blog #1 - Valverde
As a professor I constantly look for innovative pedagogical tools. Learning is not about regurgitation from texts but rather using the text as a springboard to gather more knowledge. Memorizing facts to later spew it out in tests may or may not ensure quality learning. So, I was not adverse to the idea of finding alternative ways to process and measure learning (in lieu of a final). We have been reading so much about capitalism and especially the effects such as consumer culture. We notice this clearly in the textiles industry. Institutions controlling ideas of fashion began probably before written texts and the history of these ideas has been well documented since then. For example, from Ko’s writings we know that in the 10th century, the state and eventually its society created class based body image by introducing footbinding for women (Ko 1997).
With the advent of capitalism, consumer culture emerged and rose to extraordinary heights in the last few decades. With mastermind marketing techniques deployed by companies such as Nike (Skoggard 1998) we are now lead to believe we ‘need’ consumer products or else we will not be happy, popular, sexy…But, in the process to create more products for the hungry consumer, capital exploitation also rises. The more affluent nations target developing ones for their labor in order to make higher profits (Palmer et al 1996).
These facts do not mean we have to shrug our shoulders feeling there’s not much we can do to fight globalization. That may be the case, but we certainly can take action to change our lifestyles. So, to be a part of The Compact movement in order to recognize how much we partake in the consumer culture is an interesting exercise. I believe connecting our experiences during this process to the readings of the course will constitute an clever pedagogical experiment. Read more about what we are doing below.