I like to listen to podcasts as I work and as I run. But finding good podcasts that are worth my time is no easy task. Even when I find recommendations, I never know where to start. Here is a list of podcasts I listen to, why I like them and why I hate-listen to others. I’ve included the particular episodes that I thought were standouts and that I come back to regularly or even assign in classes. They are in no particular order. Read more
Last January, inspired by Jill Stauffer and looking to blog more regularly, I decided to blog every day of January. It was hard, but it was good for me. It was an opportunity to think through some things that had been rattling around in my head, to write up some reviews of books, and to better articulate my thoughts on what was happening in the world. No doubt there were days that were hard, but it broke through some of my blogging anxieties making it easier for me to drop a post without too much concern over whether my contribution really was a contribution.
Now a year later, those anxieties have not remained at bay. This is partly due to my efforts to address multiple audiences at once and partly due to my conflicted feelings about the philosophy blogosphere. Instead of getting into that here, I am going to start with my positive account of how I would like to think about blogging, my community of bloggers and my audience.
- I would like to be writing for a community of philosophers and non philosophers alike. This means a whole bunch of things that I think should lower the stakes of regular blogging. For one, it means writing plainly without trying to prove philosophy credentials. That means writing from a place of my expertise, but without the formal structures that demand that expertise be proven at every turn.
- For another, it means writing things because I think about them and am interested in sharing them. I know some things, I know the world in which these things are discussed. I have specific investments and concerns about how we think about political life, about nature, about gender, about reading certain texts that I am interested in writing about. I’m going to actively strive to overcome my resistance to posting when I am unsure whether what I write has been said before. A, I don’t think it has and B, this is not a formal academic project that depends on the principles of academic research. Unfortunately, this sense that it is is often enforced on women bloggers while many allowances are made for men bloggers.
- I would like to have a community around blogging that responds graciously and thoughtfully, reading with a hermeneutics of sympathy, giving the author the benefit of the doubt, respecting her authority on those things in which she is an authority. This is a principle that often leads to false equivalences, something I hope to write about in the days to come. I’ll just say that recognizing social and disciplinary positioning and responding thoughtfully in light of those positions would make this a better blog world.
One reason I have an uneasy relationship to blogging is that I want to treat it as a kind of public note-taking of my thinking about the world, much as Chris Long writes about using Twitter. By being public I am compelled to work things out that might otherwise be left inchoate. But also by being public I find myself internalizing possible criticisms and concerns from comers on all sides. This Big O Other, law of the father, this gaze, whatever you want to call it is a view I’d like to better ignore. So this month I’d like to blog more consciously for myself. If that’s something you’re interested in following, I hope you do. I’ll let you know at month’s end how we fare.
Starting on May 5, I embarked on a week-long social media experiment where I only engaged with women online. I did this project in conjunction with blogger and philosopher Leigh Johnson. Here’s what I posted and she posted on Facebook to announce the project.
I have long felt like social media is a man’s world. Men get all the privileges they get as men, but it feels amplified on social media. My experience of social media in general is that men can say things that get taken as definitive, while women are asked to explain and justify. Men say things about their difficulties in any particular area of their life and it is taken as an expression of their reflective capacities, but when women express such difficulties, it is taken as a moment to offer advice. I don’t have the data (a. I would love to see such work being done and b. I think the call for data in response to this expression of my experience is in a sense part of what happens to women on the internet–we call it gaslighting when experience is not to be trusted), but my experience on the interwebz is that it’s a hard place to be a woman, especially a woman in philosophy. Read more
I blogged every day in January. It was not easy. I’m glad I did it, though. It helped snap me out of certain inhibitions that I have had about blogging, which I have discussed here and here. If you have a blog and you struggle to blog regularly, or if you don’t even know whether you want to blog regularly, I recommend giving yourself the month-long challenge. Here’s some things I learned. Read more
I have now blogged everyday for fifteen days in a row!
The most regular blogging I have done up until now was during my trips to Greece. I blogged about blogging the first trip, and looking back, blogging a trip is not that different from giving yourself a 31-day blogging challenge. In both cases, I find myself bringing added attention to my experiences because I know I am going to have to blog about something. One of my biggest obstacles to blogging more regularly before this month is that I’ll have ideas about something I could potentially blog about and I’ll think that it isn’t important or interesting enough or that I’m not the one to say it (sometimes, this is a legit concern and the philosophy blogosphere might be a better place if more white cisgender men asked them whether they should be the ones to say the thought they have). Read more
I spent my day writing syllabi, and so I’ve been thinking about what to do to inspire learning and what I’ve done that seems to have led most successfully to student learning. Last fall, I taught an upper-level course in which students had to post or comment on the class blog for every class session. I am here to testify that it raised the level of discussion in class and the depth of written work for the class better than anything else I’ve tried. This post is for those of you who might also be preparing to begin your semester, who are wondering whether having students blog is worth it and how to set it up. Read more
Image from PODNetwork, logo for 2015 conference.
Just left my first PODnetwork meeting in San Francisco. POD is the acronym for Professional Organizational Development, which, I know, sounds like something I’d never be a part of. But the meeting was about pedagogy, which I am very much a part of. I’m a faculty member who does not have an official role in a Center for Teaching and Learning, but I am the program chair of the Gender Studies minor; I administer a GLCA grant on Ancient Philosophy Teaching and Research where one component is a pedagogy workshop; and I’m actively engaged in discussions of pedagogy as many other faculty are on my campus (as part of the academic honesty task force, for example). All this to say, I was thinking about the discussions at the meeting very much from a faculty perspective. Read more
At HASTAC2015 at Michigan State in May, then-soon-to-be-new Dean of College of Arts and Letters at MSU, Chris Long, and I hatched a plan to have my students engage his book, Socratic and Platonic Political Philosophy (Cambridge 2014). Students would read the book online and engage the digital platform Cambridge set up to encourage a living relationship to the text. As a follow up and to enhance the dialogical engagement, Long agreed to videoconference into class. This week, we did it. Read more
I just spent three days at Humanities, Arts Sciences and Technology Alliance and Colaboratory (HASTAC) 2015 conference on the theme: “Art and Science of Digital Humanities.” I did some livetweeting, which I’ve been doing regularly at conferences but mostly I took notes directly to this post which I then edited to summarize my observations on recurring and important themes from the conference.
- This might say more about the kinds of conferences I attend, but this is the most diverse conference community I’ve ever seen.
- Perhaps not surprisingly for a digital humanities project, it’s also the youngest conference crowd I’ve ever seen. There are many more people in literature and languages using digital humanities in their pedagogy and research than any other field.
- I participated in recurring discussions of importance and difficulty of interdisciplinarity. Why do we hyperspecialize? Why do we entrench? Funding structures and disputes over resources seem to drive divisions that don’t necessarily serve our ends in digital humanities.
- A woman whose native tongue was not English kept referring to digital humanity in a panel on using digital resources in medieval studies, which got me thinking is our humanity digital?
- I had several discussions about ambiguity. Ambiguity is at the heart of humanities. Does technology excise the ambiguity in a way that is problematic or can it give students more opportunities to struggle with readings and making their own case for how to read or understand a text?