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Assignment: Annotated Bibliography Part 2 – Peer Comments

Thoughts after reading Annotated Bibliography entries:
  • We can run no longer. The era of critical making is here. Daniel's blog discussed the implications of data collection in digital spaces, and Leslie's blog discussed the need for digital composition and assessment strategies. Both have the inherent argument that the ramifications of digital spaces are firmly embedded within our discipline. What this tells me is that as scholars and instructors we have the responsibility to understand how to create technologies for scholarship and the classroom. We have to understand it as fully as teachers need to understand anything they teach and as scholars need to understand to analyze. It's a kind of fluency with technology production that most of us lack, or are scared of, or refuse to accept is part of the discipline. If there was a historical schism between linguistics and English, oral communication and English, and creative writing and English, with these disciplines being splintered off from the department, we must do the opposite for technology. As it now exists in completely separate discipline, technology studies needs to be enveloped by English studies. We have to bring these courses in technology production, management, and theory into our world alongside our surveys and seminars in literature and rhetoric. If we are going to teach students to be producers of digital content, we must understand the technology that facilitates that production. The time has come; I hope it has not passed.  
  • The assignment for this entry asked for a summary of what/how/why I learned. The what is pretty easy. My comment above speaks to that. The how and why are far more difficult to answer. How did I learn? Collaboratively would be one way to answer that. My peers, whom I hold in the highest regard and regularly inspire and teach me, were able to comprehend the readings, coherently summarize them in their pieces, and offer broader implications for our course and discipline. The knowledge that I built is on their solid foundation, so in that sense I learned by working with Daniel and Leslie. These kind of jigsaw activities (I believe they are called if my memory of undergraduate courses in education are serving me right) are among my favorite ways to learn. Others often bring ideas to the table or make connections that I would not have made based on our diverse experiences and bodies of knowledge.
  • Why did I learn what I learned? I was open. I was willing. I was humble in the face of the vastness of things that I do not know. My peers are intelligent. My instructors asked me to. The material was selected for me. I have been trained in and have practiced the active reading and critical thinking skills needed to learn. I have prior knowledge from which to draw. All of these are potential answers to the question of why I, or anyone for that matter, might have learned. But I think that the real answer here if that I learned these particular take-aways because I am acutely aware of the issues surrounding critical making or technology production as a result of my own research. The "why" is inextricable from the "what" in which I am interested. The human mind most easily makes the connections across the pathways that are already there. As new information comes in, my mind works to fit it into the files that exist, to see the relevance to that which I already find important. Perhaps this is why networks grow organically. I want to expand the nodes I value. I seek out the connections that can be made to and from it. The network grows where knowledge can be easily created and around nodes that are most valued.

Comment on Daniel's blog

Comment on Leslie's blog (at time of posting, this comment was awaiting moderation)

Mind Map: Class Meeting 2/4/14

Additions this week in hot pink.

This week I have been eagerly digesting the ideas from Miller, Bazerman, Popham, and Zoetewey. Each of these authors speaks to some aspect of social action, which excited me to my core. I study activism, and have always held a fascination for and respect of the work that activists do. Then in more recent years, I have come to see how my own scholarly pursuits can be actionable. There is a growing emphasis on critical makingin digital humanities, on scholars not just thinking and writing but making and doing. I see myself situated in this discursive field with an emphasis on building a digital archive combined with social media functions (like BuddyPress). This critical making will bridge the gap between the theoretical and pragmatic, and this is exactly the kind of function that the writers this week argue about genres and civic web sites.

I started by creating a node labeled “Things that can be seen as networks” and connected out to genre (through Bazerman’s argument that genres exist in inter-textual systems), civic web sites, literature reviews (an idea explored in my Reading Notes) and the archive node from last week.

I then made a node labeled “Networks in action” and connected  that to genre, civic websites, and a node related to archives explaining that an archive allows for the action of diagnosis. I connected this node to Bitzer’s argument that through the actions of an audience, discourse can mediate or change the rhetorical situation.

Genres fulfill social functions; they effect change in a community. These ideas clearly appear in Miller’s and Popham’s articles. Discourse, in the form of a genre, can be understood by an audience and used to inform, persuade, or support them. This argument resonates with me as a way that English Studies, that objects belonging to that field, can be more and do more than just existing in the pages of obscure texts. Things under the purview of this discipline can be active and engaged in our communities.

Civic web sites also “do work” by creating a space for discourse about a community issue, often leading to action of the part of the informed public. In this way, they turn the public into producers of knowledge, a node that I connected to Bitzer’s idea that rhetorical situations (community problems) invite a response (creation of civic web sites) that can be used to effect change by the audience (public viewers of web site).
Another connection from genre is to Foucault’s argument that books are nodes in a network. Miller argues that the genre is an interlocution between the mind and society. It is a node in the network of social activity, a point through which ideas are transformed into action.

Finally, I added a node for Popham’s idea of “reflexion”, that we use one discipline to create an image of another, which connects to Foucault’s idea that we come to know a discursive field by studying how one object/event informs another, their proximity, the connections, and the relations between them.

Suzanne's Mind Map