Before taking this class I had only studied history in high school, which was a very different experience. To be honest, it was always my least favorite subject, just a list of names, dates, events, arbitrarily selected, with no sense of connection and no acknowledgement of the broader themes of human existence that make the subject interesting and worthwhile. For that reason this class was very eye opening to me. It forced me to confront that inevitable conflict/challenge, incontinuity – the difficulty as a person to recognize things outside of your own experience as Real, something that real people just as alive as you experienced, are molded by, just as you experience, are molded by, live in the context of the events of your own time and space.
It is really striking how difficult it is to conceptualize events that you are learning about at a distance, through words on a page or images or video footage – all of which contain an element of fiction – to conceptualize them as real in that way. To try and feel in your body and mind the full impact and significance and weight of them. I really appreciate that this class encouraged me to do that, partially through the avatar project.