My Weekend with my Friend Zotero

My friend Zotero got a workout this weekend, and I guess, so did I.

Before reading about interactive note taking, I had made simple entries into Zotero about the general idea, argument or topic of a book, but that was all. Now after my first attempts at interactive note taking, I think I may have swung to the other side of pendulum. I may be writing too much, but I guess that remains to be seen. I may think I am writing too much because the article that I read, entitled The Missionary Home as Pulpit: Domestic paradoxes in Early Twentieth Century Korea contained a lot of information relevant to my topic. Also the book I read this week on the spaces found in homes, greatly informed my reading of Hyaeweol Choi’s work. So…I wrote…a lot and now I am tired. (But what graduate student doesn’t struggle with droopy eyelids?)

As I mentioned in the preceding paragraph, besides the article on the missionary home as a pulpit, I also read a book recommended by Dr. Schneider entitled The Poetics of Space: The classic Look at How We Experience Intimate Places,” which I also took interactive notes on, which added to my time with my friend Zotero. I’m beginning to believe that we will definitely by BFFs by the time I finish graduate school.

 This book examines images of what the author, Gaston Bachelard, calls “felicitous space”.  Spaces we love as humans. Spaces that are ‘warm’. Spaces we desire to defend. Spaces we can grasp in our memories and daydream about. And as such, he centers his work on the space of the home and of the spaces in the home. In this book, Bachelard examines human’s perceptions of home and how those perceptions, wrapped in emotions, shape our memories, thoughts and daydreams.

The author argues that the phenomenologist, psychoanalyst and psychologist must go beyond physical descriptions of houses to analyze why we perceive them as comfortable. Why do they produce attachments? What virtues do they possess that creates those attachments? What is the essential seed that produces this sense of well-being? According Bachelard, the house can be a place for topo-analysis. Homes can be analyzed for why or how the warm substance of intimacy is developed. In terms of topo-analysis, Blacherd also speaks of the inspiration that spaces of the home gives to its occupants in producing epiphanies of being, of self-awareness.

Also of particular importance to my work, Bachelard also talks about very intimate, closed-in tight spaces, like those found in a shell. He goes on to illuminate that the creature living in the shell, while in that shell, is always preparing a way out.

Some of the citeable notes I produced from this reading include:

  • (Bachelard, 1958) Book is theoretical, phenomenological look at spaces of the home.
  • (Bachelard, 1958) It is important to analyze why houses produce virtues such as warmth, etc in our imaginations.
  • (Blacherd, 1958) Houses can be a place for topo-analysis.
  • (Blacherd, 1958) Images of homes are powerful forces in the human psyche.
  • (Blacherd, 1958) Shells represent an intimate space that is so small and closed in that inhabitants are desirous of escape.

It is amazing how much this book, actually has opened up my thinking on my topic.

I do believe that interactive note taking helps you to read a work in a more dynamic way which in turn produces not only reference-able material, but higher levels of understanding and engagement. Because of this belief, I look forward to more time spent with my friend Zotero.

 

5 Comments

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5 Responses to My Weekend with my Friend Zotero

  1. KJ

    It ‘s a fascinating idea for you to play with! Here’s a sentence from your discussion of the book: In this book, Bachelard examines human’s perceptions of home and how those perceptions, wrapped in emotions, shape our memories, thoughts and daydreams.
    Did Bachelard answer the question posed? And if so, what is the answer — how do perceptions of the home “shape memories, etc?” Is the answer in your notes?
    Also curious if the author is describing the space of the people who fill the space?

  2. faithskiles

    Blacherd is actually talking about the physical space. Our perceptions of home create idealized memories and daydreams of home, that are actually more enriching to imagine than experience. Here are some thoughts from my notes:

    When we form memories of comfort, warmth, they tend to center more on the location of those memories than the time of those memories. Also, within the memories that we daydream, the attic, or the small corner room become all at once large or small, cool or warm, and always comforting.

    Past homes, especially childhood homes play prominently in our memories. “We comfort ourselves by reliving memories of protection.” (p.6 ) And oftentimes, those memories of protection center around our home….

    Images of homes are powerful forces in the human psyche. Often humans dream of that safe place, that hut in the woods that is intimate and warm or the house standing out in the cold with the light shining through the window that seems to tell us that the house is waiting for us, ready to welcome us in its warmth and protection against the cold. These images produce strong attachments to the home, an intimate refuge.

    American missionary women’s evangelization efforts centered on the home and it is interesting that within a few years of arriving in Korea, most Americans built western style homes, their memories of their former home may have played into these decisions. These homes became their “pulpit.” Blacherd talks about the perception that the inside of the home is “built” by the woman and shines with the ‘wax’ of civilization – an idea that women missionaries certainly agreed with and prominently promoted in their work.

    • KJ

      Ohhh! This book sounds really interesting. I see why you were so excited to find it. Last year, when Spenser Slough was working out his thesis project he kept showing us pics of houses in SW VA that settlers built, mimicking homes from their countries of origin. Too bad he didn’t know about the ideas in this book.

  3. Kate Good

    Your topic is so cool and the resources you continue to share just cement that!

    After reading so many posts, I think yours officially convinced me to go with zotero. Everyone seems to love it and you are like one of the most organized of all of us — if it’s good for Faith, it’s [probably] good for me!!

  4. Sara

    I love Zotero, so far! Sometime we should sit down together and compare notes, just to be sure neither of us is missing something the other has found. And Kate hit the nail on the head: your topic is so interesting, and your enthusiasm for it makes it all the more exciting.

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