Monday, March 17, 2008

World of Warcraft

So with a little social experiment in the tube, I figured that I would post my thoughts in a place where few would read them.

I have read through my colleagues blogs and found them to be fantastic...I hope this is what Kristin feels like reading through these.

My critique of myself...I probably should have created more direction. I mostly let the 'players' go, and due to that I likely stunted their enjoyment.

Things that I should have done:
1) Explicitly stated the procedure for grouping. I have a feeling that having 'players' meet in game would have helped many enjoy the game more.
2) Described how geography limits the ability to group. This is something that I think is a learning experience as well as a teaching point, but should be balanced against the enjoyment that the participants could possibly lose.
3) Placed myself in a position to aid more often and earlier. I feel really bad about leaving the 'players' out in the cold, so to speak. Without any sort of mentoring I should guess that the game can feel sort of brutal.

These are but the tip of the iceberg and slams home the point that teaching is very much about learning.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Online NDN

Continuing my attempt to be more cool and hip, I am no longer listing the day via assignment.

I want to focus on the assigned reading though, specifically one article that is related to work that I am doing in collaboration with Dr. Monroe among others.

Haas, Angela. "Making Online Spaces More Native to American Indians: A Digital Diversity Recommendation." Computers and Composition Online. (Fall 2005)

The first portion where there is a list of various statistics I find to be accurate to a point. In the three years since the publication of the information in the article, there have been some interesting ways to express identity that have come on-line. Social networking sites in particular are serving NDN Country. In particular the youth. It is operating in a bricolage manner as well, by providing a digital space where music, video, images and experiences can be placed in an area that can be accessed by those that are allowed. There are shortcomings to this approach as well, but it should be noted that the requisite overhead costs, hardware and bureaucracy is circumvented.

The Digital Rhetorical Sovereignty section piqued my interest due to the manner in which sovereignty as a term was utilized. The Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma is representing themselves well in a digital space, as well as creating forums for discourse to take place on the topic of sovereignty. This is something that other tribes should consider. At the same time there is a danger to opening access to Tribal identity to include rhetorical forms. Dr. Kim Christen's work with indigenous people in Australia, could be applied in this way. Limiting access to information is just as important as having that information available. NDN people have had entirely too much appropriated, to be comfortable with opening the doors to their traditions. Through Dr. Christen's work it is possible to protect rhetorics while opening access to tribal people who would benefit in the way Dr. Haas is proponing.

As far as the argument presented by Bizzaro, there is some merit in opening access. Here it is important to place the decision in the hands of the tribe. Every tribe has a different situation, treating them uniformly is a recipe for offense. Some tribes have rights issues that would not be well served by opening enrollment. Other tribes have been disenrolling members over financial issues. Blood quantum is a bit of an elephant in the room in this case, with each tribe setting their own levels. While entirely too many tribal people are denied access to NDN epistemologies based upon phenotype, there should also be a practical caution exercised in order to prevent exploitation. One way to go about side stepping blood quantum is for tribes (possibly in the same region or language group) to recognize other tribal blood.

I agree with the suggestions forwarded by Haas, with an addendum. Look around in the academy for NDN's. There are organizations that serve the needs of students and most of them have advisors.

For non-native students in her target audience of computer composition I would be confident to say that it is sound advice to enter that space aware of your outsider status. Instead of attempting to save 'us' or our rhetoric, try volunteering for activities sponsored by the Native American organization. Remember that NDN's are people, not causes...and in most cases you may be surprised to find that we don't feel like we need saving. We may not even want help.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Long Hair

I have forgotten what day it is on the schedule, and after peeking into the adjacent cells I must say that the drabness of my own self constructed space was a little disheartening. In any case, I wanted to focus on the article assigned by Laura Sullivan, concerning the male gaze on the web.

I have only recently become aware of the terminology of the male gaze, though the voyeuristic elements of patriarchy have been rather obvious. 'Cho also read me the Freire piece on internalized oppression recently, which also works well with the Sullivan article. Taken together this idea of the male gaze as a motivation for a commodified superficial focus on image where women bear the onus of performing femininity in a way that satisfies male parameters is uncomfortable.

There is a petrifying sense of positioning. One cannot act in a way that can be construed as 'rescuing' the 'damsel in distress', so moralistic outrage doesn't seem to fit. At the same time any behavior that is accepting of body image could be considered condescending. Perhaps it is due to my positioning as male that I am a bit lost on where to stand.

On hair I am a bit more familiar. Having long black locks of my own I feel as though I can share a bit of the sentiment of the author. Touching an NDN man's hair is an intimate thing, a personal thing. If that cultural concept was translated across 'code' I have been groped more times than an unripe cantaloupe at Winco.

I am not attempting to appropriate the space that Sullivan is recognizing on the commodification of the female image (or the replication of that situation by men or women), rather that fetishization is ubiquitous and disturbing in a multidimensional sense.

I tooled around the Net Chick Clubhouse as well. Perhaps it is due to my recent indoctrination through my first semesters of graduate school, but it didn't seem all that much like a site of resistance or even commercial space. More to the point of the article there was a lack of representation of 'female' beyond a sort of rubberstamped "Grrl"'ishness.

The larger lesson I see coming out of the article "Fleeting Images" is one of male privilege. While both genders are prey to concepts of professionalism, as a construct built primarily by men it places females in a disadvantaged space. Construction of identity is highly complex, so communicating that identity (or facets thereof) through any number of literacies is often a compromise between institutionally accepted practices and self expression.

I can protest the shallow ideals of collared shirts and khakis, but I don't have to concern myself overly with the erotic commodification of my image. To my way of thinking that is a solid demonstration of male privilege.


Monday, February 18, 2008

Week 7 Day 2 (part deux)

Responding to K8

From "Katie's 597"

Initially (after our session) I thought there was no way I’d use IMing, but the more I think about it the more I see how it directly engages with the sort of identity play/contestation I research.

-This is also the primary area of research that I am interested in. Hence I have proponed more play as a means of resisting alienation from labor in terms of self.

I don’t know if it’s just me (since I’m a weirdo AmSt person) but I have kind of a hard time knowing how to integrate my Cultural St/Am St perspectives into not only my pedagogy, but also actual classroom practices.

- I am wrestling with the same concepts, probably due to the fact that I am in the same department. With a mission somewhere in the neighborhood of 'unmasking power', occupying an authority position is ever more challenging. In addition it is difficult to resist privileging information when in fact it is a requirement that an instructor foists upon their students...such as MLA or APA formatting.

IMing lets you play with your identity, or more precisely it lets you PERFORM an identity. And it also shows how these identity performances are discursive articulations. Actually, I could see how someone could use IMing to demonstrate performative theory to students.

- This is one of the uses that I see chat embodying. K8*E is right on the nose with this one. Moreover, if during the exercise we had been asked to take on anonymous screen names this portion would have been more prevalent. In some ways I see this idea as in-line with cybercrossdressing and research on avatars.

At the end of the day K8*E is teh roxxorz

Week 7 Day 1

Reflections on a synchronous parliament

The utility of the exercise was in the pre and post brief. In the discussion of the potential uses there is an understanding of how surveillance and power have the ability to be revealed as illusory. The behavior in the 'rooms' was indicative of a leveling of the playing field in the manner in which Faigley demonstrates in the article read earlier this semester.

If anything the conduct in the space relates how graduate students have the ability to fall to 'the lowest common denominator' as well. This sort of behavior only further reinforce the utility of the exercise. In a syllogism: If an 'educated' populace can be seduced by a space where power is demonstrated as an artificial construct, then undergraduates are likely to do the same.

Blogs are an excellent means of deconstructing the behavior that happens in the 'space' of chat. Upon reflection it provides a mechanism for analyzing not only the behavior of the 'self' but others. It has the ability to act not only as a mirror for behavior but also as a panoptic design.

All in all it was an enjoyable exercise that demonstrated the performativity inherent in identity, in addition to concepts of power.


Monday, February 11, 2008

Week 6 Day 1

Kress, Wysocki, Yancey, and George

The four articles analyzed for this assignment have a unifying theme. Understanding the value of imagery in relation to written language and vice versa. In terms of curricula the articles push forward into a conception that challenges institutional forms of literacy in light of the positions that students that will be attending composition classrooms have occupied in relation to imagery as a primary form of communication.

Kress' article stresses curricula as a plan for tomorrow. He also goes on to state that the goals of education are in flux as the privatization issues become more pressing. He uses these ideas to forward ideas of visual literacy. Though the end goal of increased literacy in a non-traditional sense is attractive, a critique here is necessary. Curricula that is dialed into the future, has the potential to forget the past and the multitude of lessons learned therein.

Wysocki's article is focused in a synergystic way with Kress'. Her examination of visual rhetorics couples well with the idea of a curriculum that is more tailored to multi-literacies. As an example, the positioning of students in relation to products and advertisements as a form of visual rhetoric as described by Wysocki could easily be plugged into a curriculum (192-193). This critical assessment of the inundation of the American populace with images has the possibility of drawing attention to the underlying power structures involved with the political economy of visual rhetoric...ideally.

Yancey's article is quite broad, and is best represented in this space by linking it to curriculum as well. On page 311 of the article assigned is a short list of things that students aren't asked to do in the current system. Perhaps the best link is the second bullet point, which asks students to select the best medium in which to communicate a point. This sort of selection of rhetoric to a corresponding audience speaks to a literacy beyond a privileging of the written word regardless of the future or privatization of education.

George's contribution to this analysis is a specific assignment. By assigning the class the creation of a visual argument it is possible to see that it is possible to construct a curriculum that questions the position of the written word as "high culture", over image as "low culture". He describes some of the issues with the assignment in terms of definition and the institution of education.

The four articles taken in aggregate provide a philosphy, a framework, a concept and an assignment. Although the pieces are not in complete harmony, it is possible to place them together in a way that propones the issue of broadening the curriculum of literacy to include visual rhetorics and their analysis.


Monday, January 28, 2008

Partial Conversation

This is a response that I wrote and didn't know if I was 100% in agreement with my own thoughts. So instead of sending it, I decided to post it here.

Good Morning,
I am with Rachel and Chris on this one. I do have a bit of a caveat.

With shorter attention spans, there is less time to communicate complicated concepts. Bullet pointed, sound bite news is a symptom (or perhaps a cause) of such a phenomenon. As Postman argues in 'Amusing Ourselves to Death' there is also a danger that television has turned all information into entertainment. I think that argument could be expanded to include the examples in Dr. Arola's initial email (chatting et al). If all information is thought of as entertainment, where does the urge to act come in? Perhaps this paradigm is what got leaders to buy the graphic artists rendition of railway car laboratories in Iraq? I think that the web also has this possibility, but that the relationship has a rather interesting twist. If information is characterized as entertainment then at some point there is an equality of value. Once that milestone has been reached the relationship can be inverted and entertainment can be utilized as a pedagogical tool. It is my opinion that we are there.

Jonathan R. White presents an idea that terrorists are created when a threshold is passed that he references as the "Doctrine of Necessity". The concept revolves around the idea that there is a point where it is morally apprehensible to remain inactive. About 8 years ago the Presidency of the United States of America was (arguably) given to a man whose brother was the Governor and who had not won the popular vote. The American public did not react beyond some outrage. Was it faith in the positivist system? Or was it simply that the story was dramatic enough to be entertaining...a Law & Order/Westwing episode.

While I am not about to play the role of a small fowl or forward the idea that we (as a class or citizenry) take up non-symmetrical warfare, rather that through the changing forms of media content has also been shaped. I would like to take the position that literacy in terms of Wysocki's & Johnson-Eilola's article is the best way I would say that the term could be defined. On page 367 they refer to literacy as 'often contradictory', 'clouds of positions' to paraphrase. From that position it is possible to recognize that there is some credence to the apprehension that people are not reading as much or as long, but it also recognizes that there are other ways in which that population is becoming articulate.