Comments on: I am Black Robe http://www.historiann.com/2012/05/03/i-am-black-robe/ History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Sun, 21 Sep 2014 09:59:39 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: Indyanna http://www.historiann.com/2012/05/03/i-am-black-robe/comment-page-1/#comment-1010564 Sat, 05 May 2012 21:02:52 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=18741#comment-1010564 You know, if you’ve migrated your sylla to one of those, what do they call them, “learning management systems,” and burned one by concentrating sunlight, the fire would have to be in the instructional workstation hardware or an expensive descending screen. This would bring out an apocalyptically furious dean, an enraptured technology vendor rep, an intrusive chief campus officer, and doubtless take up at least a month of hearings. What a grand teachable moment on the folly of having multiple gods, to say nothing of false gods. I wonder why I haven’t tried this (migrating the syllabus, I mean)?

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2012/05/03/i-am-black-robe/comment-page-1/#comment-1010472 Sat, 05 May 2012 18:01:21 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=18741#comment-1010472 “And as a result, my students always assume I’m a believer myself.”

I’ve wondered why I occasionally get student evaluations accusing me of being a religious nut. It must be because I insist that they take religion seriously–and in my field, which is largely the provincial hangover from the European Age of Religious Wars, religion is pretty unavoidable.

Interestingly, I’ve never been accused of atheism in my evaluations, whereas that would actually be accurate! At least my atheism hasn’t offended students to the point where they believe it interferes with their studies.

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By: Dr. Virago http://www.historiann.com/2012/05/03/i-am-black-robe/comment-page-1/#comment-1010455 Sat, 05 May 2012 17:23:59 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=18741#comment-1010455 This post and thread warms the cockles of my heart. As a medievalist I find myself defending/identifying with so many strange things (last day of one of my classes this semester we performed a crucifixion play! yay!). And as a result, my students always assume I’m a believer myself. That follows partly from their strange assumption that if you assign it, you must approve of it and everything it says, but it’s also about the kind of defensive position my field puts me in, also against secular and/or Protestant anti-Catholicism (though in Rust Belt, a good proportion of them are Catholic, but many still in that “thank dog I escaped” recovering Catholic mode).

Also, I saw _Black Robe_ when it came out, with my then-boyfriend, a lefty evangelical. Good times. Not at all a weird and awkward choice for a date night! LOL.

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2012/05/03/i-am-black-robe/comment-page-1/#comment-1010399 Sat, 05 May 2012 14:49:30 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=18741#comment-1010399 I think my powers of detecting plagiarism without Turnitin or Google have brought many students to their knees. I’ll keep in mind that burning syllabus trick, though.

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By: Indyanna http://www.historiann.com/2012/05/03/i-am-black-robe/comment-page-1/#comment-1010073 Sat, 05 May 2012 03:13:50 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=18741#comment-1010073 Historiann, try using a magnifying glass on a sunny day to set a syllabus on fire, or predicting an eclipse that no one in the class had time to hear about in the mad run-up to the Homecoming parade or Halloween parties. That kind of stunt usually shatters indigenous resistance to “foreignness” in the Hollywood playbook, anyway.

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By: LouMac http://www.historiann.com/2012/05/03/i-am-black-robe/comment-page-1/#comment-1009833 Fri, 04 May 2012 18:58:40 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=18741#comment-1009833 Oooh, I was hoping that the clip would be the “magic writing” one! I show this to students in my class on early modern European travel writing. The magical, almost religious power of the written word when encountered by oral cultures is a recurring theme of the writers we read. (Then we read John 1 – in the beginning was the Word and all that – and talk about Words as missionary vehicles, about our own sometimes mystical relationship to them, etc – it’s one of my favourite class sessions.)

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2012/05/03/i-am-black-robe/comment-page-1/#comment-1009809 Fri, 04 May 2012 18:09:51 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=18741#comment-1009809 New Kid: it’s the Jesuit’s foreignness that I identify with as a tenured university professor. No one thinks they particularly want or need my work, and most are probably right about that.

Maybe retreat into the cloister is the best option, like your Benedictines?

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By: Perpetua http://www.historiann.com/2012/05/03/i-am-black-robe/comment-page-1/#comment-1009766 Fri, 04 May 2012 15:58:49 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=18741#comment-1009766 @New Kid: I had a student write a paper about a Famous Female Saint. Student wrote that she wasn’t holy at all because all she cared about was her own salvation.

I was gobsmacked. Since then, I start all my classes with pre-modern Christian ideas 101.

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By: New Kid on the Hallway http://www.historiann.com/2012/05/03/i-am-black-robe/comment-page-1/#comment-1009703 Fri, 04 May 2012 13:46:16 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=18741#comment-1009703 See, the funny thing is that what I really liked about Black Robe (back in grad school when I saw it) was that it made the Jesuits way more unfamiliar/”other” than the Indians. The Indians all seemed pretty reasonable, or at least rational/comprehensible, while the Jesuits – who the hell would want to be a Jesuit?? (Based on that movie, at least.) So I certainly didn’t identify with the Jesuits!

(That said, I spent much of my teaching career defending Catholic orders from student attack/incomprehension – students always saw Benedictine et al. monasticism as a cop-out (what, just withdraw from the world??? how selfish!), or as the equivalent of getting three square and a cot in a difficult world (though I did try to explain that entering monasteries wasn’t exactly an option for the poorest of the poor). We didn’t address the missionary orders nearly as much, but students had a reflexive negative reaction to same-sex groups based on god and celibacy, so…)

As for the sex scenes: the seduction-to-escape scene is exactly why NLLDH never showed that movie in class, though otherwise he’d have liked to. I can actually see how that scene could be disturbing to people who’d gone through certain kinds of abuse, but calling it rape is pretty inartful.

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2012/05/03/i-am-black-robe/comment-page-1/#comment-1009243 Thu, 03 May 2012 21:47:41 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=18741#comment-1009243 HA-ha, Indyanna.

Koshembos: I was making fun of myself and the 17th C Jesuits with that line about Truth and ignorance. Like all fashionable academics, I believe that the nature of truth (small t) is consensual, for the most part. But I nevertheless persist in my self-righteousness (or self-delusions?) in my teaching. (And as Spanish Prof suggests–the Jesuits don’t even really believe in Truth any longer.)

Tenured Radical: WOW and OMG. SPOILER ALERT: I assume your student was disturbed by the seduction-to-escape scene, not the hotsexyfun scene with Daniel and Annuka, or the businesslike married sex in the wigwam. I have never had a complaint from a Baa Ram U. student about any of the sex or the violence–never a comment or a question, even. That may be because BRU students are a lot less entitled-feeling than Zenith students. But honestly, like you, it never occured to me that those scenes could be read as rape scenes.

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