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Notes Towards Day 12: Collective Panel #2

live blog of what actually happened!

Collective Panel #2:
From Storytelling to Theorizing

Margaret Mead and the Samoa:
“Exotic culture that never was”

I. Coursekeeping
* Watchmen
and The Handmaid’s Tale both in Bookshop–>
pick up to read over break

* need to have a writing conference before the week is out
* papers due by Friday @ 5
(for Anne, remember hard copy, w/ marked paper #1)
*for all, tag your “child” with its “parent”
and w/ your name
(instructions on “webpapers” page, also @ top of syllabus)
*also note new ‘tech tips’:
using the “more” tag
“articles of interest” sidebar
*one other request before you leave for break:
some complaints, @ end of first section, about
“crowding @ the board” to do evals,
so this time on-line:

1) how do you now understand the process of
“engendering technology”?
2) what do you know (=what you’ve gotten)?
3) what do you not know/want to know
(=what questions do you have?)
4) also any relevant feedback re: what’s working/
what’s not working
in the class as a whole

III. final series of intros:

AH–>Alex M–>lparrish–>Maddie–>Cleo–>JS–>hlin–>AH…
and group chant?

IV. summing up last week’s graphic facilitation:
between a story and a theory?

observations–>story–>theory– < levels of abstraction;
cf. classic “participant observation” of anthropology,
my frustration when we get mired in the details; vs.
yours @ my pushing us always “deeper” (Cat?)

V. today’s (rather random?) panel:

which axes are relevant/need to be foregrounded?
(identify some of them by end of session?)

Mosuo Women of Lugu Lake, China (Roisin)
Foot-binding Chinese women (hlin)
Abinaki (Hillary)
Girl & Boy Scouts (Alexandra)
DAR (Cat)
in-vitro-fertilized women (Michelle)
romance novel readers (Sugar Spice)
female gamers (Kalyn)
feminist bloggers (Melinda)
pro-feminist men (Natasha)
online trans support groups (lparrish)
female body builders (Roldine)
? primates (AH)
? aggressive college students (Rebecca)
? 1950s middle class (Solomon)

VI. asked you to tell your stories on-line; today’s conversation about
what your understanding of your group’s experience adds
to our understandings about the genderizing of technology:

* (from ZY, who spoke of “manufacturing geisha”:
the geisha are themselves “a form of technology,”
the term itself means “woman of art”):
how applicable is that analysis to your group?
to what degree would it be accurate to call them
“people of art”=”people of technology”=technological people?

*cf. a related condition described by Susan Stryker:
“body as technology, flesh as a medium, with
all identifications technologized,
the location of the body indistinguishable
from technology, from instrumentalized means”

* (from Hannah, telephone operative):
to what degree is the gender performance in
your group the “performance of a machine”?
what qualities do humans and machines share
in the workplaces you have studied?
are people gendered as machines?
are machines gendered as people?

* (from Sugar Spice’s film studies class):
how bent, how straight is gender performance in your group?
how does technology contribute to that ambiguity (or lack of it)?
to what degree has technology “taught your group
how to become ‘properly gendered subjects'”?

* (from Alexandra):
what has been the impact of social networking and technophilia
on the human mental and physical health of your group?
to what degree has your group been prepared to become cyborgs?

* (from Melinda, aka Adrienne Rich, in whose hands
feminist poetry underwent a huge transformation):
to what degree–and in what ways–has the
technology used by your group altered over time?

* (from Natasha, who got me thinking of “gender”–
defined in our first class session as “kind”–
as a form of “kin,” of family resemblance):
to what degree–and in what ways–does “affinity group”
(rather than “identity group”) work as a description
of the group you have studied?

* (from Melanie/my evening w/ Eli Clare):
how would you describe the distinctions made between male and female in your culture? is it a crack or a chasm?

* (from ditto:)
what have the thieves stolen from your group?
how have they reclaimed their bodies?
what has technology taken away and/or restored to them?

* (from Maddie):
what thoughts are in your head? who put them there?
(& what does technology have to do with this process?)

* (from Roldine):
do the members of your group “choose to
identify on the gender continuum”?
do you think that their doing so
“perpetuates the cycle of oppression”?
Etc, etc, etc….

Margaret Mead as Cultural Commentator

live blog of what actually happened!