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SAMLA/Charlotte, NC blogger meetup?

Calling once again. Any takers? I'm browsing through the program, and I notice at least one person I hope to see. (Someone else too, but he probably won't pick up this crumb on the referrer trail.) I'd love to hang out with people in Charlotte, so let me know if you're up for it.

What Has Blogging Really Accomplished?

Guest blogging at Feministe, Ilyka Damen poses this question, and the comments are terrific.

Theory Blogging

Thought I'd pass on this article by Jodi Dean on academic blogging. She has some interesting stuff to say about argument in general based on her experience blogging:

What do those of us on the critical left do when we are the ones responsible for drawing the lines, setting the limits, that is, when we have to decide on exclusion? How do we bring other values into play, values perhaps associated with transgression, with challenges to normativity, authority, and the hegemonic arrangement of power? Differently put, when one is accustomed to discussion in a critical left, critically informed setting, how does one interact once these assumptions no longer hold, once the discussion is really open, once the audience is really diverse, that is, once it includes those others one finds most other and repellant?

She's referring here to comments left on her blog by neo-nazis.

I found this excerpt interesting too:

The theory blogs—and I am thinking primarily of about thirty or so interconnected blogs—generally combine personal and theoretical explorations, discussions of culture and politics, reflections on academic practices, and anything that strikes the blogger’s fancy. So, while they share a thread of theoretical concerns, they also differ greatly. The authors might be single or groups. They might or might not allow comments. They might post daily or less than once a week. Their tones and personalities differ. Some blogs are playful, filled with rough and tumble banter. Others feel a bit like a seminar or like meeting up in a restaurant or bar after the seminar has ended in order to continue the discussion. Still others have the feel of reflections, notes, and drafts, moments of thought and writing usually more private and isolated now open to those who might want to consider them, who might have a suggestion or two. I think of notebooks left open for other’s marginalia. What is particularly remarkable is the way these differing blogs interact, conversations moving from one site to another or taking place on several sites at once, conversations branching into differing sets of links, never encompassing them all, but rarely limited to one. So, some of the same people appear in various conversations, although not all of the same people will comment at each blog. What the theory blogs suggest, then, is a practice of blogging that is more than journalism, more than diary keeping, and more than remediation. Ours is a practice of critical conversation beyond and through existing institutional frameworks.

While some of this part, especially about the conversations across multiple sites, writing about anything that strikes one's fancy, etc., isn't new and could be said of any kind of blogging, I like her metaphors here: the bar after the seminar, notebooks left open. Readers respond to the article here and here.

On a completely different note: I HATE insomnia. I wish I could like it; I've had it as long as I can remember, even in childhood. Oh, and exercise does not help. Check out the "Exercise" block in my sidebar if you don't believe me.

Friday Dog Blogging

Friday Dog Blogging

I have a dog now. He came with the soon-to-be husband.

John Lovas Memorial Academic Weblog Award

I'm amazed. I am the recipient of this year's John Lovas Memorial Academic Weblog Award, given by Kairos. Thanks very much to the people at Kairos, and to the judges. I wish I could have been there to accept it in person.

Edited to add a link to a collection of links to most of my academic posts.

Notes from Next/Text Rhetoric

What follows are my notes on the Next/Text meeting for Rhetoric and Composition. At first I was really vigilant about preceding people's comments with their names or initials, you know, so they'd get credit for what they said. But then things got so rapid-fire that I got lazy about it. These notes represent what we, as a group, said, and each of us made contributions: myself, Cheryl Ball, Cindy Selfe, Daniel Andersen, David Blakesley, David Goodwin, Geoffrey Sirc, Janice Walker, Jeff Rice, Johndan Johnson-Eilola, Karl Stolley, Kim White, Michael Day, Victor Vitanza, and Virginia Kuhn. To give a little background, Next/Text is one of the projects of the Institute for the Future of the Book, which is part of the Annenberg Center at the University of Southern California. Next/Text is focused on classroom textbooks in particular. Our meeting was devoted to imagining how we in rhetoric and composition would go about creating a completely new electronic textbook -- new, as opposed to CD-ROM companions to print textbooks: your basic linear, text-with-images, PDF-esque, "take a book from the tradition of print, digitize it, and smack it up on the Web."

As we started out, we briefly discussed institutional constraints and realities -- the old hiring, promotion, and tenure. In any discussion of online/technological work, we can't put those aside or dismiss them. Although this part was kind of bracketed after the initial comment, I suppose it was always in the background. For a while, we talked about generalities: basic needs, realities of textbook publishing, realities of online projects which someone starts (a faculty member) and others work on and contribute to (e.g., graduate students/T.A.s, non-tenure-track instructors, etc.). There was a stated need for what we, for lack of a better term, called a datacloud with portals and axes that help to organize content (which I'm going to call tags here, because that's basically how they'd function). I kept smiling and thinking of a conversation I had once with (the brilliant) Geoffrey Sauer, who emphasized the need for me really to connect scholarship with what it is I do online. I was trying to offer ideas of what I thought he was driving at, and he kept saying, "no, it can't be just another archive!" I relayed Sauer's call for some new online endeavor that wasn't just another archive to the Next/Text group, who agreed vigorously.

Recent presentation on blogs and social bookmarking

On April 6, I did a presentation as part of a Technology-Enhanced Learning Seminar at the University of Minnesota's Digital Media Center. The topic was "Web 2.0: Promoting Collaboration and Student-Centered Learning," and I was the third person to present in this four-person panel. If you like, you can view the presentation; it isn't the best one I've done by any means, but you can get a sense of how I've used weblogs in my teaching and how I will use social bookmarking. Bradley Dilger is cited liberally throughout the social bookmarking section of my presentation.

CCCC Wrapup

A 4Cs wrapup post is long overdue. I saw just about everyone I wanted to see, plus met some great new people, including Madeleine, Tyra, jo(e), Deb, timna, Steve, Bradley, Brendan, and Sharon.

I attended some sessions, but I didn't always take notes. I know there are many defenders of the "read a paper" presentation model, but I have less and less patience for it with each passing year. It does sometimes work okay, but only rarely, and only if there are enough extemporaneously spoken asides to keep the audience's attention. The cadence of reading is so very different from extemporaneous speaking -- so much less animated and more monotonous -- that, for me, it's almost impossible to follow. I'm in agreement with William Major that we should do conference presentations more like how we teach.

My paper follows below the fold (and my slides are attached to this post). It looks disjointed, but I spoke extemporaneously a lot of the material. That's what I usually do at conferences: I have either no paper at all and just some notecards, or a paper with cues like this one. I hope you get something out of it. NB: Links to the original article and all the posts I cite are here.

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