Mattering Compositionts Kathleen Steward.pdf
This assignment is fastessayy.com experiment in writing and sensing, or in Kathleen Stewart’s terms “mattering”. You are being asked to use Stewart’s ethnographic writing about coal mines in West Virginia as an example to inspire your own ethnographic description and as a way to facilitate your particular wanderings in a sensually charged space (which can be practically anywhere) and where you can position yourself to observe/write about the felt impacts of a particular location/situation. You are therefore required to observe with all your senses and to write about your felt experience in an environment of your choosing. There may be limitations to where you can go, therefore you are free to fictionalize a scene from where you stand. Like Stewart- you are telling a story that catches the pulse of “what’s going on”. You can also choose to situate this exercise in relation to your research/thesis- as a story of creating work (and all that this entails), as long as you foreground the sensing experience of your research/practice.
You will need to place particular attention to your surroundings (i.e. smells and noises) in stillness and/or movement. I am less interested in what you see and more interested in the sensual interpretation of what you see. Rather than describing the rising sun for example, my question is whether you can smell the air at this time or whether the morning air can be “felt”. While these descriptions may at first seem insignificant, you will also be commenting on how you navigate the space/moment, with a theoretical framework in mind. The power of description is key and not disconnected from the theory you choose to use. You can evoke the theory (like Stewart) and don’t need to formally cite the work.
How do you make sense of your experience? Do bodies cross boundaries of embodiment by feeling the environment and the many non-human entities that are entangled in mattering? Remember: theory read in this class is what informs the worlding of this assignment. Most importantly: Have fun !
I strongly encourage you engage Hypothesis for this assignment, as a way to understand Stewart’s worlding and hopefully this close reading will inspire how you approach the writing assignment.
This writing, sensory experiment, should be no less than 1000 words or no more than 1400 words.
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