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Some links


Saw this Salon piece in my Google reader this afternoon…. interesting when considered alongside Berlant’s discussion of intimate public sphere/family/heteronormativity/reproductive sex and the collapsing of public/private/intimate/social:

Tweeting Your Abortion

Also, here is the web series, “How To Explain It To My Parents.” Seems there is only one episode available here? Here is a link to where I initially encountered it, with a video of a different artist.


Here’s the excerpt from Mad Men that we couldn’t watch today in class:

Resonates with Berlant’s discussion of a public organized around reproduction and advertising as one medium to deliver that message.

Yay for Ethan today!!

question cart pics for presentation






A proposal: WPA archive

So my project is going to go with the WPA idea, and I’m narrowing by considering “loss” and trauma expressed by members of the public over rejections to 4cs.  I’m feeling sort of nervous about applying this theory to my archive, so my thoughts are feeling kind of cold and unformed as to how I’m going to analyze the archive.  Sorry if this is rambly and hard to follow.


If I go with this pseudo-trauma angle, Cvetovich is an obvious influence (as might be Berlant and her discussion of traumatized citizens).  Ahmed’s work on emotion could also be helpful.  Michael Warner…could he work here?  I feel a strange urgency to use him; I don’t know if I consider him foundational simply because we read him first and read widely, or if it’s because he’s done some really valuable work defining what a public truly is that would serve as a good foundation for my work.

Thoughts on Analysis

Maybe one way I can narrow down which theorists to use is to consider what metaphor(s) might best serve this listserv.  Perhaps Warner’s web works, because a listserv has very little/no central authority (the administrative functions of adding and removing members and managing subscription preferences are automated and completed by the member).  Culture might be even more useful, but I’m not thinking of a theorist who embodies it in his/her writing, apart from the brief passage in the Brouwer & Asen introduction.

One question that’s just come to mind: do I consider this archive public, private, social, or somewhere inbetween?  It’s certainly public, as a listserv of well over 3,000 members and with a publicly accessible archive.  On the other hand, I wonder if participants view it as a kind of private space.  There are plenty of instances where members of the listserv use the medium as a carthatic means of communicating: some express frustrations they encounter as part of their jobs; others confide difficulties they’re experiencing with particular students or classes they’re teaching; and there’s plenty of lamenting over the state of the wider profession (criticisms and/or defense of tenure thread from Labor Day weekend comes immediately to mind).  Maybe my answer is that this is a privately mediated space?

Or perhaps it’s social as well. Allison noted to me that certain members will take on certain roles within this space (e.g., problematizing or questioning, or e.g., regulating and mediating).  There’s a sense of appropriate and inapporpriate conduct in the discourse, and certain views are more readily accepted than others (I should come up with an example for this, but it’s not coming to mind right now).

One interesting point that Allison’s brought to my attention is that I’m participating in the WPA public as a peripheral member: I’m not a WPA (yet? hah) myself…so I have the ability to look at this as a space presenting the norms and behaviors I aspire toward.


  • Would it be tangential or would it be helpful and appropriate to spend some time analyzing the character of the listserv as a whole (similar to my thoughts above, e.g., is it a public or private space?)?  And then move into analyzing my chosen archive within this culture?
  • Maybe an engaging way to open could be to illustrate my example (describe the kinds of emails I want to analyze) and then move into an analysis of the culture/space they’re creating.
  • Once I’ve done that work…describing my archive and moving through a theoretically-informed analysis…what’s my next step?  What are my larger implications?  Maybe my purpose can be similar to Berlant’s: just to call attention to the publicness/privateness of this archive and to explain and analyze the consequences it’s had for its members.

Some thoughts on Berlant introduction

I’ve been really slacking on blog posts lately, so this is an attempt to force myself to think through some things, on here.  I think that even though this space feels much less “final producty” than another mode, I’ve been hesitant or unable to commit some thoughts to text lately.

Anyway, here are some thoughts bouncing through my mind as I look over the Berlant introduction.  (I loved, loved, loved this piece.  Though while it was engaging and kind of easy to read, I also found it very dense.)

  • The readings have become increasingly concerned with politics.  I’m curious, does a lot of scholarship on theories of publics involve politics?
  • Indeed, what connections do we all see between politics and theories of publics?  I know this sounds vague…I think I’m trying to ask if we see publics as something inherently political?
  • Interesting, re: formerly iconic citizens: “They sense that they now have identities, when it used to be just other people who had them” (2).
  • Says Habermas’s intimate sphere “became a sense of citizenship only when it was abstracted and alienated in the nondomestic public sphere of liberal capitalist culture” (5).  I’d like to unpack this (and/or actually remember what Habermas said…my brain is feeling reeeally fuzzy).
  • Can we discuss this?: “Identity is marketed in national capitalism as property.  It is something you can purchase, or purchase a relation to.  Or it is something you already own that you can express” (17).

Possible Publication Venues


Public Culture

Relevant Rhetoric



add more!

NYT Word Train


State of mind descriptors in relation to election: