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Re: [xmca] on queering Digital Media and Learning

Hi, Jenna and all!

I did respond on the blogsite, but then realized that this was also raised in xmca. (For some reason it came into my regular inbox, not my xmca smartbox.)

So here are the comments I made, though people might want to link to the blog site for context (danah boyd's reply to Jenna, comments by Jim Gee, etc.):

Came to this from links from elsewhere, but happy to hear some intelligent disagreement about perspective and strategy. I think there are generational differences, big ones, in how these issues are framed, and I’d even go so far as to imagine these changes represent progress (i.e. change for the better).

I’m a longtime advocate of the “trojan horse” strategy, which I think is what danah favors. Sneak in and once inside get the hearing you deserve and which more superficial prejudice or more deep-seated discomforts would otherwise deny you.

So I have an empirical question. In the DML community would seeing a term like “queer theory” in an abstract of a session put many people off? Would they really care, if the rest of the topic seemed to speak to their interests? What’s our estimate the percentage of people who might not attend but otherwise would have? 10% 40% 70%?

I’m also a great believer in having your cake and eating it too (I’m a Gemini). Let’s have trojans and let’s have aztecs (and no I don’t like basketball, but I do like verbal play). Honestly, just as pragmatists need radicals to make them look mainstream, so radicals need pragmatists to make us look spectacular, authentic, and courageous.

There is a place for an all-queer session, and there is a place for an out-queer paper in a mixed session, and there is a place for a crypto-queer trojan infiltrator that the audience only realizes was queer when it’s all over. There is also, PLEASE, room for non-queer-identifying presenters to address sexuality-relevant issues and make explicit use of queer theory or its close cousins, or of its insights with a citational nod to their queer originators.

Finally, I should say that my generation has residual discomfort with the term “queer”, but I’m finding it simpler than having to say “gay and lesbian”, and the acronyms, while inclusive, feel ugly and bureaucratic. There is something queer about everyone, and it would really be a nice change in ultra-conformist America if we could all celebrate that fact. Especially at DML.

Jay Lemke
Senior Research Scientist
Laboratory for Comparative Human Cognition
University of California - San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, California 92093-0506

Professor (Adjunct status 2009-11)
School of Education
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Professor Emeritus
City University of New York

On Mar 29, 2011, at 9:37 AM, Jenna McWilliams wrote:

> Several members of this listserv attended the recent MacArthur Foundation-sponsored Digital Media & Learning Conference in Long Beach, California. During and since the conference, I've been involved in conversations about a notable lack of queer studies-focused work in this year's program. Some of this conversation is accessible online, on danah boyd's blog and on mine. (Links: http://www.jennamcwilliams.com/2011/03/28/some-thoughts-on-queering-dml and http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts/archives/2011/03/24/the-politics-of-queering-anything.html.)
> Most of the people I've talked with about this issue come from the "digital media" side of Digital Media & Learning, and I've been wondering about folks who fall more on the "learning" side of things. It seems to me that there's a general lack of attention given to integrating queer studies work with learning theory and work in educational research, though with a few (extremely notable) exceptions. I wonder if xmca folks have thoughts on this issue that might help me figure out the true lay of the land in this respect.
> Thanks in advance for any thoughts you might have. (And, of course, if you WANTED to visit and comment on my blog and the conversation I've been having with danah in the comments section there, I would certainly not be offended by this.)
> best to all,
> jenna
> ~~
> Jenna McWilliams
> Learning Sciences Program, Indiana University
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