Technology and Culture

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Conference on Women and the Media

Tired of what you hear on the nightly news -- and the absence of women sources, speakers, pundits, and subjects? Ready to see progressive women's ideas and lives treated as if we matter?

A reader at the Center for New Words told me about what I'm sure will be an exciting conference: Women and the Media: Taking Our Place in the Public Conversation, sponsored by the Center for New Words and MIT's Women's Studies department. As I perused the sessions and speakers, I became increasingly dismayed that I don't have the money to travel very often (if I did, I'd spend a lot more time in Atlanta). Some of the speakers are people I've been wanting to meet for a long time, like Christine Cupaiuolo and Lisa Jervis. If you're close by, I urge you to attend the conference, and blog it! If you're planning on going and blogging it, please let me know so I'll know to read your posts.

Another Gender+Blogging Artifact

Here's a source I used in some earlier work I did on gender and blogging in Fall 2002. It doesn't exactly fit with the Where are the women? question, but it's telling nonetheless: Getting Started with Blogging for the Attractive Female Blogger (from September 3, 2002). I find it quite interesting that back in 2002, discussions of gender in the blogosphere dealt with questions of physical attractiveness and whether a given woman blogged about sex or not -- and the effects of those two factors on readership and linking -- and the late-2004 and 2005 discussions are centered more on assumptions such as: Women don't write about politics, women don't enjoy the sporting-event (a.k.a. "food fight," a.k.a. agonistic) character of debates on weblogs, women don't promote their own weblogs as much as men do, etc. Not that this last set of claims just came up in 2004-2005, but it seems to me that bloggers are more interested in talking about them now than the ideas of attractiveness and sexual content. I intend to talk about this slight shift in my dissertation (the prospectus defense was fine, by the way; my committee helped me out a lot, and I think what I've got now is much more manageable and narrow.). The next hurdles are to fill out an application for exemption with the Institutional Review Board and to write a three-page (3!!) dissertation proposal for a university-wide dissertation fellowship for which I was nominated. I also have to write a one-page personal statement, kind of an intellectual history. Maybe I'll post it here.

UPDATE: Then again, it seems the sex-sells issue remains relevant. I had forgotten about Lauren's astute statement addressing it. Durr.

Review Essay on Blogging, October 2002

I've been hemming and hawing about posting this, but hey, why not. Back in Fall 2002, my first semester in my doctoral program, I took a theory and methods survey course, and one of the assignments was to write a review essay. I wanted to write it on weblogs, but at the time, most of the sources on weblogs were popular rather than scholarly. I pitched the idea anyway, though, explaining that it was a new technology, etc. The essay I've attached to this post is the result. Parts of it make me cringe, well...just about all of it, really, but it is a general representation of what I was thinking around two and a half years ago about blogging.

New Issue of JCMC

The new issue of the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication is out, and it features an article on blogs by teenagers. I'm thinking Lanette might find it useful for her CCCC presentation. :-)

Blog Post Online Readers, CC Licensed

There's a good discussion on Kairosnews about free, collaboratively authored, online, Creative Commons-licensed, open-access composition textbooks. As you might guess, I like the idea, but the planning and execution are going to be very tricky if a group actually gets together and does this thing. But as I was writing my comment, it occurred to me how easy it would be to assemble an online reader for a first-year composition course. There's so much writing talent in the blogosphere, and many bloggers have Creative Commons licenses. I might just do it: Find great, essay-style posts that model qualities of good writing style and argumentation, group them into themes, and copy them into my course site. I could use Drupal's collaborative book module. I'm excited! I'm already thinking of posts I might want to use, like for a unit on the war, I'm thinking of Mike's post titled The Photos and Jeanne's And in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink: A scattered and contradictory post on responsibility and Abu Ghraib (To be sure, Jeanne doesn't have a CC license, but maybe she'd give permission for her work to be reproduced for educational, noncommercial purposes.). I'm also thinking of Jeanne's recent post titled Democrats, Aristocrats, and the Torturer's Assistants.

Such a reader could be assembled for any class; I'm thinking too of an intro to Gender Studies class. I might use something along the lines of Dr. Crazy's "Why Women's Studies Sucks" series (Part I and Part II, and hat tip to Jonathan for those), and the responses from The Little Professor and others. Ummmm, yeah, my argument would be stronger if these blogs actually had CC licenses, I know (heh), but again, they might allow their work to be used for this purpose. If not, there are many with CC licenses who have excellent work on their blogs, like Rad Geek, Lauren, and many more. The more I think about this idea, the more I like it. Reduced cost to students, more freedom for the instructor to design the course around themes, and more opportunity for the students to be an active audience, conversing with the authors of the work if the students also blog, or even if they don't, as most bloggers have an email address displayed.

International Journal of Web-Based Communities

Via Torill: I'll be keeping an eye on the journal primarily for its subject matter, but I'm also happy to see that the full text of all the articles in IJWBC is available and that the publisher, Inderscience, supports the Open Archives Initiative. They even have RSS feeds for the journals.

Network(ed) Rhetorics

Many of you have seen it already, but if you haven't visited it lately, you really ought to check out Network(ed) Rhetorics, the course blog for the graduate seminar Collin Brooke is teaching this semester. Most recently, seminar participants have been discussing academic blogging and the use of weblogs in pedagogy, and readings include essays from Into the Blogosphere and lots of other interesting stuff.

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