« September 2008 | Main | November 2008 »

October 27, 2008

HELP FREE ESHA! CSUN Grad Student studying Women's Movement in Iran

Esha Momeni, a student and women's rights defender, was arrested by Iranian security officials on 15 October 2008. She is being held in Section 209 of Evin Prison in Tehran, which is run by the Ministry of Intelligence. She has not been charged with any offence, and is at risk of torture or other ill-treatment.




October 21, 2008

"Black White Whatever" Kelly Tsai (Def Poetry)

This girl ROCKS!!!

October 14, 2008

Voter Registration DEADLINE [TODAY! in Minnesota]


Visit the website for more info: http://www.sos.state.mn.us/home/index.asp?page=204

Download PDF of VOTER REG application HERE

October 12, 2008

Proud Moment [first videos are posted!]

!! BROWSER WARNING: Firefox is displaying blogs (and even my homepage) with additional spaces. If possible, use another browser to avoid awkward page display. If not, ignore the extra spaces and ENJOY!

My students in DIGITAL STORYTELLING in and with COMMUNITIES OF COLOR, most of whom had NO previous video or tech experience, posted their midterm assignments: personal digital stories.

Two students came in with video experience:

and a grad (doing a directed study, looking at digital storytelling in the classroom) also had some experience with imovie, but took the step to learn final cut:

These students had NO experience, and they ROCKED IT(!). Please visit the COURSE BLOG to view ALL OF THE STUDENT'S WORK!

Here are just a few to get a sneak peek here:

Why and How I Blog (GWSS uses of Uthink blog)

I recently wrote a letter in support of UThink blog upgrade (a long overdue move to latest version of Movable Type).

I thought that I should share with all of you, since so frequently (on campus and in cyberspace) I am asked why and how I use blogs as tools for teaching, learning, and as a means of distribution for creative media work. I did conduct a workshop last year on FEMINIST TEACHING WITH TECHNOLOGY, but that was mostly tech (with theoretical overview), much of which is expanded here.

I would have to say that my favorite use of the course blogs (beyond what I've listed below) is the adaption of a "typical" midterm film analysis paper that asks students to analyze a film scene, shot by shot. By adapting that assignment to be a blog assignment, SEE HERE, I can actually see the images (students take using screen grab in the FMC, which gives them additional tech tools, as well as opens up their work to all of our classroom community of learners.

So here's the letter:

I am a doctoral candidate and Graduate Instructor in the department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies and an avid user of the UThink blogging system for teaching, learning, research, creative work, and community building. The use of UThink blogs has been central to all of the CLA courses that I have taught from 2006 to the present. I have been eagerly awaiting the UThink update to the latest version of Movable Type because the group blog format and other enhanced features that are currently available. An upgrade of the current system would be tremendously beneficial to my work, and to the work of many UThink bloggers in my department.

I first used a course blog for my fall 2006 course (WoSt 3307) FEMINIST FILM STUDIES. This course had 80 enrolled students, which is a large course for GWSS and can be difficult to teach with feminist pedagogy; I engage practices and methods that centers student voices, utilizes active learning practices, and builds the classroom as a space of community of learners. Using the blog for this course enabled community building beyond our weekly meeting time, in so many ways. I was able to “hear� all of the student’s voices and ideas, which is an impossibility during the limited class periods. I found that students who rarely speak in the classroom, often took the lead on blog discussions, and their ideas prompted many rigorous discussions. The first assignment, a “low risk� task, was to post a “Top 10� favorite list of films. This assignment allowed the class to share films screened outside of class, and let me know, as the Instructor, that they knew how to post, embed images, create links, and embed video clips, all tasks that were required for the remainder of the course’s academic and creative assignments. I also discovered that students, without being required to post comments, read each other’s posts, posted comments, and began to create a true community of learners beyond the “traditional� campus classroom and meeting hours, without my prompt, requirement or intervention.

Additionally, the blogs connect students, very literally, to learning and community beyond the enrolled students. I use blog as a way for students to share their research, like an assignment that asks students to “report� on women of color filmmakers. Students were amazed when some of the filmmakers posted in the comments of their posts. In their course evaluations, the students said that having their idea on the web, connected to filmmakers in the “real� world, made it seem that their assignments were a part of the feminist tradition of recovery and spotlight of women’s works that aren’t always easily accessible. For course final projects (often videos, photo essays, and powerpoint presentations), I ask students to post their work to the blog. This enables us to easily move from one project to the next (without the usual tech set-up delays during in-class presentations), is a way for students work to be showcased beyond class, and remains as an archive of the work, and still receives comments from those on and off campus.

In courses such as my spring 2008 (GWSS 3390) FEMINIST MEDIA MAKING, and my current course (AFRO3910/GWSS 3390) DIGITAL STORYTELLING in and with Communities of Color the blog is central to assignments and active student learning practices. I required assignments be posted to the blog, which creates engaged conversations (that is normally only a two-way street, traveled between student and Instructor only). With the blog, students ideas and discussions flow across complex interchanges and intersections, with all of the community of learners participating and benefit from peer learning. Blog posts often become prompts for course discussion, and a site for all of us to share information linking our site to news and events on campus. I also post all of the technical instructions (like how to use particular software or embed video in their post) on the blog, and as a result I find that students, accessing this information from anywhere they find themselves working, and often they post more than just the required assignments. Additionally, I often have students keep their own blogs as journals to trace their engagement with course ideas. Without the group blog features available in Movable Type updates, I create a work-around by linking the course blog to each of the blogs in the right sidebar, functional but clunky, to say the least.

It’s also important to note that I was an CLA IT Fellow (2005 – 2007), and taught the faculty, graduate students, majors, minors and enrolled GWSS students how to blog. In the beginning many were cautious, skeptical, or just resistant to using the blogs, fearful of privacy issues and exposure of their students. With my courses as a model, and an instruction on uses display name alias tool in UThink, I’ve found (and heard through feedback with others) that students, accountable to the reading “public� post thoughts phrased more critically, rather than personally attacking (as some feel comfortable doing when they only hand the paper in to the faculty). Some of our courses use the blogs for assignments, event postings, and reading response papers, while some courses use blogs for the sharing of creative work like adbusting and postcard projects (similar to Post Secret. Blogs are used for large and small enrollment courses, and for both lecture section and discussion sections. I have not received any negative feedback from the use of course blogs. Currently, there are numerous GWSS course blogs on the UThink system, and the numbers and methods of uses seems to be expanding exponentially.

I welcome you to visit our blogs to see brilliant, creative, and engaged scholarly work that is happening because of the Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies Department’s use of the UThink blogging tools.

Visit is our departmental blog: GWSS COMMUNITY BLOG

Visit some of our course blogs:

Visit some of our personal blogs:

Please don’t hesitate to contact me to discuss my excitement and uses of the UThink blogging system in further detail. I support a quick upgrade of the UThink system and hope that we can upgrade the system immediately. Thank you for considering this request.

Rachel Raimist
Former IT Fellow / Doctoral Candidate, GWSS / Graduate Instructor, GWSS and AFRO

October 9, 2008

Not that I'm living by the "stars" but.... [2 good ones in a row]


Thanks again Holiday!

October 8, 2008

My mantra from this day forward...


thanks to Holiday Mathis and the Strib horoscope

October 7, 2008

PTO: Call for Proposals (Revised)

Mad as Hell? Now Move (or Draw, or Act…): Organizing for Social Justice @ PTO Gathering ‘09

I wanted to follow up with information about where to submit proposals
More Information about proposals: http://www.ptoweb.org/cfp.html


For Submissions: http://www.ptoweb.org/submission-form.html

Finally, clarifications on the conference dates:
May 18-20 Pre-conference workshops with Augusto and Julian Boal
pending Augusto's health and with Chaka Mkali and Marc Bamuthi Joseph
on Hip Hop as Organizing Tool.
May 21-24 Conference
May 24-25 Post-Conference Arts Literacy workshop with Jan Mandell and

Registration for conference and workshops will be open later beginning in January 2009. Please note that all presenters must pay conference registration fees (on a sliding scale from about $65 for students and others with lower incomes to about $155 with scholarship and volunteer opportunities.) Pre- and post-conference workshops require additional fees exact amount to be determined. Additional information on accommodations will be posted soon.

October 5, 2008

Saying goodbye to another one of my babies...

It's time to retire my baby (a SONY PD-150 that I've had since 2000 (the day after the "Rage riot" - was filming at the DNC when police shot my 3rd VX-1000))

So now my camera is dead. I've had it refurbished already ($600+), about 3 years ago, so it's over now. The audio board is shot - you can only hear out of one headphone at a time, after a fair amount of jiggling. Now the camera is shooting things all dithered, no matter how many times I clean the head.

See here:



I don't know how I'm going to buy another camera (as I finish grad school) but my fingers are crossed. I don't need anything too fancy. I'd like a Panasonic's AG-DVX100B. Can I borrow $3000?

[and in case you are wondering, gifts are accepted]


www.ptoweb.org Deadline Dec. 1, 2008

Mad as Hell? Now Move (or Draw, or Act…): Organizing for Social Justice @ PTO Gathering ‘09

What makes you mad? What injustices compel us to act? What are the success stories? How do we organize long-standing and sustainable changes for the good of our communities? How might we use problem- posing to address the conflicts that confront us? How do we navigate the spaces between the World As It Is and the World As It Should Be? The PTO Board and the Local Organizing Committee request proposals for interactive presentations, panels, performances, dialogues, and workshops that wrestle with our organizational mission: To challenge oppressive systems by promoting critical thinking and social justice.

Download info HERE and more details after the jump

In particular, we invite proposals that reflect participatory models
of engagements, that speak to broad audiences and cross borders of
environmental justice, immigrant rights, racial justice, growing
poverty and wealth, militarism and peace, and the other great issues
of our time; and that bridge academic work and community organizing.

Presentations might include:

Issues central to people of color and lower-income communities;
Case studies of organizing that effectively used the arts to address a
particular issue;
Workshops or discussions about the use of PO and TO in community
Workshops, presentations and investigations into the practice of
Theatre of the Oppressed; the relation between Joker, actor and spect-
actor; and their potential to change people and institutions;
Proposals that prescribe or examine what happens after TO workshops:
in other words, how to move from theatre to action.
Dialogues between creative organizers and activist PTO artists;
Problem-posing and popular education;
Investigations, through PO or TO or related practices, into the nature
and causes of class relations, how they have come into existence, and
how they can be overturned;
Investigations into the use of dialogue, creative expression and
physical activity (movement) as tools for social and political

Please note that proposals that model interactive critical engagement
will receive preference.

Local Organizing Committee: Charles Adams (University of Minnesota);
alejandra tobar alatriz (PTO board member, Grassroots Nonviolence);
Victor Cole (Metropolitan State University); Ben Fink (conference
office manager, University of Minnesota); Shannon Gibney (lead
conference organizer, Minneapolis Community and Technical College);
Andrew Granger (Minneapolis Community and Technical College); Dana
Jeffries (St. Paul Central High Black Box Theater); Rachel Johnson;
Sonja Kuftinec (PTO board member, University of Minnesota); Michael
Kuhne (lead conference organizer, Minneapolis Community and Technical
College); Elle Meza (PTO board member, Multicultural Indigenous
Academy); Chaka Mkali (PTO board member, Hope Community Center);
Mankwe Ndosi (Center for Independent Artists); Larry Olds (The Popular
Education News); Crystal Spring (St. Paul Central High Black Box
Theater); Diane Scovill (Minneapolis Community and Technical College);
Deborah Torraine; Cheryl Wilson (PTO board member, organizer).

For questions contact: PTO2009@gmail.com, or call Ben Fink, conference office manager, at 612-840-0141.

October 4, 2008

Lots of Clips [Rachel's Sample Work]

I'm playing with CLA Media Mill's feature to post video right to Uthink. A big "Woo-hoo!" for CLA OIT for this feature!

work sample by RACHEL RAIMIST [bad compression = ( ]

RAP / HIP-HOP REEL (videographer/editor:RACHEL RAIMIST)

excerpt from FREESTYLE THE ART OF RHYME (videographer/Editor: RACHEL RAIMIST)

old version of ESTILO HIP HOP (videographer: RACHEL RAIMIST)


ghostbox#1: killer cancer cells (videographer/editor: RACHEL RAIMIST)

B-GIRL BE PROMO (2006) (videographer/editor: RACHEL RAIMIST)


TRACKS by Tish Jones (videographer/editor: RACHEL RAIMIST)

PINK LADIES by Moira Pirsch (editor: RACHEL RAIMIST)

Fun with Media Mill Video!