I begin my talk with this video about repurposing social media spaces, such as this one, for the specific purposes of multi-disciplinary and multi-modal teaching and learning, as well as for its scholarship by showing this video, so representing, in form, my feminist commitment to engage in self-reflexive, situated critiques of the Internet that model here the kind of culture I hope it to be, a place that enacts collaboration, connections between the classroom and the world, intentional and ethical links between and within real and virtual experiences and private and public knowledge, and a commitment to finding, teaching, and using the forms of literacy best suited for these places and practices.
I self-reflexively argue above, here, and in the talk: engaged, situated pedagogy and research in the digital humanities demand new writing and speaking forms, as well as the presentational and publishing platforms to hold them.
March 16, 2013
Yesterday, I had the privilege of attending some of THATCamp Feminisms West. I had to leave just before the much-deserved beer-part to pick up my son, and knew I was in good company when this sacrifice made sense as such, nothing more needing to be said. But in my afternoon there, I was privy to conversations and processes that remind me of why we need to meet and work as feminists about and in digital culture. I will indicate a few of those reasons here, and I’m also going to to do quickly and on my blog.
Now, why this quick “work” on a Saturday morning. First, I have to give an interview to a college student this morning, in an hour, about (my) queer family: another important digital feminist act. Secondly, I want to blog about this while it is still happening (day two is starting now), because it may allow a few people who might want to know about it to follow the twitter-feed, and thereby attend. Third, I acknowledge and mark the value of my colleagues’ work when I blog it, and I feel this is a particular kind of feminist mentoring that senior women in academia can and do provide online. There’s been some great posts about academic blogging in the past few days (brought to my attention my Adeline Koh on Facebook). All by women, iterating what we get here. I wrote a similar post last year.
In our unpanel, DH400, we had the rare opportunity to talk about DH beyond 101. I was particularly interested to meet the women behind #TransformDH who I’ve been following for awhile. Our conversation focused upon our various, precarious, disruptive, transformative, outsider/insider relationships to the academy: as grad students, as archivists, as activists. To me it is was less the DH, or even the digital, that made this conversation matter, but the feminist: because we shared values, the will and capacity to be critical as well as intellectual while being supportive and trying to distribute authority and voice around the room all the while working, quick. Mia Ridge asked us “What would a feminist Digging into Data project look like?” And Jacque Wernimont said: “It would probably be related to little ‘dh’ and the owning of ephemerality.” Yep.
In the other panel I attended, on feminist digital pedagogy, I brought people up to speed on the DOCC 2013. And then we talked productively and honestly about teaching. With undergrads, librarians, grad students, jr and snr profs in the room, (or as@miriamkp tweeted: A really nice mix of students, faculty, librarians, nonprofit professionals (with diverse interests) here at #tcfw) we were able to be vulnerable, uncertain, and also wicked smart. Anne Cong-Huyen and Viola Lasmana discussed power sharing, doing things in public, acquiring skills, risk-taking, modelling ownership of our content and controlling our online identities (for their students and themselves), as well as the perennial contradictions of anonymity, discipline, and grading in classes with hands-on, experimental components. One hour, so much said and done: together, in a room, and on twitter, and now here, doing all the things that these technologies afford to us as communities, and as individuals.
I write quickly on my blog on a Saturday morning because this kind of work makes me feel like an academic in a conversation with politicized others. I make this to mark that.
March 15, 2013
Please feel free to share:
Children “share” during “sharing time” at school: my mouse, mom, yo-yo trick. Academic bloggers share details about what is behind-the-scenes: my lunch, boss, anxieties. Sharing as inclusion of personal experience into public spaces where such information has been deemed inappropriate, off-limits, non-academic. Sharing at its juvenile and narcissistic best and worst. The risks are both obvious and gendered: an embarrassing myopia, a gross mis-step in propriety, a female fall into feelings. No professional wants to be treated like a child (or a woman). The risks are in vetting; the rewards come by way of expanded expression …
I continue on Media Commons
March 7, 2013
I’ve been asked to blog during the SCMS conference on their website. I think it may be closed to non-members, so here’s what I wrote there.
The memorial event last night for Alex Doty was unlike anything I’ve ever attended at SCMS (or any other conference for that matter). Lovingly arranged and choreographed by this year’s Queer Caucus officers (Jen Malkowski, Patty Ahn and Julia Himberg) and as equally lovingly attended by a great many friends, colleagues, and fans of Doty, the affair was at once a vibrant, communal celebration of a particular man and scholar as well as serving as a reminder of the role of intellectual community, in this case the SCMS Queer Caucus (of which Doty was a founding member). Let me start with the man, and end with the caucus, a provocation (or two), and an invitation.
There were six beautiful, careful presentations from the stage and a cocktail party after. In the first version of this post that just got eaten by my computer, I carefully detailed each one’s loving remarks and how they built the presence of a respected, treasured, seminal member of the SCMS community. From SCMS President, Chris Holmlund’s detailed tracing of the history of the Queer Caucus itself, exactingly drawn through a treasure trove of documents from the Society’s past (located by Michael Metzger), to Corey Creekmur’s evocation of Doty as “not a person but an event,” to Kara Keeling’s anecdote about reading Making Things Perfectly Queer as a grad student and learning there the “things I already knew but did not know why I knew these things,” or Taylor Cole Miller explaining how his teaching always accounts for a queering of popular culture, for all students and across creative exercises because of an approach he learned from Doty’s writing, or Sarah Sinwell’s reminder that so many in the room had used Doty’s quote about a “queer reading” not being “alternative, or wishful thinking, or reading into things too much.” The take away was both a brave, fun, dedicated intellectual, teacher and friend who had the courage to work with others to found a sub-field based upon how he lived in the world, and in the world of media, and also a tender community of people who know each other in a variety of ways: from conferences, caucuses, and lectures, to the many words we write and share over a career.
And listening to the care by which these colleagues drew this man and his work, and seeing the care by which the organizers had produced the event, I saw that part of what the Queer Caucus (and Alex Doty, and so many more of us) have produced is the place for love, or respect, and the personal, within professional contexts: and this has always been at the heart of our theoretical and political project as feminists (and I’d warrant many of the other Caucuses share this project). The Alexander Doty Queer Mentoring Program of the Caucus is one example of this practice, as is Doty’s writing and teaching. And yet, as scholars, we so rarely publicly express the fondness, and other feelings, we have for our colleagues: how their work moves us. I thought to myself, I bet Alex didn’t know this—that we all knew him in one way or another, and respected him, and understood (or wanted to understand) his part in our own history as intellectuals and activists—because we so rarely tell each other: I used you in a paper, or I taught you in a class, or your words saved me.
And then, I wondered, too, about those who didn’t know Alex, who weren’t at the memorial, and weren’t members of our Caucus, and didn’t read his books or attend his lectures … even once. Man did you miss something and someone! Sean Griffin said of Alex how he always managed to fashion both camaraderie and a diva moment, producing an “I’m fabulous and you are all going to come with me” sort of presence wherever he was at work. But if you didn’t track through SCMS seeing the faces I have come to know, again and again, given, as you might not be—queer—maybe you didn’t know this … So, I thought of the others Caucuses, and wondered if love and anger and pride was in their hearts and history, and if they might have an event like this someday, as sad as that may be.
And that leads me to my provocation, and my title, which points to the centers of centers and the margins of margins in the making of fields and communities, and sub-fields and their communities. Are we queers central to this field? Do you know us and our work? Do I know your work and caucus? Let’s try to go to another sub-field’s meeting or panel at this conference, and meet the Alex Doty we wouldn’t necessarily circulate around by way of affinity. And what’s more, let’s tell a colleague or friend that their ideas move us, so that we can mark our love for what Griffin called “the concept” (our work) as well as the person, and so that the person can know we cherish their concepts while we are together still.
And finally, an invitation in kind: tomorrow, Friday, March 8, I will be participating in an “Unauthorized Conversation” about HIV/AIDS and Media Studies, in the Book Exhibit from 11-1. With my friends, colleagues, and AIDS comrades in arms, Marty Fink and David Oscar Harvey, we will engage in a conversation about many queer things, including some of the questions I asked above: about the history and politics of sub-field production and maintenance given the growth of the larger field. You don’t have to be queer to know about AIDS, or to care about its place in Media Studies. We’d love to have you as part of the conversation.
February 14, 2013
January 29, 2013
By Chelsea B.
Portland, Oregon; White Stag Building: Papé Forum
Saturday & Sunday, 9-5 pm; 9-10 February 2013
Slightly over a year after Fembot launched its first feature, Laundry Day, members of the collective will meet in Portland, Oregon, for a two-day unconference to discuss Fembot’s past, present, and future. Goals for this event include:
- To think collectively and critically about the features Fembot has experimented with over the past year
- To think about the Fembot Project holistically and in light of its more-or-less organic unfolding over the past eighteen months
- To collaboratively assess the site’s design and functionality, as well as its aesthetics, particularly in relation to our sister project, FemTechNet
- To establish goals for the coming year, including discussion of a Fembot ThatCamp (July 2013, Portland).
The unconference is free and open to all members of the Fembot collective. If you can’t join us in Portland, follow along and participate on Twitter at #fembotjam.
We’re excited to announce the following confirmed participants:
Karen Alexander (Rutgers), Radhika Gajjala (Bowling Green), Kim Sawchuk (Concordia), Paula Gardner (OCAD), Nina Huntemann (Suffolk), Alex Juhasz (Pitzer), Sarah Stierch (Wikimedia), Carol Stabile (Oregon), Sarah Kember (Goldsmiths), and Kate Mondloch (Oregon)
November 19, 2012
The Fembot Collective is delighted to announce the launch of Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology! The inaugural issue, “Conversations Across the Field,” features articles by: Anne Balsamo and Alex Juhasz, Mia Consalvo, Sarah Kember, Krista Geneviève Lynes, Vicki Mayer, Lisa Nakamura, Kim Sawchuk, and Carol Stabile. We invite you to read the articles at http://adanewmedia.org/.
We hope that you’ll join us in this conversation by commenting on the contributions. As the first open-access, open source, online feminist journal on new media and technology, we are invested in sharing and increasing the conversation started by our published articles. We look forward to this and future lively conversations.
Please distribute widely! And keep in mind that our first peer-reviewed issue on feminist game studies (edited by Nina Huntemann) will launch in spring 2013.
Many thanks to the University of Oregon Libraries and the Center for the Study of Women in Society for their contributions to and tireless support of Ada!
July 3, 2012
“I turn my own hyper attention, now, to my chosen subject (13) as honoured guest editor of this inaugural issue of the online journal Frames. (14)In this capacity, I invited 39 fellow film and moving image scholars (including established and emergent film scientists, archivists, publishers, and film and video makers), (15) all of them digital-participant-observers of one kind or another, to contribute their responses in a variety of forms (16) to a semi-rhetorical question: ‘have film and moving image studies been ‘re-born’ digital?’”(17)
June 8, 2012
“Forget the browser: real-time is the new crack.” (this and all following quotes by Geert Lovink)
Next up on my private pursuit of the longue durree, the slow form of books, the forgoing of the browser for a summer of deep catch-up: Networks without a Cause. Geert Lovink writes in a tempo well-matched to the Internet culture he theorizes (“why store a flow?”) in a sometimes overwhelming rush of hard-cutting spot-on aphorisms, often strung one after the other after the other, leaving this reader breathless and often distraught (given the clarity, wisdom, and dour take of the criticism): like a cutting intellectual thrill ride with a mission. “The Internet can be ‘secondary’ and dominant at the same time: whirlpool dialectics.”
“Let’s praise blogs.” Thanks! Lovink thinks a lot about blogs, as well as Internet theory (critical Web 2.0 studies is the book’s [and above video's] subject and tactic), although not so much blogs as theory (a blindspot, clearly: Theory comes in Books by Big Boys; theory is content). Rather, he looks at blogs and other new media practices as places from whence to understand web 2.0 and then “theorize.” Admittedly, after reading him on blogs in his Book, I feel even more self-aware (and female) about my form and practice than usual. “Blogs create a unique mix of the private (online diary) and the public (PR-management of the self.”)
While I will agree that this unsettling mix of private and public is definitive(ly female), Lovink’s prescient thinking about the insidious role of corporate positivity, anonymity, individuality, and community online would be deepened by the addition of feminist theory (and practice). This is to say, that if one theorizes (and practices) the me and the we of the Internet from an orientation where X-reality social justice is still unrealized, and therefore is one’s cause, then a situated and safe self, and her community, might demand friendliness, care, and embodiment in ways that are neither corporate, private, nor anonymous. “Meanwhile, welcome to the social.”
“Google is built upon positive affirmation.” He’s right, I do find it hard to be critical here, in this format and forum (although I am doing my best in this post.) In a “real” scholarly essay that ends up on paper—a long time away and in a place far far from me—I’m almost paid to do be critical; and I’ve done really well if I am distanced, analytical, even hostile. Here, I write differently: in real-time to a few people who, according to Lovink (and with this I concur), will read but don’t comment-back (I can almost feel you reading; and I can see the count on my Dashboard). That is, if I keep it short. So Lovink is right again: when I blog, I take into account “the pressure to remain light and positive.” But, come to think of it, as a feminist scholar I have sometimes used just this tone and method in my offline academic work (even Books!) … for reasons theoretical and political.
Given that I have chosen to write and make my scholarly work about communities of which I am a political and social member (AIDS activists, feminist and queer media, Internet feminists), this has necessitated, at times, and towards particular ends, an almost Internet-like friendliness—even in my Books. And this friendliness—inspired by shared values and goals, and an understanding that one might be working with a particular person or people in X-reality settings for many years—is not the same thing as a like button, or even a friend on Facebook because it is deep, principled, studied, long-lasting, and committed (like a book!).
“Within Facebook there are no hippie dropouts, just a pathological dimension of commitment to the Real Self going hand in hand with a comfort of being alone among friends in a safe, controlled environment.” However, given the ongoing and deep effects of racism, sexism, xeno- and homo-phobia and the like, online and off, some selves want to be seen and heard and self-constituting within settings where they also feel safe. X-reality is not egalitarian in regards to vulnerability. But this is not the safety of numbness, dumbness, the hegemonic, or over-consumption, as Lovink might have it by looking to Facebook and other generic and corporate practices of social media but rather the conscious and careful building of a political community and self so as to produce the possibility for critical dialogue because one hopes and moves for empowerment and action (better to look to political or professional blogs; the Internet with a cause).
Some Internet selves wish to be seen by those who share their values and goals. “I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.” (this quote is Virgina Woolf in Lovink but he doesn’t seem to get it, even as he uses her: anonymity has hidden women away as much as its allowed us to speak.) “The burka proves to be the ultimate provocation to Western transparency.” But many women strive to be heard and seen and respected.
“When we blog we become an individual (again).” Yep, I blog to be one possible me (although certainly not anymore Real than anywhere else), one crafted version of this person with her history and beliefs, and from there, that me, uses this technology to engage and learn with others to build and maintain community, and to hold a space for alternative, activist, radical culture that tends to be under-served and under-seen or -heard in this swirl of the popular.
March 29, 2012
I will be beginning my talk for the Re:Humanities, an undergraduate conference on Digital Humanities run by students at Swarthmore, Bryn Mawr and Haverford, with these observations. There are certainly reasons that the digital humanities lend themselves to an integrative pedagogic method (including both undergrad media production and research):
- the field is new: so there is still not a lot of original research, and there’s room for undergraduates
- it is digital and therefore young people’s “native status” qualifies them to do work that many more “qualified” experts can not or will not
- web 2.0 is characterized by a diminishing of the power of expertise with a linked growth in access to voice (through both production tools and distribution platforms)
- since digital literacy includes reading and writing beyond the word, the production of sounds and images becomes critical
- working with digital tools allow us to stay within the vernacular of what we critique while modelling the methods, ideas, and norms we wish to see on the Internet
(this video won best in show for the Learning from YouTube 2012 video about YouTube popularity that was also a good video for school).