It's Diablogical!
A Collaborative Diablog on Feminist Pedagogy
Notes from July 9th Meeting

After a very riveting conversation Friday afternoon, I am pleased to say that according to our schedule we are pretty far in the game in terms of everything we accomplished of the last two weeks. I am really proud of how much we have both written and contributed (in writing and thinking) to the project so far – especially as we both fretted that we hadn’t done enough or that perhaps our schedule was a bit overwhelming. That being said, I have a few points that we wanted to keep fresh in our minds as we moved onto the next phase of writing the article, both for our writing process and for our blog vision – btw we should note we finally came up with an appropriate name for the blog! As we are conceiving this as a dialogue happening on a blog and about blogging in many different ways we are playing around with the ideas of dialogue plus blog which comes out to diablog (verb) diablogical (adjective) or the list goes on… “It’s Diablogical!” Totally summarizes our feelings about getting feminists who may be reluctant to move into the blogosphere excited about the potential of really causing some productive trouble – as SLP would probably say. After all of this productivity my partner ALN met us as we gathered at SLP and STA’s house and had a lovely time with their awesome kids – FWA, and RJP. I really could get used to this summer writing schedule!

So, without much further ado – here are some of the main points that came up in our discussion after reading through what we produced last week. We brainstormed that some of these pieces may end up being in our introduction or conclusion but that we wanted to keep them in our mind as we worked toward our next assignments (preparing for our first diablog! Maybe we should spell it diablogue when we’re dialoguing??) Too much fun with the purposeful word mashing! All of these points are interrelated but I’ve tried to organize them in the way that we discussed them with my own elaborations on some of the connections we see between them.

Ultimately, we may use these ideas (particularly #1) as main frames for thinking about our dialogue/writing of the article.

1. One of the key points after talking about our introductions revolves around the purpose of our title/abstract of the article we proposed – that there is a significant point to be made about the different ways that we engage with blogs/blogging and being a blogger. I want to think about this idea of being a blogger as a feminist practice as I defined it (maybe not so well in the text yet, but definitely in our discussion as to be a blogger we both use blogs and facilitate the use of blogs in our classrooms.)

  • SLP made an excellent point, that she feels you can’t use blogs in the classroom as well, if you’re not blogging yourself. Specifically, she feels like her course blogs have been more successful pedagogical tools after she herself began to really engage with blogging on her blog.
  • This moved us to another interesting conversation, the feminist pedagogical approach to only create assignments and/or ask your students to do work that you yourself would be willing to do. Both of us mentioned that this is a key piece of our feminist pedagogy and that using personal blogs or being committed to blog writing beyond the class blog demonstrates your commitment to using blogs as valuable ways to create and shape knowledge and learning. We began thinking about some feminist pedagogues that we could reference and expand upon their ideas with this piece on blogs – like Elizabeth Ellsworth’s ideas on vulnerability in the classroom, and Bernice Fisher’s No Angel in the Classroom. We want to bring some more pieces in that speaks to this idea of doing assignments with your students, or only doing work that you would be willing to do as a feminist practice, any one know of any?
  • Lastly, we thought about this idea in relation to authority in the classroom and definitely want to spend some more time thinking through how blogs facilitate the notion of “authority” in different ways – troubling the idea of “expert” through blogging with questions, or showing students that we’re not always the expert in our own writing processes. And then thinking about blog use as a pedagogical tool in relation to our authority in the classroom and navigating that in different ways.

2. After this discussion we began to think a little bit about if we had to choose, how we might weave these ideas into one of our four sub-topics that we are going to dialogue on (Visibility, Creating Community, Training, Engagement & Evaluation). After a little discussion we realized that these themes can really be thought of as “fitting” into all of the areas of each sub-topic. So, during this we actually moved into a general discussion of our use of blogs into a discussion on how this relates to “accessibility” as this is one of the major themes from our abstract – thinking about “access” to technology in the women’s studies/feminist classroom.

  • In terms of accessibility then, thinking about the above points, using blogs and modeling the use of blogs within and beyond the classroom makes yourself as the teacher available to your students in different ways. This got us thinking again about the issue of intimacy because SLP mentioned that she likes to use her blog as a resource for further reading for students/a place where they might learn more about a specific topic that she may have already written about, whereas I (KCF) don’t tell my students about my blog until after the course is over because I don’t want to let them in to this part of my life as it tends to be more intimate. So, we want to add this into our dialogue further – what do we share and what do/don’t feel comfortable sharing on blogs/with our students? Also, how blogging on our own time lend itself to the merging of our different “selves” (academic/personal)?
  • This moved our discussion into the area of thinking about why some feminist scholars we know tend to have some fear of blogging (or using technology in their coursework in general) and we want to dialogue about why this might be. For instance, I was told that I should take everything off the internet while I was on the job market, but I argued that I want future academics to know what I do on my blog because it really demonstrates the applicability of my research – I model the same types of things I ask women to do in terms of story sharing. We also discussed this in relation to SLP wanting to share her knowledge (and the idea that she doesn’t “own” her words/ideas but would like others to engage with them) and the blog facilitates this feminist practice. She also mentioned that it models for students this idea of “standing behind your words” and as feminists if we are putting out social critique or critical thinking about the world around us, shouldn’t we be proud and stand firm by our ideas even if they are “simply” online? Lastly, we linked the reason about the power of blogs in terms of quick acess to new and exciting research – because to have this published in academic time would take forever and that we should be encouraging an academic model that accepts and acknowledges blogs as valid forms of knowledge production. This discussion really made me think about the tenuous position we both hold as we seek to make this type of knowledge production valued and the many contradictions that emerge when thinking about what a feminist blogging practice looks like.

3. The last place our conversation took us was back to the applicability of blogs (personal and in our classes) for us. We spoke to the ways that blogs bring different things in conversation with one another and we want to continue to explore the potential of how blogs become personal research tools as well as vital parts of our teaching philosophies. I mentioned that I use other peoples’ blogs as ways to prep for class lectures or as assignments for students to also foster this idea of engaging with different types of knowledge. SLP sees blogs as a way for her to both do her research and be an effective teacher, ultimately her personal blog allows her to multitask in ways she hadn’t before. So, it’s this merging of using blogs for research along with using blogs as teaching tools (in the reading and in the writing) that really form our ideas on why this medium works so well for both of us.

Up next – elaborations on what we’re doing to prepare for our first dialogue!

2 Comments to “Notes from July 9th Meeting”

  1. SLP says:

    Wow, you take some great notes! Maybe you could tell me more about your note-taking system. I also enjoyed our discussion/post-discussion party with the kids!

    As I am reading your notes, I am struck by your distinction between blogs/blogging/blogger. Is it helpful to think of this difference as one between blog (the noun), blogging (the verb), and blogger (the adjective)? I should add that I find this distinction useful in my own thinking about trouble (which I write about here). I like thinking about “blogger” as an adjective (as opposed to a noun/identity) that describes some aspects of me as thinker/writer/scholar/teacher–not sure this makes sense?

    I went back to the Elizabeth Ellsworth piece, and I’m not sure it fits with what we are trying to get at (Ellsworth. “Why Doesn’t This Feel Empowering?”). However, Mimi Orner’s “Interrupting the Calls for Student Voice in ‘Liberatory’Education: A Feminist Poststructuralist Perspective” is helpful. Consider this line at the end:

    In education, the call for voice has often been directed at students. Where are the multiple, contradictory voices of teachers, writers, researchers and administrators? The time has come to listen to those who have been asking others to speak” (86).

    Megan Boler (whose work I really like) discusses a pedagogy of discomfort, where we “invite one another to risk ‘living at the edge of our skin'” (Feeling Power). For me, both of these passages point to a larger idea that undergirds my own teaching philosophy of feminist troublemaking: When I am encouraging my students to risk discomfort, to be vulnerable by articulating painful truths, to engage in difficult critical self-reflection–which are all things that transformative feminist blogging demands–I need to be willing to do those things as well. I think I have more to say about this…maybe I should leave it for a blog post.

  2. KCF says:

    SLP –

    I am SO about these distinctions (I know we briefly talked about them during our July 9th meeting, but I think I would like this to be a central theme in our intro or our conclusion (or both) that helps shape my thinking on the ways that we are trying to blend the academic and the personal blog together for us.

    As I was writing my “About me” page, I wrote the following but then took it out and thought it fit better here –

    For this blog and the article I am writing in collaboration with SLP, I am very interested in exploring this notion of the distinctions between, blogs (as a site for knowledge production), blogging (as the commitment to using blogs for personal writing, research, and teaching) and being a blogger (which I would like to challenge us to think about as a feminist practitioner intertwining personal and pedagogical blogs and as a facilitator of blogging). I would like to link this with the goals of our writing on teaching and writing blogs under the larger framework of accessibility.

    I really want us to continue thinking through this piece. Especially as I’m not sure how it fits into what we’re hoping to write about, but I see it as a great effort – and a key intervention that we can make about being teachers who blog in and beyond the classroom.