There's no ONE particular entry of mine that I would like to go back and point out. Instead I'd rather make a more general note.
Since the start of this course, I think I've come a long way. My first half-dozen posts, I didn't even know what we were talking about - I didn't even know how to add a link or a picture into my blog post. During class I felt like people were speaking a different langauge, and reading the articles was barely an option because I'd become so discouraged. I looked to others' posts' so that I knew what to summarize in my own.
You might say it sounds like I wasn't trying and I'm a bit negative, but believe me my head was turning and I was attempting to grasp anything. Eventually things started to click and blog posting got easier, I was able to add pictures and link - a huge step for me. Further down the line, I no longer had to use someone elses entry as an example for what I should write. In class, words began to become clearer - although I wasn't understanding everything, it was a big jump from the beginning of the semester.
So I'll conclude that my later entries were more independantly and confidently written than the ones I wrote at the beginning of the semester.
I chose my first queery response to revisit, the one where I answered the question: Do you really think that FB helps youth find their identity and form intimate relationships?
I still believe that social networks, like Facebook can help a yound adolescent find out who they are not only as a person but what an impact they will have on other people and society. Just by blogging with all of the members of this class, I am incorporating my persepctives on various topics, and at the same time, I am becoming a better listener and am making connections that I never thought I would experience before. By engaging on social networks like these, I have been able to move from putting my toes in the water to diving right in and been able to anazlyze different components of queer theory and identity. It's been like a social gethering right from home, and I am able to read everyone else's entires at my own pace and whenever I want a further understanding of something. I have learned that relationships can be successful without being intimate--as long as there is something to go off of, people can work together to construct a bond of logical ideas and thus collaborate on shared viewpoints. Facebook, this blog should all be credited to enhancing relationships between people.
Returning to my first DE was a good exercise for me... I feel like I've come a long way since this initial entry.
I realized at first blush that this entry lacked the kind of depth needed for a direct engagement. It is boring and monotone, and more about my personal opinion than the actual article. It lacks quotations and evidence from the article needed to make a valid argument.
My thoughts at the time were that children were mostly influenced by their own internet searches and not as much by their families, schools and social systems. Social networking was their outlet for personal identity formation.
I've recently come to understand through this class that this is not the case. Gender and sexual identity formation is as much a function of a community as an individual. Heteronormativity in schools have terrible effects on GLBT kids, and no social network site can completely remedy that. Social networks can help kids find communities to which they belong but they can also be areas where they are subject to teasing by their peers. There is no perfect solution for this problem, and after experiencing this class, I've learned that.
I decided to look back at my very first Tracking term post: "Queer Space: A Divided Space" This was my first chance to show what I interpreted as space and I took a literal definition of it. However at the time in the semester I was just beginning to see from our class readings and the in class discussions that queer advocacy groups (that i once thought were infallible) were not as inclusive as they were made out to be. So in my first track term post I took the devil's advocate side of things and decided to write on what is wrong in the queer community. I wanted it to especially talk about Minnesota because I think that we need to look locally if we want to solve things on a much grander scale. Looking back at this post, I wish I incorporated more. After writing all of my tracking term entries, I think if they were put together as a whole cohesive unit and if I were to expand upon it that it would be more understandable. The way in which I wrote most of my entries was in block format. I went back and re-read the sources I gave and found that I could have gone even further with it. I think my biggest flaw in that first Track term was I did not mention the transsexual community and their misrepresentation. I talked about the exclusion of race, age and bisexuality but nothing of religion or transsexualism. Now after completing the course and having finished reading all of the required readings for the class I still believe that there are issues with inclusion within the community. In fact, most of my posts touch on this fact. What I got most out of my previous posts and the content learned in class was the youth element which is something I care deeply about. When talking about youth, it is important to consider how they can be influential, how they are included/excluded and more importantly to recognize their issues. For me, it is important to revisit your writings not only to learn from your mistakes but to expand upon them. It is a little uncomfortable sometimes- to re-read what you wrote but in the end, revisiting my writings was nostalgic in a way and it allowed for me to conclude the class by seeing my progress without having to dig up old folders. It is nice to have my writings all available to me in a click.
I'm glad for the benefit of revisiting ideas through our blog, in particular as I've been somewhat of an unhappy queer thinking that we've never had enough time (ugh) for discussions of queer(ing) pedagogy-- after our 10.05 and 10.07 classes I was craving so much more. I guess I'm kind of perversely into teaching (and with lofty aspirations), so I definitely grew discouraged by our beginning of the year technology pains rather quickly; I really wanted to get directly to understanding some of the nuances that could help me develop as a teacher! I still won't be able to do the discussion justice solo, suffice to say I have kept these drives with me over the semester and feel the need to briefly stream current engagements with queer pedagogy.
First, I remain interested in troublemaking as a mode of queering pedagogy-- these paths, especially through the work of JButler, are certainly important for all of my forays into binary-busting. The 10.05 class summary was and is a helpful refresher/run-down on trouble (especially in combination with all my hoarded materials from Queering Theory 2009)-- and I am drawn especially to this passage from Luhmann once more:
Alice Pitt (1995) points out: "Learning about content is not the same thing as learning from it. In other words . . . learning is something more than a series of encounters with knowledge; learning entails, rather, the messier and less predictable process of becoming implicated in knowledge" [p. 298](Luhmann, 8).
This reframing continues to be radical for me, and is going to be worth at least another revisit. Learning isn't grades, clearly, but beyond that learning is neither content read nor produced, nor really something we can justly measure. I like that learning is messy, and I like even more how this queerness in education creates space for the many relationships possible in "becoming implicated in knowledge."
In terms more akin to affect, I long for community to get into the nerdy details of how to make such concepts materialize in the classroom. I was somewhat discouraged that this wasn't explicitly happening in our class until I paid a little more attention to the perimeter-- I have had many chances to watch queer(ing) pedagogy in action this semester, and although they're not always discussed, I'm carrying them with me. The more I think through pedagogical concerns, the more I'm convinced that I can make space for the questions I'm forming next semester and as I (hopefully) continue in grad school. I can see now that not all my undergrad peers are going to find this as fascinating as I do, and that's just fine-- in fact, that itself teaches me about new connections to queer pedagogy working through resistance, boredom, confusion, rejection, etc.
In this revist i would like to go back to the first diablog post that i did about my being molestate at the age of 7. I was first kind of afraid to what people reactions would be, then I was like f*** it this is a part of me and who I am and I gonna share it. Also it tied in perfectly with the reading by Kincaid. Any way all in all when I think back to my feelings and thoughts to what i wrote, i feel that the class has further reinforced the feeling that I felt when reading Kincaids point of view or theories. I think that it is very helpful to revist past comments that you have made because it helps to build your relationship with yourself. you are able to be more intune with your thoughts. when you look back at something that you said , you may feel that "nawww i did not word that correctly" or after further learning things you notice that you no longer feel the same way, or that you do. so yeah again going back to past comments is a very useful tool.
My tracking topic "affect" I think was a really good topic to track. I was able to compile a lot of useful information, that I can use for years to come. I learned a lot while researching, like why certain schools do not incorporate "queer" ideas and education into schools. Some schools feelt that pushing that type of information onto children young pushes them towards experimenting at a young age, and for them thats no good.
To simply put it "affect" is about the ways in which certain issues bother people. Not only how their affected by it but their reactions towards what the issue may be as well.
My thoughts towards the blogging and twitter at first was" awww hell naww, I'm not going to be able to keep p with at this, and I dont even know how to twitter or blog at that". But as we continued on with the class I found my way around the blogging and twitter very easy. I actually liked it and got used to it very quickly. I did not use the outlets as much as I could have or as much as others in the class but that was simply because I was not as comfortable as them. The assignments were great. I think the topics and issues that we tackeld were great and very informative. It most definately helped me engage with the assingments a lot more and easier.
For this assignment I wanted to revisit my first Direct Engagement with Julie Rak's article "The Digital Queer". My initial reaction was agreement with the author's question of whether or not there was such a thing as a queer space. Upon further reflection though I think I am perhaps a bit more cautious when making that statement. I believe there is in fact a space for the queer community to gather and discuss the varying aspects within the community, so that piece hasn't changed. The part that I am a bit more reluctant to agree to is the level of safety that we feel when we are in that space. Throughout the semester we have seen countless examples of technology being used carelessly. Because of what many people have described as "just pranks taken to far" countless lives have been torn apart. We have spent time discussing the idea of queer spaces and room to breathe. I don't believe we have achieved that yet. I don't believe there is a truly safe space yet. It is amazing that we now have so many ways of expressing ourselves and that we can do so with the knowledge that there will always be someone out there that is or has felt the way that we are feeling. The internet has provided us with a place that makes those people more easily accessible to us. That accessibility goes both ways however and I think at this point we still must take caution.
I liked this assignment. I think it is interesting to go back and read our previous thoughts on a topic. I think I have come a long way from my very first blog entry. My thoughts and feelings on queer theory have most certainly evolved and it was sort of fun to go back and see how much they have changed.
For this assignment, I am revisiting, revising, and rethinking my first direct engagement entry on Judith Butler's refusal of the Civil Courage award offered to her by Berlin's Christopher Street Day (CSD) organization. My entry focusses on summarizing the event and its implications. My own reaction is summed up in one sentence at the end of the entry: "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."
For the purposes of this assignment, I am most interested in adding some insights to my initial evaluation of Butler's refusal that I left out of my first entry (most of which I have gained over the course of the semester). My summary of the event is pretty spot on and I think that my evaluation of its implications for an intersectional approach to addressing marginality and oppression is accurate. Our challenging of identity politics in class has reiterated for me the need to address numerous causes of oppression simultaneously. Butler's refusal of the award serves to subvert the CSD's anti-Muslim sentiments; implying that we cannot ask for the advancement of queers while bashing other marginalized groups.
One of the most critical insights that I would like to add here comes from out discussions of globalization, postcolonialism, and transnationalism (also from the big ol' conference). I am interested in the implications on a transnational political movement of giving a German-based award to an American-based theorist. One of the panelists at the conference brought up the incident as being a catalyst for German activism and as an example of transnational influence on national politics. How might Butler stand in as agent of neo-colonialism?
Revisiting this entry has been an insightful experience for me. Having this assignment got me to go back and look through some of my past entries and it was fun to see how they have visually evolved over the semester. I have also noticed which entries I clearly put some more work into than others. My first direct engagement was pretty short and didn't include many questions or personal reactions. I am glad to have had an opportunity to go a little bit more in depth into the response (however rushed it might be, given the pile of work for other classes that is staring me down).
This isn't necessarily a revisiting of a single reading/entry/summary so much as a revisit/reflection of the week of the non/human. Let's be honest, that week was pretty uncomfortable, wasn't it? I know I struggled a bit with discomfort -- discomfort with the readings and with our class discussions -- which is why I've decided to revisit it now.
I wrote about one reason why I was uncomfortable that week in my direct engagement with Robert Azzarello's "Unnatural Predators: Queer Theory Meets Environmental Studies in Bram Stoker's Dracula," namely, his mistreatment of the Dracula legend. I won't comment much more on that, but, I think it's been good to revisit that section of the class since I think I allowed myself to be too distracted and frustrated by that article and ignored much of the theory presented in Giffney and Hird's introduction. Although Sara's class summary was extremely helpful in working through what, for me, is very new material, I was still unsure at the end of the week, and am still questioning now, what the relationship is between queer theory and the non/human. I'm even still struggling with the significance of the slash -- though I no longer think, in this instance, that it is a result of lazy writing, but may actually be valid.
(edited emphasis mine)
As I look back on that week's assignments, I realize that we did not pay much attention to vampire fascination in popular fiction, television, and movies as the schedule notes. This week, though, I received my much anticipated copy of Axwound, which contains a brief essay by Hannah Neurotica's dad, Michael H. Forman, about the Twilight series, and decided to revisit the blog we were assigned to peruse back in October -- my critique of which generally corresponds to my critique of Ahmed's chapter on "Unhappy Queers," in that it gives the movie(s) too much credit. While Natalie Wilson (of Seduced by Twilight) spends entry after entry unpacking the obvious political and theoretical problematics of the series, Forman, in his brief essay. "Twilight Drives a Stake Through the Heart of the Undead," swiftly identifies and lays to rest, as it were, its most pressing transgressions:
The problem is not that I'm not a 12-year-old girl. Nor that even as pre-pubescent fantasy the film sucks. The problem is that it tramples on the honor of the vampire in film and literature. And while vampires might not have the right to make everyone their victims, they do have a right to their traditions. It's acceptable to make fun of them and see them satirically in film but to reinvent them like this is, well, like spitting on their grave. So what's really wrong with Twilight? What pisses off a long time vampire lover like myself? Where do I even begin?
He goes on to create a short list consisting of eight grievances against the franchise -- none of which address the concerns of sex/gender/desire, which, through primarily feminist critiques, have, until now, singly informed my knowledge of this series. Here's one example of where the series' vampire logic goes awry before we're even able to begin a critique of its more implicit themes and morals:
5) Vampires would not go to high school in an endless cycle. Edward Cullin was 108 years old. Every time he graduates they move so he can start at another school. On a four-year cycle he's done this 25 times. You want to talk about the torments of hell? Twenty-five 4-year cycles of High School Surely as immortal beings they can come up with something else to do. If I even dream I'm back in High School I wake up in a cold sweat. I know all creatures have an instinct towards survival but if I faced an eternity of High School I would take out an ad looking for Van Helsing and include Google Map directions to my house.
This essay is only a page and a half long, and it need not be any longer. How Wilson continues to generate enough interest to sustain her blog is beyond my comprehension. This is generally my problem with applying feminist and queer theories to popular culture: so much of it is beneath us and our theory, and the problems inherent in such things are practically superficial givens which are trumped by their even more apparent formal and logistical flaws. However, what I can respect a bit more from Wilson's critique is that her assessment of the franchise acknowledges that vampires are in fact fiction, that they symbolize some thing -- Forman writes as though vampires were real creatures with real victims, they are not. All of the characters in Twilight, as well as the classic vampire texts -- as Azzarello briefly gestures to -- represent something, they inform and influence popular culture through these representations, as Wilson understands.
Getting back to Giffney and Hird's introduction, though, I have a slightly different relationship to their calling attention to the cover image of the book than I did when I first read it now that affect theory is so fresh in my mind. I didn't think much about this when I was doing my initial reading of the introduction, since Sara had posted an image of the cover via Twitter, but I was not, and still have not, related to the physical text in the intended way. I had a print out of the chapter in my hand and a scanned image of the cover pulled up on my laptop, I was not flipping the book back and forth as I read through that paragraph about the salamander -- so my affective reaction was different from what was intended. How much more different, too, were I holding the actual book in front of the actual exhibit....
By jaropenerkate on December 9, 2010 6:12 PM
My thoughts in this entry can be summed up as: I was surprised and "floored" that the management of women (for prostitution) was the ultimate proof of masculinity. I also question how to trouble virtual spaces, such as social networking sites, and the various ways that we construct online identities and categories.
In revisiting this entry, I noticed a couple of things: 1) That I had a lot less fun playing around with the look of my entry--its pretty dry, one-note fonts and no images, no links! The horrors. But, really, one of the best things about becoming more familiar with this blogging format is that I've realized that I really like playing around with the format.
2) We had read less articles, so the entry seemed to lack depth. This also ties into the "look" of the entry--with more work put into the entry (both aesthetically and critically) the more depth it has.
3) My understanding and questioning of space has definitely changed, evolved, and deepened. It doesn't mean that I have less questions, or that I have a clearer understanding of it, but I feel like I have so much more to draw from to clarify or confuse the issue now.
I'd like to add my own "re" to this post:reflect.
Ultimately, I think the beauty of blogging is that our entries are all there, ready to be revisited, able to be tagged and revised, and it acts as a timeline for our thought processes. Personally, I think reflecting on readings and reacting to others' responses in a blog format has made me engage with the material differently.
A final thought, a revision of the semester, for me, would be to push myself to play with twitter as much as I did during my diablog facilitation, and to push my knowledge of it as much as I feel I did with my blog entries.
My tracking topic was on Masculinities: I first decided to analyze general concepts of masculinity- hypermasculinity, "real men don't cry", defined gender roles, and why our culture is built around these constructed "norms" of excessive masculinity. I analyzed a few youtube videos including Tough Guise, interviews with children on gender roles, and representations of masculinity in Disney Movies. I started paying attention to masculine dominated areas such as Wall Street and Athletics which value aggression, dominance, and competition. I still have no answers regarding why we continue to teach these things to our kids even though we have progressed as a society. The lines are more blurry than they have ever been before, yet we still possess a dominant ideology of masculine meaning manliness, toughness, aggressive, dominant, and unemotional. Femininity is still considered to be politeness, submissive/passiveness, and this "i need a man to save me" mentality.
Blurring these lines is necessary to more gender fluidity and understanding of multiple ways to express genders. Over the course of the semester I have seen how gender and masculinity are structured, set up, and perpetuated and by what means. Although I often see females that, to me, are overly feminine or hyperfeminine I don't see it as commonplace as males who are hypermasculine or excessively masculine. This is the masculinity crisis. Excessively masculine men are seen as desirable, while excessively feminine women are not desired nearly as much as they were 20 years ago. Men are starting to respond better to smart, educated, independant women but women still tend to desire hypermasculine men (these are all generalizations of course). Masculinity turns boys into men, and women into idiots.
My experience with tracking this topic has been positive. It was hard to find the areas to focus specifically on because I see so many interesting aspects of masculinity. Yet, I am happy that I chose and engaged with masculinities.
Where does this leave me now? I really enjoyed this class! I enjoyed the freedom to engage on my own terms and at my own pace. I liked that I could trouble the normal class structure and engage with the material in a multitude of ways that benefit me the most. My biggest problem with classes has always been the structure: due dates, tests, papers, strictly teacher student engagement. Having the creativity to learn at my own pace, comment on my peers thoughts, and learn from someone besides the teacher, and even learn from myself has been so positive. The fact that I could even trouble my own previous thoughts and go back and analyze my train of thought benefitted me so much.
Suggestions? I would suggest narrowing the focus a bit more. It was tricky to keep track of so many different thoughts and areas of focus that were specific to each individual on the blog that it sometimes got overwhelming.
Sara, thank you, thank you, thank you! I wish I had more opportunities to take another class with you. I'm SAD to say this is my LAST GWSS class.