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Essentialism: Draft of 3W Encyclopedia Entry

I've just finished a draft of the entry on essentialism for the Encyclopedia of Third Wave Feminism. As I've said before, the audience for this book is high school / undergraduate / general public, so I've tried to write the entry keeping that in mind. The editor sent me some entries from the Encyclopedia of Rape for me to follow, and I've tried to stay in keeping with the conventions of those entries, which tend to start out with a history of the thing or concept. In this entry, I attempted to show the "so what" of essentialism too. Hopefully the editor will think it's okay.

Article on Parents' Weblogs

Recently, I was interviewed for an article in the St. Paul Pioneer Press on parents' weblogs. The story was published today if you'd like to read it. Free registration is required, but here's my info:
Email: abstractgroove@lycos.com (my $p@/\/\ dump, by the way)
Password: citysong (one of the songs on this morning's dance playlist)

Patriotism and the 4th

I don't have a good 4th of July post for you, but Ginmar does.

Feminist Research Design and Institutional Gatekeeping Mechanisms

In their essay "Beyond the Personal: Theorizing a Politics of Location in Composition Research," (College Composition and Communication 46 (1995). All page numbers correspond with the reprinting in Feminism and Composition: A Critical Sourcebook.) Gesa E. Kirsch and Joy S. Ritchie give careful consideration to several problematics in feminist research and critiques of traditional research practices, including the notion of the "value-free observer," the essentialization of the identities of research participants, the lack of reliance on or overreliance on experience as a ground for knowledge claims, the conflict between an ethic of principles and an ethic of caring (for participants), ethical dilemmas encountered in research*, and the power differential between researcher and participants. The article is an excellent overview of feminist research design, but I was a little disappointed with one thing.

Gender and CMC Reading List

Happened to find these old exams online, for those who might want to see rhetorical theory sample questions other than the ones I've proposed. Oh, and I'm finally posting the reading list for my specialty area: feminist theory and research on gender and computer-mediated communication. Please excuse the ugly formatting; some citations are in APA, some MLA, sometimes the articles came from coursepacks and not all the publication information is there...it's anarchy!

New Issue of Genders

Was just clicking through my block of links to online journals, and I noticed that there's a new issue of Genders. I skimmed a couple of articles and plan to come back to them later:

A Taxonomy of Research

I've been meaning to post these notes since January, if only for my own edification as I study for my technical communication theory and research preliminary exams, which are scheduled for July 27-28 (the 24-hour take-home exam) and July 29 (the 2-hour in-house exam). But hopefully they'll help someone else who's trying to explain his or her proposed research to an advisor or committee, too. The notes are from Helen Longino's Feminist Theories and Methods class. I found it to be an excellent laying-out of the differences and overlaps among empirical, interpretive, and analytical/theoretical research. The taxonomy focuses on feminist research, but you could easily substitute concepts and objects of study.

Empirical Research

The questions: How things are/were, e.g. distribution of wealth, gender roles in different societies, prevalence of spousal abuse. When or how did institution X emerge? How has it changed over time? What are the effects of intervention strategy Y? What there is, how it works. For example: How has women's activism changed over time? What changes have been introduced because of women's activism?

Possible Preliminary Exam Questions

Today I've been poring over pages and pages of past preliminary exam questions and devising my own to send to my committee for consideration. Most of the questions are derived from the old exams, slightly tweaked to accommodate my interests. I wrote a few of them myself. Any suggestions? [Edited to add links to the reading lists: rhetorical theory and tech comm theory and research. Gender and CMC list is coming.]

Rhetorical Theory

  1. Consider Cicero's De Oratore as a response to Plato's critique in the Gorgias.
  2. What does Cicero mean by “eloquence”? Does the concept have implications for the understanding and teaching of rhetoric today?
  3. Select two canonical works by classical male theorists, e.g. Gorgias's “Encomium of Helen,” Plato's Gorgias or Phaedrus, Aristotle's Rhetoric, Cicero's De Oratore, and indicate how you would teach them from a feminist perspective. In each case, indicate why you are doing what you do.
  4. Select two canonical works by modern theorists, e.g. Burke's Rhetoric of Motives, Habermas' “What Is Universal Pragmatics?”, Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca's The New Rhetoric, Bakhtin's “The Problem of Speech Genres,” and indicate how you would teach them from a feminist perspective. In each case, indicate why you are doing what you do.
  5. Burke directly addresses technology as a social commentator, a philosopher, and a rhetorical theorist. Discuss his approach to technology in each of these roles and comment on its importance to rhetoric as practiced by bloggers.
  6. What theoretical concepts within the rhetorical tradition are most important to the creation of an adequate rhetorical theory of blogging practices? What, if any, traditional concepts does this new technology render obsolete? (More detailed treatment of fewer concepts is preferred to less detail and more concepts.)
  7. Assume that nothing of the Aristotelian corpus survived except the Rhetoric and that we knew nothing of Aristotle's political views. Agree or disagree with this statement: “It is difficult to imagine a theory of rhetoric less congruent with modern feminism(s) than that set forth in the Rhetoric.” Defend your view by making specific reference to Aristotle's text.
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