Looking at this course as a whole, I am happy with the progress I have made in terms of my writing and critical analysis capabilities. It is interesting and worthwhile to have a class that not only applies several different lenses and disciplines but allows one to use these perspectives in a metacognitive way. By this I mean, in several of the activities, such as creating a video response to a video, writing an ethnography about a culture, and listening to the technical aspects of voice in a song, we were asked to focus beyond the surface. We were encouraged to question the voices we hear, the voices we don’t hear, the spaces we acknowledge voice, and the coded attributes of the voices we listen to. Concerning this critical approach, I was specifically most proud of my observational analysis in visiting a space and event on campus (the MCC). I think the assignment supported my growth as a writer and, more importantly, an attentive and mindful listener.
As an English and Environmental Studies major, I am constantly looking at the significance in each choice, whether that be displayed in words and literature or actions by farmers or environmental agencies. With this observation assignment, I got to apply my investigative methods in a more comfortable atmosphere. I liked being able to thoroughly analyze a space and its design while applying concepts from class and readings that enhanced my argument. I could see how a mediated voice plays an integral role in conveying content but also carrying one’s character and values. It was intriguing to take in a space I had visited multiple times before but see and hear it with more attentive senses. Specifically, this assignment made me more conscious of peoples’ voices in creating sound and personality. In hearing the MCC speaker, I started to question how my own voice is mediated by others no matter what aspects of my character I want to showcase. This activity helped me realize the importance of voice in fostering community and providing a sense of familiarity and shared understanding. I also was able to see how different applications of voice–through songs, poetry readings, or speeches–presents significant tonal qualities and various rhythms that work toward facilitating this heartfelt community response.
Overall, I am truly thankful for this class and the knowledge/support given by each instructor.