September 2010 Archives

Query Response on Dani_D29

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I do not think that FB does helps effectively in finding their own identity. I agree with the comment by patrio84 that there are a lot of people who falsify their identity on facebook in order to receive acceptance or maybe merely for fun for them to "live" virtually, an escape for them, from the reality. I mean people are creating facebook account for their pets. (O_O)

I do think that facebook does provide a platform for one to experiment with different identity which they think they might be, but does not facilitate in depth understanding of oneself.

I still thinks that engaging with real people is really important for one to find their own identity. Internet may be a source for a person to get the information and where to look for help. Finding one's identity is not an easy path, sometimes I thinks that one can understand other people better than themselves. There are people who spend their life in search of who they are and what they want in life... The search is a journey...

I also believe that facebook is not a good place to form intimate relationship, but I have to say there is absolutely no possibility of it happening but just that the possibility is small. One is in a relationship with another is because of the way of how they feel towards each other. Their body gesture, their smiles, eyes contact when they talked, their facial expression and all others which are contributing factor to one's feeling towards another person, all these little things make you think that, "hey I like the way you smile when I said something funny...", which apparently cannot be "channeled" through facebook. Besides the sincerity and truthfulness of what is being said online is also one of the reason why I do not think that facebook is a place for the formation relationship. Apart from that, people might not even take the relationship that is form on facebook seriously due to the flexibility it provides, one can get into a relationship now and get out from it the next second without even telling another person, they can just simply disappear.

Group 7: Youtube of One's Own

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The article was mainly about "coming out" videos that were found posted on youtube by numerous youtubers. Our group discussed the different aspects posting up these "coming out" videos and how it has helped other GLBT individuals to post up their own as well. We felt for these individuals to post up these videos, they were able to find a supportive network of people who have gone through the same situation and it inspired them to do the same. For someone who may be far away from other GLBTs, technology gives them the opportunity engage in a social change that is occuring online. The idea of "coming out" videos was very interesting because it gave the person a chance to gather their thoughts and say it once, instead of having to tell other family and friends numerous times about their sexual identity. However, we also came to the conclusion that the person who posted up the "coming out" videos, is actually coming out more than once, based on how many times the video is viewed. Not only that but just the idea of doing a "coming out" video, it forces these GLBTs to be viewed as gay in a certain context or space that is slowly being constructed.

Small Group #8

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Our group discussed the article "From Websites to Wal-Mart". In this article, the author specifically points to rural queer communities and the ways they are making their own queer spaces. According to Gray, queer communities in rural areas do not have the resources or anonymity afforded to large urban communities, so their queer organizing is often done in alternative ways.

Gray argues that the surge of online communities and social networking have become so embedded in regular social interaction that the line between the "online" constructed communities and the "offline" reality becomes blurred, with the two separate entities coming together to create something wholly different.

Gray uses the example of a queer group using a Wal-Mart as a drag show venue to demonstrate both the ways that rural queer communities are organizing, and the ways that the offline and online come together. In this Wal-Mart, people are doing drag down the aisles, buying and wearing things they find inside the store. For small communities that do not have specific spaces owned or run by and/or for queers, other meeting places like a Wal-Mart can be the only spot available. These large corporate entities (Gray also points to gas stations and McDonald's) are commonly found to host queer groups in rural areas because of the apathy of employees and managers. A small, family-owned coffee shop or bar can be unfriendly or unwelcoming to some, and these large corporate places have employees who either don't care or can't force people to leave. In the Wal-Mart example, pictures of the drag show were then posted online, gathering even more followers and encouraging more participation. This involvement in the online community helped the group grow and encouraged more participation in the drag shows.

Our group discussed the use of social media in queer organizing, and how that has become a great tool to get people interested in an event or to find out about an event. We have found great events and groups to join because of facebook or twitter, and those can be a great tool in queer organizing.

This article really outlined the idea of a "queer" space, and what it could mean. While we may not think of Wal-Mart as inherently queer friendly, those in other communities have obviously thought otherwise. Are queer spaces just those that have a lot of queer people in them? Are they specifically designed to showcase queer people or queer culture? The idea of queer space can be very different dependent on where you are geographically, and all queer spaces are not created equal.

Group 7 comment

I feel that negative aspects of social media are solely based on individual perspectives, and it cannot always be taken to heart. There will always be certain individuals or groups that are not willing to be open-minded of social issues and it is something that cannot always be changed. I do see that the social media often forgets to incorporate both sides of a story, and sometimes creates one that badly portrays the life of gays, queers, or transsexuals. I do admit that I used to believe that it was very easy to identify a gay man, if they act feminine or dress themselves up in bright, fitted outfits. It was due to the fact that the media portrayed gay men in this way and it was not always true. I do understand that we cannot box up GLBTs in this manner. The social issue behind gender identity is more complex than that. The portrayal of gay lives in the media, only falsifies the fact that all gay men or women are not alike. The majority of the youth who are not gay, will not understand this unless they have a close friend or family member who is going through a sexual identity crisis, or if they are taking a required course that teaches them about gender identity. Only through these instances will the youth have a better understanding of what gay lives and cultures are truly about.

Commenting on davyeo

I find that by engaging themselves in the online media, the youth can find a supportive social network that they can relate to. Sometimes internet social networks can be more supportive and understanding of the individual who decides to reveal their true sexual identity. Although there is that issue of how much one can be trusting of others that one has not met "physically", it does give the individual a chance to be as open as they possibly can, and a way for them to deal with negative comments online before dealing with them offline. The online world is an opportunity for one to connect with others that are going through the same issue, and it also helps teaches those that are heterosexuals another way of life.

Going through a sexual identity crisis, online blogging, or vlogging is a great way for the youth to gather their thoughts and fully express themselves without being interrupted by someone else. These "coming out" blogs can teach the youth that they are not alone, and that most "coming out" stories aren't always all the same. Although the inspiration for coming out is always influenced by others that have gone through the same situation.

Groups 3 and 4: Facebook

Collective Identity, Activism, and the Construction of Social Problems

With the creation of facebook people from all walks of life are able to come together. This is particularly helpful for those in the GLBT community. It has created an outlet where people from villages, unincorporated towns, metropolis', and more can come together and share common likes and aspirations. For those in the GLBT community it can be a place, an outlet to find themselves and try/examine new things. These options are especially important for those in the GLBT community who have confirmed a new identity or are questioning it. Facebook and the internet in general can be a great place to find out about Queer culture (what do certain flags or signs represent, Queer book groups, GLBT allied organizations, where are the "gay" bars in my city, etc.). The possibilities on facebook clearly seem endless, but our group was quick to realize that there is a dark side as well.

As mentioned before facebook can be a liberating environment to be a part of. However, we our group seemed to group seemed to form a general consensus that there is a false sense of control on facebook. The options given for creating a profile are very limited and clearly set to a heteronormative standard. For example, "Sex" male or female. What about transgender, or woman who identifies as male, or bisexual, or no gender at all? Then there is the "looking for" section with the options of friendship, dating, a relationship, or networking. What about wanting to show that you have more than one serious relationship or you practice polyfidelity? Also brought up in our discussion was the directed marketing/advertising based on the sex that you choose in your profile. We noticed that the adds that bombard you on the side of the page are geared towards male or female. For women: Vogue Magazine, perfume, get free makeup, etc. For men: girls in your area, check out the latest girl on girl action, old spice, etc.

As you can see the endless possibilities on the internet can be freeing and educational. The facebook phenom in many ways is also a great place to make connections and express yourself. However, it is important to see the normative "rules" that are set on many social networks.

How effective is the internet or media in helping youth in their coming out process and the understanding of the public?

The consensus of the group here was that the internet is a great place to explore, question, and learn. We also thought it was a great place to establish a group of people that an individual may identify with. The internet is a place to experiment with new places, people, and ideas. With all of these options in mind, the coming out process for youth can be as open or anonymous as they choose.

Group 1: Youtube

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Part one:
A.) Title: "A Youtube of ones own?"
We believe that this title makes reference to Viginia Wolfe's "A Room of Ones Own." It is not talking about physical space but creative space, an outlet for personal creativity.
-Coming out videos on Youtube create creative space.
-Not physical space- other people are allowed in, public sphere, opens you up to comments left by people you do not know.
-Asking how it is similar and how is it different?
Coming out videos and rhetorical action.
-Super emotional. Finally making a choice about coming out and then the video turns into an April Fool's prank for his friends.
-This video was making a mockery of the internal struggle that people are experiencing.
-This is not a joking matter. Many people have committed suicide because of these struggles they are facing surrounding their sexuality.
-This then turns into a space that is not safe for personal expression.
-This can also be a source for community. A place for people to to talk and communicate with other people that are feeling the same way. Makes it easier to meet people based on identity. Building strength in numbers.

B.) Did you like the article? Do you agree?
We felt that this was a lot like other articles of the same nature. It is awkward in academic spaces to write about social media . It takes a very sociological perspective on how communities form.
The article was not posed as an absolute truth, there were no real conclusions made. It was focused on a small group of people.

C.) Construction:
-People can post anything they want which leads to opportunities for people to provide both positive an negative feedback.
-Our Facebook/Youtube selves have become more real to us than our physical selves. "You didn't comment on my Facebbok post." "You aren't my Facebook friend."

Part two: How do you queer time and space?
-Youtube presents itself as queer space (can't draw boundaries) as opposed to physical space.
-Everything lives forever on the internet.
-With social networking youhave time to think of responses to negative feedback before you post them.
-It is easier to bash or insult someone on the internet since you cannot see them. There are no perceived consequences.

Query Response #1

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Response to Dani_D29 Query

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This is such an interesting topic to me and I am glad you posed this question for contemplation. Personaly for me, I don't believe that it is possible for youth to find their TRUE identities through social networking sites. Truthfuly I don't even know how realistic it is to assume that adults are displaying their true identities. Facebook and Myspace (when that was the "in" thing) are ways for us to put our best face forward. Generaly speaking we post witty and funny messages that we have had time to think about. Rarely do we see phots that are unflattering unless they were posted by someone else. These social sites are a way for people, young or old, to create a profile containing only the pieces that we want everyone else to see. In real everyday life, kids make mistakes, do dumb things, mature, do more dumb things, grow up, and eventualy they start to figure themselves out. It is hard enough to know who you really are in this physical existence.
Aside from that though, I believe that social networking is a fantastic resource for meeting people and forming communities. It is a way for the youth of today to reach out when perhaps they have nowhere else to turn or no one else to talk to. So while I do not think it is possible for our youth to find their true identities online, I do think it is a great way for them to express what they are feeling and believing at the moment.

Commenting on Dani_D29 tweet

Personally I do not feel that FB helps youth find their identities and form intimate relationships. I say this because a lot of people who are engaging with FB give false perceptions of themselves. A lot of people falsify their identities to be accepted and be seen as "cool", they find special ways to say things so that they seem interesting and so they are noticed and or gain friends. With false identities being formed and people forming relationships with people they really don't know (just by what they say, which could be a lie), no, youths are not able to form intimate relationships through FB because for all they may know the picture they see of that person may not be them, or could be a picture of them from years ago (what they once looked like). FB is a place to communicate with already known friends not to form intimate relationships with strangers.

A few announcements

First, just a reminder that there is no class tomorrow (9.30). I encourage you to spend that time reading and engaging the blog.

Second, I have altered the readings for next week a little. Here's the reading schedule for next week (I put the changed readings in bold). Make sure that you have the following readings completed by Tuesday, October 5:

  • Rodriguez, Nelson M. "Queer Theory and the Discourse on Queer(ing) Heterosexuality: Pedagogical Considerations" in Queering Straight Teachers 
  • Marchese, Stephanie Jo. "May I, Please, Queer your Kids/The New Queer Pedagogy"
  • Luhmann, Susanne. "Queering/Querying Pedagogy? Or, Pedagogy is a Pretty Queer Thing"
  • Threlkeld, Aubry. "Virtual Disruptions: traditional and new media's challenges to heteronormativity in education"
Third, your first response entry to a query tweet is due on Friday. 

Important Event on Thursday: Reclaiming the University

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Reclaiming the University: Fulfilling Our Promise to Students and the Public

Thursday, September 30th. 5-6:30 PM. Blegen Hall, Rm 5.

We are told that the university is in crisis. The administration claims the crisis is created by reductions in public support. Yet even before the recent cuts in state appropriations, the University was doing a poor job fulfilling its educational mission as a land-grant institution. Skyrocketing tuition has limited access to our state's flagship university, the milking of tuition-generating units to fund initiatives unrelated to education has diminished the quality of instruction, and the pursuit of private sources of revenue has compromised the institution's ethics and academic integrity. This critical conversation about higher education will illuminate why higher education is failing the public, and consider how collective action can change this situation.


Speakers:
Carl Elliott, Professor, Center for Bioethics, University of Minnesota
"A Fatal Drug Study at the University of Minnesota and Why It will
Happen Again" - on the tragic story of Dan Markingson, a mentally ill
young man who died in a clinical trial conducted at the University of
Minnesota. The case exposes stunning ethical lapses at the U, lapses
that are likely to recur without major structural changes.

Gary Rhoades, General Secretary of the American Association of
University Professors
"Reclaiming the Public Promise of Public Higher Education" - on how
prioritizing private, institutional, and corporate interests in pursuit
of revenue and rankings has undercut the public responsibilities and
functions of public universities.

Sofia Shank, campus activist and Women's Studies major at the University
of Minnesota
"The Legacy of Bruininks's 'Strategic Positioning': Tracing the
Direction of the University" - on the consequences of strategic
positioning for students at the University of Minnesota, and organizing
for change.

Moderated by Karen Ho, Associate Professor of Anthropology, UofM

Sponsored by Faculty for the Renewal of Public Education -
umnfaculty.blogspot.com -
and Education Action Coalition MN - october7mn.org

i am commenting on Briana's "Second life, real life?"

Does Second Life meet the one year requirement for a real life experience in the gender one wants?

I thought a lot about this after reading the article. I was also wondering if 365 hours is equivalent to a 1 year period in virtual world? Thus, does an hour equal a day in virtual reality? Meaning that 365 hours would actually equal a year online?

I honestly did not feel they were comparable either, but I think it is an interesting experiment to try and compare virtual reality to a one year commitment performing the gender one feels they actually are. As someone that does not have an experience such as that of a trans/man or trans/woman it is hard for me to understand why someone would need to do a one year fulfillment? Haven't the people wishing to match their biological sex to their claimed gender spent their whole lives living in the wrong body, and don't you think they would be sure (based on their lived life experience until that point) that they are infact unhappy with their biological sex? I find it hard to compare virtual world to reality at all really, because I don't think it's real.

Yet, maybe in the future we will all be living in a matrix where as we walk down the street a person's facebook profile will pop up above their head? God, I hope not. What if our avatars become comparable to our real lives? And the digital world becomes so real that we really can live and perform daily operations strictly online? Oh no!

Group 6 Queery Response: Online versus Offline "selves"

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The Internet, as we know, is not biological or living, but rather a man made invention. Society often talks about it in terms of crawling, expanding, chattering, exploding, and other sorts of life-like actions. This likely happens for many reasons, but one that is of interest for me is that the Internet has outgrown (another word!) its control by any one or several institutions and seems limitless in capability and function. It is, by all accounts, a very new invention that we have come to embrace and become dependent on. The Internet as a medium as grown faster than any other historically and continues to change itself by those who use and connect with it.

As a medium for queer spaces, its boundaries are limitless and is fueled by engagement. We all become nodes and conduits in creating and defining these spaces, ourselves, and the world around us. These spaces can be much more fluid and ripe for revolution when compared to their physical counterparts. Communication and interaction between people across the globe, representing a multitude of identities, becomes commonplace. Curiosity and questioning fosters new questions and new possibilities. Media, ideas, and knowledge can be accessed, shared, dissembled, and rearticulated at breakneck speeds, not possible in physical spaces.

We are at the tip of the revolution. Innovation, according to a computer scientist named Christopher Langton, has a tendency to gravitate toward "the edge of chaos: the fertile zone between too much order and too much anarchy". We've only begun to use the Internet as a tool for community building, the capabilities and limits of our online selves are not yet, and may never be defined.

Enjoy this 17 minute video from TED on the astonishing power of networks by Steven Johnson called "Where good ideas come from":

DE #2- Real and virtual

Question: How might we integrate the real and the virtual, so that we benefit yet are not consumed by social interaction via the web?

I'm not really sure how we might be able to integrate the real life and virutal life successfully but we can always limit ourself. I think the only real way to successfully have a taste of both worlds is to limit our online activity. I think that we might be able to integrate the two by possibly meeting people we know from online offline. There is, however, a danger in meeting people off the internet. People can be as real or as fake as they want online and it can sometimes be hard to decifer who to trust and who not to trust. Maybe if theres a way to hold a meeting of some sort or a gathering of people in a certain community who know one another from a website or blog it would be a great way to integrate both online and offline. Anyone else have any ideas?

Group 5 LGBT identity and online new media

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Some key points in our website are that new technologies are helping GLBT members form new communities online and in some cases offline. The internet helps people find each other whether it be a support system, new friends, old friends and partners. We thought it was interesting how the author commented on seeing a drag queen walking through Walmart. Most of us agreed that our town would think it was strange to see anyone walking through Walmart, Target, etc in drag. We commented on how people from different part of the world can interact with each other without stepping out of their comfort zone and find a community, which can be good and bad. Yeah they can find supportive communities but at the same time they don't have to interact face to face with people. We agreed that while online helps people not feel trapped and helps them voice their opinions; there should be some sort of limit that people put on themselves concerning their online use. Face to face interaction is pretty important and while the internet is nice it needs to be second place to offline. It's pretty dangerous to create a whole community primarily online because what if the internet breaks down or the computer breaks down. Those people lost their only community. Also is there a way to make Facebook, MySpace, etc. less hetero-normative? Do you think it would be good to have more than just the male and female option? Are there other ways to make them less hetero-normative?

Bullying

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Question: Query: When it comes down to bullying, are social online networks just as dangerous for queer teens as they are offline?

I think that online social networks can be just as dangerous as offline bullying. There might not be a physical aspect online (although it might lead to a physical contfrontation offline) there is a huge danger in emotional and mental bullying. The phrase "sticks and stones" is nice to believe but it just isnt true. I think that we all depend on words and each word has a certain depth and meaning and can be extremely hurtful, especially when there's more than one bully. I believe there was a case a few years ago where a young girl killed herself because she was being harrassed on facebook or myspace. She was being harrassed so much online that she thought the only way to escape was to end her life. Like I said, there might not be a physical aspect to online social networks but it's still just as dangerous. But thats just my opinion.

Day 7: September 28

For today's class, we will devote most of our time to small group work. I will be moving around from group to group to discuss the readings. Additionally, I well spend time in each small group reviewing the assignments, answering questions and providing mini-tutorials on the blog and twitter. Here's the small group assignment. Even if you are not in class today, you are responsible for the blog assignment in part three of the group exercise.

Announcements:

  • The Diablog assignment has been posted. Check it out, read through it carefully, post questions on the entry for the assignment, and think about which week you want to sign up for. 
  • Your first query response entry is due this Friday. Use this entry to help you out.
  • Class is canceled this Thursday (9/30). I encourage you to use our class time on Thursday to engage with/get caught on the blog and twitter. 

comment on DE: on "So how do you tell?"

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QUESTION: Why has is become "hard" to tell if someone's gay or not?
I just thought it was interesting that I've heard it being talked about so much.
What do you guys think?

I think this is an interesting question because I frequently think about stereotypes. No one wants to acknowledge them, but they obviously stemmed (back in the day) from some amount of truth. At least enough truth to make it a majority for that specific group. Yet, I believe that you cannot possibly look at someone and assume a stereotype is true because of their ethnic/cultural/gender/class group. I think that people want it to be easier to tell because it, for some reason, makes people uncomfortable if they are not sure of someone's sexual orientation.

You will hear guys say things like, "I don't mind gay guys, as long as they don't hit on me!" as if we're scared to be hit on? Why does it make us uncomfortable? Because we don't want it? Just because you're gay doesn't mean you're going to hit on everyone around you! I just think we have this mentality that we should be able to identify someone who is gay based off of certain signifiers, which only fit stereotypes, which is problematic because most GLBT identified people are not dead give-aways and don't fit the stereotypes we have made for them. GLBT identified people are not a homogenous group that have all the same characteristics. We need to stop putting people in boxes!

I think it has become "hard" to tell because we are now, more than ever, more comfortable talking with and creating dialogue about sexual desire. And since we are more open, it is less of a problem to us. And since it is not as big of a problem more people live openly and they obviously don't conform to an outdated stereotype. Our stereotype of masculinity and femininity is such a binary that we tend to view any guy that isn't hypermasculine as possibly gay, and any woman that isn't overly girly as a possible lesbian? When people don't conform perfectly within the binary we don't know how to define them, and they don't feel the need to define themselves to everyone they meet. We just are, let's get over all the bullshit. People do not always fit into boxes, and as we evolve and become more understanding of eachother, we are less likely to fit so perfectly and cleanly into those boxes we created.

Query tweets, part 1

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Here are the query tweets that I have read so far on our twitter list. Did you do one, but it isn't showing up on the list? Post it as a comment to this entry. 

Pick one of the following tweet queries and respond to it for your first query response entry--due this Friday, October 1st

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Your first query response entry is due this Friday, October 1st! Make sure to check on my blog entry on some ideas on how to post query entries. After reading that entry, if you want to do option 2, I have already uploaded the images into our blog. Here's one way to access them: 
1. Go to the behind-the-scenes part of our blog. 
2. Click on manage (next to create). 
3. Then click on assets. All of the tweets should show up as images. Click on the tweet image that you want to use. 
4. You should now be on this screen:
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5. Click on "Embed Asset" (bottom, lower right). Copy the link. 
6. Paste the link into your new entry (make sure you are not on "rich text" format.
7. You're done!

Diablog Assignment

To foster connections between our online and offline engagements, to help us to cultivate our class community, and to give you even more opportunity to shape the class, you and 2-3 classmates will lead us in a mini diablog about the readings. Our discussion will begin the week of October 12/14.

WHO? 4 students per group

WHAT? Engage in an online and in-class discussion of the reading for the assigned week.

HOW? 

  • Post 4 reflective blog posts on reading by Sunday
  • Engage in a dialogue through comments, more blog posts, live-tweet dialogues on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 
  • Present on process/findings to class on Thursday of the week 
  • Post summary of process by Monday of the following week

WHY?

  • To contribute to the larger archive of our blog 
  • Develop more effective understandings of the readings and queer/ing desire 
  • Learn from each other

WHEN? Sign-up for a week between October 14/16 - December 7/9. Here's an overview of a sample week:

Sunday Carefully read assigned essay, each member posts initial blog entry
Mon/Tues/Weds Engage in online dialogue with other group members
Thursday Present findings to class
Monday Post summary of the diablog experience as group on our blog

ASSIGNMENT BREAKDOWN:

4 Initial Blog Entries: (4 @ 25 points each) 100 points
Each of your group members is required to post a 300-500 word entry in which you provide a brief summary and critical assessment of the assigned reading. These entries will serve as the starting point for your engaged discussion with each other. These entries must be posted by Sunday at 10PM. For this part of the assignment, each of you is responsible for contributing 1 entry, worth 25 points (so 25 x 4 = 100 points)

Posts/Comments/Tweets: (posts@20; Com.@10; Tweets@5) 60 points
After reading each other's initial posts, you will participate in an online dialogue about the reading and your reactions/understandings. You can choose how you want to discuss the reading. However, each group member must contribute 60 points worth of participation. Here are some possible ways to earn those points:

  • 1 response post (20 pts) + 4 comments (40 pts)
  • 2 reflection posts (40 pts) + 2 comments (20 pts)
  • 12 tweets for live-tweet conversation (60 pts)
  • 6 tweets for live-tweet conversation (30 pts) + 3 comments (30 pts)

There are many possibilities for how you can engage with each other; it is up to your group to decide. Remember that the goal of this assignment is for you to collectively (and collaboratively) engage with the reading in deep and meaningful ways.

In-class Discussion 35 points
You and your group members are required to give a brief (5-10 minute) in-class presentation on your reading and lead a 25-30 minute discussion about it on the Thursday of your assigned week. You may present the material in whatever ways you think will be most effective in encouraging class engagement and discussion of the reading and its ideas in relation to queering desire. This presentation should include references to/highlights of your diablog/dialogue. For your leading of discussion, make sure that you bring at least 2-3 questions to ask the class.

Summary of Diablog 35 points
At the conclusion of your week, you will collectively/collaboratively create a summary of the key points of your discussion. This summary should be in the form of a 300-400 word blog entry. This summary post should include direct references (discussing + linking) to moments of your online diablog. It should be posted to our blog by the Monday following your assigned week (at 10 PM).

Some Special Instructions:

1. You should file your posts under the category: diablog, subcategory: assigned week #
2. You should tag all entries with your alias.
3. After you post your summary on the Monday after, please send me a word .doc that includes all of your entries, comments and tweets. Make sure to clearly identify all of your group members in the email.

Download assignment here

Open thread on tracking topic assignment

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I wanted to check in with you all about the tracking topic assignment. If you have any questions about the assignment, please post them as comments to this entry. This is your chance to ask me and everyone else in the class to clarify what you are supposed to do. You can also use this entry as a place to start conversations about your topic: give advice to other students, share stories about your tracking experiences, mention sources that you think might be helpful for other students, etc. Post comments on anything that you think is related to the tracking topics assignment. Please review the assignment carefully before you post your questions.

But, before we get to that, I want to offer a few more words on the assignment: The purpose of this assignment is to give you an opportunity to learn more about your (one) chosen topic/term/author/organization and how it fits in with or has influenced understandings and practices of queering desire. You can choose to track (research, investigate, critically reflect on) your topic in whatever ways enable you to deeply engage with issues/ideas that you are interested in. The bulk of your grade for this assignment is the three annotated bibliographies that you are required to do and post on our blog. You also have to tweet about the sources that you find. You can find your sources in many different ways--look at library databases (like genderwatch or lgbt life), youtube, google/google scholar, the library catalog, and/or ask other class members on twitter/blog/in-person. Remember that for each bibliography, one of your three sources must be academic (journal article or book). The other two (out of the three) can be from anywhere--as long as you critically engage with it and connect it with the larger theme of your bibliography/topic.

Just for fun, thought I'd add this recent Katy Perry/Elmo video. If you haven't heard, they pulled this from Sesame Street because of Perry's cleavage. Is this too sexual? Do we need to protect the "innocence" of our children? Are children sexual beings? If so, how?

I think we should revisit this video when we discuss queer/ing children in a few weeks.

Direct Engagement One: A queer identity in cyberspace

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What can make a space "queer"? Is it the presence of people or voices who identify as queer? Is it in the subject of the space? As in, is it the topics that are (and are not) discussed? Or is it something different? It seems to me that, for the most part, it is the former, where by the voices that are represented and the identities they express are what define the space. Does this mean that non-queer, sisgender, or allies can't be apart of the conversation? How do or don't their identities affect the conversation?

In order to think about these ideas and questions, I will use and examine Julie Rak's article "The Digital Queer: Weblogs and Internet Identity". The following mouthful of quote is from the opening paragraph of the article:

"Like that confession of sexuality on which the developing area of psychology once depended, blogging relies on the conceit (however transparent) that the blogger is who s/he says s/he is, and that the events described actually happened to her/him personally. The performance of blogging is based on the assumption that experience congeals around a subject, and makes a subject who can be written and read, even when the discourse that seems to support this subject threatens to undermine it."

In order to make your voice known as "queer" in these spaces, one is required to confess, in the Foucauldian sense, their sexuality. Blogging is based in personal experience, and shapes the perception of your online identity based on what you do (and don't) write about. Rak quotes Helen Kennedy in saying the following:
"[online there is a distinction] between being anonymous and feeling anonymous--a distinction deriving from what David Chandler describes as the dual role of the World Wide Web as both public (publishing thoughts, feelings, and identities to a potentially large audience) and private (located in the home, a medium used to construct thoughts, feelings, and identities)."

It is about formulating your identity and attaining readership through confession, while maintaining a sense of anonymity and security.

Some ideas on how to post query entries

One of your assignments is to post a blog entry response to another student's/my query tweet. Here's the assignment description:

2 Query Responses
In addition to posting your own questions, you are required to critically reflect on two query tweets. In these critical reflections, which should be blog entries, you can answer the question posed in the query or you can ask even more questions about the initial question. You can reflect on the implications of the question or write about how/why this is an important question. Basically, you just need to seriously engage with the query and provide a thoughtful response. 
Category: Query Tag: Your Alias

Note: Don't worry. Your first blog response isn't due until October 1st! Just your query tweet is due next week. 

Anyway, here are two options for the format. Both of the following options require that you include the actual query tweet in your post. 

Option 1: After you have selected the query that you wish to respond to, you should copy and paste the text (or retype it) at the top of your blog post. Make sure that you identify the name of the tweeter and the date that it was posted. Like this:

From Qued2010: Query: Reactions to reading cluster of blog entries? What does it do to your brain? How does it affect your engagement? Read more? #?qd2010

Option 2: Instead of copying and pasting the text of the tweet into the entry, you take a screen shot of the image and upload it into your post so it looks like this:

tweetquery1.png
Here's how to do a screen shot on a mac (sorry pc'ers, as I have already proven in class, I don't know much about using a PC. Can anyone else help with this one?):

1. Find the tweet that you want to do a screen shot of.
2. Click on the three keys at the same time: command, shift, 4
3. You should see crosshairs on the screen now. Position the crosshairs at the top of the tweet and click. 
4. Scroll over what you want to include in the screen shot image. Click again. You have now created an image (you should hear a click noise--like a photo being taken--when you do the second click). 
5. The image should be on your desktop as "picture 1". Click on it and rename it with: youraliasquery#.
6. Now you have an image that you can upload into your entry. You can follow the directions from my how to blog entry (step 3, #12). 

Still confused with this second option? Come see me during my office hours and I can walk you through it. It is really easy to do, once you know how. I can also show you all at the beginning of class. 

Day 6: September 23

Today in class, we will continue our discussion of the blog cluster about J Butler refusing the civil courage award. We will also briefly look at the work of J Butler. Why was she being given a civil courage award in the first place? Who is Judith Butler?

Announcements:

  • First direct engagements were due yesterday. Thoughts on the process/assignment?
  • First source for annotated bibliography needs to be tweeted by Monday (9/27)
  • First comment on someone else's direct engagement is due Monday (9/27)
  • Query tweet is due on Monday (9/27) hashtag it with: #?qd2010
  • Readings from next week are on webvista. I added one: "The Facebook Revolution"
9780415389556.jpgWho is Judith Butler? Why would she be receiving a civil courage award?
J Butler is frequently considered a central figure in U.S. queer theory/studies. Her book, Gender Troublecaused a seismic shift in both feminist and gay and lesbian movements and understandings of sex, gender and identity politics. Want to know more about GT and its influence on ideas about gender, identity, and feminist/queer ethics? Check out my presentation: The Ethics of Making, Being and Staying in Trouble. You can also check out all the entries from my blog that I have tagged with her name


Small group discussion
  • Remember to tweet your first source by Monday!
  • Sources: at least one academic (journal article, book) + two other sources 
  • Examples from last year: one, two, three
  • Here are two examples of how to tweet sources:
tweetsource1.png
tweetsource2.png
And, here's an example for your query tweet (which is also due this coming Monday):

querytweet1.png

DE #1: Virtual Disruptions

When I was reading the article "Virtue Disruption: traditional and new media's challenges to heteronormality in education" by Audry D Therelkeld, I was first struck with the statement she made which is

"...,heteronormativity assumes heterosexuality and furthers the squelching of non-heterosexual discourse."

In strongly agree with the first statement which I quote from here article. I personally thinks that people tend to be ignorant of what usually perceived as the "norm", with the ignorant, they tend to ASSUME that heterosexuality is the norm and ignore that homosexuality have existed since the dawn of time. Ignorance is what I believe to be causing homophobia in one's society, as ignorance will lead to misunderstanding and then leads to disgusts and eventually hatred.

and she also said that the discussions in schools which tends to challenge the heteronormality are usually seen as inapporpriate, deemed to sexual, silenced through political correctness or verbal abuse, possibly "labeled as evil" and accused of promoting "gay" agenda.

This somehow linked with what I have mentioned, these are the result of ignorance, people tends to oppress what is opposite the norm as they believe that is how you keep the balance of the society and to prevent the constitution of the society from crumbling down. This is especially true in Malaysia, whereby issues of sex, not to say issues regarding the GLBT, are not openly discussed in the school. I can clearly remember during my first year of college, there was a girl in my course who have absolutely no idea on what is oral sex, porn and others. We do get to study about the birds and the bees in school but that is just in the class of biology whereby students were taught about the fertilizing of the egg will form a new life. Besides the adverse effect of the topic of sex not being openly discussed in school have cause my friend to have a hard time to say the word sex out loud during a presentation of my group about sexual education.

This is also to reinforce what Threlkeld have said in her conclusion that "Protecting children from discussing sex will hurt them and protecting students from discussion of sexuality will as well". This is absolutely true as whenever queer related topic was brought up back in my home country, people would start to joke around about it and I can hardly remember anyone giving positive statement about gay people.

Thus she believes that heteronormality should be challenge and the schools is the best place for such revolution. She suggested that school should introduce queering pedagogy as studies have shown that people who received lecturers on homosexuality, homophobia and the role of the media in perpetuating this, are less homophobic.

She also discussed about how the new media have make the world border-less whereby people of marginalized identity can easily find people alike through the click on the mouse, which opens up discussion and facilitate understanding. Hence she believes that this is a good medium that can be used to challenge heteronormality.

Integrating Virtual Communities and Actual Realities

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I read through Rahul Mitra's article "Queer Indian Bloggers" and I found a number of things that articulated the benefits of virtual communities. Though I maintain a certain cynicism toward being motionless and alone in front of any screen, over the last year I have come to realize the networking potential of sites such as facebook, class blogs, and now twitter. There are a number of people I have met and places I've gone that are facilitated by being able to stay in contact (or make new ones) and find out information that I may not have come across otherwise.

Mitra speaks of interpretive communities as not only being passive consumers of mainstream media, but active producers of alternative media. By "speaking back" to media, there is a level critical engagement that is "increasingly convergent and interactive". What is exciting for me is when the virtual and the real come together, that is when actions or interactions sort of seamlessly weave together and mutually reinforce each other. The community I have offline has grown and is supported by the various virtual realities I inhabit daily, and many are places in which there happens to be resistance to the 'white-supremecist-capitalist-patriarchal' (bell hooks term to better describe the interlocking system of domination) society in which we live. Whether I get an invite to an anti-war protest, a queer bike race, party, or come across an amazing link to new music or news, generally speaking I have access to non-normative spaces in which I have opportunity to engage, share, and critique with others.

In light of creating alternative queer virtual spaces in which to offer critique to the mainstream, I think of the reasons Butler rejects receiving the courage award. How can being connected to groups supporting her decision and backing her cause impact how we engage with the mainstream? If we agree with her in making this decision and agree, how does the internet expand our opportunities to further engage? How might this insight (if it was new for anyone) challenge the life we live in 3D? How might we integrate the real and the virtual, so that we benefit yet are not consumed by social interaction via the web?

Today's Queer Youth

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I read this article accompanied by a dictionary. In order to understand it, I had to re-work the title to something along the lines of Virtual Disruptions: Traditional and New Media's Challenges to (social, familial, legal rules that force us to conform to the process by which dominant culture maintains its dominant position of heterosexual standards of identity) in Education. This being said, I thought that Aubry Threlkeld's argument was on point and thought provoking. In the beginning of her article, she delineates a few keywords, so I figured I would operate along the same lines in order to tell you what she said and what I think about it.

Education: The premise of Threlkeld's argument is that schools reinforce 'heteronormative' ideas and further talks about queer representations in various social media sites. I.e-Myspace, virtual realms etc...
Future: Schools should open up discussion to change how homo/heterosexuality is portrayed as well as taught in an academic setting. She states that teachers should be aware of the media's role in helping the heteronormative assumptions and use preventative techniques to teach children how to critically and thoughtfully examine what the media is telling him/her.
Media: Is really set out to be the bad guy here. Unlike the other readings, Threlkeld argues the negative impact that media can have on the formation of unrealistic views of sexuality in youth. More importantly she examines both hetero and homosexual mainstream media.
Society: Society is what forms public opinion and therefore shapes the media. It is also the catalyst for change.

So what do I think? I think yes. I can remember the computers at my high school having anything remotely "queer" blocked from the internet. Our library offered no gay literature or magazines and the only time in which "gay" was an openly 'discussed' topic was on the Day of Silence. Even then, Day of Silence was not recognized by many teachers and vows of silence were broken as soon as one entered the classroom setting. While I think that social networking sites and blogging can and have done wonders for the gay community, I think it is also essential to realize how most of society is receiving their information on gay lives and culture. Another aspect that must be taken into account is a whole other world of "outing" and "bullying" that is made possible by revealing one's identity through the internet. For many youth, coming out is precarious enough without having to worry about an even larger population becoming privy to one's personal life.
As an end note: my favorite part of the entire article was when she gave a big thumbs down to mainstream queer media as well. She states that The Advocate, Genre, Instinct and Out can all be sited for helping to solidify the "heteronormative and classist visions of queer sexuality as simultaneously hypersexual and asexual, as fashionobsessed, overtly bodyconscious, young, hairless, urban and largely Caucasian." I say this only because its so true. If you are going to analyze mainstream media's effect on the perceptions of today's youth you also have to examine the mainstream queer media that these youth are being exposed to. If a youth is questioning his/her orientation, it is not Time or People that (s)he will go to but rather an outlet more 'suited' to their curiosities. If these outlet's are biased as well, then what lesson are we giving today's queer youth?

Ok, I need to stop now. What do you think about the negative aspects of social media? media's portrayal of gay lives and cultures? its effect on youth?

Direct Engagement #1 The Digital Queer

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Like other people in the class I really enjoyed this piece. It opened up another world of information that I really had only a very vague idea about and has helped me to begin to understand it. While I was reading the article I began to wonder things like, "What would the average blogger that is discussed in this piece be like? Where would they live? What lifestyle and income would they have?" I wondered about the slice of the population that we would be looking at if we thought of who this average blogger would be.

I also thought a lot about the idea that the reader could tell if a blogger was being false in their representations of themselves. How can a reader differentiate between lies and truth in a virtual world? That was a really interesting part for me. The idea that the reader can tell would indicate that the blog is a truth - someone's truth.

Rak writes, "...bloggers have an uncanny willingness to be "real" (that is, to discuss actual experiences and to tell the truth) means that it is the artificiality of the internet, the fact that online people do not have verifiable identities, which makes it all the more necessary for bloggers to assert their representation of themselves online as "real" and "true" in ways that can be verified by the traditional documents that undersign identity in the Western world: signatures, photographs, proper first and last names for people and places, and the reportage of experience as a way to validate more abstract ideas about the world."

The "real-ness" of the blog-o-sphere...

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Ok... I wanted to be all philosophical like and "professional" with this entry but then I thought it'd be very much against "blog rhetoric" to do such a thing. hahaha jk... but real talk it kinda would be. In Rak's "Digital queer: Weblogs and internet Identity" Rak gives us a sort of 101 on "blog rhetoric". Rak traces the "history" of the modern blog and analyzes some of the implications of this particular history or construction of the blog. She also goes into an examination of what "real-ness" within a blog community are:

" Blogsisters' position clearly states that blog rhetoric depends on something that belies the many discussion of internet identity: an idea of the subject that does not shift, is not multiple, and most, significantly, does not lie. (174)

Rak touches on the connection of one's blog identity to the "real" world. Rak states that in order for those in the blog community to be taken seriously that the blogs or the identity of the blogger must be directly connected to a "real self". Rak points out that one's "blog" identity may not be as unstable as once thought that because of how the blog and blog community is constructed or structured that it becomes more important to create a stable identity, that you're more yourself in the blog-o-sphere.

"What is important here is that in blogging, the act of writing is about the act of writing one's self into existence for others to read and comment upon."(176)

Anyways I do have one huge issue with the Rak piece and it is the way in which Rak discusses or brings up the possibility or the idea of "queer" blogging and the possibility of it. Rak I felt rigidly defined what "queer" blogging could be or may be. Rak ends the essay by posing a question of whether or not "queer" blogging exist and Rak quickly answers yes which kinda bothers me and Rak was able to give a one sentence answer as well! what! I really feel it should take longer than that.... Rak was just going over the relationship of identity to blogs but I feel that there is this nuance to "queer-ness" that cannot be simply put as rak did... but I don't know how to feel about that just yet... give me a few days to dwell over it and maybe I can sort out how I feel about how Rak ended the piece... any thoughts? feel free to share yo... in the meantime enjoy this poem I found on youtube...

peace out yo!

DE 1 - Beginner to Blogging

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It was quite helpful to read Julie Rak's piece on weblogs. Prior to this reading, I had only a vague idea of what a blog actually was. I thought that it was merely an online journal where those who crave attention could feel like they were able to garner an online following, as if they were the authors of a successful magazine column. I could not comprehend why people felt the need to electronically publish their thoughts and opinions, to circulate their personal goings-on. Perhaps I had imagined that everybody is just as mundane as I am, overlooking that fact that people actually have interesting opinions and life events that others are interested in hearing about.

Second Life, real life?

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For this first DE it was easy for me to decide what to talk about. I am hoping by bringing more attention to "Becoming Dragon" that it will cause people to think deeply about what it means to submerse one's self in an alternate life. Reading about the difference between physical and digital bodies (HASTAC forum) and watching the short clip on Second Life really forced me to think about all of the alternative lives and worlds that people can choose to lead. People can be whatever they choose to represent on the internet; and in fact, people can choose to represent more than one kind of life, gender, sex, race, etc., if they so choose. These life defining distinctions are just a few mouse clicks away. In the article it was mentioned that these online worlds/lives can often represent a "truer" life of what could ever be presented in the real world. After addressing the endless possibilities of life in the digital world I needed to think more directly about a life in Second Life. In Becoming Dragon Micha, a UCSD student, chooses to live 365 hours in an online, virtual 3-D world eating, drinking, sleeping, and working in this Second Life environment as a dragon. She is using the experience as a means of questioning the one year real life requirement that trans people must fulfill in order to receive reassignment surgery. This is where I began to question the importance and severity of these digital beings. Although I think the digital world is a great place to explore one's self, I'm not so sure that Micah's idea of using Second Life as part of a fulfillment for life in another "body" is a logical idea. When people assume these avatar bodies they are fully functioning as that creature. This is also the same when a trans person chooses to live a life as a different sex than which they were biologically given. The difference here is that Micah is not living a real life experience. I think that experimenting with different bodies and feelings virtually is a healthy step in identifying who you are. In Second Life a person is experiencing another body in a fictitious world. I think that the reason for having a year spent in the sex in which a person identifies is to provide a preview of exactly what that world will be like. Simple life situations like a walk through a park, buying groceries, picking out toiletries, choosing clothing, etc. are small things that are effected by social gender "norms". Like I said before I think these virtual worlds can be a fun place to explore. However, I do think that gender identity and possible reassignment surgery are very serious thoughts. So I think that Second Life wouldn't be a good alternative to a real life experience for trans people. What do you all think? Does Second Life meet the one year requirement for a real life experience in the gender one wants?

Bloging as a community?

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I really liked the article on the digital and how they seem to form their own community on line because they really have no other choice. they do not have the same opportunities to express themselves for who they really are. although during our talks we discussed being who you "really" are online. I don't think that being in any sort of forum you could really trust any one to truly be themselves. although it is a great source to use if you really have no other place to go. my only problem with the whole keeping a queer blog or diary, is the dishonesty to be had. who knows if anything this person is writing is in fact real or some sort of fantasy they concocted. it did say that one universal trait that bloggers believe in is honesty and trust, but we have grown up in a society that has taught us from a young age to not trust people we meet online. I mean there is a difference the article points out in online blogging then online journals, but i don't think i personally would be very interested in such things.

DE # 1 - Virtual Disruption

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I read the virtual disruption article where it is argued that while information about sexuality and normalcy is learned through schools and traditional media by teens and grade school aged children, social media is becoming a prevalent source of information about queer identities and lifestyles. Because schools and traditional media have extreme heteronormative tendencies, it is important for young people to find information from social media like blogs and networking sites.

While the author makes some valid points about the increasing use of social media, I do not agree that schools and traditional media have the greatest affects on young adults. They are largely involved in the 'information age' where they are more likely to track down their own information to form their own identities than to just let it be assigned to them by a government institution.

However, schools do teach only heteronormative perspectives on the world, sex and life. This remains the standard in society today, so that definitely speaks to the effectiveness of the mass media and public and private education.

i agree that our society is too heteronormative, and that gender ideals are displayed prominently, and homosexuality is villianized and stereotyped, which is why I am a strategic communications and advertising major with an emphasis in gender, sexuality and race studies. If i can understand these biases, I can help to change the media landscape and combat heteronormativity and traditional gender roles and ideas.

Rural Gay / Urban Gay - Is There a Difference?

The article I chose for my first Reading Engagement is "From Web-Sites to Wal-Mart" by Mary Gray. Upon reading the first 2 pages of this article, I could easily relate. I have to admit that I'm not familiar with rural gay communities, and I too had the stereotype that they were quiet about their sexuality, or moved somewhere larger in the city to form alliances outside of small town judgments. I figured GLBT's would have more support and resources in the city. But a person is who they are no matter what. If they want to come out, they probably eventually will regardless of if they live on a farm or in a sky-rise. This article gave me a wealth of information about online and offline activity groups for GLBT's as well as insights on "new media", technologies and social relationships.

I would like to assume that online social networks have aided those in rural communities, so that they can talk and make connections and be heard. Online social networks provide personal support, but are at the same time very public places. Anyone can go online and access information that one has posted about their very private life. Page 6 of the article brings to light that rural, as urban, GLBT's get ridiculed by family, neighbors, and strangers. Everyone has the right to be happy, being happy is being yourself. Everyone should have the opportunity to be themselves. No one deserves to live in the dark, why are so many people still ridiculing GLBT's? If they don't understand, they should seek education upon the topic, or keep their thoughts to themselves. Let others live their life.

DE #1 Judith Butler

Judith Butler just once again made a large stand for not just GLBT and queer people, but also all groups of people that are discriminated against. When i first heard about this I was confused about why in the world Butler would refuse an award involving pride and all the work that she has done. However, she makes valid points as to why she cannot accept the award.

Within Butler's speech she brings up many interesting points that I'm sure not many people have thought of. One being, that the idea of courage is, at these in Butler's mind, standing up a fighting against all forms of discrimination. just because a person does not have personal ties to a group does not mean that they have to sit back and let discrimination happen. Secondly, was the fact that the Berlin Pride group, the groups presenting the award had top leaders who were known to make racist statements. Butler makes the point again that any group of people fighting for rights and freedoms should not demean another group. All of these social justice issues go hand in hand, we can never stop one act of hate unless we stop them all. They are all tied to one another, and bringing about peace to all people means stopping hate in all forms. I think that a lot of groups forget the fact that when they are fighting social justice causes that they are not just signing up for their one issue, that in fact they are signing up to stop all social justice issues. It's also important because it reminds people not to just stop all their hard work on fighting these issues once a few are dealt with, they have to keep going on so that everyone can have the respect and rights that they deserve. The final point that I thought was interesting was that Butler named the handful of groups that better deserved this award than she did. It takes a lot to first of all refuse an award such as these one, but to give it to other groups truly shows Butlers true character.

Direct Engagement: Virtual Disruptions

Throughout reading the article, the only thing that constantly kept popping into my mind was my high school days. It was a place that was full of adolescent judgmental, outspoken individuals...and I loved every single minute of it. The heteronormativity of high school taught me to find myself and appreciate the fact that I was gay and to be able to trust myself to be who I am, in spite of what our society holds as being "right." It wasn't until my Senior year that I finally stopped caring of what other people thought was "normal" or how things "should" be rather than what they are. It's amazing though, when you think about it, what empowering influence the media holds over kids at that age and even adults today who believe that everything is wrong if it is not the most common belief or idea. Most people do not come out as early as I did, 17, and some unfortunately never can or will, because they are too afraid to accept themselves but even more so afraid that they will not be accepted by others. I often enjoyed when controversial issues were brought up in class, because I was curious to see where everyone stood on certain issues--homosexuality being my most anticipated topic of discussion. I give my teachers a lot of credit though, because most of them kept an open mind and did not embrace heteronormativity or the heterosexual matrix, but instead edged away from stereotypes and encouraged honest and open discourse. I was an avid participant, as always, and I aimed to get my peers to see it from their own perspectives...not the media's, not their parents, not from their favorite movies or shows on TV, but from themselves. It is had to describe yourself, not only based on your sexuality, but just in general, and society has brainwashed adolescence into believing in stuff that is not true and highly negatively opinionated. Social networks, like Facebook, have fortunately allowed kids to "post" who they are and how they feel, and consequently let others gradually get to know them better in that sense. We're lucky though that we didn't grow up like 50 years ago, because life had to be all that much harder...socially and emotionally. I say--say what you want and don't hold back.

Queer This! #1

I'm not a huge fan of traditional gender roles. They dictate that I'm supposed to be good at math, possess keen directional skills, and have the ability to grill steaks to perfection after a hearty afternoon of hanging drywall. In reality, my math skills took a nosedive when they started throwing letters into the mix, I can hardly find my way to westbank from Coffman, and the only use I get out of wearing a tool belt is pretending that I'm batman while I wait for my dinner to finish cooking in the microwave.

I've come to terms with my flaws, but I still have some issues with gender roles. The biggest grievances I have revolve around aspects of life that, according to gender roles, should gravitate towards one sex or the other. Take crying, for instance. Look at any shoot-em-up action flick from the eighties or nineties. Do we ever see Arnold Schwarz...Schw...Bruce Willis cry when he's being shot at by hordes of Eastern-European terrorists? No. Crying is for girls.

As if ANY human emotion should be labeled masculine or feminine. But what really strikes me as ridiculous are commercials for bodywash. If the commercial is aimed towards females, it typically shows a beautiful woman enveloped in sheets of lather and water, taking what has got to be the most sensuous, slow-montioniest shower she's ever had. Her water bill must me astronomical. But the commercials aimed at men are the best. Since wanting to smell good is apparently only for girls, advertising companies have come up with ways to make men excited about bathing, too! There's the downright offensive AXE commercials, which turns the wearer of said product into the target of dozens of mindless, female sex-zombies, or the Gillette commercials, which portray showering not so much as the act of cleansing one's body, but rather A DECISIVE DEFENSE MANEUVER EXECUTED TO EXTERMINATE THE INSURGENT FORCES THAT ARE SWEAT AND BODY ODOR (you know, guy stuff). But my favorite are the advertisements for the AXE shower tool. Because loofahs (or poofs, to some) are clearly too feminine to smear oneself with, AXE has decided to market their shower tool to look like something you'd wax your Porsche with. Let's watch. As you all now know, I don't work well with tools. I'll stick to my poof, thank you very much.

D.E. #1: Courageous Refusal

On June 19th 2010, Judith Butler declined to accept the 'Civil Courage Award' presented to her by the Christopher Street Day (CSD) organization at Berlin's annual pride parade. Butler's speech outlines the major reasons that she decided to decline the award, after meeting with and hearing from several grassroots organization in and around Berlin about several blatantly racist implications made by the CSD. She makes clear that her main goal of refusing the award is to negate homonationalism, in which the ideal of patriotic, white gay men is pushed onto the general public. Butler says that she "must distance [her]self" from an organization that while fighting for (or perhaps becoming complacent with) the rights of the queer community, disregards (or indeed, deliberately allies itself with racist forces) the need to simultaneously fight racism on a national level and within the queer community.

Butler's speech indicates the theory of intersectionality, which states (more or less) that all the identifiable factors (eg. race, gender, sexuality, class, etc.) of a marginalized group that contribute to their oppression are intricately linked. Through an intersectional approach, groups would fight for and win their freedom from oppression only by addressing all of these factors simultaneously. The CSD's actions fueled by anti-Muslim racism disregards this idea and therefore discredits the organization as one that fights systematic oppression. In her speech, Butler mentions that accepting the courage award would exhibit complacency with racism and would indeed discredit her courage. I would argue that declining the award and very publicly utilizing her power as a celebrity to disagree with the CSD is an act of great courage.

DE: The Digital Queer, Rak

I found this article very interesting, especially because I have my own blogs, which I use to connect with both other bloggers who I know only virtually, but also with many of my "reality" friends so we can keep in touch now that we all live in different places.

I think the article touched on a lot of different aspects of blogging that a lot of people know about but don't necessarily consciously devote time to thinking about. I agreed with the idea that a blog is not simply a different version of a paper diary, it's much different in that it's meant to be shared but a lot of the time it's meant to be shared with people who you don't generally know. I think that offers a kind of security for bloggers, especially the ones who are trying to figure themselves out- in terms of sexuality or otherwise- in that they can be honest about their thoughts and feelings and have others comment and criticize them without actually having to deal with the consequences of a face-to-face conversation or confrontation.
I also agreed with the article saying that there is "queer blogging." I don't think it's completely necessary to differentiate between "queer blogging" and "not queer blogging" because every blog is inherently different, just as every person is different.

DE: Virtual Disruptions

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When reading this article it made me think of what it was like for me in my high school. How students who had marginalized indentities (sexual and gender- variant ones) as (Threlkeld puts it) are known to have difficult times expresses their identities. While I thought back to high school I was one of those students who had a rough time expressing my indentity. The main reason was because I physically looked a lot different than other girls and it was not coo at that time to have bigger boobs and a bottom. So I tried to cover up and not be noticed.
When looking back my school did participate in "heterosexual matrix" as Judith Butler puts it, because a lot of examples and issues, topics ect. that were brought up in a school setting were normalized and framed through heternormative discourses. which Atkinson who cited Fairclough and Gee say that "schools reassert heternomativity, discussions in schools attempting to breach the "heterosexual matrix" are reined in as inappropriate". For me that was very much true because when ever one was to talk outside of the heterosexual framed thinking it was seen as "naughty" and inappropriate for school. It was like you could speak and participate in that way of life only outside of school.

Direct Engagement #1: Halberstam "Automating Gender"

In "Automating Gender: Postmodern Feminism in the Age of the Intelligent Machine" J. Jack Halberstam draws a web of connections between time (modern/postmodern, queer), technology (the computer, cybernetics, science), the body (gendered body, queer body, cyborg body), and desire (becoming, resistance, sexual). This is, after all, a course about desire, right? What does that mean? Halberstam gives us some interesting hints.

First Halberstam writes of our focus in relation to Turing's experience(s) of homosexuality, calling this series of events which medicalized his sexual acts and transformed his body the "brush between science and desire" (443-444). This leads to 1. a conception of the body as "a product of technology" (hormones can transform the gendered body) and 2. the assertion that "desire remains as interface running across a binary technologic" (444). That last part begs some serious unpacking. To me, Halberstam seems to be engaging in some intricate troubling of the stable subject [really, Halberstam troubles most everything we might consider stable]. Desire is a fog over binaries we may see as technology/nature, male/female, hetero/homo, effectively blurring such separations and spreading in all directions. Later, Halberstam adds that,

"As postmodernity brings space and truth, time and body, nature and representation, and culture and technology into a series of startling collisions, we begin to ask questions about what interests were served by the stability of these categories about who, in contrast, benefits from a recognition of radical instability within the postmodern." (447)

This shifting and always-partial existence moves along paths of fear (death) and desire. They drives work in concert to create a picture of the cyborg for as Halberstam declares "The imperfect matches between gender and desire, sex and gender, and the body and technology can be accommodated within the automated cyborg, because it is always partial, part machine and part human..." (451)

And in this way Halberstam brings paths of desire together into motions of becoming-- becoming human or "becoming woman" as the case is for Haraway. Far from distracting us from systemic oppression, this should remind of us the many lines between desire and oppression. Halberstam points to Oscar Wilde's line which tells us that "the true mystery of the world is the visible not the invisible" (452).

In our journeys to queer desire, I hope that we do look to the visible, the obvious, the insidious. We just might see how technology and the body, artificial and natural, gender and death and desire fuse into becoming human, becoming conscious.

In response to the brief exchanges on HASTAC concerning online "lateness," and the question: is it possible to be late online?, as most of the comments remarked in response to this question, the internet has no beginning or end, thus the concept of lateness takes on a new and incomprehensible meaning.... of course, however, when the forum you're meaning to participate in closes before you've logged in, then it is too late, in "real life" terms; though perhaps not in the same sense as being late to a face-to-face-to-face panel: the comments are all still there to engage with, and as Halberstam observes, "nothing ever quite dies on the internet...," (Fiona B - thanks for this") but is this to say that digital time is eternal, infinite? I don't think it is, not really, because websites do expire, and weblog "authors" (please excuse the quotations, but I don't think the word author is appropriate and I'm not sure of an alternative title) delete their websites, or prevent public access, etc.; yet, at the same time, certain aspects of the past are more accessible now than they ever were in the present -- referring to Halberstams remarks about one of Yoko Ono's, previously obscure, yet infamous, performance pieces ("Fiona B - thanks for this") -- which is similar to the access the internet provides to something taking place at a great geographic distance, such as the Owl Scouts show I wrote about last week, I have virtual access to it, but am I really "there"? what does "being there" mean in reference to digital space? and what exactly is meant by "the digital body" that moves through these digital spaces, and perhaps even occupies a digital space or two or three?: certainly a phenomenon forcing one to reflect on the merging of queer time and space, a relationship that J. Halberstam has notably been concerned with, but, specifically addressing the concerns of the forum participants, virtual time is both shown to be measurable (365 hours in "Second Life"), and immeasurable at one and the same time (it's impossible to be late to a 24/7 forum): while, at the same time (or perhaps at an other time entirely), I, as a "latecomer" to the forum, have the ability to navigate the discussion as I find agreeable, starting with the last comment, if I will, and working my way backwards, or skipping entire comments (far more likely) and reading only comments posted by names I recognize, remaining ignorant as to what's being commented on -- once again, according to my own will -- or perhaps if I start reading the forum from its rightful beginning, I may get lost in cyberspace as I begin to follow the links, being virtually tele-ported from one space to the next, forgetting about the original forum entirely: and this can only be an appropriate way to read/engage with an online text, for subject specificity is crucial to occupying/traversing online space, raising the question of personal presence online, and one's ability to access and sometimes interrupt/disrupt the conversations of others, and, therefore, the necessity of making one's self presentable (or cute) in virtual spaces: "Have we become a social network of spies and narcissists?," Halberstam asks ("face to facebook"), to which echoes the reply, absolutely, because the internet is vanity's ideal terrain, isn't it?, providing the reality for Milan Kundera's despairing rumination in The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, about the disaster of everybody waking up one morning and fancying themselves authors-- for a world full of self-proclaimed authors is a world of narcissists, with narcissistic readers/authors prowling the web to further interject their subjectivity through comments and the like -- though, in all fairness, this is only one aspect of the digital world, for if the digital terrain is temporally and spatially infinite, so must its possibilities be: "what forms of time does the internet tend not to foster? Surprise? Shock? Improvisation?" (halberst, "Becoming Kungfu Panda).

Direct Engagement Numero Uno

How often is any award, especially an award like this one refused? I believe that Judith Butler will be praised for many years to come for refusing to accept this prize. I wonder if she did this strategically to shine the light on the organizations that she mentions in her speech such as GLADT, SUSPECT, and REACH OUT. To create support for organizations like these there needs to be a certain level of fame associated I think.
To make such a bold move as to reject the Zivilcourage Prize, she is clearly making a strong statement about how she feels. Judith Butler is an important figure to represent the fight against transphobia, homophobia, sexism, racism, etc. I watched the German speech she gave and had a groundbreaking thought. Perhaps the world could use more trouble makers like Judith Butler. I'm sure my instructor for this course is jumping for joy as she reads this. It is important to voice your opinions and stand up when you believe something that is happening is wrong. This is especially critical when what you see being done wrong is happening to a group of people that may not have a very loud or respected voice. By recognizing other organizations that deserve credit for her acknowledgement of courage she gave them a moment in the spotlight. This honorable mention will hopefully bring further involvement in these organizations and thus create a louder voice.
I view what Judith did as positive and provocative. What do you all think?

Direct Engagement Numero Uno

After reading the other DE #1 submissions I think that Dani_d29 pretty much nailed my analysis!

How often is any award, especially an award like this one refused? I believe that Judith Butler will be praised for many years to come for refusing to accept this prize. I wonder if she did this strategically to shine the light on the organizations that she mentions in her speech such as GLADT, SUSPECT, and REACH OUT. To create support for organizations like these there needs to be a certain level of fame associated I think.
To make such a bold move as to reject the Zivilcourage Prize, she is clearly making a strong statement about how she feels. Judith Butler is an important figure to represent the fight against transphobia, homophobia, sexism, racism, etc. I watched the German speech she gave and had a groundbreaking thought. Perhaps the world could use more trouble makers like Judith Butler. I'm sure Sara is jumping for joy as she reads this. It is important to voice your opinions and stand up when you believe something that is happening is wrong. This is especially critical when what you see being done wrong is happening to a group of people that may not have a very loud or respected voice. By recognizing other organizations that deserve credit for her acknowledgement of courage she gave them a moment in the spotlight. This honorable mention will hopefully bring further involvement in these organizations and thus create a louder voice.
I view what Judith did as positive and provocative. What do you all think?

Direct Engagement 1

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Aubry D. Threlkeld, author of the article, "Virtual disruptions: traditional and new media's challenges to heteronormativity in education" discusses about how our society today is heavily influenced by virtual and traditional media, when it comes down to the topic of sexuality in a heteronormative world. She explains the virtual disruptions that are affecting the youth and how these virtual disruptions are constructed through our educational system and what we have been institutionalized to believe. Threlkeld also gives examples of such challenges that occur online in the virtual world as well as in our offline world. A lot of what she discusses about is focused around the idea of what sexuality is and what it might mean to a certain individual or an online social networking website. Her main concern is about how our youth are being affected by these online websites and how they may not be fully informed about what sexuality is and may have different assumptions about it based upon what they are exposed to. The purpose of her argument is that, if we do not engage in the lives of our children or even amongst our peers about such concerns as this, then we will be misleading our future generation to believe that there is only one straight path to understanding and accepting other people's sexuality as well as our own.

I feel like Threlkeld's exploration of different types of social media was very insightful and gave me a chance to better understand the conflicts between the online world versus the offline world. Although I would have liked to see her discuss a little bit more about the different types of solutions available to educate our children about sexuality, I felt like she had a good idea of where to start and that is through our educational system.

I would have liked to learn more about sexuality and the social construction of gender roles in our society at an earlier age in order for me to become more comfortable with not only my sexuality but to be more open about the discussion of it as well. I have to admit that it was not until recently that I became more comfortable about exploring my sexuality and how I wanted to present myself until I started taking courses in the GWSS department. It truly opened up my eyes to all different types of perspectives on how we play a part in constructing our society.

DE 1- hate at a supposed love fest

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I find it extremely interesting that GLBT individuals, most of whom have experienced homophobia and hate, would project the same type of hate and racism onto individuals with a Muslim background. Pride is something that's supposed to give everyone who goes a sense of peace and acceptance, at least that's what I think, and others might have a different view. I think what Judith Butler did was amazing. I'm particularly fond of her statement, "Having said this, I must distance myself from this complicity with racism, including anti-Muslim racism," and "Currently, many European governments claim that our gay, lesbian, queer rights must be protected and we are made to believe that the new hatred of immigrants is necessary to protect us. Therefore we must say no to such a deal. To be able to say no under these circumstances is what I call courage." It's funny to think that the government is using select groups of people to single out another select group of people. It seems really odd and irrational of European govs. to convince GLBT members that in order for their rights to be protected, they must have a hatred, or resistance, for Muslims and immigrants. I just think it's odd that they're promoting hate at an event that's supposed to promote love. I think pride also promotes commercialism- which I find annoying but that's besides the point.

DE: weblogs and cyperspaces as queer spaces.

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queer blogger.jpeg

Some thoughts to start off with... So I was thinking, to "queer" something means to look at it "differently" (without a heteronormative lens) right? That makes me wonder why cyberspaces and weblogs aren't already queer spaces? Why are they typically heronormative spaces? Althought there is a privilege of access (to have internet and be techy enough to write a blog) not everyone does have access, but even if they did I would like to assume that the internet doesn't identify itself as "straight" :)

Julie Rak discusses the emergence of a new kind of "deviant sexuality" such as blogging, cyberspaces, and online diaries in which the blogger or writer gets to claim their identity in a new kind of space in which people are able to classify themselves, instead of everyday life where we are typically put into boxes by other people. In cyberspace, we get the option of clicking the boxes we choose to identify with and making it known to others. She argues, using Foucault, that one must speak of sexuality to make it known and therefore acceptable. Blogs can be used as a way of speaking and creating dialogue about queer issues that are typically seen as deviant.

She also points out the interactivity aspect of blogging in which people are allowed to share experiences, follow eachother's blogs, comment on blog postings, and interact to find community and possibly initiate activism. Blogging identity stems from liberalism and freedom of expression. Rax makes a distinction between a blogger's online life/offline life in which to a certain point the things a person writes online are taken to be true, and if they are not real, it is easy to tell that the blogger is misrepresenting themself, and if one's main point is to get the word out, one must be credible and truthful in their blogs. Blogging also allows for shifting multiple identities because people can cross-post or create links to other links, thus creating a spiderweb of connections between people and events or links. Because of this blogs create a community of similarity in which people attract other like-minded people. Rax claims that blogging seems to be essentialized and homogenous in its entirety within the queer online blogging community.

If blogs are based off of liberalism and the need to classify oneself, yet at the same time we post keywords and "clouds" of common themes, then aren't blogs essentialist in a sense because it creates a network of people blogging similarily? And since we don't want to be essentialist, how can a blogger create a new space that doesn't essentialize queerness?

I might also add that I feel it doesn't have to be like this, maybe the community that blogs, since it is based on community, seems to have created a community strictly to be homgenous? Because the whole point of blogging is to create community and find people with similar interests?

How does one blog their identity in a postmodern way? What does it mean to be a postmodern blogger? I almost always find myself getting frustrated at the duality of things and tend to find other ways of classifying things without using binaries or dualist terms. With that said, how does one get rid of duality within blogging? And how do we start to look at binaries/duality within blogging?

the policing of virtual disruptions, DE 1

Two things really stuck with me from Threlkeld's article; 1) the example of Bear and negotiating masculinity and queer sexuality, and 2) her conversation about social networking sites.

I was blown away by Threlkeld's analysis of the negotiation and maintenance of power and masculinity of Bear, a burly gay man in a gay bar dancing off with a straight dude. I completely expected his stature and biker-ness to play into his masculinity and manliness, but that he manages women put the true seal on his power just floored me. It didn't surprise me, but it just gave me this feeling of, "Of course, you have power over women (or any other female-identified, non-masculine body) and you maintain your masculine privilege." Sheesh.

As for her points on social networking sites, I was really interested by the idea of proving yourself as lesbian or as whatever identity you choose within a virtual space. I tend to believe that each day in the non-virtual world we present representations of ourselves, so to extend those representations to a medium that is even more elusive and abstract as virtual media, I find the idea of reinstating expectations of categories and the policing of those categories to be troublesome but also really interesting--how would we go about doing this? What are the consequences of re-defining those categories but in another space?

Direct Engagement #1 "Queer Communities"

For this direct engagement, I will be responding to the Julie Rak "Queer Blogging" article and our in class discussion last Thursday, as I thought they yielded some interesting questions about the meaning of the words "queer" and "community."

As Rak summarizes her findings studying "queer blogging communities," she frequently discusses the marking and creation of these spaces, saying that queer blogging sites are founded when their participants label them "queer" or "GLBT," mentioning that these people are looking for others with shared interests and ideas. Hence, these connections are based upon perceived similarity and sameness, which, she implies, is the meaning of "community." She goes on to say that these communities and their participants seem to look upon their blogging experiences as the experience of a category of knowledge, which depends on the various means people use to authenticate and validate their report of themselves and their experiences. I would like to ask some questions concerning the meaning of the words "queer" and "community," and also about the modes of communication implemented in blogging.

- What differentiates a "queer" from a "non-queer" space? What does the word "queer" mean, and is it always explicitly about sexuality?

-What is a "community?" Why might this term be contestable?

-People in my Thursday small group also asked, "what about communication can be lost through blogging?" In other words, how are blogging interactions limited, and also, what are their possibilities?

-Why is it thought that methods of authenticity are required in order for genuine interaction to occur between bloggers?

Day Five: September 21

Overview:
  • Announcements
  • Discuss blogging, tweeting, first assignments, etc. 
  • Question: Can we be happy and work for social justice?
  • Introduction to Week and discussion of blog cluster
Announcements:
  • DEs due on Wednesday by 10PM
  • Tracking topic sign-up sheet--if you haven't signed up yet, I will bring the sheet on Thurs.
  • Any questions? Events?
Blogging/Tweeting/Assignments
  • Thoughts on blogging and tweeting? Overwhelming? Engaging? 
  • Some sample tweets: 
a. How we Read/Lived Experiences of Engaging and Processing:
nosecagetweet.png
This is an image, so you can't click on the link. Here it is: http://twitpic.com/2q3puj Twitter is a great place to share how we all engage and to document the physical spaces where we do that engagement. 

b. Question about assignment:
cookiekiddtweet.png
Twitter is a great place to put up practical questions that you don't have time to ask in class. It's also a great place to get opinions, ideas and/or advice from others. 

 c. Sharing of ideas, conversations and sources. 
momyselftweet.png
Here's the link: http://tinyurl.com/queertipoff  You can use twitter to share ideas with us. Not only does this give us more to think about/reflect on, but it helps to build up the archive of our course and our collaborative definitions of queer/ing. 

This Week's Blog Cluster: I want to jump right into a discussion of some issues that this blog cluster raises, particularly the issue of happiness or (and?) social justice. Then, at the end of class, I will offer some more introductory remarks about the cluster, why I assigned, and how we will continue the discussion online and in class on Thursday.

The Event: Judith Butler refuses the civil courage award at Berlin Pride. Why?

a. Listen to the following radio interview with J Butler
b. And watch the following youtube clip:


  • What is the relationship between social justice and queer movement/queering practices? How is queer movement/practices connected to other social justice movements?
  • Where does/should/can happiness fit in here? What is happiness?
  • What is the significance of Butler's refusal for queer/ing politics (especially in relation to desire)?
  • About 2 minutes and 50 seconds in, A. Davis talks about a "terrain of struggle" and the value of always asking questions. What does she mean by the terrain of struggle? What sorts of queer questions can/should we be asking? What questions does Butler's refusal and all of the important work by activists and theorists of color leading up to that refusal prompt us to ask?
What is homonationalism? Briefly, homonationalism is the collusion of homonormativity (who counts as the "good" gay/queer) with nationalistic aims (patriotism, all-Muslims-are-terrorists, protection of borders). Homonationalism involves those ideas/discourses/actions that perpetuate a false binary between good (as in sexually enlightened, inclusive) nations in the West and bad (as in sexually repressed and repressive) nations outside of the West. In her book, Terrorist Assemblages (and the article we will discuss in a few weeks), Puar links this homonationalism with the idea of U.S. exceptionalism and traces how discourses about the terrorist and the "war against terror" in the U.S. reproduce racism and the privileging of whiteness. In her refusal speech, Butler applies the idea of homonationalism to Europe (particularly Berlin), arguing that anti-immigrant discourses are being used (wittingly and unwittingly) by gay and lesbian groups to mobilize their members. Immigrants, often Muslin immigrants, are presented as a serious threat to gay/lesbian rights. In her official refusal, Butler writes:

We all have noticed that gay, bisexual, lesbian, trans and queer people can be instrumentalized by those who want to wage wars, i.e. cultural wars against migrants by means of forced islamophobia and military wars against Iraq and Afghanistan. In these times and by these means, we are recruited for nationalism and militarism. Currently, many European governments claim that our gay, lesbian, queer rights must be protected and we are made to believe that the new hatred of immigrants is necessary to protect us.

Still confused? SUSPECT offers many examples of how homonationalism works in Berlin and why Butler rejected the award.  After describing many instances of demonizing/criminalzing migrants and youth of color, they conclude:

It is this tendency of white gay politics, to replace a politics of solidarity, coalitions and radical transformation with one of criminalization, militarization and border enforcement, which Butler scandalizes, also in response to the critiques and writings of queers of colour.
For Thursday: Reread the blog cluster and reflect on the process of reading blog entries as opposed to a book or journal article: How to Read for the Blog Cluster

WARNING: If we shag each other, we may shank each other... Queer This!

In the scheme of western scientific hierarchies, "objective" knowledge is constructed with the means of separating higher organisms (often characterized as the presence/absence of physiological structures) from those deemed by the system as lower life. Phylogeneticists and evolutionary biologists are often at the forefront of these constructions with presumptuous egos that distract from quantitative reasoning and permit the desire to deduce the nature of life itself. In the eyes of the researcher this almost inevitably leads to the discerning of human nature. Aided by the tools of these constructions it possible for the evolutionary biologist to weld a theoretical lattice of societal norms they find inherent within distinct stages of evolutionary transition. That is to say, that under this system man has achieved the high seat of hierarchy based soley on his nature. Yes, this reiterates the tired idea that other constructions, such as man's morality, are the bread and butter that truly separate species along a linear progression of evolutionary time and transition.
So, I ask you to consider the queering of rigid scientific modes of thought as you read on the communal strength of bird populations based on their relative level of promiscuity. As you read and think about the pattern of rigidity you've witnessed in scientific information see if you can find a way that the researchers may have queered science as well. In our queer lens does the article ever waiver and lead you to queer conclusions that the authors would protest? How might isolated monogamous units actually weaken a community?

Here is the link:
http://www.nature.com.floyd.lib.umn.edu/nature/journal/v466/n7309/full/nature09335.html"

Queer This: Heidi Barton Stink

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Here is an ahmazing local queer artist making things happen. As a local butch-trans identified female hip-hop artist, Heidi is becoming a more active presense in Minneapolis as well as touring. She specifically speaks to the difficulty and struggle of be transgendered, but complicates this further by butching up her female identity and also having primarily female partners.

"Love Who" by Heidi Barton Stink from Dan Huiting on Vimeo.


How is gender further complicated by genderqueer and non-traditional transgender identity? Within this framework, what might we gain in understanding and insight in regards to how we percieve masculinity/femininity and sexual orientation? How has the assumption that transmen/women have an orientation opposite of their identity had an impact on how we view gender in relation to orientation?

Queer This #1: Every Little Girl's Dream.

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Okay everyone so bear with me. I am new to the world of GWSS and this is my first ever queer analysis. I actually had a really difficult time finding something, I think I was coming at it from the wrong angle. In the end I chose an ad that may seem a bit remedial for some of you more advanced analyzers but I imagine I will get more comfortable with this as the semester goes on.
I found this ad while I was flipping through the City Pages. It caught my eye and I thought of all the unspoken implications that it caries with it. First and foremost it is very much implying that marriage is meant to be between a man and a woman, not much of a shock there. The aspect that interested me more though was the idea that in our society every girl dreams of getting married, the dress, the ring, the cake, and everything else that accompanies the exchanging of those sacred vows. promising ourselves to a man. Giving our word that we will honor and obey till death do us part. This ad screams heterosexual privilage to me. Never having to question or conside the fact that many members of our society are not allowed the option to partake in this age old ritual that so many take for granted.
I hope I am on the right track here. Please let me know what you all think.
http://www.citypages.com/adIndex/ad/56079/905718/

"Reward Time" for First Posts!

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Here's (behind the cut) a little something to sit down and enjoy. Just remember: think positive...

RSA Animate "bringing discourse to life"

Lady Gaga Talks Rights

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_upshot/20100917/pl_yblog_upshot/lady-gaga-takes-on-john-mccain-over-dont-ask-dont-tell


I stumbled across the above article, as it was on the main page of Yahoo today. Upon reading it, I immediately thought of our class. Within the first few sentences of the article, Twitter is mentioned - as is Lady Gaga wearing her meat dress (both of which were clearly talked about in class this week). After reading the first paragraph I decided this would be perfect for my first 'Queer This!'.

Gaga uses Twitter and YouTube as a way to gain followers and demand action. On this site you'll even find her message to the Senate.

She makes a clear point that anyone should be able to serve for their country - regardless of their sexual preference. The "Don't Ask - Don't Tell" policy (DADT) is quite outdated for our changing Nation, correct?

"SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN is attempting to stop the DON'T ASK DON'T TELL repeal vote this Tuesday, with a filibuster," said Gaga.

Should sexual orientation be looked upon so seriously when considering who should be able to protect our country from harm?

Queer This! #1: Trans in Women's and Gender Studies

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Over the past few years I've been interested in exploring the place(s) of transgender issues, theory, and people in Women's and Gender Studies departments in the U.S. It's part of a pretty big "internal" discussion, so I wanted to share an anonymous piece of it in relation to teaching that was recently exchanged on an academic listserv focused on transgender people and research. That this conversation happens repeatedly provides ample opportunity for queer readings of where and how masculinities and specifically trans masculinities work within these programs. The initial message and first reply are enough to get into the details of the tension, and the following messages show further how deep these concerns run.

Queer this

Ive had quite a tough time with this because i have never blogged before and am a huge anti-twitter person, so here is my first blog. I know that someone had posted something about lady gaga in her meat dress. but i just got this message from her site because i am a huge fan of hers and have seen her like 3 times. anyway she posted this message to the youth and senators about don't ask don't tell.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GG5VK2lquEc

if that link doesnt work then the title to it on youtube is A Message from Lady Gaga to the Senate Sept 16th 2010

I'm sure everyone has browsed through a greeting card section at some point in their lives. I was in the card section the other day. With my newly focused queer lens I realized how hetero the card selection is. Then i began to remember bits and pieces from different Hallmark commercials. I went online immediately to get an exact wording of their slogan,"When you care enough to send the very best". Within the heteronormative selection it was clear that ONLY straight men and women care enough to send the very best to their loved ones!

"So how do you tell?"

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I live in the dorms so I catch more snippets of individual conversations during each day than I can count. However, over the past couple of weeks I've noticed that I hear a lot of "How do you tell if someone's gay?" or "How do you tell is someone's a lesbian?" and etc. etc.
Also when you live in the dorms you meet new people every day and oftentimes you become friends with them, and I've heard a lot of "He/she's my friend but I don't know if he/she's gay...?"
I just thought it was interesting to hear because after the question is asked there's always at least one person who says "Ugh, it used to be so easy to tell!"
I think there are so many questions raised by these conversations, such as why a person's sexual orientation really matters on the basis of if they're an "acceptable friend" or not. Also, why has is become "hard" to tell if someone's gay or not?
I just thought it was interesting that I've heard it being talked about so much.
What do you guys think?

Queer This #1

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So this is definitely my first time blogging, but here goes...
I found this article in the onion, and I think it deserves a closer look. Its called "Everyone Outraged Catholic Priest Did That Thing Everyone Jokes About." Here is the link.

Something beautiful from something ugly.

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I love my farmer

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I tweeted about this earlier but I didn't think to bring it up as a Queer This! example until I was completely out of ideas. Last year I lived at one of the few remaining work colleges in the country. Warren Wilson College located in Swannanoa, NC, is technically an accredited college but in reality is set up as a commune: you work to live. Warren Wilson is a working farm that raises and slaughters pigs, cows, chickens and turkeys along with operating a vegetable/herb garden that is tended by two plow horses. The buildings are built by materials found on the 6,000 acres of forest on campus and generally speaking, that which can be recycled-is. Asheville, which is being called the 'new' San Francisco, has a substantially large LGBT population and Warren Wilson itself is over 70% queer.
After leaving Wilson, I became very interested in the queer farmer movement and purchased a book called Another Country: Queer Anti-Urbanism by Scott Herring, in which he challenges the presumption that LGBT politics, artwork etc...is not found only in metropolitan areas. This led me to the Queer Farmer Film Project and a myriad of other similar projects.
For most of the queer scholarship that I have been introduced to, it has always been presumed that the gay community in rural america strives to move into the city and that metropolitan areas will always be the epicenter for gay cultural life. Why do you think it is that a substantial portion of the LGBT community is reverting to the countryside? What about farming is "queer"? As a former 'queer farmer', I am very interested in this topic and would like to explore it more in-depth. Thoughts?
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First "Queer This" Entry

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Ok - I'll give this a shot. Please be patient with this blog thing. I have no idea what I'm doing. :)

When it came to my first "Queer This" entry I have to tell you I was lost. Really, really, lost. Still am. But I'll give this a try:

I stumbled upon this article and I shook my head a little and thought it was extra funny since my interesting find at Target yesterday - see Twitter post. I must be manifesting fake genitals somehow. Weird.

Anyway, "Neuticles" are fake testicles for pets. But it seems, as is says in the article, that they are more for the owner than for the pet.

I love the statement that the dog has "lost some of his swagger" since being neutered. Also that "Fletcher recalled one customer who wanted Neuticles for his beagle -- bigger than the originals. "It was hysterical. He overestimated the size of the testicles," said Fletcher, "as men will do." Really? That sounds like a huge over generalization to me.

So now we're pushing out sexual insecurities/body issues onto our pets? What does this tell us about ourselves? What do you think?

My favorite thing about the article? The pictures.  http://www.twincities.com/news/ci_16102713?source=rss


How to Read for the Blog Cluster Assignment

Here are some suggestions for reading the various blog entries that I have assigned for next week's discussion: 

1. Read through each entry carefully and more than once. Make sure to give yourself enough time to read them. Each of these entries is packed with important ideas that take some time (and repeated viewing) to really process and critically reflect on. While these entries might seem shorter than a book chapter or essay, they have many layers: links to other entries, articles, youtube clips, websites and comments from readers. 

2. Don't just read the text, but engage with it. Click on different links to get more information on the ideas discussed in the entry and read through the comments. A lot of the interesting discussion takes place in the comments. Frequently the author responds and a dialogue/diablog ensues. Sometimes the subject of the post chimes in too: Judith Butler offers her own response in your assigned entry "where now?"--she's comment number 2. 

3. As you are reading these, jot down your questions and reactions. Or, you could post a series of tweets as you are reading/reflecting on the essays. 

4. Keep the following questions in mind as you are reading:
  • Why did Butler refuse the award? 
  • Why is this important--that is, what are the key issues we need to consider here? 
  • What sorts of understandings of queer/Queer do you get from the various entries? What does it mean to queer/or be queer?
  • What terms are confusing to you? What concepts would you like to discuss more?
5. Reflect on how you are reading this blog cluster. One the reasons that I assigned this cluster of readings was for us to think about how we might read/engage with readings differently depending on the format. How are you reading these entries differently than you might read a book or a photocopied article? Are you using different reading strategies? Do you find yourself engaging with the ideas more effectively/less effectively because it is online and involves many links/comments? What do you like and dislike about reading these entries online? 

If anyone else has suggestions on how to read blog entries or thoughts on the process, please post them as comments to this entry. 

The T.V show Hoarders in the


Ok, i watched this T.V show called hoarders, which I love. It's about people who "collect"/ hoard items, trash and other personal belongings to the point where their homes are no longer able to be lived in. Anyway they agree to have psychologist who specialize in hoarding disorders, to come and declutter their homes, so then their homes are considered to be liveable again. In this one episode there was this family of four; Mom, Dad, Daughter and Son who lived in filth. The 7 yr old daughter slept in a sleeping bag with the father and the 10 yr old son slept in a bed full of clutter with the mother. When the psychologist came to help, she said that she would have to call CPS (Child Protective Services) to come and inspect the living arrangments if the sleeping situation continued. The psychologist stated this because according to their code, the sleeping situation was not suitable for children of that age. My question to this is, Why would you think this is so?

Queer This, Queers! :D

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All right, bear with me, everyone...I have never blogged before, so hopefully this all works out and you can see/read everything. I've attached a picture of what most people would probably consider humorous, but from a moral standpoint...it's setting a bad example. Is it bad to illustrate funny situations like these in front of younger children or do you think it is harmless and fun for everyone?

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Queer this: Owl Scouts

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This show by Todd Baxter just debuted this month in Indianapolis, and let's all hope it comes here. These photographs essentially tell a story of two young Owl Scouts "Lost in the Woods", and their tragic fate.

After viewing the slideshow,

what can we glean about child-like curiosity/fear/discovery and "nature"'s apparent hostility?

I'm particularly interested in perhaps queering the idea of the "good citizen" interacting with the natural world -- or being lost (queer?) in a hostile world. What questions can we ask about children and citizenship?

(here are a few things I pulled off of the Boy Scouts of America website:

"Being a Cub Scout means you are a member of a worldwide youth movement that stands for certain values and beliefs. Cub Scouting is more than something to do. It's all about the boy you are and the person you will become."
"Scouting promises you the great outdoors. As a Scout, you can learn how to camp and hike without leaving a trace and how to take care of the land. You'll study wildlife up close and learn about nature all around you. There are plenty of skills for you to master, and you can teach others what you have learned."

just for a reference as to what I'm thinking about in terms of the "good citizen")

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My Own Food Porn?

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I got a little excited and tried to get inspired by trying to find out what I can come up with when I try to "visualize" what a fall "queer" dessert would be and this is what I came up with... Cornbread Cake, with brown butter corn pudding, buttermilk horchata syrup, bruleed brie and cured peaches... I plated it twice and here are both of them

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Day Four: September 16

Today we finally get to talk about some readings. Hooray! Slowly but surely we are finally moving into more explicit discussions about queer/queering desire (as opposed to overviews of assignments and how-to tutorials).

Breakdown of today's class:

  • Announcements/Questions
  • Engaging with Readings/Topics
  • Pick topics for tracking/discuss assignment more
Announcements:
Queer This! example posts and tweets are due tomorrow. 
Next week's reading is a blog cluster on Judith Butler
First direct engagements with readings due next Wednesday (9.22)
First queer this! comment is due next Monday (9.20)

Any questions? Post them as comments to this blog entry (or tweet them @qued2010).
 

READING ENGAGMENT:

The topic for today's class is: queer social media. Our goal is to begin thinking about the implications of blogs and twitter for theories/reflections on and practices of queer/ing. I asked you to read Julie Rak's "The Digital Queer" and the HASTAC forum on Queer and Feminist New Media Spaces. I assigned the Rak article to provide you with some more background on blogs, identity, and queer communities. I assigned the HASTAC forum to give you a sense of how some scholars are engaging with and on feminist and queer new media spaces.

I want us to critically reflect on the readings and ideas in a number of different ways:

  • First, you will do a brief free-write/draw on your assigned passage. 
  • Second, you will discuss your reactions with your group members. 
  • Third, we will discuss the ideas together in a large group. 

THEMES:

  1. Bodies: What is the relationship between a digital body and a physical body? Connections between the virtual and the real? (How) do bodies function differently in these spaces? 
  2. Play: How does play and structure affect digital identity? (How) are digital identities freeing? What structures limit our constructions and practices of those identities? Can cyberspaces encourage/allow us to "play" with those identities?  
  3. Community: What are the possibilities for queer communities online? Can blogs or twitter provide queer spaces of connection? 
  4. Consumption and commodification: How are social media shaped by consumerism? Who/what becomes a product to be sold and consumed? Is it possible to get outside of/disrupt/queer the capitalist logic of blog and twitter spaces--and the liberal individualist logic (see Rak)? How?  
  5. Queer Time and labor: Blogs and twitter post entries/tweets chronologically. Are the other ways to imagine how time works on these spaces? Does time always move forward on blogs--any other directions?Who has time for these (and who doesn't)? Who has access to "imaginative possibilities"? 
  6. Value of Social Media: What is the value of social media and how do/should we use them? Have we, in J.Jack Halberstam's words, "become a social network of spies and narcissists?" How can we bring desire into the conversation here? What is pleasurable about social media? When is it pleasure and when is it labor? Are these always in opposition (and should they be)? 
  7. Public/Private: What sort of spaces do social media provide? Are they private? Public? (When) is public visibility useful/productive/resistant? What are the limits of visibility? How can visibility be used to disrupt (hetero)norms? How can visibility be used to reinforce them? Can we create private (safe?) spaces online--how/why are those important for queering and queer desire? Where can/do we foster authenticity/authentic moments of our selves--in public? in private? 
Want to know more about queer blogging? Here's what I wrote for the class blog last year. It deals with the Rak and two other essays that we didn't read. Here's what I wrote about Rak: 

 
Blogging and the Individual: This brings us to the individual and to Julie Rak's article, "The Digital Queer." In addition to giving a helpful overview of the history of blogging, Rak provides a detailed discussion of the rhetoric of queer blogging (this is something that Mitra and Gajjala take up explictly at the end of their article). Her main argument: blogging = some form of liberalism which = the Individual (their value and rights) + freedom of expression (172). In this equation, bloggers are individuals who are able, through technology, to freely express themselves and communicate to a wide range of others. They can do so anonymously (173), and while deliberately and carefully negotiating the public and private (173-174). Their blog posts are intended to honestly and accurately represent who they are; the blog allows them to be "real" (174-175). Their blog posts also enable them to connect with other, like-minded bloggers. 

Rak sees two problems with this liberal ideology for queer blogging/bloggers. First, in representing themselves as a "real" individual who deliberately negotiates the web, bloggers are reinforcing their own (blog/queer) identity as essential and fixed. This identity gets further reified through the process of categorization and the classifying of specific blogs as "queer." Rak writes: 

The act of classification is a social act in the blogger community that works to create recognizable subjects who do not shift. Therefore, queer blogging does not feature the kind of subjectivity described in queer theory or in cyberculture studies as these areas have been influenced by postmodernist ideas about identity (177). 

Second, the reification of Queer (as an identity, as a category for blogs) flattens out the differences between those who identify as queer and engage in queer practices. And it focuses (almost exclusively) on the practices of one version of queer experience--living in the U.S., American, English-speaking, located in large urban area, left-wing or liberal in political beliefs. For Rak, it seems, queer blogging is a privileged activity (179-180, also cited in Mitra/Gajjala, 420). This particular queer experience also seems to be conservative in terms of sexual identity, sexual practice and writing style. None of the blogs that Rak read experimented with representation in a "postmodern" way (what does she exactly mean by this?) (179). Rak concludes her essay by discussing how the technical process of categorizing/classifying blogs through keywords contributes to the lack of differences among/between queer bloggers. 

Questions: What are the politics of keywords and tag clouds? Are they useful or problematic or both? How could we use tag clouds to organize our blog in ways that don't overemphasize similarities at the expense of differences? How can blogger/bloggers experiment with the representation of themselves in a "postmodern" and/or queer way? What might a "queer" subject (not just in terms of content but in terms of subject formation/representation) look like?

Queer This!: Janelle Monae

If you haven't heard of Janelle Monae, you are missing out on one awesome entertainer with bonkers talent. Janelle Monae is a singer/dancer/all-around badass who has been gaining a fair amount of following in the last year or so. In her early career she met Big Boi (of Outkast fame) and opened for No Doubt during their 2009 tour. Janelle recently released her second album, called The ArchAndroid. The ArchAndroid is a continuation of her first album, Metroplis. It is a concept album that follows her alter-ego, Cindi Mayweather, as she leads and helps the oppressed android community.

Janelle Monae cites many artists as influences, but for her albums "Metropolis" and "The ArchAndroid" she mostly pulls inspiration from Fritz Lang's famous 1927 film "Metropolis". In Lang's "Metropolis" the female android character is evil and oppressive, but in Janelle Monae's reinterpretation the android Cindi Mayweather is a character that tries to lead those who are oppressed.

"The ArchAndroid tells Part 2 and 3 of Monae's saga of Cindi Mayweather, an android messiah who returns to Earth in a quest to end all prejudice.
'She's my muse for this project,' Monae says. 'She represents the Other. And I feel like all of us, whether in the majority or the minority, felt like the Other at some point.' "

As students/members/allies of the LGBTQ community, the concept of the Other is not uncommon. Those who are considered and who consider themselves part of this community are constantly told that they are different, wrong, "other" than what is considered normal. Janelle Monae, with her genre-busting music and concepts, is a fantastic representation of one who is considered an Other, and is using her art to combat that prejudice.

Please watch her music video for "Tightrope". Embedding isn't allowed, so here is the youtube link.

Some questions:
-What queer imagery do you see in "Tightrope"?
-Janelle consistently wears a tuxedo jacket during performance. What do you think of the relatively gender-neutral clothing that everyone wears?
-How can the idea of the Other as a patient of an institution, forbidden to dance, relate to the desire for bodily expression?

p.s. Here is a great article on Janelle, if you're interested.

Queer This!: Sexualized Nonhumans (Vampires from True Blood)

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True Blood is an American television series aired on HBO. It is based on the The Southern Vampire Mysteries written by Charlaine Harris, who began the novel series in 2001.

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Even by season 3 of the series, we know little about vampires as creatures. We know that they are born out of human flesh, but are no longer human. They are cold, and sustained by "magic", requiring only human blood (or True Blood, the fictional synthetic blood promoted in the show) to survive.

Most vampires consider themselves a much "higher order" of corporal entities then their human counterparts. At the same time, they are subject to human culture and emotion. In the series, they are shown to have an American League lobby group fighting for the equal rights for vampires under American law. One of the main rights they are fighting for is the right to marry between humans & vampires. This, of course, is juxtaposed to our current cultural climate where the right to marry regardless of sexual orientation is fought for. It also alludes to other civil rights movements of the past, particularly those for people of color and women.

The vampires in True Blood are highly sexualized beings. Sex between humans and vampires often happens, though is regarded as taboo. Vampires seem to possess endless amounts of energy, allowing them to engage in sexual activities for hours on end (and have been around much longer then humans, giving them substantial...experience).

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The vampires often "penetrate" the virgin skin of the humans they are with, drinking the blood while having sex. The vampires themselves are portrayed as extremely sexual and are highly erotized.

What other cultural artifacts, past or present, represent sex and sexuality in such a way? What is with vampires these days, anyway?

Shower Night BYOS. Bring your own soap!

My roommate came home the other night and attempted to describe her wild night downtown Minneapolis. She went to a bar called the Saloon, a well known gay bar off of Hennepin Avenue. In the bar there is an actual shower where employees proceed to strip off their underwear and dance completely nude while soaping themselves. Next to the shower, my roommate informed me, was a drag queen that was strategically placed to coax customers to spend more money. The best paying customers began to slip dollar bills into the shower slot that was located at the bottom of the large box. The naked dancer got down on his knees and slid the soapy dollar bills up the glass using only his penis. The whole situation she said was completely obscene.

This story definitely peaked my interest as a great idea to write about for my first Queer This! As a society we are always pushing the limits of what is socially acceptable. This to me is the edge of the cliff. The cliff being what is socially tolerable. I wonder what could be the next daring endeavor hip downtown night clubs will venture into displaying. Could it possibly be two people, homosexual or heterosexual having sex in a glass case for onlookers to view while they dance to Lady GaGa and order vodka redbulls at the bar? And where could this display take place? Possibly strip clubs could host a wild exhibit such as this. As a culture, how far are we willing to go to pull in customers and keep the atmosphere of our business interesting and ground breaking? What is next? Queer that!

Queer This!: Poke

As about 90% of the class said they had experience with Facebook on Tuesday, I thought it might be appropriate to queer the "poke" feature.

Unlike other newer features of Facebook, the option to "poke" your friends has been around for quite some time. Poking doesn't have the option of sending the recipient any text, it simply alerts them that they have been poked by you.

A couple things to consider here: 1) While the physical act of poking someone or something with one's finger (as the icon for the feature depicts) is relatively neutral within itself, it is typically accompanied by a message which will give it some meaning. 2) Receiving a poke on Facebook can be a little jarring, not knowing what prompted it or what exactly it means. 3) "Poking" is sometimes used as a euphemism for sexual penetration.

I will also include that my use of the poking feature has been almost entirely with people who I am romantically attracted to. I've engaged in several "poke wars" in which I exchange pokes with someone until, eventually, one of us sends the other a message.

Seems pretty queer to me...

queer this: who's on top?

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So when trying to figure out what image to queer, because I simply love queering all things, especially normally "unqueer" things. I decided I would pick something feminist, so when searching feminist ad images for different ad campaigns, I came across this image. It was an ad for a play trying to promote queer equality, yet to me it seems to look like amplified feminism. The woman is represented as strong and feminine (hence the heels, flashy purse, and short skirt), while the male (who could possibly be gay) is wearing next to nothing and being stepped on by the female who is showing dominance. But if we queered it a little differently, maybe it could be a battle between gays and lesbians? Maybe they are trying to say the lesbians come out on top? Yet, if she is supposed to be a lesbian she definitely is very feminine, while the male looks less masculine then a typical heterosexual male would be represented as.

Ha, my brain always goes a little haywire when it comes to queering things. I might even possibly read into it so much that I see things that aren't there. But, isn't that the point? The message it conveys to me? The consumer? If this is supposed to be an ad for equality, I don't see that message.

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Queer This! 1: the Bechdel test

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Alison Bechdel is the artist who writes/creates the syndicated comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For. In my Pop Culture Women course last semester we read her graphic novel (of the same title) and watched a behind-the-scenes interview with her. She said that one of her biggest reasons for creating the comic strip was to see stories with people who represented her, her queer lifestyle, and the everyday things, fights, thoughts, emotions that she had.

This test, which gauges women's representation in movies (and could be applied to film, and could be queered to gauge queer representation in media), was started by Bechdel in her comic strip.

I'm posting this because it's just such an ah ha moment-maker to me. It lays out some VERY simple guidelines and challenges popular culture to rise to the occasion. And it's crazy how little representation of women is in mainstream popular culture. Even tons of so-called 'good' movies don't have women represented in them, according to this test. Just imagine what a queer Bechdel test would show! What would the criteria of a queer Bechdel test be?

I thought her criteria were genius because they're so simple: more than 2 women, with names, who talk to each other about something other than men. Whoa. And somehow that's hard to find.

Queer This! Painfully "Beautiful"

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When we were asked to write an entree today on our blog, it really took me quite a while to think of what to write about. To be honest, I was very overwhelmed with the whole no paper, no final exam kind of class that we are having right now. And all our assignments are in the form of blog entry, tweeting and comments. To add on to this the topic of GLBT is something that most people in Malaysia would avoid to talk about.

Anyway I was thinking back at the whole list of topic which was suggested by Dr. Puotinen when I was asking her for help and strangely I thought that the topic of foot binding would be an interesting topic to blog about. Well, this practice have been widely discussed by a lot of western scholars in the pass.

Foot binding, 缠足 (pronounce as chán zú) started around the Tang Dynasty (618-916). It is a custom which the foot of the female was bind to the size of 3- 3 1/2 inches (preferably). The process of foot binding was carried out when the girl was 6 years old, it is the age where they believe that it is the ideal age to "shape" the leg.

This topic appeared interesting to me as I can recall what my grandmother used to tell me. Stories about her grandmother who was one of the "victim" to this gruesome custom. I remembered clearly, she told me that whenever her grandma wanted to clean her legs, she would asked everyone to stay away from her room and would closed herself inside during the cleaning process. The reason for this is --- it stinks!

According to my "ah ma" (grandmother in Hokkien), reasons why foot binding was practiced is because a lady was considered beautiful if she had her legs bind, the smaller the prettier (is this one of the fetishes of ancient man?). Strangely this custom is mostly practice by lady from the rich families. There's another saying too.... That it is one of the way to prevent women from running away from their husband and to have affairs.

Gay-O-Meter

I was sitting on my bed thinking of what I should put up as my first Queer This! entry...sadly nothing that I had recently read, seen or heard had come to mind. i was stuck for a good while.

In my desperation I just started putting random things into yahoo search, i was thinking anything would come up that would I would be able to put as a Queer This! Then as I was looking down one of the pages I saw the link that said Gay-O-Meter, I had to look at it. It's a type of test that this website, Channel 4, has up on its site. I figured I would do it for fun at first. I went through and put in answers that applied most to myself. After finishing and getting my results, I wasn't too shocked. According to the Gay-O-Meter I was 43% gay, "right in the middle" and "a happy and well adjusted lesbian babe". I went back and put in the stereotypical answers for a lesbian and surprise surprise my percentage of gay went up to 80.

I just found it odd that there has to be a scale of which we rate people's sexuality, that if a person is in one range they are "too straight" or if they are in the other they are "too gay". I just wonder why self identifying as a member of the GLBT community isn't enough to be "100% gay", must we always fit within the stereotypes to be seen as a true member?

Queer This! Calvin Klein Ad

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So, I've also been watching a lot of episodes from America's Next Top Model, just because I really enjoy all the crazy photo shoots that they do. Although it may seem that a lot of the themes for these photo shoots are meant to portray a story and sell the product, I often wonder just how much of the model is actually creating a piece in which they can truly connect themselves with the viewer and their concerns.

Now at first glance, I didn't think much about this photo. However, I have read previous articles about how serious of an issue this is to GLBT folks. Those that were not biologically female, but felt that their sexuality truly was a female were not allowed into women's bathrooms. Men and women that were gay, lesbian, or transgender have felt people give them dirty looks or were sometimes even harassed in public restrooms because of their sexual identity.

Now I do understand that this is an issue in which heterosexuals are also concerned with because the time that we have to ourselves in these restrooms, is a very private moment, and to find someone of the opposite sex present and using the same facility that we are in is a little uncomfortable just because we are not sure if they are actual sexual predators or just gay, lesbian, or transgender individuals that just need to use the restrooms. It is a very touchy topic but a very interesting one as well. However, this is just what I thought of when I found this Calvin Klein ad, using google's search engine.

Blog/Twitter Log

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You can download this assignment as a .doc here. 

I have put all of the due dates in a calendar on our WebVista site. All of these dates are due by dates (as opposed to due on). This means that you are encouraged to post them at any time during the semester by the required due date. It is strongly suggested that you do not wait until the night before your due date to post your entries/comments/tweets.

I will still review/evaluate your entries 3 times this semester. Please read and follow these directions for ensuring that your entries, comments and tweets are graded.

  1. Fill out the blog/twitter log once you have completed assignments. Make sure to include the date you posted your entry, comment or tweet. You will be emailing/handing in this log to me three times this semester: October 5, November 16, December 14. 
  2. Tag all of your entries with your alias. 
  3. Tag all of your tweets with the hashtag: #qd2010 
  4. Copy and paste all of your entries, comments and tweets into a word document. Make sure that each entry is clearly identified with: title of post that you commented on, date of post, date of comment, type of comment. You will email me this document on October 5, November 16, and December 14. 
  5. In your email, do the following: 
  • Subject of email: QD Blog/Twitter Log 
  • Title of word doc (not docx): Yournameblog/twitter.doc 
  • If you email your log (as opposed to handing in a hard copy), title your log (as word .doc) Yournameblog/twitterlog.doc

Day Three: September 14

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As I mentioned in my last post, I have decided to slow things down a bit. Instead of discussing the readings, we are going to talk more about how/why to blog and do introductions. Also, I have another "queer this!" that I would like us to discuss.

1. Introductions (go around the room)
2. Discuss assignment + blog/twitter log
3. More on blogging and twitter
4. Queer This! Lady Gaga example: What are the implications of this from a queer perspective? How does this connect with queer/queering desire?

1. Introductions

  • Name
  • Hometown
  • Major/areas of interest
  • Good book/movie/tv show you watched
  • Why you're taking this class
  • Experience with social media/online technology

2. Discuss Blog/Twitter Assignments

3. Reviewing Blog and Twitter

Why Blog? I like to post a slightly different version of this on each of my course blogs. Here it is for our class:

Welcome. This is the blog for GWSS 4790/GLBT 3610. It will play a central role in our discussion of and engagement with the material. While only class members (the instructors and the students enrolled in the course) can post new entries, the blog will be open to the larger public (for reading and commenting). 

Having used blogs in my courses for over three years now, I see how valuable they can be for: 

  • Developing community between students
  • Enabling students to engage with the material and each other in different ways
  • Encouraging students to really think about and process the ideas
  • Helping all of us to organize our thoughts and ideas
  • Providing a central location for posting information and handouts
  • Allowing for a space outside of the classroom for engaging with the readings and each other
  • Inspiring us to engage in queering practices of our own

But blogs aren't just useful for creating connections between students (or teacher and students or students and other communities). I spent the past two summers writing in my own blogs, Trouble, It's Diablogical! and Unchained, and I discovered that blog writing can make you (the writer) a better writer and thinker. This is especially true if you write in your blog on a regular basis. I wrote every couple of days both summers and I found that by the end of August my critical thinking skills were in much better shape then when I started in May. Last Summer, I found that my understanding of my chosen term--trouble--had grown deeper and richer over the summer as I creatively explored different ways in which to engage with it. And this summer, I found that engaging in writing with a diabloging partner, enabled me to clarify my ideas and theories even more than I had previously done on my own. 

Writing in a blog alleviated a lot of my anxiety about "serious" writing; somehow posting an entry didn't seem as intimidating as writing a formal manuscript. Writing in a blog also encouraged me to make new connections between ideas in unexpected ways. I found myself applying theoretical/political concepts like Michel Foucault's notion of curiosity or Judith Butler's notion of gender trouble to children's movies (Horton Hears a Who) and television shows (Hannah Montana). Not only did this experience allow me to reflect on these concepts but it also helped me to really understand them as I worked to translate them into more accessible language. For more on how/why I wrote in my blog, check out my about pages here and here.

It is my hope that the experience of writing in our course blog will enable you to develop your critical thinking skills and enhance your understanding of queer/queering desire. It is also my hope that writing in our blog will inspire you to keep writing and thinking and questioning and connecting.

Twitter? This is my very first time using twitter in the classroom. Since I only started using twitter on my own this summer, I don't have too many expectations for how it will/won't work in our class. I hope this will be a fun and critically/creatively productive experiment. 

I envision it as being helpful in the classroom when used in concert with a blog. In order for it to be successful (just like any other type of social media), it needs to be used thoughtfully and deliberately. I hope that throughout the semester we will return to discussions of the limits and possibilities of twitter in a queer classroom. Let's start the conversation today:

What are the limits and possibilities of twitter? How can we use it to disrupt, distort, trouble or queer typical ways of being in the classroom? 

On my own twitter account (@undisciplined), I use twitter differently (or is it different?) than outlined in the video. I use twitter for posting:

  • brief notes about sources
  • updates/summaries of the class
  • replies to students/friends
  • announcements about the class or local events
  • questions related to the material and the class

How do you want to use twitter? Read this brief essay about twitter by Peggy Orenstein: I Tweet, Therefore I Am. Any thoughts on a queer analysis of this essay? Is the performed/performative self not an authentic self? What are the differences between self-promotion and self-awareness? 

4. Queer This!: Lady Gaga and the meat dress

Did you hear about what Lady Gaga wore to the VMAs this weekend? Here, check out this clip:

Reactions? Is this an effective way to make a statement in support of gay rights? Why or why not? Will most people "get" what she is attempting to do here? What is she attempting to do here? Is it important/necessary that her message be understood? Why/why not? 

For Thursday:

Readings: 

Queering Desire Queer This #1

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As I've recently obtained a job in scientific research, I spent much of the summer learning about agronomy, plant breeding, and genetics, among other things. Hence, I've been reading a lot of scientific journals lately, and boy are they chalk full of stuff to roll your eyes at! They're also in desperate need of some queering, as these are supposed to be sources of authoritative, "objective" information.
In the latest issue of Nature, for example (the title of which is in itself erroneous), an article appeared entitled Primatology: Thanks Mum!, about the "mating habits" of what is generalized to be all bonobos. The study said that "lower ranking males" who's mothers were present during "mating" were less likely to "mate" with "infertile" females, who, supposedly, would normally be monopolized by other "higher ranking" males. The implication is that mothers fight off their sons "sexual competitors."
We can ignore the laughably faulty methods of the study (it was based off of wholly unsupported assumptions about bonobo society, and included only 11 bonobo adults, only four of which were males) because that is not where this article draws its authority from. What is most interesting is that this study exhibits a preoccupation with drawing a concrete conclusion that the data does not support. Of course, it is also preoccupied with categorizing the society and sexuality of non-human animals, without stopping to question the implications of such a project. After sifting through all the chatter about bonobo ejaculation, rigid male hierarchies, and fertile females, I noticed there were a good number of comments on the article posted by subscribers. The majority of these were quick to connect the "findings" of the study to human society. This line of inquiry, in which one views the "primitive" members of the primate family in order, so its readers suggest, to make statements about Homo sapiens cries out for exploration. Suggestions, anyone?

PS In order to access the article without paying a fee or subscribing to Nature, you must first log onto the U of M library website and search for the Nature Journal. Otherwise, Nature will not allow you to read the full study. The issue of Nature you're looking for is 467, 134-135, (09 Sept. 2010). However, the URL below should also take you there:
http://www.nature.com.floyd.lib.umn.edu/nature/journal/v467/n7312/full/467134f.html

Class this week

Because we have several new students joining the class this week and because this whole blog/twitter thing can be overwhelming, I wanted to slow things down a little. Instead of discussing the readings assigned for tomorrow (see schedule), we will be discussing the assignments and how-to/why use blogs and twitter. We also be doing introductions to each other. Plus, I have another "queer this!" for us to take on.

If you have already done the reading, don't worry. We will still be discussing them. On Thursday, we will discuss "The Digital Queer," along with the HASTAC feminist/queer forum. We will discuss "queer Indian bloggers" essay on 9/28-9/30 and "Virtual Disruptions" during the week we discuss queer pedagogies (10/5-10/7).

Feel free to post any questions as comments to this entry!

Anyone Need a Job?

POSITION ANNOUNCEMENT

GWSS is currently seeking an undergraduate student to work in our Rachel Raimist Feminist Media Center 15 - 20 hours per week. We are looking for a reliable individual who could hold regular media center hours, change paper in the printer, change toner cartridges, and monitor students to make sure they are using computers and resources appropriately. The position pays $12.00 per hour and a preference is given to students with tech experience and/or work-study funding.

Please contact Helen in the main office at riege002@umn.edu or at 612-626-0332 if you are interested in this position.

Queer This!- The Gaydar Test!

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After reading the first Queer This! example I wanted to take the gay test and actually ended up running into a site with a gaydar test. This test consists of you chosing who you think is gay by looking at two pictures of members of that site. Well, I took the test for experimental purposes. I picked the people who would not appear to be gay to most people (very masculine males and very femine females- not sure why people who match that description dont set off most people's "gaydar") and got the results that I expected- my gaydar sucks because of the members I chose. The Gaydar Test Care to see how well your gaydar works?

Links to all of the assignments

I have just posted the descriptions and due dates for the majority of your assignments (excluding the diablog and wrap-up assignments). Please read through the assignments carefully. While the detail and diversity of assignments may seem overwhelming, once we get into using the blog and twitter it should start to make sense. All of the blog assignments that I posted today have also become links on our syllabus. Please note that I altered the presentation/organization of assignments in the syllabus. The point totals are roughly the same.

Here's a list of the assignments:
Tracking Topics
Reading Engagements
Queer This!
Queries
Your Choice Blog/Twitter

Note: The diablog and final wrap-up assignments will be posted soon.

Your Choice Assignments

2 Comments
These comments can be on any posts on our blog. The only requirement is that they be respectful and thoughtful.

Note: It is possible to earn up to an additional 6 points extra credit if you submit more than 2 comments. Each extra comment is worth 2 points (so you can submit an additional 3 comments: 3 @2 points each = 6 points).

3 Tweets
These tweets can be about anything related to the class. You can tweet about assignments, questions for the class, announcements about events around campus, etc.

Note: It is possible to earn up to an additional 10 points extra credit if you submit more than 3 tweets. Each extra tweet is worth 1 point (so you can submit an additional 10 tweets: 10 @1 point each = 10 points).

Due Date:
Comment #1: November 22
Comment #2: December 6
Tweets #1, #2, #3: December 6

Tracking Topics Assignment

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3 Annotated Bibliographies (of sorts) Posts
These 3 annotated bibliography entries should include a brief summary and engagement with a number of different outside sources (that is, sources that are not included on the syllabus) that relate to your chosen topic. Each entry should include at least 3 sources, one of which must be a "traditional" academic source (an academic article or book). You may also write about films/videos, other blogs, websites, news articles, commercials, songs, poems, images, etc.

Your annotated bibliography should begin with an overview of how your sources connect (and why you are grouping them together in your entry). Then, each bibliographic entry should include:

a. Title of the source.
Your title should also be a link to the source (or to a more detailed citing of your source). Just in case you have forgotten, here is how to create a link within your entry:
Highlight the title in your entry. Scroll up to the chain image at the top of the entry box and click on it. Put in the URL (address) for your link and hit okay.

b. Author/authors of the source.

c. Brief summary.
You should provide a brief summary of the source and how it relates to the term that you are tracking. This summary should include any specific passages/ideas that you found useful, thought-provoking and/or inspiring.

d. Additional sources and/or directions for further reading/thinking.
Each entry should include your reflections on further research/thinking about your term. If possible, mention any additional sources that your source discusses that might be useful.

e. Where/how you found this source. Describe the process of how and where you found your source. What database did you use? Did you find it randomly in the stacks at the library? Did you find it in a search through google or google scholar? Did you stumble across it on twitter? Did another student/professor suggest it?

f. Formal citation.
In addition to linking to your source, you should formally cite it using MLA style. Here are links for using MLA style: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/section/2/11/
Category: Tracking Topics

2 Comments on Other Bibliographies
Your comments should demonstrate a respectful engagement with the author and their ideas. You could post suggestions, thoughts or reflections on their topic. You could also discuss how their topic connects to your topic.

4 Tweets on Term Sources
You are required to tweet about 4 sources that you found while tracking your term. Your tweet should include a link to the source and a brief (remember, you only have 140 characters total) description of or teaser about the source. Spend some time thinking about how you want to describe and present your source to your readers. You can check out my undisciplined twitter account (@undisciplined) for examples of tweeting sources.

Due Dates:
Annotated Bibliography #1: October 8
Annotated Bibliography #2: November 1
Annotated Bibliography #3: December 1
Track Term Comment: October 22
Track Term Comment: November 19
Tweet Source: September 27
Tweet Source: October 5
Tweet Source: October 25
Tweet Source: November 22

Topics:

Terms:
temporality
queer space
intimacy
affect
disgust/shame
masculinities
femininities
kinship
homonationalism/homonormativity
neoliberalism/queer liberalism
activism
children/youth
feminism/queer
bodies and material experiences
radical sex practices
Theorists:
Judith Butler
Jasbir Puar
Judith Halberstam
Jose Esteban Munoz
Gloria Anzaldua
Cherríe Moraga
Audre Lorde
Michael Warner
Susan Stryker
Eve Sedgwick
Sarah Ahmed
Dean Spade
Organizations:
Sylvia Rivera Project
Queers 4 Economic Justice

No more than 2 students can track the same term. On Thursday, you will be signing up for your topic. Make sure to come to class with a list of your #1 and #2 choices for topics.

Query Assignment

1 Tweet
Throughout the semester, we will be tweeting questions to/about the class on twitter. The purpose of these questions is to keep us talking/thinking/engaging with each other and class ideas. Your questions can be about anything that is relevant to the class topics. You could ask about a term or what other people thought about the reading. Your questions could be aimed at clarifying our in-class discussion or the readings. Or at pushing at course ideas--being critical of the limits and imagining the possibilities or applying concepts to your lived experiences or other concrete situations. Or even at continuing conversations that we begin in class, but weren't able to finish.

2 Query Responses
In addition to posting your own questions, you are required to critically reflect on two query tweets. In these critical reflections, which should be blog entries, you can answer the question posed in the query or you can ask even more questions about the initial question. You can reflect on the implications of the question or write about how/why this is an important question. Basically, you just need to seriously engage with the query and provide a thoughtful response.
Category: Query

Due Dates:
Query Tweet: September 27
Query Response: October 1
Query Response: October 25
Query Response: December 6

Reading Engagement Assignments

3 Direct Engagements with the Readings
You are required to write 3 entries in which you engage with our course readings. There is no word count requirement. Your entry can be as long (within reason) or as short as you think necessary in order to demonstrate a critical engagement with your chosen reading/readings. By critical engagement I mean that your entry clearly demonstrates: a. that you have closely read (that means more than once or even twice) the reading and b. that you have thought through it in terms of appreciation, critique and construction. I would encourage you to play around with your word count, but aim for shorter entries rather than longer ones.

Appreciation involves figuring out what the author is saying and demonstrating a clear understanding of their argument and how they develop and defend it. Appreciation does not require that you agree with the reading. Instead, it requires that you clearly state what the author is trying to state. What is their main argument? What is the purpose of that argument? How do they defend it?

Critique involves assessing what the author is saying. Critique should not involve a total rejection of dismissal of your chosen readings. Instead, they could involve raising some critical or questions and/or exploring the benefits or limitations of the argument.

Construction involves applying the concepts from the reading to your own thoughts, areas of interest and research or experiences. It could also involve applying the reading to the topics/discussions of our class.

You may also submit 1 entry as a VIDEO through CLA's Media Mill project. The same requirements (as above) apply with video entries. You must demonstrate a critical engagement with your readings.
Category: Direct Engagements

Mash-up
More information coming soon.

Remix/Redux/Revisit
More information coming soon.

Comments on other DEs
You are required to comment on 2 other direct engagements. Your comments should demonstrate a respectful and critical engagement with the post author's entry. You can build off of what the post author is saying or raise some critical questions of their summary/assessment of the topic of their direct engagement. The purpose of these comments is to further our blog/class conversations and our exploration of the readings/topics. Therefore, make sure that your comments are respectful and aimed at opening up more discussion as opposed to shutting it down. 

Due Dates:
DE #1: September 22
DE #2: October 18
DE #3: November 22
Mash-up: November 25
Remix: December 6
DE comment 1: September 27
DE comment 2: December 14

Queer This! assignment

This category is for posting images, news items or anything else that you feel speaks to issues related to queering theory and/or our readings and class discussion. It could also include anything that you believe especially deserves a queer analysis. Entries filed under this category should be entries that invite us to apply the queering skills we are learning to popular culture/current events or should inform us about ideas/topics/images that are important for queer theory and/or queer communities. When you are posting a comment on a "queer this" entry, you should clearly identify (in a sentence or two) what queering theories/tools/strategies you are using.

2 examples posted as entries
The only formal requirement for these posts is that you find an example (it could be an image, an article, a movie/commercial/television show, a song) that relates to our course topics and readings and that you believe deserves/demands a queer analysis. Make sure to post the image, link or embed your youtube video. Check out my how to blog tutorial for more information on how to do this.
Category: Queer This!

Note: It is possible to earn up to an additional 20 points extra credit if you submit more than 2 examples. Each extra example is worth 5 points (so you can submit an additional 4 examples: 4 @5 points each = 20 points).

3 comments
For each of your posted comments, you must provide a queer analysis of and/or commentary on another student's "queer this" post. Your comments should be substantial and go beyond a mere reaction to the example. You need to offer a well thought out response. Try to draw on our readings, discussions or other blog entries.

Want to see how students have used this category in the past? Check out these examples.

2 Tweets
You are required to post a tweet about each of your two queer this examples. Your tweets should include either a link to your example or a link to your queer this blog entry. Be creative in your brief discussion of the example on twitter. Remember to add the class hashtag: #qd2010.

Due Dates:
Example 1: September 17
Example 2: October 18
Comment 1: September 20
Comment 2: November 8
Comment 3: December 6
Tweet 1: September 17
Tweet 2: October 18

Day Two: September 9

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Today, we are meeting in the Rachel Raimist Feminist Media Center (FORD 468) where we will be discussing how to use our course blog and twitter. Since we only have about 30 minutes, I can only cover the basics today. Periodically throughout the semester, we will return to the media center in order to review and learn new strategies for using blogs/twitter in our class.

Step 1: Getting Started or How to Log In and Set up my Alias

1. Go to http://blog.lib.umn.edu
This is the UThink main site for U of M blogs.

2. Log in by clicking on the link (login to UThink) located under About Uthink on the right hand side of the page.

3. If you are not already logged into the system, you will be required to submit your x500 and your password. If you are already logged in then clicking on login should take you directly to your Dashboard. Your dashboard will list any blogs for which you are an author (courses, personal blogs).

To access our blog, click on "System Overview" at the top on the left hand side. I have added all of you to our blog as authors, so you should see our course, "Queering Desire: Fall 2010" on your list of blogs. Click on it. (If you don't see it, please let me know.)

4. Now you should be on the author page for our blog. This is where you can create entries, upload files, and insert images.

5. For those of you who haven't used UThink before: You can set up your own alias for posting. This means that when you post an entry or a make a comment, only your alias will show (not your email address or your name). As the blog administrator, I will be the only person who knows that it is you posting. If you are a little nervous about posting, this is a good way to stay somewhat anonymous.

Always remember that our blog is a public blog. This means that anyone has access to it and can read. Keep this in mind as you are writing your entries and comments. For more on why I think the blog as a public site is a good thing, see this entry from one of my course blogs from last year.  

Step 2: Creating a Basic Entry 

6. Now that you are on the author (or the behind-the-scenes) site for our blog and now that
you have signed in and created your posting name/alias for our blog, you can create an entry. Click on create (located on the right hand side right above--or between--the course title) and scroll down to entry. Click on it.

7. You should now be on a page titled "Create Entry." You can create a title for your entry by typing in the box, "Title." Then, type your entry in the bigger box below.

8. A note about body vs. extended entry:
Above the big box where you type your entry, there are two options: body and extended. If you are writing a particularly long entry, you could post the opening paragraph in the body section and then the rest of the entry in the extended section. When people look at your entry on the blog, they will only see the part you wrote in the body with a link at the bottom that says something like: "continue reading entry x." This can be helpful in making the blog visually more compact, but it not necessary.

9. When you are finished typing your entry, scroll down to the bottom of the screen and click on save (If you want to preview your entry first, click on preview. This can be helpful in making sure that you formatted everything correctly and that you put in the right address for your links). Once you have saved the entry, click on the view site button which is located at the end of the row that starts with the "create" button.

10. A note about categories and tags: 

a. categories: On the right-hand side of the screen (and just below the text box), is a section called categories in which you will find a list of different categories for this blog. It is very important that you click on the box of the appropriate category for your assignment. Doing this ensures that the blog stays organized and easy to search. For your various assignments, I will clearly identify which category you should select for your entry. Categories will include: Queer This!, Queries, Direct Engagements, Tracking Terms, etc. 

b. tags: Right after the text box (where you type your entry) is a much smaller box labeled "tags." Tags work like key words and can be used to identify the key topics in your blog. So, if you are writing a blog about Roseanne as a queer character or the Twilight series as reinforcing heterosexual romance, you could tag your entry with the keywords:
Roseanne, television shoes, working class, anti-capitalism or Mormonism, heteronormativity, vampires. Type the keywords in and separate them with commas. Put these keywords in before you save your entry. These tags will be reflected in our tag cloud which is located
midway down on the right hand side.

Step 3: Creating links, inserting images and embedding youtube clips.*

*These should all be done before you hit save and post your entry.

11. Links: Okay, so now you have typed in your brilliant entry about the queer relationship between Harry Potter and his mentor, Albus Dumbledore, but the whole thing looks kind of...boring. One basic way to make it more interesting (not to mention interactive) is by
adding in links to other sources (that you have referenced in your entry or that point to more information on the topic or that offer a different perspective). For the purpose of our blogs, your links should not merely be thrown into your text. Instead, you must address and explain them (but more on that later). Technically speaking, the way to add a link is to highlight the text that you want to create a link for (like David Halperin and his discussion of pederasty in ancient Greece). Then click on the image of the chain (you will find this image in the row of buttons above the text book). Enter the address for the link and then click on save.

12. Images: But, wait, you say. Links aren't enough. You want more things to add to your entry. You want images.

a. First, find the image you want. Probably the easiest way to do this is opening up a new tab, going on Google images and putting in a keyword to search. That's where I have found most of my images...like the one to my left.

Because this is a basic primer, let's stick with google images. So, you have typed in "The Brady Bunch" and found a great image of the family that you want to use. Click on the image. Then click on "see full size image". Drag the image onto your desktop. Now you are ready to upload the image into your entry.

b. Now, switch back to the entry you have been working on.
Put your cursor at the place in your text that you want the image to appear (like where you are discussing the Brady Bunch). Then click on the button (which is a few after the link button) that looks like an image and is called "insert image." Click on the "new upload image" link and then browse on your desktop for the image of the Bree that you just found on google images. Now that the new image is uploaded, you will be given a bunch of file options. It is up to you how you want the image to look, but here is what I usually do. I click on "display image in entry," "use thumbnail (manually adding in a width of 150 pixels)" and "Link image to full-size version in a popup window." In terms of alignment--left, right, or center--pick whichever works best for you.

13. Youtube clips: Now that you have started adding things, you can't stop. Links and images aren't enough. You want to embed cool youtube clips in your entry. Here's how:

a. First, find the youtube clip that you want. Open up another tab and go to youtube.
I put in "Susan Stryker" as a keyword search and found these really cool book reviews for Trans/Queer related texts by the scholar, Reese Kelly.

 


Now you need to embed the clip. To do this, you need to find the embed box (located on the right hand side in the gray box under the URL), highlight the embed text and copy it.

Note: For a fancier version of the youtube clip youcan now customize your embed clips. At the end of the embed box you will find a blue gear image. When you scroll over it it should say "customize." Click on it. Now you can pick a color scheme for the border of your clip (I recommend green to match our site) and a size (I would say 500 X 405). Now copy the embed text and follow the next step.

b. Now go back to your entry and put your cursor on the place that you want to insert the youtube clip. Before pasting it in, make sure that you have changed the format (located above the insert image button) to none (away from rich text or covert line breaks). The embed
text will not work in rich text; it will just show up like a bunch of code. Once you have switched the format to none, paste in the embed text. You are done and ready to save!

Twitters tutorial on how to sign up for twitter:

Since twitter has its own helpful tutorial, I thought I would just post a link to it instead of writing my own. Here it is. Here are some other things to remember:

1. Once you sign up, make sure to follow the class. You can do this by clicking on the link in the upper right hand corner that says: Find people. Search for "qued2010". Click on it. This will take you to the course twitter account. Click on the button, right below the course name/button, that says: follow. Now you are following the class. 

2. As you all begin to follow the class, I will be putting you in a list named, "class-list." Click on the list (located on the right hand side, halfway down the page) and find your classmates. Click on their accounts and follow them too. 

3. Make sure to mark all of your entries for class with this hashtag: #qd2010. 

In the next few days, I will be posting more information about your blog and twitter assignments. Make sure to read over this information and post questions (as comments or tweets). We will discuss the assignments more next week. 

FOR NEXT WEEK:

1. You should post your first example for "Queer This!" by next Friday(9.17).  Here is my explanation of the "queer this" category from last year's queering theory blog:

Queer This!: This category is for posting images, news items or anything else that you feel speaks to issues related to queering theory and/or our readings and class discussion. It could also include anything that you believe especially deserves a queer analysis. Entries filed under this category should not merely be WTF or "oh bother!" posts. Instead they should be entries that invite us to apply the queering skills we are learning to popular culture/current events or should inform us about ideas/topics/images that are important for queer theory and/or queer communities.

Want to see how some other students used this category last year? Check out queer this examples from queering theory. Although you can provide some explanation of your example, don't write too much. One important purpose of this type of blog post is to offer up examples for all of us to critically analyze and queer. 

In addition to posting your first example on our blog (as an entry), you also need to tweet about your example. We will talk more about how to tweet your "queer this" example on Tuesday. 

The official description for "queer this" blog entries (along with all of the other blog assignments) will be posted soon. 

2. Readings for Tuesday on up on our WebVista site. 

14        Queer Blogging: An Introduction 

Readings
  • Rak, Julie. Excerpts from "The Digital Queer: Weblogs and Internet Identity" 
  • Threlkeld, Aubry. "Virtual Disruptions: traditional and new media's challenges to heteronormativity in education"
  • Mitra, Rahul. "Resisting the Spectacle of Pride: Queer Indian Bloggers as Interpretive Communities"
Although the syllabus indicates that you  only need to read excerpts from "Digital Queer," I would like you to read the entire essay. Make a note of words/concepts that you don't understand/have questions about. You could also post questions on twitter or this blog. 

One more reminder: Don't forget to fill out the questionnaire on our WebVista site! I would like them to be completed by tomorrow 

Day One: September 7

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Hello and welcome to queering desire! In addition to all of the other ways we might be using this blog this semester, I thought I would experiment with using it as a space for organizing our individual class sessions. Here's what we are doing today in class:

INTRODUCTIONS

To the Class
To Each Other:
  • Preferred name/pronoun
  • Hometown
  • Major/areas of interest
  • Good book/movie/tv show you watched
  • Why you're taking this class
  • Experience with social media/online technology
About me: Dr. Sara Puotinen
Photo 11.jpg
Hi, I'm Sara or Dr. Puotinen. My preferred pronoun is she. I was born in Houghton, MI, but I have also lived in North Carolina, Virginia, Iowa, California and Georgia. I have a BA in religion (Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, MN), MA in ethics (Claremont School of Theology, Claremont, CA) and a PhD in Women's studies (Emory University, Atlanta, GA). My areas of research interest are: troublemaking, feminist and queer ethics, feminist pedagogies, queer theory (especially Judith Butler), feminist and queer social media (especially blogs). 

One of the most recent books I read is Share This! How you will change the world with social networking. I have a mild obsession with pop culture from the 70s, like the Brady Bunch. And I find myself strangely drawn to Cartoon Network and their weird shows like Adventuretime. I love teaching in the GWSS/GLBT department--and I especially love teaching classes on queer theory! In addition to this class, I have taught queering theory, intro to GLBT studies and a graduate seminar on feminist and queer explorations in troublemaking. This spring, I am teaching a graduate seminar on Queer Ethics. 

I have been using blogs in my classroom since Spring 2007 and I have been writing on my own blogs since 2009. I started my first blog, a research/writing blog on making/being in/staying in trouble last May and I started two more blogs, both collaborative diablogs, this summer. One is on breaking bad consumption habits and the other is on feminist pedagogy and blogging. The feminist pedagogy diablog, It's Diablogical!, has been particularly helpful and inspiring for me this summer. Since 2009, I have written extensively about the value of blogs and blogging in feminist and queer classrooms. I also recently started my own twitter account, @undisciplined, and I have been reading/researching/thinking about twitter for this class all summer. 

One popular category on the course blog for queering theory last fall, was "Queer This!" The goal of a "queer this!" is to think about the queer implications and/or to engage in some queering of an image/media example/idea/event, etc. Here's how I described in last year:

This category is for posting images, news items or anything else that you feel speaks to issues related to queering theory and/or our readings and class discussion. It could also include anything that you believe especially deserves a queer analysis.
So, here's our image for today (the link is to my blog; I posted it as one of my "oh bother" examples). Spend a few minutes writing down your reactions to it, particularly from the perspective of queer/queering/queering desire. In a few minutes, I will ask you to get into groups of 3 or 4 so that you can discuss your thoughts on how to queer this image. If you already know how to post on the blog, you can post your thoughts about this image as a comment to this entry. You can also tweet a 140 character or less response (an @qued2010) to the image. 

sproutpenis.jpg

Now, Queer This!

FOR THURSDAY'S CLASS:
On Thursday, I will be giving some brief tutorials on how to use our blog and how to sign up for and use twitter. Class will take place in the Rachel Raimist Feminist Media Center (FORD 468). Our class is too big to fit into the media center all at once, so we will break up into two groups. Even if you know how to blog and do twitter, please still attend this tutorial. I will send out an email with the list of names for each group. 

Group A will meet with me from 11:15-11:50.
Group B will meet with me from 11:50-12:30. 

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