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

Note as of July 12, 2012: In order to further explore and experiment with how to bust binaries, we have created a tumblr, Busting Binaries. On it, we plan to offer up examples of binaries and the various ways that we (SLP, the Problematizer and KCF, the Bridge Maker) and others work to bust them.

In almost all of our diablogues (offline and online), we find ourselves talking about and engaging in the busting of some rather problematic binaries. Here is a list off the ones we have discussed so far:

1. Reason/Emotion OR Mind/Body OR Thinking/Feeling

2. Public/Private

3. Offline/Online OR Physical Space/Cyberspace

4. “Real” life/Academic life

5. I/You OR Blog poster/Blog reader

6. Production/Consumption

7. Abstract theory/Lived reality

8. Easy/Hard or Hard/Easy

9. Teacher/Student

10. “Serious” engagement/Personal confessions

11. Academic writing/Stories

As we continue to discuss these binaries, we will (hopefully) add in an explanation of each of them and how teaching with blogs and blogging while teaching enables us to bust ’em.

Note from SLP: As a feminist troublemaker, I like to do more with binaries than just bust them. Sometimes I like to rework, distort, or flip them too. In other words, I like to play with binaries. I need to spend some time thinking through how I use blogs to play with binaries.

Note from KCF: As a Chicana lesbian feminist my identities constantly challenge the notion that binaries hold the “last word.” Because I am often navigating multiple binaries in my own life, my commitment to busting binaries in my teaching is to challenge my students to really think about how binaries/dichotomies do not allow for ideas that lie between them. My goal is 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 my experience out, other times it’s about critically examining how those binaries come to be, who upholds these binaries, and strategies for deciding what we want to take away from these binaries. I think SLP’s idea on how she uses blogs to play with binaries is great – I will quickly say that for me, my personal blog is about how I use creative writing/narratives as a means to contest the academic writing/personal writing binary. On a blog about cooking and storytelling I also challenge the binary between “serious engagement”/personal confession. Maybe we should have a quick dialogue about this in our article in the section on “busting binaries.”

**Sidenote- one of my students this summer did his second digital story on the idea of a “false dichotomy” – check it out here. I am glad that he worked on this as he uncovers the complexities that we need to think about as opposed to simply thinking of issues/ideas in a binary or oppositionally.