Technology and Culture

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My AoIR Itinerary

I'm going to follow in the footsteps of Liz and Alex by posting my tentative AoIR itinerary. I won't get to the conference until Friday night, so my Saturday schedule is as follows:

8:30: "Pornography and Ideology"

10:00: "Identity: linking identity, community, and belonging"

11:30: Keynote

2:00: I might need this time to meditate before my presentation, but if I go to a session, it will most likely be "Expanding the Boundaries: Methodological Issues in Doing Internet Research."

4:00 I'm presenting--in the "Blogging: authors and consequences II" session.

Sunday:

8:30: "Digital Divide: haves and have-nots?"

10:00: "e-Democracy: localism"

Hey, Anne and Andrew, what are your schedules like? Are we going to have a bloggers' night out? (Ugh, that sounds nerdy.)

Update: Looks like Anne's going elsewhere.

2 conferences this month...

...and already, anxiety dreams. In 8 days, I'll be going to Toronto for the AoIR conference, and then the following weekend, to Ohio for the Feminisms & Rhetorics conference. Last night, I had a dream about AoIR, only instead of being in Toronto, it was on the beach somewhere--perhaps a subconscious fast-forward to Computers & Writing in Hawai'i. I lay down in the wet sand very close to the water, mesmerized by the waves. There was a big, high swing set a few yards from the shore, and I swam out, got into a swing, and swung in tandem with the waves. Later I realized I had forgotten to bring my paper, but that didn't matter; I had missed my presentation because I had been out there for so long. Then I found out that the White Stripes were playing and, as I was trying to find the venue, I woke up.

Water is hardly ever present in my dreams. What could this mean?

Anarchy in Academe? A Cultural Analysis of Electronic Scholarly Publishing

A year ago, I wrote a paper for my Technical Communication as Cultural Practice class titled "Anarchy in Academe? A Cultural Analysis of Electronic Scholarly Publishing." After much hemming and hawing, I have finally decided to publish the paper online. Note: It's a big pdf file. The assignment for the final paper was to use cultural studies methodology to study mundane text (any text outside of "the canon," which means basically anything goes). Cultural studies methodology, in this class, entailed using Foucault, de Certeau, and Lyotard as a theoretical framework and asking questions about the cultural context surrounding our mundane text, including: How did conditions come to be this way? What's at stake in this issue? Who benefits from the status quo?

Friendster: I have finally succumbed.

Thanks a lot, Scott! Scott has just invited me to Friendster, the latest web community "six degrees of separation" craze. I've known about it for some time but have tried to resist it. Oh well, so much for that.

Posts that strike me

A couple of things from my blog-reading:

NATIVES GRINDING RICE IN A MORTAR OWNED BY ALL (and more) from This Public Address

and

Public Diaries from Alex Halavais.

That first one has really stuck with me.

Random Proposals for Communications Courses

Theory.org.uk has an interesting course description generator. Keep clicking "Next" for more. This might come in handy now that it's syllabus time! ;-)

Cyborg Bill of Rights

Chris Hables Gray has published a Cyborg Bill of Rights. I see that it was last updated in 1997, so it might be played out by now, but I'm sorry; I have to weigh in on this. It's one of the most right-wing (in the libertarian sense) things I've ever read! The word "individual" appears in it 16 times; the individual is privileged above all other things. This flies in the face of Haraway's strong critique of Western individualism--her use of the cyborg as metaphor for the fact that nothing is really individual anymore. We're all amalgams, and the fact that I'm part machine and part human, thanks to my prosthetic hammer, anvil, and stirrup, contact lenses, etc. can be analogized to community. Western individualism, Haraway argues, has interfered with unity among people, community. It seems to me that this Bill of Rights, which invokes the individual so frequently and earnestly, shouldn't invoke the cyborg at all. Consider this quotation:

Freedom of Consciousness. The consciousness of the citizen shall be protected by the First, Fourth, and Eighth Amendments. Unreasonable search and seizure in this, the most sacred and private part of an individual citizen, shall be absolutely prohibited. Individuals shall retain all rights to modify their consciousness through psychopharmological, medical, genetic, spiritual and other practices in so far as they do not threaten the fundamental rights of other individuals and citizens and if they do so at their own risk and expense.

What are the implications of this for community? If I want to take 100 hits of acid, that's my individual prerogative, right? MY self, my modified consciousness. That would surely kill me and affect my community, but so what?

Sheesh.

Link courtesy of Dr. B.

Student Introduction Writing and Dialogic Discourse

I've found that more and more often, my first-year comp students are writing introductions to research papers in this manner:



MONROVIA, Liberia -- Dozens of civilians have been killed as fighting continues between rebels and Liberian government forces for control of the West African country's second-largest city of Buchanan.

Rebels seeking to oust President Charles Taylor turned back a counter-attack by forces loyal to the government Tuesday -- one day after they seized the strategical port city, about 70 miles [112 kilometers] southeast of Monrovia.

"There are bodies all over the place. Dozens of people have been killed," one Buchanan resident told Reuters by telephone. "The wounded are on the streets and there is no way to treat them."

Another resident said the dead were being carted away in wheelbarrows when it was safe to retrieve them, Reuters reported.

Why is there so much conflict in Liberia? In this paper, I will attempt to answer this question, going back to the founding of Liberia by the American Colonization Society in 1817 as a home for emancipated slaves. I will trace the historical events that led up to the current civil war and argue that white imperialism and colonialism led to a corrupt government...


Why is that? (See, I did it too.) I haven't read any Bakhtin on dialogic imagination or dialogic novel or whichever it is, but will do so this fall in my genre theory class. I wonder what he would say. Discourse, especially "academic discourse," whatever that is, has always been a conversation, to use the Burkean metaphor, but it hasn't been common in my experience to see it presented in such an outright way. I never know quite how to respond to introductions like these. On the one hand, that's how composition is, and where it's going, but shouldn't they be able to write an introduction without relying on this kind of "prompt"? Sometimes it's easy to rely too heavily on this model of introduction--and sometimes it's better to be able to summarize and paraphrase events and arguments.

(Oh, here's the link to the Liberia story if anyone wants to see it. Here's another one that I used for fact-checking.)

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