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CCCC Intellectual Property Caucus

John Logie began the CCCC Intellectual Property Caucus with a tribute to Candace Spigelman, co-chair of the Caucus, who passed away last year. Candace never lost sight of students in the process of talking about rhetoric and intellectual property. Institutions are here for the benefit of students. He set up a Candace Spigelman Memorial Fund, which will benefit the Caucus. Directions on how to contribute to the fund will be on the web site soon. Then he reviewed the MGM v. Grokster case and explained why we, as rhetoricians, should take an interest in it. He held up two sheets of paper, one in each hand, that said, "THE INTERNET IS A PEER-TO-PEER NETWORK." The Grokster case, he argued, represents the threat of suppressing technologies that merely have the potential to be used for copyright infringement. Jeff Galin (I think) posed these questions: Can we engage our students to get active in this as well? Can we imagine ways that free use and fair use might intersect? What roles are we going to play to challenge Congress and the entertainment industry?

Because Charlie ended up not being able to attend the Caucus, I presented on the new CCCC-IP web site (I attached my transparencies to this post). Charlie and I moved the content from the old site to this fancy new Drupal site. Basically, I encouraged everyone to register with the site (looks like three or four people did register since then) and contribute content: posts about IP/copyright news, source annotations for the Resource Guide, etc. After that, I introduced the "Just Ask!" campaign. Prompted by a Kairosnews thread, four journals announced that they'd be offering authors the option to license their articles under Creative Commons licenses:

  1. Computers and Composition Online
  2. Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy
  3. The Writing Instructor
  4. Lore: An E-Journal for Teachers of Writing (not official, but nb the CC license here, granted me because I asked.)

All this happened because people asked. I also have it on good authority that Enculturation would very likely let an author CC license a work if he or she asked, as authors who publish there retain the copyrights anyway. So ask! Remember to ask. I think a lot of people tend to forget that there's another way to do this, and that asking doesn't constitute an ultimatum (do this or I won't sign!!). In fact, I think authors should ask for CC licenses, Founder's Copyrights, etc. especially when they're sure the publishers will say "no." That at least lets the publishers know that scholars want this option. I'd like to emphasize the need for senior scholars, who have a wide variety of choices when it comes to publishing venues, to choose these journals, and to note, either in the body of the article or in an endnote, that they published in this particular journal because they support open access and Creative Commons (Logie has also made this point).

Home Words: City Writing

I'm finally winding this CCCC blogging thing up, getting around to Jeff Rice, Jenny Edbauer, and Geoffrey Sirc's panel. I know several of you who couldn't make it to the session have been waiting to read my notes, and I hope I don't disappoint. If I misunderstood anything the presenters said, I'm sure they'll leave comments here to correct me. :-) Jeff started out with his paper, titled "Writing Detroit." He made several intriguing connections, the first one being the rhetoric of the city's parallel with the rhetoric of digital culture. Both are fragmented (and composition studies dismisses "fragment" as error). City writing embraces fragments, the fragment as place, without resorting to representation, problematizing representation. Writing in digital culture usually means taking snippets of sound, images, text, etc. and remixing them to form something new. He brought in Nigel Thrift's concept of "everyday urbanism," remarking that few cities are as "urban" as Detroit. Jeff defined "pedagogy" as he was talking about it as "generalized teaching," not limited to classroom instruction in particular. He called for the discovery of place as rhetoric: writing the city, writing myth. When we write the city, we're writing our own ideologies, not mimicking or re-presenting the city. Jeff then went into a sustained example using the history of Detroit, especially Henry Ford and Eminem, which was really interesting. I couldn't possibly do justice to it here, but maybe Jeff will post something about it. Anyway, he pointed out that when students are asked to invent the university, they are also being asked to segregate themselves from the city. In city writing, rhetors are like flâneurs, and appropriation is the guiding principle. The assembly line, to use a Detroit metaphor, is like composition: the combination and juxtaposition of elements. Making appropriation the guiding principle encourages ambiguity, a "mood-based grammar," attitude and bravado in writing, a pose of boasting, like one Eminem or Henry Ford might assume. (Let me be careful here. I got the impression that Jeff was saying this kind of writing fosters confidence in students and discourages passivity and timidity in student writing, not that he was making some kind of claim for braggart-as-ideal-rhetor.) He closed by saying that in city writing, you articulate positions, not arguments; you re-invent, rather than re-present. Geography inscribes difference, and difference becomes reinscribed in geography. (I had that last sentence in my notes, but I forgot what the connection between it and the previous sentence was...)

The Blogging SIG

The discussion at the CCCC Blogging SIG was, I thought, fairly productive. I didn't attend the one last year, but I'm told that a lot of the people who attended didn't know much about weblogs, so much of the time was spent on basics. This time, we split up into small groups and reported back to the larger group. Here are my notes from the small group presentations:

The first group discussed institution-wide blogging initiatives. UThink wasn't discussed, but I'm sure people will be talking about it next year, as researchers are compiling data about the uses of the UThink weblogs. Someone brought up possible connections with service learning and getting the community involved. Also, the group talked about the ways weblogs are being used in writing classrooms. The group concluded that we shouldn't just transfer what we already know about notebooks, listservs, etc. and think weblogs will make it better.

Area Blogger Taps Foot Impatiently While Waiting for Drupal 4.6 Official Release

The release candidate is available, but I want to wait until they make the official release. Check out the new features; I'm most excited about the quotes module, SmartyPants, and the Weekly Node Listing. (See this site on the left-hand side for what the weekly node listing will look like.) I know a lot of people like the way Drupal currently handles archives, but I like that readers will now have the option to see the archives displayed by date. Then, if they'd like to, say, see if I posted anything on Valentine's day 2004, they can click on that week rather than doing a search or clicking through a bunch of pages of archives.

Also, I end up having to change my theme every time I upgrade to a new version of Drupal, so that gives me an excuse to do a redesign. I've got a great new banner image I really want to unveil.

I am totally gonna meet Hindrocket!

Thanks to a recommendation from Laura Gurak, I've been invited to participate in a panel at the regional Society of Professional Journalists conference. The blurb for the panel (emphasis and update mine):

Blogging and the Mainstream Media—SPJ

What's the future role and impact of Web logs and story chat on mainstream media coverage? Does anyone pay attention to this "virtual"conversation or is it just a place for people to vent? Moderator: Mike Knaak, assistant managing editor St. Cloud Times; John Hinderaker, a Minneapolis lawyer who blogs on Power Line, Time Magazine's blog of the year; Gordon "Mac" McKerral, SPJ immediate past president; Nora Paul, Institute for New Media Studies, [Clancy Ratliff, Department of Rhetoric,] University of Minnesota; and John Yenne, online director for the St. Cloud Times.

Okay, I don't mean to be silly about what is actually a great and much appreciated opportunity. I sincerely am honored. But Hindrocket! The folks at Unfogged are going to be so jealous when (or if) they hear about this.

The Aftermath of Access

Collin Brooke and Jennifer Bay kicked off their panel, "The Aftermath of Access: From Critical to Creative Computer Literacies" by showing theses from the Creative Computing Manifesto. I thought their approach -- two presentations that were sort of networked together -- was excellent; composing my notes now, I'm struck by how nonlinear the presentation was (in a good way!). I'll do my best to summarize the panel here, and hopefully contribute something to the conversation. Maybe the fact that I'm linking to the sources they mentioned will be helpful for some of you.

Bay (someone I don't know, so I'll use the last name) started off by problematizing a concept one encounters in writing courses. She said, "'The writing public' is already out there. People are already in it; they don't have to 'enter' it." She then described three kinds of computer literacies: functional literacy (the ability to use), critical literacy (awareness of values and ideologies embedded in computer culture), and network literacy, to which the panel was devoted.

To historicize and situate network literacy, Bay then reviewed Carolyn Miller's 2004 article Expertise and Agency: Transformations of Ethos in Human-Computer Interaction (PDF). In it, Miller identifies two major kinds of ethos associated with computers: rational reliability and sympathy. An "expert system" is rationally reliable, as opposed to an "intelligent agent," which gets its ethos through its common sense. Its agency emerges through social interaction. The 1990s saw a good deal of analysis of intelligent agents -- AI programs -- bots.

Photographs from CCCC 2005

No time to type up notes just now; company's coming in a little while! But I did have time to crop and size some photos from the conference:

First, from the city. These were both taken within a block of my hotel:

CCCC: Day 1, Session 2

Well, I guess technically the day I presented was Day 1, but Thursday was the day I started hitting the sessions, so we'll go with that. The second session I attended was, "The New Collegiality: Circulating Ideas about Writing and Teaching on Weblogs." For this one, I only have notes from John and Joanna's presentations.

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