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Archive for the ‘danah boyd’ Category

can we defend danah boyd while also wondering if there could have been a better response?

Posted by Jenna McWilliams on November 24, 2009

file under: just about the hardest blogpost I’ve written to date

I just spent a good few hours catching up on the Web 2.0 Expo / danah boyd debacle. You know the one I’m talking about (and if you don’t, you can read about it here, here, and here).

As a quick reminder, boyd gave a keynote at the event last week and by all accounts failed fairly resoundingly, especially given her renown for fantastic presentation style. According to all in attendance (including boyd herself), she spoke too quickly, read from her notes, and struggled to get her points across. If you weren’t in attendance, a video of her presentation is below.

Issues of ethics, good behavior, and bullying aside, I’m most interested in boyd’s response to the event. On her blog, she published a reflection on the event, which alternated between clear-headed analysis of her mistakes and a resentful self-defense.

Now bear with me for a second, because I stand here in absolute defense of boyd against her critics. But I also, because as a young female academic myself I cannot afford not to, want to offer a reflection on boyd’s reflection, which to me felt somewhat overly defensive.

boyd admits that her delivery was fairly bad, but she defends herself with a host of excuses, including the following (all emphases, to highlight points of self-defense, are mine):

Because of the high profile nature of Web2.0 Expo, I decided to write a brand new talk. Personally, I love the challenge and I get bored of giving the same talk over and over and over again. Of course, the stump speech is much more fluid, much more guaranteed. But new talks force folks to think differently and guarantee that I target those who hear me talk often and those who have never seen me talk before.

A week before the conference, I received word from the organizers that I was not going to have my laptop on stage with me. The dirty secret is that I actually read a lot of my talks but the audience doesn’t actually realize this because scanning between my computer and the audience is usually pretty easy. So it doesn’t look like I’m reading. But without a laptop on stage, I have to rely on paper. I pushed back, asked to get my notes on the screen in front of me, but was told that this wasn’t going to be possible. I was told that I was going to have a podium. So I resigned to having a podium. Again, as an academic, I’ve learned to read from podiums without folks fully realizing that I am reading.

When I showed up at the conference, I realized that the setup was different than I imagined. The podium was not angled, meaning that the paper would lie flat, making it harder to read and get away with it. Not good. But I figured that I knew the talk well enough to not sweat it.

I only learned about the Twitter feed shortly before my talk. I didn’t know whether or not it was filtered. I also didn’t get to see the talks by the previous speakers so I didn’t know anything about what was going up on the screen.

When I walked out on stage, I was also in for a new shock: the lights were painfully bright. The only person I could see in the “audience” was James Duncan Davidson who was taking photographs. Otherwise, it was complete white-out. Taken aback by this, my talk started out rough.

Now, normally, I get into a flow with my talks after about 2 minutes. The first two minutes are usually painfully rushed and have no rhythm as I work out my nerves, but then I start to flow. I’ve adjusted to this over the years by giving myself 2 minutes of fluff text to begin with, content that sets the stage but can be ignored. And then once I’m into a talk, I gel with the audience. But this assumes one critical thing: that I can see the audience. I’m used to audiences who are staring at their laptops, but I’m not used to being completely blinded.

All of the above points are undoubtedly true but obscure a crucial point: that even the most stellar academics just sometimes have bad days. This was a bad presentation from a stellar academic, and it should be enough to leave it at that.

The audience should have left it at that, but did not. They treated boyd’s struggle with glee, with an evil, hysterical schadenfreude. So instead of defending herself by explaining how the cards were stacked against her, boyd should have spent her time reviling the spectacularly bad behavior of the keynote audience. This behavior is exemplified through the following tweets, which were broadcast on a screen behind the podium, out of boyd’s range of vision:

This guy, whose profile names him as Doug V, was one of boyd’s most active hecklers. Other chunks of the twitter stream, in which @dugwork was a regular and active participant, included this:

and this:

Then, when the twitter feed was apparently taken off the screen by conference moderators, this:

In her blog reflection, boyd expressed anger and frustration, and rightfully so: this was bullying at its most despicable.

There’s also, as boyd herself points out, a gender dynamic to this kind of bullying. She refers to the hecklers as the tech version of 12-year-old boys with whiteboards. She asks:

what’s with the folks who think it’s cool to objectify speakers and talk about them as sexual objects? The worst part of backchannels for me is being forced to remember that there are always guys out there who simply see me as a fuckable object. Sure, writing crass crap on public whiteboards is funny… if you’re 12. But why why why spend thousands of dollars to publicly objectify women just because you can? This is the part that makes me angry.

I parsed the archived twitter stream, tweet by tweet, and didn’t find anything in there that suggested the audience saw or was trying to treat her as a sex object, though I don’t doubt she felt completely objectified. Let me reiterate: I do not doubt that she experienced this bullying as objectifying, possibly terrifying, definitely absolutely demoralizing. I don’t doubt that I would feel exactly the same way. In fact, isn’t that the point? It didn’t even take an outright sexual comment for boyd to feel objectified, sexualized, and treated like a “fuckable object.” That’s what the best hecklers can do to even the most capable female speakers. 

And here’s the part where I start to feel incredibly torn, because a huge piece of me wants to leave it at that, to stand up and start swinging at boyd’s bullies. They rose up en masse against her, in a public, cruel, and mean-spirited way. I have deep suspicions, just as boyd does, that gender played a significant role in helping the steam to build: We (us smartypantses in audiences filled with other smartypantses) are more likely to want to undermine women, especially when they dare to speak with authority, especially when they dare to present themselves as confident, competent, and infallible, especially when they dare to also seem in any way vulnerable. Seriously, you guys, stop being such enormous assholes. Stop using your misogyny as an excuse to be cruel. I’m so effing tired of you effers.

I also struggle with boyd’s blogged response to the heckling, because I worry that it plays into the very weaknesses that so many of the hecklers (and techies and academics and so on) suspect smart, confident, brash women harbor. Women are overly emotional. We whine when things don’t go our way. If people don’t play by our rules, we pick up our toys and go home.

Now, I don’t mind being critiqued,” boyd writes;

I think that being a public figure automatically involves that. I’ve developed a pretty thick skin over the years, but there are still things that get to me. And the situation at Web2.0 Expo was one of those. Part of the problem for me is that, as a speaker, I work hard to try to create a conversation with the audience. When it’s not possible or when I do a poor job, it sucks. But it also really sucks to just be the talking head as everyone else is having a conversation literally behind your back. It makes you feel like a marionette. And frankly, if that’s what public speaking is going to be like, I’m out.

So I have a favor to ask… I am going to be giving a bunch of public speaking performances at web conferences in the next couple of months: Supernova and Le Web in December, SXSW in March, WWW in April. I will do my darndest to give new, thought-provoking talks that will leave your brain buzzing. I will try really really hard to speak slowly. But in return, please come with some respect. Please treat me like a person, not an object. Come to talk with me, not about me. I’m ready and willing to listen, but I need you to be as well. And if you don’t want to listen, fine, don’t. But please don’t distract your neighbors with crude remarks. Let’s make public speaking and public listening an art form. Maybe that’s too much to ask for, but really, I need to feel like it’s worth it again.

It’s not fair, it’s not right, and it’s not defensible that female intellectuals are held to a different standard than male intellectuals are. It’s abominable how the audience treated boyd during her keynote. And not having ever been subjected to the kind of public bullying boyd was subjected to, I don’t know how I would react given the same situation: probably with the same rage, resentment, and abject pain that boyd expresses in her post.

But the solution is not to plead to the audience to be nicer next time. The solution is to come out swinging, to come out with both barrels smoking, to storm the audience with righteous indignation, to stand up and say yes, I screwed up, and fuck you all because I’ll be back up here next year (or next month, or next week) and you’ll still be sitting down there in the audience watching me shine. Good luck with your puny little attempt at twitter fame.

boyd and I are approximately the same age, and I look to her as one model of female academic. I believe that those of us who are strong enough to take it (and early evidence suggests that boyd is indeed strong enough) have a responsibility–an ethical duty–to stand in scrappy, defiant, unapologetic opposition to the stupid, ignorant, misogynistic, did I mention ignorant?–ignorant theories about how women should act and how to take them down if they get too presumptuous, too arrogant, too cocky to fit their preconceptions.

Here’s what you say in response: not Can you please be nicer next time? but Fuck you. 

Here’s what you say: Fuck you. I’ll see you next year.

Posted in academia, academics, celebrity, conferences, danah boyd, feminism, human rights, lame, obnoxious | 11 Comments »

weighing in on the natives / immigrants metaphor

Posted by Jenna McWilliams on September 13, 2009

Just FYI, “digital” isn’t actually a language, no matter how badly Marc Prensky wants it to be.

Prensky’s notion of “digital natives” and “digital immigrants” has gained cultural traction because it gives us a way to talk about the generational differences in approaches to technology. We get it when he writes that

[a]s Digital Immigrants learn – like all immigrants, some better than others – to adapt to their environment, they always retain, to some degree, their “accent,” that is, their foot in the past. The “digital immigrant accent” can be seen in such things as turning to the Internet for information second rather than first, or in reading the manual for a program rather than assuming that the program itself will teach us to use it. Today’s older folk were “socialized” differently from their kids, and are now in the process of learning a new language. And a language learned later in life, scientists tell us, goes into a different part of the brain.

My mom prints emails that interest her and trusts the information delivered in print form to her front door, but not the information delivered digitally to her computer screen; the kids I work with don’t really bother with email and gather digital data like it’s Super Mario Brothers coins. Ha! we say. Digital immigrants! Digital natives!

Fine. Except “digital” is not a language.

“Digital” is a way of conveying information. “Digital” is a cultural tool for delivering language, not the language itself.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the problems with the natives / immigrants metaphor. More troublesome is the question of who gets to decide which of us are the natives and which are the immigrants. We need to consider how this metaphor–taken up so widely in our cultural conversations–continues to reify a divide in participation based on gender, class, and ethnicity.

Even those who subscribe to the Prensky metaphor have to concede that not all young people can be considered “natives” by his definition, and not all old people can be considered “immigrants.” When we make the sweeping proclamation that kids these days are digital natives, what we’re really doing is identifying the type of kid whose practices and ways of being in the world have gone mainstream.

Had we but world enough, and time, this cultural approach, Prensky, were no crime. But what we actually have is a desperate divide: (largely middle and upper class, largely white) kids with excess time and access to resources and support for developing a technological fluency; and (largely lower class, often nonwhite) kids without the resources or support to develop the kinds of social competencies that will enable them to join the larger cultural conversation.

The digital natives / digital immigrants metaphor is yet another tool that gets used, intentionally or unintentionally, to support our culture’s dominant Discourse, dominated as it is by the same members of the privileged classes who have historically monopolized cultural conversations.

One of the most thrilling aspects of the social revolution is its potential to overthrow gender, class, and ethnic divides. So far, we haven’t come anywhere near realizing even a fraction of this potential, and sweeping terms like Prensky’s–steeped as they are in a long history smacking of hegemony–make the revolutionary potential of new media technologies increasingly difficult to realize.

Related posts by other writers:
Marc Prensky: Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants–A New Way To Look At Ourselves and Our Kids
Marc Prensky: Overcoming Educators’ Digital Immigrant Accents: A Rebuttal
Henry Jenkins: Reconsidering digital immigrants…
John Palfrey: Born Digital
danah boyd:some thoughts on technophilia
Timothy VanSlyke: Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants:Some Thoughts from the Generation Gap

Posted in danah boyd, education, language, new media, participatory culture, racism, social justice, social media, social revolution | 4 Comments »

why I am a technological determinist

Posted by Jenna McWilliams on August 26, 2009

I’m fascinated by danah boyd’s recent post intended for the New Media Consortium’s upcoming Symposium for the Future. In her post, she cautions new media theorists to avoid what she labels “technological determinism.” She explains:

Rejecting technological determinism should be a mantra in our professional conversations. It’s really easy to get in the habit of seeing a new shiny piece of technology and just assume that we can dump it into an educational setting and !voila! miracles will happen. Yet, we also know that the field of dreams is merely that, a dream. Dumping laptops into a classroom does no good if a teacher doesn’t know how to leverage the technology for educational purposes. Building virtual worlds serves no educational purpose without curricula that connects a lesson plan with the affordances of the technology. Without educators, technology in the classroom is useless.

boyd’s point is well taken, though I’d be hard pressed to find a single new media scholar who embraces the kind of technological determinism she describes in the above passage. There may have been a time when the “if we build it, they will come” mindset was commonplace, but virtually no serious thinker I have encountered, either in person or in text, actually believes that new media technologies can or should offer quick fixes to society’s ills.

The problem, as I see it, is a two-part one. The first issue is one of terminology: Increasingly, we talk about “technology” as this set of tools, platforms, and communication devices that have emerged from the rise of the internet. This is useful insofar as it allows new media thinkers to converge as members of a field (typically labeled something like digital media and learning or the like), but it does so at the expense of the deep, complicated and deeply intertwined history of technologies and what we call “human progress.” In truth, social media platforms are an extension of communications technologies that reach back to the beginning of human development–before computers, television, motion pictures, radio, before word processing equipment, to telegraphs, typewriters, Morse code, pencils, paper, the printing press…all the way back to the very first communication technology, language itself.

“Technology” is not a monolith, and there is a distinct danger in presenting it as such, as boyd does in her final paragraph:

As we talk about the wonderfulness of technology, please keep in mind the complexities involved. Technology is a wonderful tool but it is not a panacea. It cannot solve all societal ills just by its mere existence. To have relevance and power, it must be leveraged by people to meet needs. This requires all of us to push past what we hope might happen and focus on introducing technology in a context that makes sense.

The second problem is a rhetorical one. New media theorists have found themselves engaged in a mutually antagonistic dance with those who prefer to focus on what they see as the negative cultural effects of digital technologies. For better or worse, people engaged directly in this dance find themselves coming down more firmly than they might otherwise in one of these camps and, because the best defense is a good offense, staking out a more strident position than they might take in private or among more like-minded thinkers. Thus, those who dislike Twitter feign disdain, repulsion, or fear and are labeled (or label themselves) luddites; and those who like Twitter find themselves arguing for its astronomical revolutionary potential and are labeled (or label themselves) uncritical utopianists.

In fact, media theorists have been targets of the “technological determinism” accusation for so long that they refuse to acknowledge that technologies actually can and often do determine practice. Homeric verse took the structure it did because the cadences were easy for pre-literate poets and orators to remember. The sentences of Hemingway, Faulkner, and many of their literary contemporaries shortened up because they needed to be sent by telegraph–leading to a key characteristic of the Modernist movement. The emergence of wikis (especially, let’s face it, Wikipedia) has led to a change in how we think about information, encyclopedias, knowledge, and expertise.

A more accurate–but more complex and therefore more fraught–way to think about the relationship between humans and their technologies is that each acts on the other: We design technologies that help us to communicate, which in turn impact how we communicate, and when, and why, and with whom. Then we design new technologies to meet our changing communications needs.

Again, virtually no media theorist that I know of would really disagree with this characterization of our relationship to technologies–yet say it too loudly in mixed company, and you’re likely to get slapped with the technological determinism label. I say this as someone who has been accused more than once, and in my view wrongly, of technological determinism.

Overly deterministic or not, however, I agree with boyd that technologies do not offer a panacea. More importantly, she argues against the use of terms like “digital natives” and, presumably, its complement, “digital immigrants.” These are easy terms that let us off the hook: people under 30 get something that people over 30 will never understand, and there’s nothing you can do about this divide. As boyd explains,

Just because many of today’s youth are growing up in a society dripping with technology does not mean that they inherently know how to use it. They don’t. Most of you have a better sense of how to get information from Google than the average youth. Most of you know how to navigate privacy settings of a social media tool better than the average teen. Understanding technology requires learning. Sure, there are countless youth engaged in informal learning every day when they go online. But what about all of the youth who lack access? Or who live in a community where learning how to use technology is not valued? Or who tries to engage alone? There’s an ever-increasing participation gap emerging between the haves and the have-nots. What distinguishes the groups is not just a question of access, although that is an issue; it’s also a question of community and education and opportunities for exploration. Youth learn through active participation, but phrases like “digital natives” obscure the considerable learning that occurs to enable some youth to be technologically fluent while others fail to engage.

The key question on the minds of researchers in digital media and learning is not (or should not be) how we can get computers in the hands of every student but how we can support participation in the valued practices, mindsets, and skillsets that go along with a networked, digital society. To get this question answered right requires an ability to engage in the complex, thorny, and socially charged issues that boyd and others have identified in their research and writings. It requires development of a common language within the broad digital media and learning community and an ability to communicate that language to the vast range of stakeholders who are paying attention to what we say and how we say it.

Related posts by other writers:

danah boyd: Some thoughts on technophilia
Kevin Kelly: Technophilia

Posted in academics, collective intelligence, danah boyd, education, new media, participatory culture, public schools, schools, social media, social revolution, Twitter | 1 Comment »

eppur si muove: a defense of Twitter

Posted by Jenna McWilliams on August 25, 2009

Recently, media scholar (and, full disclosure, my former boss) Henry Jenkins published a new post on his always-mind-blowing blog, Confessions of an Aca/Fan. This post focuses on the affordances and, in his view, the limitations of Twitter.

The post itself is the result of a Twitter exchange wherein one of Henry’s followers, @aramique, wrote: “you theorize on participatory models over spectatorial but i’ve noticed your whole twitter feed is monologue.” Ultimately, Henry responded with this: “yr questions get Twt’s strengths, limits. but answer won’t fit in character limits. Watch for blog post soon.” Then, in his blogpost, he begins with this:

I will admit that there is a certain irony about having to refer people to my blog for an exchange that started on Twitter but couldn’t really be played out within the character limits of that platform. But then, note that armique’s very first post had to be broken into two tweets just to convey the emotional nuances he needed. And that’s part of my point.

From the start, I’ve questioned whether Twitter was the right medium for me to do my work. I’ve always said that as a writer, I am a marathon runner and not a sprinter. I am scarcely blogging here by traditional standards given the average length of my posts. Yet I believe this blog has experimented with how academics might better interface with a broader public and how we can expand who has access to ideas that surface through our teaching and research.

Jenkins, who makes it clear that his blog is his primary focus for online communication and that Twitter is a space for him to both direct traffic to his blog and track who follows his links, and when, and how, argues that though Twitter has its value as a social media platform, it has resulted in some losses. His main concerns are linked to a core issue with the key feature of Twitter: its brevity. As it grows in popularity, he explains, deep, thoughtful commentary on his blogposts has decreased:

Most often, the retweets simply condense and pass along my original Tweet. At best, I get a few additional words on the level of “Awesome” or “Inspiring” or “Interesting.” So, in so far as Twitter replaces blogs, we are impoverishing the discourse which occurs on line.

“[I]n so far as people are using (Twitter) to take on functions once played on blogs,” he writes, “there is a serious loss to digital culture.”

I guess I’m approximately as serious about blogging as a medium as the next guy who posts tens of thousands of words each month, but I’m not sure I share Henry’s concern. There were, after all, those who worried that blogs would lead to the decline of serious and thoughtful intellectual conversation. But as Henry’s blog (and hundreds or thousands of others like it) demonstrates, blogs can in fact afford both a higher level of expression and a greater capacity for circulation of those ideas. The phenomenon of the blog also–and this was a key element of the initial concern about the decline and fall of civilization at the hands of the weblog–means anybody with internet access, basic typing skills, and a couple of ideas about anything at all can express, post and circulate them. Blogs even support cirulation of the most ignorant, repulsive claptrap a person can imagine. The onus is therefore on the consumer, and no longer the producer, to filter out the white noise in search of real music. The fear, real or imagined, was that the general public would not be able to filter intelligently and would therefore accept any nonsense they read online.

Actually, this fear is not a new one. The same anxiety was prevalent among educated elites when the universal literacy movement began to take hold. It was the same fear that gripped members of “high culture” when movies, then radio, then television, then YouTube became increasingly popular and available. See, that’s the peculiar feature of democratizing technologies: Elites no longer get to decide what’s culturally valuable and filter it out before it reaches the unwashed masses. Now we all get to decide, and that’s precisely what leads the privileged class–even members of this class who are pro-democracy–to react so strongly that they try to stamp it out.

It’s the same cry I hear from people who oppose Twitter: There’s so much meaningless noise. It’s leading to a decline in critical thinking. Jenkins writes that

there is an awful lot of relatively trivial and personal chatter intended to strengthen our social and emotional ties to other members of our community. The information value of someone telling me what s/he had for breakfast is relatively low and I tend to scan pretty quickly past these tweets in search of the links that are my primary interests. And if the signal to noise ration is too low, I start to ponder how much of a social gaff I would commit if i unsubscribed from someone’s account.

Twitter, for all its seeming triviality, is one of the most complex, nuanced social media environments I’ve ever participated in. It’s layered over with the kind of community expertise required for authentic, valued participation in a vast range of social networking sites, both online and offline. Add to that the fact that Twitter users bring to their engagement with the site any number of social motivations; multiply that by the nearly limitless number of possible subsets of Twitter followers the typical user might communicate with; and square that by the breathtaking creativity that the 140-character limit both supports and fosters.

This is what’s most difficult to explain to a new Twitter user, and what’s nearly intuitive for those who have internalized the tacit norms of the space: No tweet can be interpreted in isolation. No Twitter stream exists wholly independently of any other. Twitter’s depth exists precisely in the delicate intertwining of inanity with complexity. Yes, most of the time I skip over people’s breakfast tweets. But I don’t always skip over them. Much of the time I click on the links Henry posts. But I don’t always click on them.

Sure, Twitter is no substitute for a series of deep, thoughtful blogposts. But my sense is that the vast majority of Twitter users know this, and don’t bother trying to turn Twitter into a blog, or even a microblog–though it may seem like it on the surface.

And even if some users really are trying to do exactly that, it’s much easier to focus on Twitter’s constraints than on the deep, breathtaking creativity it affords. I follow lots of Twitter users who are very good at linking to interesting, useful websites; and I follow a smaller number of users who are very good at the more difficult work of leveraging the technology in infinitely creative ways.

I wanted to offer an example of this creativity, but it’s impossible to demonstrate outside of its context. You’d have to follow users’ hashtags, or see how they fit an idea into 140 characters, or read a surprising tweet exactly in context.

Here’s the closest I can come:

@jennamcjenna can someone link me to an article that tells me something completely mind-blowing? It doesn’t matter what topic.8:52 PM Jun 16th from web

@dizzyjosh: @jennamcjenna try

Related posts by other writers:

danah boyd: Twitter: “pointless babble” or peripheral awareness + social grooming?
Henry Jenkins: The Message of Twitter: “Here It Is” and “Here I Am”

Posted in beauty, blogging, creativity, danah boyd, Henry Jenkins, social revolution, Twitter | Leave a Comment »

What would a fireside moonbat do?

Posted by Jenna McWilliams on April 21, 2009

I just caught the last several minutes (I was going to say “the tail end” and thought better of it) of the 2008 film “Zombie Strippers!” starring Jenna Jameson and Robert Englund. If you haven’t figured out the plot yet, then there’s no point explaining it to you. I only want to focus on a scene late in the movie where the Army commandos have shot the heads off of the zombie strippers and walk into a room where two people are clutching each other in the corner. It’s not clear to the commandos whether these guys are humans or zombie strippers, so one of the muscleheads walks up to the pair and says “Say something human–and it better be ontological.”

I’m officially claiming this quote as the motto of my reading group, the Fireside Moonbats.

Two key members of the Cambridge, Massachusetts,-based reading group, the Fireside Moonbats
You know how Art Garfunkel keeps a running list of every book he has read since the 1960’s? I think I may start doing that for the Moonbats, too–especially since, if our motto is public, our reading list should be as well. Below, I’ve included the beginnings of that list. I hope to continue to build this for anybody who wants to follow along.

The Fireside Moonbats Reading List: First Draft

Shirky,Clay. Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations. Penguin Press, 2008. Introduction and chapters 10 & 11.

Ito, Mizuko, Heather A. Horst, Matteo Bittanti, danah boyd, Becky Herr-Stephenson, Patricia G. Lange, C.J. Pascoe, and Laura Robinson (with Sonja Baumer, Rachel Cody, Dilan Mahendran, Katynka Martínez, Dan Perkel, Christo Sims, and Lisa Tripp.) Living and Learning with New Media: Summary of Findings from the Digital Youth Project. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Reports on Digital Media and Learning, November 2008.

Latour, Bruno. On Interobjectivity. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 3.4, 1996. Available at

Latour, Bruno. On Recalling ANT. Keynote speech for the Department of Sociology, Lancaster University, Nov. 30, 2003. Available at

Barton, David, and Mary Hamilton. Literacy, reification and the dynamics of social interaction. David Barton and Karin Tusting (eds.) Beyond Communities Of Practice: Language, Power And Social Context. Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Clarke, Julia. A new kind of symmetry: Actor–network theories and the new literacy studies. Studies in the Education of Adults Vol. 34, No.2, October 2002

Leander, Kevin M., and Deborah Wells Rowe. Mapping Literacy Spaces in Motion: A Rhizomatic Analysis of a Classroom Literacy. Reading Research Quarterly, Vol. 41, No. 4 (Oct. – Dec., 2006), pp. 428-460

Francis, Russell. The Predicament of the Learner in the New Media Age (2009). Dissertation being prepared for publication.

Wertsch, James V. Mediation. The Cambridge Companion to Vygotsky, Daniels, Harry, Michael Cole, & James V. Wertsch, Eds. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

Nardi, Bonnie, Steve Whittaker, & Heinrich Schwarz. NetWORKERS and their Activity in Intensional Networks. Computer Supported Cooperative Work 11: 205–242, 2002.

Nardi, Bonnie A., Diane J. Schiano, Michelle Gumbrecht, and Luke Swartz. Why We Blog. December 2004/Vol. 47, No. 12 Communications of the ACM.

Nardi, Bonnie A., Stella Ly, & Justin Harris. Learning Conversations in World of Warcraft. Proceedings of the 40th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, 2007.

Davydov, Vasily V., and Stephen T. Kerr. The Influence of L. S. Vygotsky on Education Theory, Research, and Practice. Educational Researcher, Vol. 24, No. 3 (Apr., 1995).

Edwards, Anne. Let’s get beyond community and practice: the many meanings of learning by participating. The Curriculum Journal Vol. 16, No. 1, March 2005, pp. 49 – 65

Engestrom, Yrjo. Knotworking to Create Collaborative Intentionality Capital in Fluid Organizational Fields. Collaborative Capital: Creating Intangible Value Advances in Interdisciplinary Studies of Work Teams, Volume 11, 307–336 (2005)

Gee, James Paul. A 21st Century Assessment Project for Situated and Sociocultural Approaches to Learning. Grant Proposal for the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning Initiative.

Gee, James Paul. Human Action and Social Groups as the Natural Home of Assessment:Thoughts on 21st Century Learning and Assessment. Draft paper for the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning Initiative.

This is just the beginning of the list, and I’m going to summon the Fireside Moonbats to help me build on it. Stay posted for an longer and more detailed list.

Posted in academia, academics, awesome, Clay Shirky, danah boyd, joy, MIT, Ph.D., zombies | Leave a Comment »