Thursday, February 2, 2012

Computers and Composition Online

Adhering to a feminist community amid the politics of digital scholarship proposes challenges.  Although a non-hierarchical collaboration with graduate students sounds like a promising collaboration, I wonder if the sustainability of the venture is really that promising when ego driven professors forget that they are mentoring new media scholars.  Publishing on-line or in print can become highly political and also serve to validate someone’s self-worth.  So, is writing for a feminist community an exchange for feminist politics?  Individuals may argue that the feminist community is only a privatized self-help if not paired with a feminist call to action.

If building this feminist community is a success, and people are content helping one another, the newly created professional identities are successful legacies of online literacy.  There are many opportunities for multimodal literacies, and there are many positive aspects of connecting with others to share and experience various levels of technical literacies.

Also, I want to add that it is a bold statement that intellectual property difficulties and agonistic authorship hierarchies are more prominent in the realms of the sciences.  I have witnessed conflicts about collaborative scholarly works concerning whose name appears first, and I have only been active in two departments – and they were not common sciences.  Ultimately, I believe elitism exists in all academia. 

I may just be being overly critical, but I am just blogging.


  1. I agree, as I think the authors of this piece would, that feminist approaches to scholarship and editorship do pose challenges. To really take up feminist ideals of collaboration and support takes time and energy and is hardly ever easy (though no production of critical or creative writing ever really is). That said, I think that this sort of approach is interesting in that it posits ideals and goals for such work like mentoring and carving out spaces for new voice. I know these sorts of things may never be fully realized - much like a power-free feminist classroom - but it is an ideal worth aiming for and pushing toward that goal may in fact change some of the outcomes along the way.

    I think you make a good point about ego too, Yolonda. I don't think any editing is ego-free. Being a mentor can be a heady thing too and mentoring and shepherding new voices may actually add to a feminist editor's "street cred." Does that make it not worth trying though?

  2. Anything is worth trying at least once (should we should insert a disclaimer here?), right?

    I am actually very interested in researching in what ways digital literacy constructs writer's identities in a feminist classroom community.

    1. One would think that a professor with tenure would be less worried about publishing credit and more open to collaboration and mentoring. Mentoring is harder than doing something for oneself and it is understood that a professor's job is to teach.

      Personally I would like to take the feminist community a step further and include people outside of academia. A journal collaboration between a university and local woman's resource center, for example. I recently found out about a wonderful non-profit in Anthony & I wondered if they would ever want somebody to teach a creative writing class. Once people start writing their stories, they tend to want to share them. A collaborative feminist literary journal could be a way to share people's stories, with people working together: those who have editing skills and people who are still learning grammar conventions or perhaps learning English as a second language.