A Burning Idea - Spring 2019 Course

A COPLAC Digital Distance Learning Course

Author: turner (page 1 of 2)

Defense of Contract for The Floatplane Project

Wow! I cannot believe that it is almost the end of the semester, especially because this one seems like it has gone by so quickly. From concept to finished website, I have learned so much from this course and the project. Plus, it feels really nice to google ‘The Floatplane Project COPLAC’ and see the finished website pop up on my laptop screen!!

Overall

Reflecting on the website, I feel as if I met or exceeded most of the terms set forth in the agreement. First, the website thoroughly honors the fundamental purpose of its creation, which was to “educate a general public audience on the censorship movement against Clyde Edgerton’s The Floatplane Notebooks in Carroll County Public Schools in Carroll County, VA in 1992. . . [and]. . .explore dimensions of literary censorship with the intention of providing necessary context for the Carroll County case and the course” (Turner, 2019). On the site, I provided information on the case and attempted to make some concrete connections between all the sections of the site. I also made specific, such as the colors and the pictures, that I thought would appeal best to a more universal audience instead of one specific audience. Generally, I also stayed true to the original description of my website, with the five original information categories and page citations using links and footnotes (which was a very interesting experience because my APA-trained brain had to learn the basics of Chicago Manuscript Style!) (Turner, 2019).

Website Pages and Information

As far as its pages, the project actually exceeds the scope of pages listed in the contract. For example, the context section of the site was supposed to have two pages, one on Carroll County and one on Appalachian culture (Turner, 2019), but the finished project has three – the two listed in the contract plus an additional page on Appalachian literature. I knew after I drafted the first two pages that I could never cover the information I wanted to in two pages, so dividing the culture and literature page allowed me to look deeper into the historical roots of Appalachian culture and the trends of Appalachian literature, especially as literature is related to the representation of culture. In addition, the case section contained some different/additional sections from the three listed in the contract, the challengers of the case, the community reactions to the case, and research conclusions from the case (Turner, 2019). Instead of those three, I divided the challengers section into one section for individuals who challenged the book and one for those who defended the book. I kept the administration and research conclusion pages the same in structure. To add to the project and to compensate for the removal of the section on the media, I chose relevant news articles and school board documents to feature as subpages under the divisions that characterize the information I am presenting on the pages.

Beyond the changes, I would like to briefly discuss the pages that mostly stayed the same. I think the homepage is beautiful and engaging – it is everything I wanted it to be when I set to creating an interactive menu in my contract (Turner, 2019). I also think that the slider gives the page some life about it because it moves and ties in the site. In addition, the section about the project also remained very close to the vision of the contract, in which the section was supposed to have a page on the project, a page on the website, and a page about me (Turner, 2019). In fact, the page on the website is one of my favorite pages on the site because it offers an explanation of choices, similar to this blog post, but I also think it serves the analysis I offered on the case by talking about the presentational choices that I made in re-telling the story of The Floatplane Notebooks in Carroll County.

Time and Deadlines

If I chose one area I struggled with on the project, it would be time. Owing  partly to the fact that this was a single person project, I had to pace in order to finish the website with quality and scope that I wanted it to be – especially because I left my contract worrying if I has created a plan that was too ambitious for the amount of time I had in the semester. Having finished the website, I feel I can say that my contract definitely was ambitious, especially when it came to drafting out the schedule for completion of milestones. In the contract, I divided completing sections of the site with conducting research on for the project throughout the semester, but I gave myself room to move those deadlines if necessary (Turner, 2019). I ended up moving a lot of those deadlines, often times beyond what I had anticipated when I wrote the contract. For example, with contacting the school board and alumni groups, I did not get responses as quickly as I had hoped, which caused me to change my plans for working on the site. For the first few weeks, I also delayed in sending out information to Ms. Goldwasser, which also placed me behind schedule. However, all of the deadlines were met (excepting, getting responses from the alumni because I was not able to gain permission to post on the social media group). Generally, I put in my contract that I would work on the site at least one hour and fifteen minutes per day (Turner, 2019). For the most part, I met that requirement. I can only count a handful of days – around 10 – where I did not meet the requirement. However, on weeks where I did not meet the requirement, and on weeks closer to the deadlines of the project, I found that I spent more time, often whole weekends, finishing up drafts and revisions for the week. In the end, I finished the website draft on April 8, a day earlier that the April 9 date, I had listed on my contract (Turner, 2019). I finished the final revisions fore the website on April 26, the day it was due for the course (I discovered that I listed April 16 as the due date for the final revisions for my site (Turner, 2019), which was an error in my contract).

Although I would love to expand and further revise the site if time allowed, especially because I had a few more materials that I did not get to feature on the site, I feel confident in saying that this project is positively representative of the terms of the contract and that it is a sincere, thorough, and hard-work-filled attempt to record and analyze the Carroll County case, as well as to apply what I have learned and considered from the readings and discussions from throughout the semester.

References

Turner, T. (2019). Burning Idea Course Contract_Spring 2019_TurnerUVAWISE. [PDF]. Wise, VA.

 

In Summary

Progress Report 5

After receiving feedback on aspects of my project site, I worked over the course of the week to create and begin to implement solutions to several of the website’s problems.

To start with the cosmetic issues, I went in and worked on the sidebar widgets. I updated the names of the other course site links, switched the order of the widgets so that the Hypothesis widget comes before the widget with the other project links, and redid the Hypothesis widget so that there is more explanation on what it is and how to use it (for viewers who are not experienced with the tool). Going forward, I still need to look out for missing words in my paragraphs, which I am confident I can do as I continue revising each page.

The second (and more important area) I gave attention to was the section of the project that detailed the case. After receiving feedback, I wasn’t sure the original design of my website, with a different page per category of stakeholder, was working for communicating the case like I wanted to. I thought about changing the section to have one page of context on different stakeholders, one page on the actual events of the case, and one page for analysis. However, after thinking about the section for a week, I decided that I want to stay true to my contract and keep the original design.

However, with that said, I’ve brainstormed several ways I can fix the weaknesses of the pages, and the case section (along with developing the analysis on it) will be my main focus for this last week of revisions.

Case Section Changes

At the End of the Semester (Turner, 2019)

First, I am going to revise the timeline of the main section page but also expand it to include a description of all the events of the case, so that the page is really dedicated jus

t to narrating what happened and clarifying details.

Second, I am going to change the structure of each of the stakeholder sub-pages to talk less about the actions of each individual and more about the opinion of and reasons behind the actions of each individual. In addition, I am going to move the introduction that talks generally about the role of each kind of stakeholder to the bottom of the page and refocus it as an analysis that looks at explaining why the individuals took the actions that they did and how their actions were significant within the case. I think that restructuring the pages in this way will help me to add more analysis and really pull the narrative together more cohesively.

Third, as suggested in my peer review, I have decided to incorporate the primary sources into the website by adding a separate sub-tab under the case section. I originally wanted to integrate them into the site by featuring different articles at the end of the each of the complainant pages, but the structure didnt’t do justice to the sources or the pages they were on. I also don’t want the clutter the main menu with a separate page for each primary source. Therefore, creating a new section should allow me to present the sources without complicating the menu or running the risk of having them over looked. I also believe that this format will allow me to incorporate more information from the primary sources into my analysis instead of abundant quotations from secondary sources.

However, choosing this structure does mean that the side index widget will contain a separate link to each primary source (because it will have to be its own page hyper linked in the primary source section) that will not be present in the main menu. Also, on the subject of primary sources, I am going to make sure to offer a brief and clear description of what each source is so that why its included makes sense, which is something I worked on in creating the drafts of the pages last week. I have set the goal of having them all up of the site by this evening.

Context Section Changes

In working on the presentation of the novel’s pages and the pages on Appalachian literature, I thought about how to bring the context of Appalachian literature back into my analysis, which is something that I did not do very well in the website draft. I have worked on drafting an expansion of the analysis that talks about the significance of Appalachian culture in the censorship case that I can include in the conclusions sub-page of the case section. In addition, I am going to expand my explanation of the novel by discussing how it relates to Appalachian culture, so that there is a clear link between the novel itself and the context I provide on my website. Lastly, I also looked at creating a family tree for the summary of the novel that should make that page a bit more visually appealing and I have decided to move the page on the challenged sections of the novel to the primary source tab so that it is not featured out of logical order for the site or contextual order for the case.

In summary, I have a lot of work left to do, but with a the planning and work I completed last week and a week’s worth of time ahead of me, I am confident I can finish everything by the deadline.

Photo Credits

Turner, T (2019, April 22). At the End of the Semester. [Personal Photograph taken in Wise, VA)

 

What It Does: A Reflection on Crutcher’s ‘How They Do It’

Reading Reflection 4

Growing up, I always loved school and learning (Yes, I am, proudly, a self-described nerd!). For that reason, I don’t think that it comes as a surprise if I write that I think the classroom is one of the most unique places on earth, at least symbolically. Simply put, a classroom is a place where learning happens – a focused, mediated environment for students to discuss, engage, apply, and reflect on the information they are learning. Classrooms are ideally secure places for students with all different opinions and levels of knowledge to come together to test their knowledge and learn.

In his article, “How They Do It,” author Chris Crutcher (2011) discusses the censorship of his book, Whale Talk, in a Michigan city and concludes with this statement: “This is the trick, folks: within ignorance lies safety. So they attack the educational community – the enemy for the time being – with disruption” (para. 9). While this quotation is composed of many strong and discussion-worthy ideals, I was drawn to the idea that censorship (and consequently, the actions of censors) works through causing disorder and disunity in the education system.

Classroom Chaos (darkday, 2014)

Through class discussions and readings, I latched on to the idea that censorship commonly works through limiting material and people – through stopping the flow of information.  While that is completely true, I have also come to realize through researching my case and hearing about the research of my peers that it also causes the rise of other practices and opinions, especially of fear and disorder.

In discussing the Carroll County case, for example,  Goldwasser (1997) writes that “[d]isappointingly, some teachers and administrators in the country seemed to have learned nothing from all of this. One ninth-grade teacher the following the year was afraid to teach Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet” (p. 41). Relatedly, to describe the impact of the Michigan case, Crutcher (2011) states that “[t]he damage had been done. The flow of the project was interrupted, various teachers and administrators intimidated, and what had been a successful, innovative project, crashed” (para. 5). Far beyond just influencing individual students and groups of students, these quotations speak to how censorship can disrupt the idea of the classroom and the educational process as a whole.

I tried to ponder: What is so dangerous about challenge publicity and parent complaints for public school systems? As a result, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not the negativity of the words that circulate or even the potential of the complaints to end the books that are being taught (though, that is certainly a danger). I think that the biggest danger of censorship lies in what it starts – chaos and uncertainty in the classroom.

Ultimately, this idea exposes one difficult and paradoxical aspect of censorship. Many parents and community members challenge novels to protect students but they sacrifice the stability the classroom – the place where students learn how to engage with different ideas and perspectives – to do so, which has negative consequences that reach far beyond a few choice words or scenes in a book.

References

Crutcher, C. (2011, August 02). How They Do It. Retrieved April 15, 2019, from https://www.huffpost.com/entry/how-they-do-it_b_915605

Darkday. (2014, April 16). Classroom Chaos. Retrieved April 15, 2019, from https://www.flickr.com/photos/drainrat/13899503535/in/photolist-8MSVb8-nbfA9F-Kzbc9-7zaw9N-bQhtjx-DohZ3x-7z6KwT

Goldwasser, M. M. (1997). Censorship: It Happened to Me in Southwest Virginia–It Could Happen to You. The English Journal, 86(2), 34. doi:10.2307/819671

 

 

A Reflection on Native Voices

Reading Reflection 3

Researching and writing on the history and culture on the Appalachian Mountains for the context section of my website brought me – unexpectedly – back to one of our class earlier class reading assignments, “The Dearth of Native Voices in Young Adult Literature: A Call for More Young Adult Literature by and for Indigenous Peoples,” by Kenyan Metzger & Wendy Kelleher (2008).

In all honesty, I thought I had a relatively good understanding of the history of Appalachia. But, after a night of research, I realized I only knew half the story – the story that that is recognized and taught in general history classes, and even featured as standardized test material (*shiver* – I have to say that I definitely do not miss the days of S.O.Ls).

To write briefly, I was familiar with the story of the Scots-Irish in Appalachia and how the settlers impacted the culture. For example, on Dialect Blog, Ben Smith (2011) discusses the significant linguistic contributions of the Scots-Irish Settlers. When I originally thought of writing a brief overview of Appalachian culture, I only thought of showing of this European side of history and culture.

However, many of the sources I began studying acknowledged another group of people that had a monumental impact on the region: the Cherokee Indians. To illustrate, in an article from The Appalachian Voice on Native American trails, Marshall & Marshall (2008), “[t]hree hundred years ago the southern Appalachians were home to the sovereign Cherokee people. Over fifty towns and settlements were connected by a well-worn system of foot trails. . .This Indian trail system. . .was the blueprint for the basic circuitry of the region’s modern road and interstate system” (para. 2).

Reading about the history and influence of Native Americans made me completely rethink what Appalachian culture is, and more importantly, how I wanted to present it on the website. In the words of Metzger & Kelleher (2008) in the Dearth of Native Voices in Young Adult Literature: A Call for More Young Adult Literature by and for Indigenous Peoples, “literature may help students to see who they are now not just in the context of history” (p. 38). In the article, this quotation is used to support the idea that Native American youths need to see representations of people who share and live in their contemporary culture (Metzger & Kelleher, 2008), but for me, the quotation brought me to consider the idea that literature, generally, serves as a reflection of different types of people, events, and cultures. Native American culture is vital in understanding what it means to be Appalachian – an idea that is commonly featured in Appalachian literature, which makes Native American representation and culture extremely relevant and important for the region’s literature, far more so that the small amount it gets recognized.

In the conclusion of the article, Metzger & Kelleher (2008) state that “[w]e must also share culturally relevant literature with non-Indian youth, so that they may appreciate the diversity of culture. In turn, the culture of all students must be recognized as essential to a broader understanding among students and teachers alike” (p. 41). This quotation became a guiding thought for the cultural context section of my site. I spent some extra time exploring articles that discussed more of the Cherokee and Native American influence in Appalachia so that I could include information about Native American history in addition to the history of Appalachian settlers – both equally important pieces of the story that The Floatplane is devoted to narrating.

References

Marshall, K., & Marshall, L. (2008, October 30). Indian Trails of Appalachia Appalachian Voices. Retrieved April 8, 2019, from http://appvoices.org/2008/10/30/indian-trails-of-appalachia/

Metzger, K., & Kelleher, W. (Winter 2008). The Dearth of Native Voices in Young Adult Literature: A Call for More Young Adult Literature by and for Indigenous Peoples. The ALAN Review, 36-42. Retrieved April 8, 2019.

Smith, B. T. (2011, June 15). Ulster Scots and Appalachian English. Retrieved April 8, 2019, from http://dialectblog.com/2011/06/15/ulster-scots-and-appalachian-english/

One Week Down, One To Go…

Progress Report 4

The last week of March was filled with progress on gathering the final pieces of information in my case and on completing the initial draft of the website.

On the Research

First, early in the week, on Wednesday, March 27th, I received a reply to my an email asking for case materials from the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC). The NCAC sent me a newsletter from 1992 that detailed my case; I was thrilled to see the newsletter and to receive a response from a national agency! Early this Monday morning, on April 1st, I replied to the email to thank the agency and to ask if I could feature the newsletter on my website.

Second, I also received a reply from the Carroll County School Board in response to my request for the original text of the written complaint. My contact at the board was able to inform me that the office did not have a copy of the written complaint of the case. While I was disappointed to find out that board didn’t have the records, I am so incredibly grateful for the help of the Carroll County School Board in gathering materials for the case. Knowing what materials are available, in comparison to the ones that I have access to, gives me a good idea of how to divide and integrate the different source documents into my website, and it also gives me an informed picture of what kinds of information I am lacking in my research.

Third, I worked with Hope Cloud, a local high school and college educator, to set up an interview with her for this Wednesday, April 3rd at 2 p.m. In the interview, I plan on focusing asking questions that explore:

  • The process of choosing books for students in the classroom
  • The process of facilitating discussion and lessons on chosen books in the classroom
  • Censorship from an educator’s perspective

After the interview, I will also have to transcribe and post the information this week, which I anticipate will be tight for the amount of time that is left, but I think that it will ultimately be manageable and very useful in informing sections of the website.

Figure 1: Alarm Clock on a Bed (Turner, 2019)

Fourth, I read through the news articles and other press attention that centered around my case as I began to draft the case section of my website. As I wrote the pages, I kept track of which articles were useful for detailing the different perspectives of the Carroll County case. As a result, I have narrowed down the number of articles that I collected to around ten specific articles. Early this morning, I emailed the individual publishers of the articles to ask permission to feature the full text of the articles on my project site. I am extremely hopeful that the publishers will allow me to feature the full text of the articles on my site, especially because I want to include as many documents created from the time of the case and from witnesses to the case, instead of only providing summaries of the actions in the case. Nevertheless, if I am unable to gain permission to feature the whole of the articles on my site, I also drafted many sections of the case perspectives to contain smaller quotations from the articles that demonstrate the ideas of the individual perspectives while not using large portions of the articles.

On the Website

Fifth, beyond the collection of information, I poured many hours into the website over the weekend. I worked on the layout and menu of the website, removing several unneeded blank pages and amending the menu page order. Next, I added several widgets to the site and experimented with the size of the content layout area. I also activated several different plug-ins, so that I could use a slideshow and a PDF document on the website pages.

In addition to the structure of the site, I added several of the information pages. Most notably, I drafted two pages of the four pages case section, and changed the structure of that section to cover the challengers and defenders of the book separately. I created a draft of a clickable, moving menu for the home page of the site, which was a great accomplishment because determining how to create an engaging homepage had been a challenge up to this point in the work. Lastly, of significance, I also created and drafted a page that focuses specifically on the parts of the novel that the challengers objected to–a page that I did not anticipate that I would have on my website.

For the remainder of the week, I need to give attention to a few areas in particular. First, I need to finally go to the media lab so that I can get my pictures from the SD card and edit an audio clip for site. I have planned to go Tuesday, April 2, because I have a large window of open time after noon. Second, I need to complete the context section of the case, which I chose to delay in completing to work on the case section of the site to determine which news articles were most beneficial in explaining the events of the case. Third, I need to work on preparing some of the resources I plan on including in the site, which all require editing and formatting before being put embedded or linked on the pages (and, as I have learned, can sometimes cause unexpected problems when they are first inserted).

The earlier I can preview the finished draft pages, the earlier I can fix (and accommodate for potential, future problems), so I look forward to being able to finishing up the uncompleted pages and finally seeing a completed version of the website.

References

Turner, T. (2019, April 1). Alarm Clock on a Bed. [Personal Photograph taken in Wise, VA]

Post-Interview Reflection: Context with Dr. Clark

Over Spring Break at UVa-Wise, I emailed Dr. Amy Clark a list of questions about Appalachian culture and literature. On Wednesday, March 20th, I received an email in response to those questions, filled with information that contextualized the subject and significance of my case.

In total, I asked seven different questions, divided into two different categories: general questions and novel-based questions. Generally, I asked:

  1. “How did you first get into studying Appalachian culture and literature?” (Clark, 2019)
  2. “What would you say that it means to be Appalachian?” (Clark, 2019)
  3. “What is the role of Appalachian literature, especially in regard to promoting and preserving Appalachian culture?” (Clark, 2019)
  4. “Are there any general themes/motifs that typically emerge in Appalachian literature?” (Clark, 2019)

To look at specific practices within Clyde Edgerton’s The Floatplane Notebooks, I asked:

  1. “In the novel, the characters travel to a family graveyard once a year to clean it and to share family stories. How is death generally regarded in Appalachian tradition?” (Clark, 2019)
  2. “Also, the characters often spend time sharing family stories, or just talking together. What is the significance of the oral tradition in Appalachian culture?” (Clark, 2019)
  3. “Finally, one of the characters (Mr. Copeland) keeps a journal to record progress on a plane that he’s building, but he also uses the journal to keep family records and events (Edgerton, 2017). Is the practice of keeping journals or records common, and what purpose might it serve for the family or the people who do keep those records?” (Clark, 2019)

Dr. Clark’s answers taught me several important things about Appalachian literature and The Floatplane Notebooks, which I am eager to include on my website. First, in her answers to the general questions, she continually highlighted the changing nature of Appalachian culture and the diversity that is present in Appalachian literature. For example, in trying to define what she felt it means to be Appalachian, Clark (2019) wrote:

“How people identify as Appalachian differs because it’s a complex region, contrary to stereotypes that paint us as poor, white, straight Protestants. The region is about 900 miles long and its migration patterns and industries have shaped the northern, midland, and southern cultures in unique ways” (para. 2).

Figure 1: Subregions of Appalachia (Appalachian Regional Commission, 2009)

This particular piece of information is helpful for my project because it acknowledges the complexity of the region and supports the importance of defining the geographical layout of Appalachia. For me, this piece of information also prompted me to consider an additional way I could expand the context section of my site, as I didn’t consider examining the region by area. However, considering the book is set in North Carolina and Florida (Edgerton, 2017), I believe that giving more attention the relevant regional culture of the novel and the case would provide a more thought provoking and accurate contextual examination for the project.

In looking at the questions based on practices discussed in the novel, a lot of the topics she discussed confirmed and gave more detail about practices I was already familiar with from taking an Appalachian literature course a few semesters ago and from growing up in the region. Out of all the questions, I was particularly intrigued by Dr. Clark’s comments about the importance of story-telling because it related to the content of The Floatplane Notebooks’ story and to the origin of the novel. In the interview, Dr. Clark (2019) stated:

“So many people in Appalachia say they were raised among “front porch storytellers.” The oral tradition has its roots in preliterate days when ballads were the primary ways that people entertained themselves or taught moral lessons to the young. I listened to stories among my family in many situations, from putting up tobacco to women giving each other home permanents to canning tomatoes in the kitchen. The work we do gives us the means to gather and talk. The oral tradition is also significant because, like literature, it preserves, whether it’s story, music, or dialects.” (para. 6).

While I orignally asked the question to inquire about the character’s practices in the novels, the answer reminded me of the author’s letter in the beginning of the novel. When discussing the

Figure 2: Picture in Thornrose Cemetery (Turner, 2019)

process of writing The Floatplane Notebooks and the story of how he began writing novels, Edgerton (2017) states that:

“And I knew that as soon as Meredith fell through the floor, driven by his own weight, members of my real family would be among the crowd rushing in to see what had happened. Leading the pack was my great-uncle Alfred. I’d heard so many stories about Uncle Alfred that he had years before become one of my favorite uncles, even though he died way before I was born.” (p. xiv)

Discussing the importance of story-telling highlights the importance of the novel as a whole, in addition to its individual voices. Examining the role of oral history also supports arguments against censorship of the novel – oral history serves as an admission that the novel is much more than fiction, and in a way, is a creative remembrance and embrace of history and heritage. I was aware of the importance of stories and individual perspectives in the original planning of my site, which is partially why I decided to structure the case into different perspectives. However, the fact that the idea of the story-telling carries through both the story of the novel and the story behind the novel is a worth-while confirmation of the themes I have explored through reading and building the website.

Overall, the interview with Dr. Clark provided me with many different insights about the project and the case, and the interview serves as a great as frame for me as I start to work on presenting the case section of the website over the course of this week.

To view the full text of the interview, *click here!

References

Appalachian Regional Commission. (2009, November). Subregions of Appalachia [Map]. Retrieved March 25, 2019, from https://www.arc.gov/research/MapsofAppalachia.asp?MAP_ID=31

Clark, A. D. (2019, March 20). Appalachian Context Interview [E-mail interview].

Edgerton, C. (2017). The Floatplane Notebooks. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press.

*Turner, T. (2019, March 25). Context. Retrieved March 25, 2019, from http://burn.coplacdigital.org/uvawise/context/

Turner, T. (2019, March 23). Picture in Thornrose Cemetery [Personal photograph taken in Staunton, VA].

Spring Break Progress

A Post-Break Progress Report

Going into Spring Break, I had the project and the goal of progress on my mind. Now, after a whole week, I can officially report that the only major things I accomplished over break were watching (a lot) of superhero movies and making progress on the project, which I accomplished in three major areas.

Project Progress

First, I spent most of my time this week contacting people and organizations for my case.

To be completely honest – if I had to give feedback to myself – contacting people and facilitating timely interactions is (and has been) the part of the project I struggle the most with, which I feel comes both out of intimidation and inexperience.

Over the week, I mailed out a let

Figure 1: Letter to Marion Goldwasser (Turner, 2019)

ter to Marion Goldwasser (the text of which is featured in Figure 1), emailed context interview questions to Dr. Amy Clark, and reached out to Clyde Edgerton through the contact section of his webpage.

In addition to individual people, I reached out to Channel 7 News, which I read in Marion Goldwasser’s (1997) reflection, “Censorship: It Happened to Me in Sounthwest Virginia–It Could Happen to You,” had filmed and reported on events of the case (p. 36-38). I also emailed WHHV, a christian radio station in Hillsville, VA. Lastly, I re-emailed the Carroll County School Board to thank them for the materials they sent me and to ask if they had the original complaint letters of the case.

Of those emails, I have only received a reply from Channel 7 News, who responded that they could not grant me access to any material that was not already available on the internet. I am extremely hopeful that I will receive replies to the other messages throughout the coming week. However, this coming week I also have some additional sources to reach out to. Specifically, this week I am going to:

  • continue contact with the alumni group (and hopefully) find some specific alumni willing to recount and reflect their experience with the case,
  • reach out to a librarian to schedule access to the newspaper archives to find a few more articles from the year of the challenge,
  • and reach out the media services staff at the college to acquire about using a computer that can read an SD card. (I have photos from Hillsville, VA that are on an SD card my laptop does not have the capability to read.)

Novel Progress

Figure 2: Copy of The Floatplane Notebooks After Reading (Turner, 2019) [Novel published by the University of South Carolina Press (Edgerton, 2017)]
Second, I finished reading The Floatplane Notebooks early in the week. Reading the book as a reader, a critic, and a researcher was an extremely interesting and challenging experience because I had to practice awareness on several different levels. I took note of my personal emotional reactions to the material of the novel, in addition to marking the novel for material that books get challenged for (specifically, profanity and sexual content), and reflecting on the literature and discussion I’ve been exposed to in the course.

As a reader, I was hooked and moved by the story. As a critical thinker, I can see both the educational value and merit of the book, as well as why some parents may have been uncomfortable with high school students reading the book. As a researcher and student, I saw applications to the course literature  reflected in the content of the novel.

However, of all the reflection, I was repeatedly brought back to the idea that censorship often restrains marginalized voices, which we discussed in class. In The Floatplane Notebooks, a character named Meredith loses his left arm and leg from the explosion of a mine in the Vietnam War (Edgerton, 2017, pp. 200-205). When Meredith returns home and interacts with his cousin Mark, he reflects:

Mark likes to talk about his women. That and the F-4. He was pretty comfortable around me. I mean he didn’t give me any of this I’m-proud-of-you-and-you’re-a-real-inspiration-bullshit. It’s damn terrible the way the human race don’t know how to act around somebody that ain’t the average talking Joe. Let something be a little off and people get turned on to this different frequency and they act like total assholes and don’t even know it. (Edgerton, 2017, pp. 238-239).

I stopped briefly after I read passage because the strong voice made me keenly, and suddenly, aware of the fact that I had only read, at most, one or two pieces of literature that feature the voices and experiences of characters who are physically or mentally disabled. The ideas presented from Meredith were thought provoking, and it was in that moment that I realized that to censor the novel for its less-appropriate passages is also to remove the agency of the voices that drive the lessons of the literature. While I was familiar with this idea through our course readings and discussions, it was extremely surreal to have that specific moment of reflection with my own case.

Website Progress

Lastly, I made satisfactory progress on my project site. After spending the end of the week focused on the site, I completed a draft of my biography page and the course description page, in addition to beginning an offline draft of one page from my context section.

This week, I aim to complete the majority of the context section of the site and post at least one page of the novel section of the website.

Specifically, I have a few questions about designing the site that I am going to attempt to locate the answer to this week:

  • Can I make a table or stack buttons, so that I can feature multiple options at the bottom of a page?
  • How do I add functioning content boxes to the homepage of my website?
  • How do I change the size on a image for the site without losing the quality of the image?

These are the three problems I encountered most when working in the site over the week, so finding the asnwers to the questions will speed along my site progress.

With all these considerations in mind, I look forward to resuming the semester and racing towards the finished project.

References

All references, expect for the quotation from the novel, are hyperlinked at first mention. However, the novel, in addition to all other references are also fully listed below. 

Contact. (n.d.). Retrieved March 18, 2019, from http://clydeedgerton.com/contact

Edgerton, C. (2017). The Floatplane Notebooks. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press.

Goldwasser, M. M. (1997). Censorship: It Happened to Me in Southwest Virginia–It Could Happen to You. The English Journal, 86(2), 34. doi:10.2307/819671

New Life Church and Ministries. (n.d.). Retrieved March 18, 2019, from http://www.whhvradio.com/

Turner, T. (2019). Copy of The Floatplane Notebooks after Reading [Personal photograph taken in Bartlick, VA].

Turner, T. (2019, March). Letter to Marion Goldwasser [Letter to Marion Goldwasser]. Bartlick, VA.

WDBJ. (n.d.). Meet the Team | Contact Us. Retrieved March 18, 2019, from https://www.wdbj7.com/station/

Survey of Technology at UVa-Wise

Drafting and revising the project contract prompted me to explore what pieces of technology I will need to complete the website and what kinds of technology and media services are available to me.

I started by looking at what technology I already own or have access to through immediate family members. First, I have an acer laptop, which I normally use to complete coursework or to communicate on. Generally, I can also access online programs or basic photo, video, and audio recording or editing software with my laptop. I also have an iPhone 6s, which I intend to use to take pictures, video, or audio recordings. Lastly, my father owns a basic digital camera that I can borrow to take photos of a higher quality or in higher volume, when my iPhone will not perform as well. (For example, I am using my father’s digital camera with SD memory card to take pictures on my trip to Hillsville, VA).

Considering the list of personal technology is basic, I also revisited Shannon Steffey in the UVa-Wise library to discuss what kinds of technology and media services are available to students through the library at the college. In an in person interview in her office, Shannon told me that the library has laptops and iPads available for students to check out and use within the library, though she also thought that the library could allow for students to check them out for use outside with proper reason and documentation.

Beyond devices that can be checked out, Shannon explained to me that the library had some devices and specialist librarians that could give me access to and advice on services within the library. For example, the library has study rooms with computer and web camera abilities on the first, fourth, fifth, and sixth floors. I have a good amount of experience with this technology in the library because I use on of the study rooms on the sixth floor to attend class.

Figure 1: Laptop and other technology (Turner, 2019) – This is my personal laptop, Andy the Acer.

In addition to the rooms, Shannon led me on a tour through different floors of the library and showed me a media room on the first floor (that, in the future, the library hopes to equip as a digital production/editing studio for students), an archive room on the second floor that has a book scanner that bends so that the book can be scanned without extending its spine flat, and an area that has microfilm and microfiche readers for archived documents in the library. Lastly, she also overviewed several offices within the library that I could visit to get help with learning to use WordPress, working with digital sources, or with technological malfunctions, all of which I know will be helpful as I start to construct the website.

Outside of the library, Shannon also led me to a media services department that is located in Zehmer Hall, one of the academic buildings on campus (and, fortunately for me, the one I attend classes in most frequently!). Zehmer Hall has a media services lab that has Apple computers with photo and video editing software, in addition to other useful programs offered through Apple. Beyond the lab, media services has devices such as cameras and video recorders, in addition to a few other basic recording devices (like microphones) that students can arrange to check-out.

Finally, after a survey of available technology, I also wanted to briefly reflect on what technology I believe that I might initially need for the project. To begin, I know that I will need mostly just my phone, laptop, and digital camera for interview and media collection. However, after a week or two (particularly after the end of Spring Break), I also know that I am going to want to look into using the media services lab, if only to familiarize myself with the available applications, so I intend to schedule a time to work in the lab after I have collected some material (most likely around the date of March 20th).

However, regardless, after exploring the technology and services available to me as a student, I am much more equipped to work with material for the project site.

References

Steffey, S. (2019, March 5). Technology Survey Interview [Personal interview].

Turner, T. (2019, March 11). Laptop and other technology [Personal photograph taken in Hillsville, VA].

A Journey into the Mountains

Preparation for a Contextual Interview

After having the weekend to prepare for the context interview with Dr. Amy Clark, a UVa-Wise “Professor of Communication and Appalachian Studies,” (“Amy D. Clark,” n.d.), I wanted to discuss my purpose and intentions for the interview.

On the Map

Simply stated, the main purpose of interviewing Dr. Clark is to gain an understanding of Appalachian culture and values, which I believe is essential to understanding the censorship case I chose against Clyde Edgerton’s The Floatplane Notebooks. Geographically, The Appalachian Regional Commission (n.d.) defines Appalachia as:

a 205,000-square-mile region that follows the spine of the Appalachian Mountains from southern New York to northern Mississippi. It includes all of West Virginia and parts of 12 other states: Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. (para. 1)

Figure 1: “County Economic Status in Appalachia, FY 2019” (The Appalachian Regional Commission, 2018)

Yet, while this definition is useful for understanding the physical dimensions of the Appalachian Mountains, it can not contextualize the unique culture that defines the mountains.

Beyond the Map

In several of the sources I reviewed, the idea of Appalachian culture, and generally, of morality, features prominently, which was the first indication I had of how important an Appalachian context would be for the project. For example, in the article “Censors Take Aim; Targets Stand Firm/ Book Fuels Morality Debate, ” Jim Schlosser (1992) quotes a letter that professor Gilbert Campbell wrote to teacher Marion Goldwasser which states that “‘it is indeed ironic that Clyde Edgerton…should be the subject of this kind of accusation. As a whole, his work is very much in support of the values and joys of family, community, charity, and neighborliness’” (p. 7). Relatedly, another in a Roanoke Times article, Beth Macy (1992) quotes Marion Goldwasser who describes that the book, “‘has all the multiple voices, multiple viewpoints; it explores Southern family traditions and how the past influences the present’” (p. 3).

With those quotations in mind, I chose to interview Dr. Clark because she both lives in and teaches about the Appalachian region, and as such, I feel that she can provide a personal, yet authoritative, perspective on aspects of literature, history and life in the Appalachian mountains. In the interview, which I intend to conduct this week in person, I have decided upon a few basic questions, which were all prompted by my exploration of the articles that detail the censorship case (such as the two mentioned above) and my own personal questions about Appalachian values. I have estimated that the interview will take around ten to fifteen minutes, and I plan to use the following questions as guided starters for a semi-structured, open-ended conversation:

  • What would you say that it means to be Appalachian?
  • Are there any common themes that often emerge in Appalachian literature?
    • What is the role of the family/community in Appalachian culture?
    • What is the role of faith/religion in Appalachian culture?
  • How does literature preserve and promote Appalachian culture and values?
“Appalachian Mountain Sharecroppers” (Gerry, 1870s) ({{PD-US}}, n.d.)

I have chosen each of these questions because I feel that they address different topics on a complex level in that they are able to apply to the book itself and to the culture of the region of my case. I also considered each of the questions because I feel that are firmly rooted in historical and literary context for the Appalachian Mountains, which I anticipate will expand the discussion on my site in a literary and a geopolitical manner.

References

Amy D. Clark – Department Chair & Professor of Rhetoric. (n.d.). Retrieved March 4, 2019, from https://www.uvawise.edu/academics/department-communication-studies/faculty-staff/amy-d-clark/

Gerry, S. L. (1870s). Appalachian Mountain Sharecroppers [Painting found in High Museum of Art]. Retrieved March 4, 2019, from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Appalachian_Mountain_Sharecroppers_by_Samuel_Lancaster_Gerry,_1870s,_High_Museum_of_Art.jpg

Macy, B. (1992, December 19). Family plots real life has provided Cylde Edgerton with a generous supply of material for his books . Roanoke Times, The (VA), p. 1. Available from NewsBank: https://infoweb.newsbank.com/apps/news/document-view?p=AWNB&docref=news/0EAEA30AA2965145.

{{PD-US}}. (n.d.). Retrieved March 4, 2019, from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Template:PD-US

Schlosser, J. (1992, June 15). Censors take aim; Targets stand firm/book fuels morality debate. Retrieved February 3, 2019, from https://www.greensboro.com/censors-take-aim-targets-stand-firm-book-fuels-morality-debate/article_b1c7ad90-f0ed-59da-a3a4-2e6ca66c4f64.html

The Appalachian Regional Commission. (2018, August). County Economic Status in Appalachia, FY 2019 [Map]. In Appalachian Regional Commission. Retrieved March 4, 2019, from https://www.arc.gov/research/MapsofAppalachia.asp?MAP_ID=148

The Appalachian Regional Commission. (n.d.). The Appalachian Region. Retrieved March 4, 2019, from https://www.arc.gov/appalachian_region/theappalachianregion.asp

Reflection of the Researcher

Figure 1: “Kindergarden is fun” (Woodleywonderworks, 2008)

Reading and Discussion Reflection 2

One of my favorite college courses at UVa-Wise was Rhetorical Criticism, which I took as a core requirement for my major in Communication Studies. In the course, we studied different theories and applied those theories to analyze public messages. When I read Grace Enriquez’s (2006) article, “The Reader Speaks Out: Adolescent Reflections about Controversial Young Adult Literature,” I couldn’t help but think back to principles of rhetorical criticism.

In Making Sense of Messages: A Critical Apprenticeship in Rhetorical Criticism, Mark Stoner and Sally Perkins (2005) explain that “while critical theorists seek to dismantle the distortions of knowledge that stem from ideology, they also recognize the role that language, media, and other types of visual representations play in the creation of ideology” (p. 240). In other words, people and things are what people believe that they are, but that belief is cultivated through the associations that individuals ascribe to concepts throughout their lives.

Critical theory teaches people to think about what their beliefs promote and what they censor, so the theory has a direct connection to the idea of book censorship. In the specific case of the assertions of Grace Enriquez’s (2006) study, critical theory reveals several important ideas behind the participants responses in the study. The opinions of the students in the study are directly influenced by their social and educational environments. To illustrate, Enriquez (2006) writes that “By middle school, students are quite conscious of what they should and should not do in a school setting…Students readily identify on their own and agreed upon which topics evoke controversy: drug use, profanity, racism, violence, religion, and sexual content” (p. 18). The students learned appropriate behaviors from their local school systems; they came to assess topics and literature based on ideas that were taught to them.

I think it’s extremely interesting and important to realize the internalization of censorship— the idea that while censorship is often viewed as an external and formalized process, it is rooted in human teaching and beliefs, which serves to explain why censorship cases can be complex and emotion-laden. Challenging books is about more than challenging words on a page; it’s a challenge against dimensions of humanity. For that reason, realizing the role that education plays in promoting AND breaking patterns of literary censorship is essential to examining cases of censorship, especially in school systems.

Considering critical theory and the observations of Grace Enriquez (2006) ultimately changed the way I viewed my own research case. When I initially approached the research, I wanted to segment the different aspects of the challenges and had the tendency to view the different sides of the challenge as separate from one another. However, reflecting upon the article led me to realize that the different viewpoints in the literary challenge are fundamentally linked to one another. They are both sides of human expression, and both sides inherently promote and censor ideologies. With this realization, I decided that I wanted to show a more complex view of each of the major viewpoints in the censorship case, and as a result, I decided to divide the section of my website that displays the case into pages that focus on exploring and understanding each perspective of the case, which I believe will lead to a deeper interpretation and more thorough analysis of the context and events in my chosen case.

References

Enriquez, G. (2006). The reader speaks out: Adolescent reflections about controversial young adult literature. The ALAN Review, 33(2), 16-23. doi:10.21061/alan.v33i2.a.3

Stoner, M., & Perkins, S. (2005). Making sense of messages: A critical apprenticeship in rhetorical criticism. Boston, NY: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Woodleywonderworks. (2008, October 02). Kindergarten is fun. Retrieved February 25, 2019, from https://www.flickr.com/photos/wwworks/2908834853/in/photostream/

 

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