Black Women Writers @ Southwestern University

An English / Feminist Studies / Race & Ethnicity Studies Course Blog

Capstone bloggin’

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So, before I get to blogging about Capstones, I want to share a literary theory that I happened upon online. It’s from 2000 but with Gatsby coming to theaters (and obviously, given the content of the course) I figured it’s relevant. Is Gatsby black (in this case, high yellow)?: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2000/aug/13/books.booksnews – definitely interesting to think about, and it got some pretty intense backlash when it was first presented. Hmm.

Anyway, Capstones! I always love seeing these presentations, and every time I go, I’m amazed by the huge variety of topics that manage they cover. This was definitely the case with Aesthetics, I guess because it’s such a broad category to begin with. Because of this, it’s pretty hard to hone in one consistent theme, but overall, what I found most interesting about them is the exploration of what makes something aesthetically pleasing (or ugly). There’s no way to get a concrete answer, but these Capstones were a really neat exploration of the possibilities.

The presentation about Sherlock Holmes adaptations through time and about “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries” together, raised an interesting question. Both examined these title characters, who have remained popular since they were published, and how new adaptations have brought them to audiences. But what makes these Victorian characters so popular, even with modern audiences? The presenters seemed to say that there are certain sets of traits that, regardless of time period, are relatable to readers (or viewers). It’s cool to see what audiences view as universal human narratives, or just engaging character traits, and think about why this is so.

I also really enjoyed the presentations about music – jazz improv and contemporary Christian. When Riley, in his presentation, played Kenny G as a contrast to jazz improv, the audience laughed and groaned. Even though this music is more “composed” and because of this, presumably, aesthetically pleasing, everyone seemed to like the jazz improv music more. Mark’s presentation brought up questions of accessibility – though complicated contemporary Christian music is more aesthetically pleasing overall, popular staple Christian songs featured in church worship services must be able to be sung by everyone, and are thus repetitive and musically simple – less aesthetically pleasing. I love music, and these were things I’d never really thought about before, which made them great to listen to.

Wow, this got lengthy. I guess it goes without saying that I was really glad to attend these presentations and that all presenters did a great job!

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