4 Matching Annotations
  1. Dec 2017
    1. The considerations which have governed the specification of languages to be taught by the professor of Modern Languages were that the French is the language of general intercourse among nations, and as a depository of human Science is unsurpassed by any other language living or dead: that the Spanish is highly interesting to us, as the language spoken by so great a portion of the inhabitants of our Continents, with whom we shall possibly have great intercourse ere long; and is that also in which is written the greater part of the early history of America.

      I appreciate the fact that they mention the importance of learning other languages in order to advance as an individual as well as a member of the community. I think this section of the document is one that is still applied to the education at the University of Virginia today. For example, students in the College of Arts and Sciences are required to take a language course in their first year and I believe part of this is to make us more well-rounded individuals that are able to connect with multiple cultures and languages. UVA also has language houses meant to immerse certain students to a particular language that they are learning. This is significant to one’s development because studies have shown that bilingual people have more cognitive benefits such as multi-tasking and better attention span.

    2. To give to every citizen the information he needs for the transaction of his own business. To enable him to calculate for himself, and to express & preserve his ideas, his contracts & accounts in writing.

      Upon reading this section of the Rockfish Gap Document, I noticed how there seems to be an emphasis on the individual. The use of phrases such as “for himself” and “ his own” exemplifies a common theory in economics derived from Adam Smith that when people work to benefit themselves, they indirectly benefit society. In the same way, the theory can be applied to education. However, there are pro’s and con’s to this mentality. In regards to the positive aspects of individualism, people feel more to express themselves, which allows for a more creative community. However, an emphasis on individualism can also be dangerous in that it can also lead to a selfish mentality, straying away from important values such as compassion and camaraderie. It is important to balance the concept of individualism with such values, which I think the writers of the Rockfish Gap Document tried to do. For example in the line that follows, they mention that it is imperative for one to “understand his duties to his neighbors and country,” allowing for an application of individual thinking.

  2. Oct 2017
    1. To give to every citizen the information he needs for the transaction of his own business. To enable him to calculate for himself, and to express & preserve his ideas, his contracts & accounts in writing. To improve by reading, his morals and faculties. To understand his duties to his neighbours, & country, and to discharge with competence the functions confided to him by either. To know his rights; to exercise with order & justice those he retains; to choose with discretion the fiduciaries of those he delegates; and to notice their conduct with diligence with candor & judgment.

      What struck me most about these five lines is the repetition of male pronouns such as “he,” “his,” and “him.” I think it is hypocritical of the author’s goal of giving “every citizen” the right to an education. The reference of only male pronouns suggests that females were not considered citizens, which simply isn’t true. On a more positive note, it seems that the authors’ of this document are placing great importance on individual development, which can be seen through phrases such as the “transaction of his own business.” The word “own” especially conveys this message and is reflective of the growing interest in capitalism and individualism during that time. It was believed that the focus on the individual would indirectly benefit society further. But could it be that this emphasis on the individual caused one to be more oblivious of social issues such as racism and sexism? It is important to note that at the time only white males were considered to be individuals, not women nor African Americans.

    2. In this enquiry they supposed that the governing considerations should be the healthiness of the site, the fertility of the neighbouring country, and it’s centrality to the white population of the whole state:

      This sentence stuck out to me because it reminded me of a discussion I had in my high school anthropology class: we were discussing why certain skin tones were more favorable than others across cultures. One of the reasons offered here in the Rockfish document is that the color white represents "healthiness." This idea was not only apparent in the United States, but is a widely popular idea in many Asian cultures even today. According to these cultures, white suggests cleanliness and a sense of purity. But where did such ideas come from? It can be difficult to further investigate this because it is highly offensive. As an Indian American, I found this line challenging to read because it suggests that any other skin tone is inferior or unhealthy. That is a lot to process. Despite this difficulty, I do find it to be imperative to explore where such ideas derived from to prevent the popularity of such beliefs in the future. One theory we discussed in my anthropology class last year is that people favor skin tones of those in power. There was indeed a time in which darker skin was seen as superior and even today, tan skin is becoming more and more popular. But at the time the Rockfish Gap Report was written, it was certainly the white population that was in power, and due to this power, they felt that they were more entitled to a higher education. This does not mean their actions were justifiable whatsoever but it could provide insight as to why the authors believed the things they did.