After much though and two conference presentations — I think I’m beginning to figure out how I want to approach this. Honestly, I’ve been a little uneasy the whole time withe making the revolution the primary focus of my dissertation. I mean, that’s cool and all — but, in my heart of hearts, I think that what I really want to do is expand how we understand media within the field of composition. Thus, I need to address how we are understanding things within the framework of the classroom — or so it seems. So, I think I want to make my dissertation about the interface and how the interface is used rhetorically to invite the embodiment of audiences … more later — i’m in the library and suddenly got super hungry.
So, I’m wrapping up a really short session of reading and brainstorming for this project. It’s the first time that I’ve come back to it in a few weeks… got busy with SAMLA, Arabic, and being a sad sack in general. I read several useful things tonight. In particular, was “Image Encounters with the Techno-Mediated Other” by Melinda Hinkson. She’s talking more specifically about Youtube videos in the Iranian revolution. However, I thought she had some great things to say about subjectivity.
Then, I started flipping through Caren Kaplan’s essay in Scattered Hegemonies — an essay I will return to for a closer read. However, it got me to thinking about how random and funny it would be if I ended up focussing on place and location. Not beyond the realm of possibility but utterly hilarious in any case. We’re always concerned about location — especially as feminists — thus, what a nice, juicy starting place?
So, I’m coming back to this project and thinking about ethos today — in response to a cfp that’s due tomorrow. Even if I don’t get a proposal in, I think this is a good activity.
Tweet from jail that she’d been beaten
April 6 Youth Movement:
https://www.facebook.com/asmaa.mahfouz –> real fb page
convo with US Embassy before Libya attacks over viral video
“Second Living” about her: http://baysweetwater.com/tag/asmaa-mahfouz/
CHarged with inciting violence: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2011/08/2011814171152881872.html
Her Blog: http://wolf-inside.blogspot.com/
Women in the Revolution:
Paper on FB and April 6 revolution: http://tascha.uw.edu/2012/07/paper-on-the-role-of-facebook-in-the-trajectory-of-the-april-6th-youth-movement-in-egypt-accepted-to-aoir-2012/
April 6 blog: http://shabab6april.wordpress.com/about/shabab-6-april-youth-movement-about-us-in-english/
Battle of Tahrir: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2011/02/201123175837480777.html#
Well, I’ve finished another “thought experiment” connected to my dissertation. This time, I’m talking about the “economy” of Twitter … well, that’s what I’m talking about in terms of the conference, anyway. This is the first time that I’m trying to opperationalize the term witnessing. I don’t think the paper’s particularly strong. However, it is an important step for this project. I look towards defining (which I don’t actually do) “rhetorical witness.”I frame the argument in terms of who tweets by activists on Twitter elicit this audience as their texts find increasingly large — and unanticipated — audiences. The crazy thing about social media — especially Twitter — is that things can really circulate beyond your wildest imagination. Thus, even though texts may not be geared specifically toward Western audiences — that does not mean that these audiences are going to see and have a response to them. Thus, I ask how we can begin to account for this response and look at what the tweets are doing to elicit it. I say that rhetorical witnessing is anticipated my mediated experiences of globalization that Tomilson talks about and that I really ought to read about more — I’m admittedly taking a lot of freedom. However, he says that our mediated experiences of globalization we act back on the transnational event that is forming through this kind of circulation Super helpful lee-way into talking about rhetorical witnessing. Rhetorical witnessing enables us to address: a) ethics of seeing b) disIdentification and c) the medium as mobile and digital that opens up the door for the dialogic exchange of author and audience in the forming transnational phenomenon of the Egyptian revolution.
It seems that the next step is to operationalize embodiment — first, I need to do some more reading though.
Personally, I think that before this is ready for Shirley, I need to find other ways of gathering evidence that these rhetorical witnesses even matter — why does anyone care? We don’t even know if they care. They could just be fair-weather friends, afterall.
So, I’m sitting here listening to the Erin McKeown Pandora station. Melissa Ferrick is playing. God. This song makes me think of home and my early-20s version of myself. It makes me smile now, though. Which is good. I’m drinking some Le Croix and watching Carlee lay in the doorway to the office as I think about how nice and silky this faux fur chair is that Leigh bought at Pier One.
I google “Iconic Image.” Then, I google Egyptian Revolution, click on image returns, and narrow them down to the last five days. I choose this image to get me started tonight:
Although I Googled “Egyptian Revolution,” this is a recent picture from the Syrian revolution. This image, or one much like it, has circulated alot during the past few days. Particularly, I think this image was attached to reports of Syrian shells crossing into Turkey. Like most people, I’d imagine, my understanding is spotty here and I haven’t followed the news enough to get a clear picture of what’s going on.
When we look at images like this, what are we seeing? Who took this image? What were they taking pictures of? Why were they there? What were they using? What were they thinking? Who are the people in the image? I ask this of the picture … and I get silence with Ani DiFranco rocking out in the background. Google found the image on the Socialist Workers Party website with a “.ie” web adress — a website not hosted an an American server.
Testimony? Witness? Spectacle? Here I sit. My feet propped up. I’m eating some of my roommate’s crackers and pretzel twists because I’m too lazy to go to the grocery. When I look at this picture: I make no direct connection to the peaceful setting outside of my window. Do I also feel pity I wonder how old the young boys are in the image. I think about how nice the light looks as it passes through the clouds. I notice that the street looks almost cobblestoned. I think that the street look clean. I repeatedly come back to the young boy silhouetted against the cloud. After looking at the image for awhile longer, I wonder what’s in the boy’s hand. When I try to recall where I’ve seen this image before — I can’t quite remember where. But, is that part of the point? Is part of my embodied experience of this image one that takes it from its context and puts it in the fluid context of us as individuals?
So, this is one of the last places that I expected to find myself reading. However, it does have a lot to offer. In particular, these authors seem to be really aware of where they are in terms of the development of discourses on witnessing and the adjoining conversations.
So far, it seem like witness discourse in almost overlapping with that on trauma. I wonder, can you witness without experiencing trauma? How can trauma be nuanced? These authors do address the “mediatized witnesses” after 9/11. Could we say that viewers watching images coming out of the Egyptian revolution were traumatized? I could see how this could get real loosey-goosey in terms of the reading of trauma on the Western audience — i.e. see the effects of colonization and neoliberalism… being held accountable for their Westerness, etc.
Subareas of conversation:
So, this morning as I make my hot cereal for breakfast, I’m thinking about a proposal for the Digital Pedagogy poster session at 4Cs in the Spring. I’ve never really been interested in doing this kind of thing before — primarily because I like reading and clicking through power points and I have felt that they were more beneficial to forwarding my thinking in terms of a dissertation project, etc. Now that I’m really thinking about this new form of presenting, however, it’s pretty tricky. I’ve never really come up with something outside of the context of a class. I’m thinking back, however, to when I taught WEPO, what changes I’ll make to the course next time I teach it, and how my research might inform my pedagogy.
So, Jenkin’s Convergence Culture comes to mind as perhaps a framing reading — what difference does this movement across platform make? How could a sequenced activity help us more fully understand his text and challenge it? How could this give us an example to think through and add to what Jenkins is leaving out? Hmmm….