, where she writes about her courses at Wesleyan:

“Over the course of the next few years, I signed up for numerous ‘why society is bad’ classes, where all we really had to do was rip pictures of women out of magazines, talk to the class about how their emaciated arms were sending the wrong messages to female teens, and mention phrases like ‘neopragmatic hegemonic paradigms’ or the ‘phenomenology of modernity’ or ‘politically efficacious phantasm.’ In one of these class—The Something Demystification of Oppression—we took turns reading aloud passages from The Color Purple every week, for four solid weeks, and then watched the movie. As a final assignment, we could either write a thirty-page paper about racism, sexism, and/or homophobia, OR do a final ‘project.’ The latter could be anything from an interpretive series of body poses to a thoughtful hum—as long as it evoked sympathy for the exploited. As her final project, one of my more innovative classmates slowly walked to the center of the room, built a dome out of chunks of wax, started a blazing fire at the top, and then extinguished the flames with Evian and tears pouring from her eyes. I never figured out what it meant. For my project, I made a papier-mache ball, and painted it yellow and green. It symbolized sexual harassment in the workplace.”

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