It's Diablogical!
A Collaborative Diablog on Feminist Pedagogy
On Accessibility & Busting Binaries

I see what you mean about having ultimate power! Muah ha ha! I don’t think we decided on a word count for our busting binaries or our accessibility sections that I am in charge of writing! **Imagine me sitting at my desk strumming fingers together diablogically…** I will try to keep this somewhere between over wordy and pithy – I’m thinking we can totally come up with some different titles to these sections right now, I only have these placeholders. I also must say, as I am running right up against the deadline I realize that this is hastily done and hopefully we can have a conversation about what I’ve written here, as I sat down to write about accessibility in particular I realized that we didn’t actually ever discuss what we wanted to put in there! Also, as I focused on this I was unable to complete my other homework assignment, perhaps we could use some of our meeting time to do that writing together?

On Accessibility:

Oftentimes when scholars think about “accessibility” in relation to the Internet the discussion on who has access to the Internet often emerges. While this is an important discussion in terms of who tends to gain access to the power of technology, we have chosen to think of accessibility more broadly and to counter the notion that women do not access technology in the same ways as men. Many feminists (footnote citation) have written about their investments with using this medium for their work, and in a recent study of women’s use of the internet Brian Solis writes about the gender divide in social media ultimately concluding that “women rule.” In particular more women use social media than men in the following percentages based on his survey, Facebook 57%/43%, Myspace 64%/36%, and Twitter 57%/43% (footnote citation). While this is not specific to blogging, one can assume that more and more women are invested in accessing this type of social media on the Internet.

As feminists, we see accessibility as a larger discussion in terms of how we purposefully choose to create avenues for access to be defined in relation to how we write, teach, and think. We see accessibility in relation to what we, as feminists, can gain access to through the use of blogging. For instance we see access in relation to accessing different parts of our self/selves. This means that blogging facilitates access to many different selves for both ourselves and our students – the writerly self/selves, the feminist self/selves, and the self/selves in community with others. Access to blogging in the feminist classroom means using blogs as a space where students can better access their own ideas and be accountable to them. We have discussed that there is definite value in allowing students access to you as the instructor via blogging (either personal or in the conversations teacher/student have in an online forum like a blog). This however is a balancing act, for we do not wish to imply that the ability to access this online space necessarily means it is a “safe space.” Rather, a space where we encourage students to understand and value access in terms of accountability – being accountable to one’s own ideas and respectful of others’.

While we conceive of access as a means to facilitate connections on many levels we do not envision access to mean facilitating access as an “all access pass” approach. Meaning, we do not suggest that accessibility to ideas, opinions, and different selves is an unfiltered processes or one where someone gains unlimited access to others (their ideas, their private lives, etc.). However, as we consider blogging a valuable feminist pedagogical tool and space for dialogue/conversation/theorizing/reflection, we are committed to exploring how creating access for these themes, ideas, and new political perspectives by using, writing, and teaching blogging allow for our ideas on accessibility in multifaceted ways to emerge.

On Busting Binaries:

In our original ideas for undertaking this collaborative writing project on the importance of blogging while teaching and teaching while blogging we realized that we are committed to blurring the lines and challenging the many binaries we often face when arguing for a pedagogy that includes blogging as one aspect of our teaching. For example the very premise of our dialogue emerges out of the connections we have observed between our research and writing in our personal blogs and our use of teaching with blogs such that neither is distinctly separate, thus we seek to bust that binary. In this way we challenge oppositional thinking and argue the necessity for spaces (like blogs) to play with chronology, and to engage with non-linear thinking. Our use of many different forms of writing (in personal blogs and our teaching blogs) allows us to confront the idea that there is distinction between proper academic writing and blog (or confessional) writing. This distinction does not allow for the complex relationships between all kinds of writing that we engage with and how we ask our students to do the same.

Busting binaries is not always about destroying a binary however. For Sara, as a feminist troublemaker, she likes to rework, distort, or flip them too. In other words, she likes to play with binaries. For Kandace, as a Chicana lesbian feminist, her identities are constantly challenging the notion that binaries hold the “last word.” Because she is often navigating multiple binaries in her life, her commitment to busting binaries lies in teaching students to really think about how binaries/dichotomies do not allow for ideas that lie between them. Together, our goal in challenging, busting, or blurring binaries means a commitment to think about what lies before, between, and beyond the binaries that so often define our lives. Sometimes busting is just that, a need to destroy what often leaves our experiences out, other times it’s about critically examining how those binaries come to be, who upholds these binaries, and creating strategies for deciding what we want to take away from these binaries.

For instance, we often find that blogging allows us to challenge the binary between teacher and student as a means to establish authority in the classroom in non-hierarchical ways. We do not wish to totally dissolve the binary that exists between teacher and student but we play with it through blogging by allowing multiple teachers in that space, through modeling assignments alongside our students on our teaching blogs and practicing what we teach on our personal blogs. This allows for both individual voices to emerge alongside practices of creating shared knowledges between or among class members and potentially beyond when a blog is in a public space. Further, we argue that blogging disrupts the binary between public/private exactly in this way, we challenge our students to engage in conversations in a public space that is no longer confined to the private realm of a closed classroom. Our article, dialogues and diablogs engage with these processes through illuminating the complicated relationships between binaries in relation to pedagogy, technology, and authority in our feminist classrooms.

**Add box of all of the binaries we are busting??**

My questions for SLP to consider:

  • For the accessibility section did I leave anything out from our many discussions on accessibility? Did I make sense here in terms of complicating the idea of accessibility as usually only signifying one aspect of access to the interwebs? (Sidenote you do not know how badly I wanted to write “interwebs” in the first paragraph!) Speaking of the first paragraph, do I spend too much time/not enough time on how we’re situating this in other arguments?
  • Ok, similar questions for busting binary – too short? Too long? I feel like we could go on for hours about each binary we’re busting (or not)! Specifically, do we need to say more about what we mean by the public/private binary?
  • You’ll also see the note at the end here – should we include a bullet point list of binaries here along side our definition? Maybe in our list of binaries we could have a brief description by what we mean by each one. What it describes and how we bust it? Is that too much work/space?

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