Monday, June 27, 2005

thankyou for your response post, Susanna

Thankyou Susanna.

I'm sure your post will generate further discussion.

As for me - I am a compulsive scribbler - give me any surface and I will scribble - that doesnt mean I always have something worthwhile to say.

And because of years (by golly - its now officially a DECADE...) of moderating experience on email lists and putting up stuff - web logging before "blog" became part of our everyday vocabulary because they found ways for people to journal online without having to know much code (even simple code like html) ... I seem to have no problems making an ass of myself online over and over again;-)

I will have substantive discussion/dialogue with your contribution hopefully later this week. Today I am off to Hyderabad, India - family and sabbatical related field work (working with my NGO collaborator and also possibly dialoguing with some livejournallers from those parts.

I'm expecting to be mobbed by family for a few days though.

more later,
r

Things queer and not so

Hi,

Sorry for disappearing - I was finishing a text (on the intellectually challenging case of the Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese Sandwich on eBay), and it seems my poor head can only take one thing at the time.

Great questions, Radhika!

Thinking of how to respond (and Kris's questions as for the blog format), I can't help noting that blogs are a bit tricky for me... but then again it's the same with me and listservs: scribbling anything seems to take disproportionate amount of time compared to the quality of the outcome. This may also have to do with being a second-language speaker/writer (or then it's just the general slipperiness of language), but it's a challenge expressing myself. So I'm very much of a habitual lurker, and in awe of the kind of eloquence some people seem capable of almost instantly.

So that's my disclaimer, and perhaps difficult to connect to me finding both listservs and blogs potentially wonderful for theory-formation as well as networking (although the former is obviously more difficult than the latter). The hard thing is to achieve the kind of intensity that makes people engage with each other’s ideas - a question of time, granted, but I think it also has to do with goals and aims. So much of what we write and think is for some specific purpose (an article, class, talk, book, meeting), and tied to deadlines, and it may make it difficult to engage in parallel projects that do not have equally set aims or schedules. Recently I've been thinking a lot about how sadly my life revolves around iCal, and how this often keeps me from really thinking and pushing ideas further (or maybe that's just the excuse).

A colleague of mine is doing this wonderful research on a Finnish online forum for young/teenage girls, and the kinds of sexual and gender performances it enables. These self-performances tend to follow extremely predictable scripts in terms of gender normativity, but then some of them work with rather queer understandings of gender, age or sexuality. The thing is, that exchanges between these positions seem somewhat rigid and formulaic (like the recurrent debate over "the natural" and "the gross") in ways that don't really make it a negotiation inasmuch as - what - a kind of insistent repetition?

Nevertheless, here we have what is basically a commercial, highly popular online forum, with queer undercurrents and exchanges, and all kinds of unstable self-representations going on. The users are young, mainly female, spend a lot of time online, debate the attractiveness of the queer eye cast and conventionally feminine post pin-up poses of themselves in irc galleries.

This forum is a good example of queer moments online, and it points to the possibilities of the Web as a popular medium of discussion and user activity. But then again, the example does not exactly fit in a framework of liberating /reactionary... it kind of swings all ways, and this similar kind of ambiguity characterizes a lot of what's going on online. (I'm thinking of research done on gay male online forums and dating sites, and how these rely on self-commodification and address their audiences in terms of identity politics and consumerism, both enabling exchanges and fixing notions of identity.) So yes, definitely heteronormativity is disrupted in terms of the desirable subject positions Radhika addresses – and definitely more so in some examples than others, partly because queer sorts of subjectivities are desirable in terms of consumerism. This does not do away with norms (well, doing away with norms is not all that likely, or possible), but at least norms may realign slightly differently.

The whole thing with money and the Web is something I would love to read/discuss more: transnational economies, alternative publishing structures, ambivalencies of consumerism… and centrally how understandings of economy and agency guide our ways of working through these themes. It seems to me that Internet research too often bypasses questions of commerce as self-evident (as “natural” condition of the medium; as the evil other to independent counter-cultural activities; as a transparent framework, you name it), even if case studies illustrate the complexity of things. I've certainly done my share of simplification in this respect.

S.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Hi everyone

Hi everyone,
I just wanted to take a minute to introduce myself and to welcome everyone to the blog, as Cyberdiva has done!

I have been at The University of Findlay for four years now, and I teach courses in rhetoric, electronic rhetoric, and women's studies. I also am the director of English Education, so I usually have a full load in the spring, when I teach methods and there are frantic student teachers perpetually in my office.

I have done several conference papers and articles on the intersection of electronic rhetoric and feminism, and I am working on a chapter for an upcoming collection entitled Image Events where I look at how The Guerrilla Girls in the art community use the net to engage in media spectacle. This is my summer project in addition to our collection.

I think our collection is going to be very useful and interesting (no snoozy essays in this one!) so if anyone wants to toss out some questions to get our discussion rolling, that would be great!

Looking forward to seeing the next posts, Christine

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Greetings

Hello,

After years of lurking, I'm finally posting my first blog entry. I've actually been procrastinating for some time now; it's funny how nervous I am about a cyber-introduction!

In any case I'm honored and delighted to be included with such an accomplished group, though I fear at the moment I'm pondering the logistics of a cross-country move, rather than more intellectual pursuits. After a stint at Western Oregon University I'm taking a new position at UMass Lowell. I'm leaving with mixed feelings: excitement, sadness, and no small amount of angst.

So as I pack up boxes and wonder how I've accumulated so much junk (Do I really need that Hello Kitty wafflemaker? Yes, I think I do), I'll be looking forward to some interesting conversations!

Best,

Susan Kirtley

Thursday, June 16, 2005

hey susanna:)

Susanna - great to hear from you.

Was on a road trip over the weekend and am catching up.



Two things - in response (and this does not have to be only Susanna responding, of course...:)):



1] I'd be interested in you elaborating on how queering the internet - the ways in which it may disrupt (if at all) heternormative gender binaries to reproduce other saliences - in terms of desirable traits in subject positions within discursive and material transnational digital economies....



For instance, seeing how (granted the access is still class and geography specific in various ways) younger generations are social online in their everyday practices, and how some of these are also into Anime etc (and when you look at some more sophisticated anime - not always centered around marketing to the U.S. - there is some interesting gender blurring going on... ) - how are their notions of what it means to be gendered in a technomediated society shifting. How are gendered hegemonies rearticulated? And does rearticulation mean "liberation" in any sense?



(its like the telephone was for our generation - xcuse I meant MY generataion - quite transparent. I do remember though how there was awkwardness on the part of my grandmother and her generation - whatever I remember of her- in relation to acts of dialing and speaking in a phone...)





I look fwd to reading your book when it comes out.



2] Kris has asked about blogging experiences in the comments section to what you posted. And you mentioned being a "virgin" blogger... That question actually is for all of you, I'd say. And expanding upon what Kris says, what if anything is different about the way we dialogue at this interface?

What kinds of conversations might these sorts of formats foster, encourage etc.



hoping to hear from more of you ....




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Friday, June 10, 2005

Hi all

This is another blog virgin coming out: so thrilling! I'm writing in Helsinki, where it's still sunny at closer to 10 pm.

As for me, I'm doing a postdoc in women's studies at University of Turku and it seems I'll start as assistant professor on digital culture in another university in a few months. I've been working on cyberfeminism for some years, but I'm ambiguous as to how much I really identify with the term. I felt the cyberfeminist manifestos of the mid to late 1990s (from Sadie Plant to Old Boys Network) had a quite troubled relationship to, and definition of feminism, and a great deal of my work on cyberfeminism has been about analysing the prefix "cyber" and the meanings and histories it carries. (Some of this stuff is up at http://www.translocal.net/susanna/). This was also a central question in my thesis which I finished a few years ago. After a lot of editing and cursing, it's coming out this year as a book from Peter Lang with the title Figures of Fantasy: Internet, Women and Cyberdiscourse.

My work is currently on online porn (bit too much of it, really)... but I'm generally working on Web, popular culture and feminist-queer thought. My contribution to this wonderful book project is on commercial sites for doll brands (Barbie, Bratz and the like), and the ways that girls become figured in them. I'm especially interested in theories of affect, but it remains to be seen how far I get with this.

Looking forward to hearing more from you all!
S.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Welcome again!

Hello all,

We were all asked to do "self-introductions and dialogue about the many facets of cyberfeminist work that are driving your research in general and the collection in particular."

So here goes.

I am associate prof in the School of Comm Studies at Bowling Green State U - been here 8 years. Working at the intersection of Race, Gender, Sexuality, Technology and Globalization mostly from Postcolonial Feminist angle. Inevitably, queer theory intersects with what I do as do various development studies related issues. I dont want to say I study "digital divide" - because I think that framework is limited - but I can say I am trying to re-articulate the notion of "divides"... I wont say I research online learning environments - but I will say I develop them and as a result of that, am engaged in various writing projects related to that.

So I have critical view on "cyberfeminism". Questions I would ask are about production, choice, and Agency in relation to code and design. In addition, complicity and resistance, silence and voice are themes I have explored. After all - as of now many of the internet savvy consumers are women! But the key word here is CONSUMERS...

Stuff I've done etc can be viewed from my attempt at a professional url - http://personal.bgsu.edu/~radhik

(I say "attempt" and you'll see why;-))

My most recent published work includes my book "Cyberselves" (Altamira, 2004)

This July, I am off on Faculty improvement leave (one more way that we women get to "improve" upon ourselves - HA!) related field work in Cyberabad and nearby rural areas. But I am online periodically - even if not compulsively as I am usually.

Its been a pleasure reading your essays so far. So I hope to hear more.


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Friday, June 03, 2005

Dear contributors...

Dear Webbing Cyberfeminist Practice Contributors:

Hope your summer is going well, and thanks so much for getting your revised 
manuscripts to us. During the summer we will be writing our introduction and
section intros in order to share our sections with the respondents and meet our
early fall deadline for a full review. We know it's a busy time, but we would like
very much for you to log onto our blogsite to begin self-introductions and
dialogue about the many facets of cyberfeminist work that are driving your
research in general and the collection in particular. Thanks so much to those of
you who have already done so. Some of you should have received an invitation
from blogger.com in the last several weeks; if you have inadvertently deleted
this email, let us know and we can re-invite you. In the event you received your
invite a longer while ago, we will need to re-invite you and are in the process of
doing so. Our site is at ; we believe the blog
will help contribute to the dialogic nature of the collection and help us mirror that
within our print overview.


Looking forward to the conversation.

Kris, Radhika, and Christine

finally . . . playing around

hi all:
strange that though i analyze and theorize a lot about computer technology and transnational feminist practices, i haven't actually participated in a blog. i'm hoping we all can get into some excellent discussions about how we as individuals as well as scholars perceive/use blogs. . .

just a brief bit about me: i recently defended my dissertation (end of April) and am now revising to file by the end of June. whew! it feels unreal to have this endless project come to an end; at the same time, i'm very eager to revise/change it's vision and move in new directions . . .

which leads to very new directions: i have accepted an assistant professor position at the American University in Kuwait, and will be moving to Kuwait City at the end of July. it'll be quite a transition from Syracuse (NY), but i'm really excited about encountering and living in a culture new to me, working with Kuwaiti students, and developing research projects with women's rights activists and feminists in the region.

i plan on developing and publishing my own blog so that i can easily keep in touch with people from across the globe. i have a feeling that even more so than now, cyberspace will provide the grounds for new connections for me.

look forward to hearing about all of you.