It's Diablogical!
A Collaborative Diablog on Feminist Pedagogy
Meeting Notes for July 23

We had an amazing meeting on Friday, so amazing that we had so many notes to write up which is why I wasn’t able to post until now! These notes might also be a little disjointed as SLP and I both mentioned that we were super tired from a long week of work and were having a hard time staying on track! The good news is however, that since we’re not trying to write a linear (traditional?) article, then I’m rationalizing that it is ok to have thoughts jumping around like this.

Initially based on our schedule we had thought we were going to record a dialogue on the topic of creating community/busting binaries. However, SLP and I realized that we needed to try to put some writing on paper as the manuscript for our article is due at the end of August (which is officially here). [See my notes on our assignments for this week for more info.] Thus, the goal of this meeting became outlining how we could use what we have now to start pulling together the first part of our actual writing that will go to the anthology (again see our four outlined points in next week’s assignments).

In addition to filling the first part of our article out with the content we outlined, we also spent quite a bit of time discussing the form the article should take. We’ve already talked about the desire to make this into a dialogue between the two of us (which has obviously inspired “It’s Diablogical” the blog project, as well as been reflected in our audio recording on the dialogue on visibility. We want to reflect this same dynamic aspect that our dialogues (in-person and on-blog) that we have been doing all summer. I think SLP said in our last meeting, “the blog format allows you to document thoughts in a more living form, not like a dead paper.” I like the idea of the blog as something living and we want to definitely create that same sense in our article. One way we discussed doing this was through the use of boxes on the page that helped to provide the reader with a sense of “main entry” versus “comments” to somewhat mirror a blog on the printed page. We also came up with the idea that we should put a whole page that mirrors particular assignments that we think have worked well on our course blogs (or we could even have particularly important personal blog posts) that break up the analysis and then we could link to our thoughts on the post like comments? I think we’re going to have to play around with this part but as we pull out things that we would like to see in these boxes or as side conversations then we can work to incorporating them into the final written manuscript.

While we might have a discussion that is more disjointed we still want to be organized by topic. We have done quite a lot of work on visibility especially around the key point that blogs enable us to make the writing/thinking/learning process more visible. We also like the idea of virtual consciousness-raising as a key theme that might emerge out of each sub-topic.

In relation to visibility we understand a main component of consciousness-raising to be the power in sharing your experiences in a circle as a way to validate your experiences that weren’t just happening in isolation. So, with virtual consciousness-raising (VCR) projects (feminist blogs personally or in the classroom) we see blogging as a means to further enhance the goal of critical consciousness-raising. From our notes I have the following written down, “VCR is the idea of sharing stories makes our ideas visible. It’s not just about making CR visible, but in the process of articulating it, blogging enables us to share in different ways (as opposed to just talking in that feminist circle) and it might allow some to make more visible, what you’re seeing/thinking about in terms of larger structural inequalities that sharing in isolation might not facilitate.” During our meeting we discussed how we can’t quite articulate how VCR relates to visibility and then further accessibility, this is the closest to any sort of sense my notes make, so I’m going to stick this in here, but just know that this is not the last word on this, we are still working through this.

We then talked about our conversation on Tracy L.M. Kennedy’s article on blogging and virtual consciousness-raising that SLP so nicely summarized and theorized before our meeting. We realized that our goals in terms of thinking about VCR vary from Kennedy’s in so much as we don’t necessarily agree with the three “key elements” she breaks this down which we interpreted in these three ways:

  1. Self-expression: you putting your ideas out there through the writing of the entry.
  2. Sharing stories: you sharing the story by posting.
  3. Interaction/Dialogue: how others take it up.

We discussed that our general issue with this way of thinking is that she seems to create too sharp of distinction between the I (the blog writer/poster) and you (the blog reader). This led us to think about another binary that we are seeking to bust, blogging necessarily complicates this binary so that this distinction isn’t so neat. We theorized how this is particularly true when you think about asking students to comment on each others’ blog entries. After a comment is posted and the blog writer revisits their initial ideas, these ideas are now not only theirs but it is shared knowledge. For us, VCR is about sharing knowledge, a key point of making visible the thinking/writing/teaching is that we are in the process of creating shared knowledges. What is made visible then is the process of a lot of selves connecting (not just within the self singularly but externally with other persons’ selves). This also demonstrates how we try to blur the binary between student/teacher. We are making visible the connections that are not just about one person’s thoughts, but rather how many people can come to think about a particular idea and shape new shared understandings. Through comments (as expressions of unique views/points/positionalities) we are making visible the processes behind shared knowledge production.

Some random thoughts on VCR/Visibility conversations that relate back to our conversations here but I couldn’t really make them fit nicely into any other paragraph:

  • Blogging is not just sharing your experience, but others who read or listen to stories gain access to these shared experiences (immediately), which allows for a clarity of vision for others.
  • VCR could also be about focused attention to practices we don’t often interrogate (I think this links really nicely to SLP/STA’s Unchained blog project.)
  • People sometimes have harsh reactions to material and blogging may be the place to (productively) give voice to their personal investments or interactions. Here, we are not advocating for a “safe space” but as an outlet space. (I would like to also mention we are not condoning the haters that often lurk on blogs/online articles to just comment with negative or hurtful statements. I think we need to discuss this further, but I like the direction we’re moving.)
  • Making visible the writing/thinking/learning processes makes visible the connections in talking back. (redundant? yes. I couldn’t figure out how to articulate this differently, add this to the list of further discussion!)

We also mentioned that we really like the bullet point lists that SLP is so good at doing! We thought maybe we could have some bullet points in boxes on a page and then our analysis of a couple of the points could be fleshed out in dialogue form. Also, it might be cool to answer these two questions after thinking about the bullet points:

  1. Reflections – what does [insert idea] mean to you?
  2. How do you see this as relating to your own political investments or positionality?

On Training we really like the idea of training by/through modeling. There are different ways to express yourself, and we see blogs as a model for teaching and academic exchange. We connected this to hooks’ liberatory practices but I don’t remember what we saying with this specifically any more. Perhaps we could revisit this.

On Creating Community/Busting Binaries we thought we could have a box with all of the binaries that we are engaged with as well as a bullet point list of what we mean when we say blogs create community. A more complete list of binaries we’ve been discussing every week at our meetings is as follows:

  • Reason/Emotion OR Mind/Body OR Thinking/Feeling
  • Public/Private
  • Offline/Online OR Physical Space/Cyberspace
  • “Real” life/Academic life
  • I/You OR Blog poster/Blog reader
  • Production/Consumption
  • Abstract theory/Lived reality
  • Easy/Hard or Hard/Easy
  • Teacher/Student
  • “Serious” engagement/Personal confessions
  • Academic writing/Stories

We want to create a page with all of our binaries – I think SLP was going to do this too? I feel like I’m just delegating so much, if you can’t do this, maybe we could work on it together at our next meeting. Any we’re missing right now? I don’t think this is the highest on our list of priorities by any means, just throwing this out there.

We also discussed how the blog is not just a format but it is a space that is unique that requires specific attention in making sure that it is not just a new writing assignment “tacked on” to an existing syllabus/assignment. It is helpful to think of it as a space so that we’re recognizing that blogging simultaneously provides us with different tools of thinking/learning but it’s not just tools or only a different format, but a space, that we as feminist scholars engage with in many different ways. (I think we should put this in the intro or the conclusion along with our awesome statement – that we’re situating as a key purpose of blog and book chapter “It’s an invitation to engage not a how-to manual.”)

Phew, made it through this. Sorry for the delay, I had no time to do this until now! I hope it helps with your assignments. On to the next piece! I am so happy to have my days back for my important writing projects!

1 Comment to “Meeting Notes for July 23”

  1. SLP says:

    Wow, thanks for your great notes! Here are a few thoughts/responses:

    1. I think it would be great to talk more about comments and how they help/hurt our efforts to develop community. There is much to be said and theorized about on this issue. I wonder if it might be too much for this immediate project? Not sure. Anyway, here’s a blog post that I just stumbled across this morning (via my new favorite iPad app, Flipboard!): In defense of anonymous commenting.

    2. In terms of busting binaries, I can create a new page and list the binaries. Maybe we can add to them when we have time?

    3. I think I volunteered to create a resources/bibliography page. I will try to start that as well.