Blogging

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Blackfeminism.org

Blackfeminism.org is a community blog about race and gender issues, which looks to be powered by Drupal. It's very new and smart, and I hope they get a lot of uptake. I look forward to the possibility that there will be some good discussion of race online; I've had a post gestating in my mind about race and blogging for a couple of days now, but I'm still working out what I want to say. I had a gobsmacking epiphany after reading Ann DuCille's article "The Occult of True Black Womanhood: Critical Demeanor and Black Feminist Studies" for the second time for the paper I recently wrote for my Women's Studies class, and now race is going to figure into my dissertation project a lot more than I previously thought, as well it should.

Food for Thought Discussion at iLaw

I finally got my blurb done for my Food for Thought discussion at iLaw Friday night. Donna Wentworth is also leading one, and it sounds terribly stimulating, as does the one Frank Field is leading. Too bad I'll have to miss them.

Scholarly Publishing, Weblogs, and the Digital Commons

Right now, we are in the midst of a shift in scholarly publishing from print to online and, some might argue, from a proprietary model to an open access model. A profusion of scholars are keeping weblogs, and many are licensing the content under Creative Commons licenses. Moreover, several online academic publications, including the forthcoming edited collection Into the Blogosphere: Rhetoric, Community, and Culture of Weblogs, Classics @: The Electronic Journal of the Center for Hellenic Studies of Harvard University, and The Stanford Undergraduate Research Journal are publishing under Creative Commons licenses. As one who frequently converses with scholars about alternative publishing models, I will explain the resistance I have encountered to Creative Commons licenses, particularly those that allow derivative works. I hope to facilitate a fruitful discussion of ways that the current face of scholarly publishing can be changed, especially to the benefit of the public interest, libraries, and webloggers, who, I would argue, are making a significant and as yet unacknowledged contribution to knowledge-making in the academy.

Academic Journals With CC Licenses

By way of the Creative Commons weblog come two journals that are publishing under Creative Commons licenses: Classics @ and The Stanford Undergraduate Research Journal. Both are using the Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license; I'm especially pleased that they are allowing derivative works, and I hope more journals and other academic enterprises heed the call of this model. Allowing derivative works is good--doing so will only enrich the original work, not compromise it. Come on in; the water's fine. :)

Eye Contact

Ken Smith is collecting bloggers who do and who do not maintain eye contact on their blogs. I am listed as an eye-contact blogger, as is Jill. Michael Bérubé does not make eye contact.

Now I want to join in: Liz, Scott, Tracy, Lessig, Siva, Logie, and Becky make eye contact, as does Amy (I took that picture!); Jason Nolan, Ron Silliman, Jason Shim, and Mike do not. I guess that last one is debatable, but I don't feel that the eye contact is direct. This phenomenon is not particularly important, of course, but fun to observe nonetheless.

Two Into the Blogosphere Articles: Sneak Preview

Elijah has posted the two papers he co-authored for Into the Blogosphere:

Lois Ann Scheidt and Elijah Wright, "Common Visual Design Elements of Weblogs"

Susan C. Herring, Inna Kouper, Lois Ann Scheidt, and Elijah Wright, "Women and Children Last: The Discursive Construction of Weblogs"

I encourage you to check them out and draft responses if you like. The collection will run on Movable Type, so you'll be able to post the responses directly under the essays.

Ethics of Blog Reviewing

In a recent post with many thoughtful comments following, Jill ponders the ethics of having students write blog reviews after one person whose blog was being reviewed protested to the assignment. Ethics in blog research is an issue we need to talk about, and I've been learning from Lilia's thoughts and Alex's as well. Jill says,

In time, I hope that the general public becomes more aware of that to publish something on the internet means to publish it, and that unless it's password protected it can and will be read by anyone.



What do you think?

I'm in agreement with most of the people in the thread and with Jill--when you blog, you are publishing. The Association of Internet Researchers has this huge PDF tome on the ethical issues in internet research, and one is perceived privacy. From the tome:

What are the initial ethical expectations/assumptions of the authors/subjects being studied?


For example: Do participants in this environment assume/believe that their communication is private? If so – and if this assumption is warranted – then there may be a greater obligation on the part of the researcher to protect individual privacy in the ways outlined in human subjects research (i.e., protection of confidentiality, exercise of informed consent,
assurance of anonymity - or at least pseudonymity - in any publication of the research, etc.).
If not – e.g., if the research focuses on

publicly accessible archives;

inter/actions intended by their authors/agents as public, performative

(e.g., intended as a public act or performance that invites recognition
for accomplishment), etc.;

venues assigned the equivalent of a “public notice” that participants and their communications may be monitored for research purposes;


….
then there may be less obligation to protect individual privacy.

A big question in internet research is: Are we studying texts, or are we studying people? The answer makes all the difference. Perhaps there's the rub--articulating a rationale for why studying weblogs is studying texts, not people. For my part, I know my blog is reviewed or discussed in some way in at least two classes. It doesn't bother me at all; they can say whatever they want. They are studying text, as far as I'm concerned, but then again I don't blog about my personal life very much. If I were studying a blog like Jasper's, I'd definitely see it differently and would feel unethical if I didn't have informed consent.



Addendum: When starting my first project on gender and blogging, I had to get IRB approval (a.k.a. Human Subjects Review). They did not see what I was doing as studying texts at all. I understand to some extent; I was doing a survey, after all. But what is most interesting to me is that, when I explained that I was giving a survey to the members of Blog Sisters and that I might quote material posted to the site, they required me to get a letter of consent from the site administrators of Blog Sisters. They said that a web site is no different from a physical site to them (for example, if someone wanted to do research in a writing center or in a museum, they'd have to get that research site consent letter.). It strikes me as strange, but I'd like to see what others think.

Epideictic Piece in the Chronicle about IA

Amanda says that everyone has linked to this story in the Chronicle about Invisible Adjunct. I'm embarrassed to be so slow on the uptake, but thought I would comment on it since I recently posted a paper I wrote about the Chronicle and IA.

The article is nice, quite an encomium. It's written by Scott Smallwood, the same staff writer who interviewed Jill Carroll in an article titled, "Less Whining, More Teaching: Jill Carroll, a Proud Part-Timer, Thinks Many Adjuncts Need a New Attitude." (Subscribers only.) Of course I know that Smallwood shouldn't be held accountable for writing a rather celebratory piece on adjuncts' embracing capitalism and entrepreneurship, as the one on Carroll is. (Interestingly enough, he quotes IA's response to that article: "'For all practical intents and purposes, the adjunct is a low-wage worker without benefits who can be hired and fired at will,' she once wrote. 'So in what way can the adjunct be an entrepreneur, except in his or her own mind?'" but doesn't provide the context.) He's writing for a specific publication with specific generic conventions that, I still argue, uphold the status quo. True, he characterizes the hiring system as "broken," but it remains the case that most of the Chronicle's inculcations about academic labor are jeremiads, not radical critiques such as IA's weblog.

Poem in Your Pocket/Poem on Your Blog Day

I just got a message from a guy on Orkut who, inspired by Poem in Your Pocket Day, suggests that we blog about our favorite poems. So here's mine: Spelling by Margaret Atwood. Once, in a Modern Poetry class in college, we had to write a paper in which we did a close reading of a poem. I chose this one, and the more I read it and thought about it, the more it affected me. It's the only poem that has ever made me cry. Parsley by Rita Dove has come close, too.

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