Daily Archives: February 8, 2010

Quick Rehash (HUM415)

Some good stuff today in class. Here’s a quick rehash:

Luis mentioned a book by John Berger titled Ways of Seeing, a ground-breaking work which discusses the ideological dimensions of seeing. I really can’t recommend it highly enough. You can find the BBC series on which this work is based online. Here for instance.

Jamil gave us an interesting analogy with respect to Bok van Blerk’s song “De la Rey,” suggesting it could be considered in the context of contemporary nostalgia in the USA for the “lost cause” of the Old South.

Jonathan paraphrased his reading response, focusing on the theme of ocularity in Waiting for the Barbarians. He tracked several characters’ relationship to seeing and knowing.

Consider that the sum of “Western” knowledge is founded on the principle of ocularity, that we claim to know that which we can see. Here is the basis for the Scientific Method (i.e., empiricism): knowledge must be subject to falsification, or in other words we can only truly know that which we observe. Proof– perhaps even truth– is an ocular matter. How do these ideas relate not only to Joll’s appearance but to his methods for establishing truth via torture? How do they fit with the Magistrate’s efforts to decode both the characters on the poplar slips and the Barbarian Woman herself?

On Wednesday we’ll discuss Empire as it is referred to in Coetzee’s novel. By way of an assignment, find passages which speak to this theme. For Friday, we’ll round out our discussion of WFB and talk about allegory and a short essay by Coetzee, “Into the Dark Chamber.”