Archive for September, 2008

Research for Blogs

By js, 14 September, 2008, No Comment

As I finished drafting proposals for IRB, I once again began thinking about how to search for blogs.

My purpose is to find blogs which have

  • chicana on the title
  • chicana on the description
  • chicana in the content

What I want to find are blogs written by women who self-identify as Chicana. Jaime shared a wonderful definition of what Chicana/o means and I will use that one for now but will need to also look for others, but that is mainly what I had in mind when I chose to study women who self-identify using this particular term.

So finding blogs in which the term is used in the title or the description would point to the fact that these women construct a particular identity which more than likely will be tied to the content of the blog.

It will be much harder to find blogs which have Chicana in the content of the blog or even in the titles of the posts. I just tried using the beta Google Blog search and was very disappointed at what I found. It gave a few links to posts but alot of those links lead to porn which just supports Nakamura’s argument that Chicanas, Latinas and Asian women are represented online in a way that provides a voyeuristic, sexualized and stereotypical view of the female body. The only redeeming part of my Google Blog search was a “Related Blogs” section which listed blogs which I have already come across.

So I turned to Technorati and I found much of the same. It does provide a way to search from Posts to Blogs to photos and videos. Technorati did not give me much different information in the posts tab; again it pointed to alot of porn. The blogs tab was a bit more revealing. It did find blogs but mostly on MySpace.

Rich had suggested that I could also find blogs on MySpace but I think that the look and feel of those blogs are different and I want to focus on more mainstream blogs. I know I have to define what that means but one detail that I noticed recently is that the age range for blogs on blogger or in a hosted domain are written by women in a very similar age range. Also, alot of the blogs on MySpace are private so who can access those blogs is limited to the blogger “friending” the reader.

The implications of these two differences are important:

  1. the blogger with a hosted domain ultimately may have more control over the “look” of the blog and the feeling of ownership; it also requires a higher level of digital literacy because hosting requires that the blogger choose which options will be available to her as a writer but also to the potential reader
  2. the requirement of “friending” someone so they can read the blog creates a different dynamic for the blogger and the reader; for example, a blogger who hosts her blog in blogger or on her own domain does not necessarily know who is reading the blog unless the reader is willing to interact with her by commenting on the blog. The blogger can look at her site statistics and may get some general knowledge of her readers with this information but does not know each one unless they decide to comment, leave a link to their own blog, and/or email address. This then gives the blogger the option of trying to research her readers. The MySpace requirement of “friending” (which most blogs I checked have turned on), gives a bit more control to the blogger over who will read her blog. Only people to whom she provides permission will be able to access. She, of course, will not know exactly which posts the reader reads unless the reader leaves a comment. (I’m not an expert on MySpace but I don’t think that it tracks who reads each post?)

Now I have to try other blog indexing tools to see if I get a different result. I also plan on asking how exactly those bloggers expect they will be found or have been told they are found. If I search using those methods will my search lead to different results?

Rhetoric in rock art?

By js, 13 September, 2008, No Comment

“earliest rock art was linked with human survival” New York Times article

Race and Class Matters at an Elite College

By js, 12 September, 2008, No Comment

Interesting book by Elizabeth Arias…. adding it to the list

My study shows racial stereotypes to be prevalent on campus (e.g., blacks are less intelligent than whites, blacks have more athletic talent than whites, blacks are poor/whites are rich) but that the development of cross-race relationships and interactions inside and outside the classroom can make an important contribution in breaking down these stereotypes and changing students’ notions about race. The potential for learning from a racially diverse community, however, was not realized for many students.

Two other important findings about race pertain to whites’ misperception and lack of knowledge about blacks. Many whites tend to see black students to be self-segregating. When black friends eat together at tables in the dining hall, or hang out together in groups, whites take notice. Yet no one comments on the tables of whites eating together in the dining hall or on whites hanging out together on campus. The students showing the greatest degree of self-segregation are white. White students reported on average that two-thirds of their close friends were white, but only a third of black students’ close friends were black. In addition, many whites saw black students on campus as a homogeneous group, and were relatively unaware of the divides between black students: divides in social class; in the centrality of race to identity; in whether they are African American, Caribbean American, or African; in preferences for “black” forms of dress and music or “black” forms of speech; and in their experiences with racism in society. My study highlights the importance of these differences and how they are being negotiated between blacks.

2009 CCCCs Panel Proposal

By js, 11 September, 2008, No Comment

Chicana/o Rhetorical Strategies: Decolonizing Cultural, Pedagogical, and Technological Spaces
Our panelists will present four distinct Chicana/o rhetorical approaches for Making Waves. In the 60 years since the CCCC has existed, few scholars within our discipline have engaged the rhetorics of Chicanas/os. Furthering the legacy of those who have done work in this Rhetoric of Color, our approaches break new ground and unearth old soils by bringing theoretical, material, institutional, and pedagogical approaches which have long been employed within Chicana/o communities. While our panel will focus on practical, pedagogical matters involving the teaching of writing, especially rhetorical uses of digital technologies in rhetoric and composition classes, we cannot just begin there. We believe a historical and multi-methodological basis for understanding Chicana/o rhetorics is first necessary. Because Chicanas/os come from different kinds of lived experience (racial, gendered, sexual, class, geographic, linguistic) with distinct origins and historical contexts, scholars working within these territories must find protocols of interaction, means of engagement.

Our first speaker presents a theo-historical grounding in queer, womanist, and Indigenous Chicana rhetorics. He will employ decolonial, queer people of color, and womanist poetic, rhetorical, and historiographical approaches (Adisa/Lorde, Bizzaro, Justice, Levins Morales, Morrison, Pérez, Powell, Smith, Trask, Tuhiwai Smith, Walker, Womack) to intervene against the unmarked heterhetorics of both “Indigenous literary nationalism” (Ortiz, Weaver, Warrior) and “rhetorical sovereignty” (Lyons). He’ll further show the ways sovereignty and Native nationhood are themselves gendered projects, in order to question what the role of queer men of color can be in womanist movements towards decolonization. This panelist invokes the work of Chicana lesbian Cherríe Moraga to advance a transformative decolonizing pedagogy which seeks to simultaneously disrupt settler rhetorics and heteropatriarchal, monoracial understandings of history, teaching, nation, and community. This speaker seeks to triangulate critical, pedagogical, and communal praxes which revivify and deepen student engagement in the daily waged wars of citizenship and composing-matrilineal re-memory and murder at the borders of misogy/miscege-Nation.

Our second panelist describes other rhetorical approaches Chicanas/os and other Mexican-origin folks often use when operating in different discursive spaces. Since rhetoric always involves a form of identification (Burke) in the evidence and arguments used and directed towards particular kinds of audiences, an analysis of the kinds of identity construction Chicanas/os hold is necessary. Using ethnographic studies (Cintron, Vila) which record narratives of people on both sides of the border, this speaker shows how complex identity construction is for Mexican-origin folks along the US-Mexico border as well as in the Midwest. This complexity in identity construction more realistically reveals the values and beliefs contemporary borderlands people hold and use as part of their appeals in the rhetorical strategies they use in non-academic spaces. An awareness of this complexity in the identity construction of Chicanas/os can only aide in developing an understanding of how to use Chicana/o Rhetorics in writing pedagogies.

Our third speaker will discuss in more practical terms how Chicana/o Rhetorics helps develop writing curriculum for a community college situated on the US-Mexico border. The majority of students in this school are Chicanas/os and often first-generation college students from immigrant families. These students are often more familiar with Chicana/o rhetorical approaches because of their ethnicity; however, their instructors are often use traditional “modes of writing” Connors long ago showed were used more to make teachers’ jobs easier when facing overcrowded classrooms. This speaker will therefore analyze the colonizing effects traditional modes of writing have on these students, and he will further propose Chicana/o rhetorical approaches as their replacement. This more localized pedagogy allows Chicana/o students to develop their critical writing skills by using rhetorical strategies they are more familiar with and which follow a Bakhtinian intertextual approach (Halasak) which further advances a strategy of inter-discursive linking (Popken). Thus, with a more “localized” pedagogy, Chicana/o students, this speaker will argue, can more fully develop their critical literacy skills.

Our panel’s final speaker will present rhetorical strategies for intervening into how Chicana/o students “interface” with cyber-technologies. Bringing together Critical Race Theory (Delgado, Matsuda) with ideas taken from Chicana/o Rhetorics (Yosso), this speaker analyzes the ways digital interfaces are developed and put into place on the Web, often in ways which prevent and/or adversely define the presence of ethnic “others” (Kolko, Nakamura, Banks). This speaker will present original qualitative research showing how Chicana/o Rhetorics are used by Chicanas/os to create a counter-discourse and thereby resist digital design mechanisms which work to constrain and/or exclude them from participating in online interactions. She employs an alternative paradigm of “cultural capital” coupled with Critical Race Theory to demonstrate the different rhetorical strategies Chicanas/os utilize to circumvent the limitations of interface design and therefore negotiate an ethnic identity online spaces.

Our panelists, together, will thus present Chicana/o rhetorical strategies for Making Waves in both theoretical and pedagogical terms which advance our discipline’s understanding of the discursive spaces Chicana/o students and teachers enter inside and outside of academia.
Single-Sentence Summary:

Integrating Chicana/o Rhetorics with composition practice, this panel presents strategies with localized and culturally relevant pedagogical approaches useful in achieving better success in writing among Chicanas/os.
Paper I. Ahimsa Timoteo Bodhrán, Michigan State University,

-Matrilineal Re-Memory and Murder at the Borders of Misogy/Miscege-Nation: Queer Chicana Interventions against Settler Heterhetorics Inside and Outside of the Academic Industrial Complex

Paper II. Jaime Armin Mejía, Texas State University, San Marcos

-Ethnographic Studies and Chicana/o Rhetorics in the US Borderlands

Paper III. Humberto Cardenas, Jr., Laredo Community College, South

-Teaching Writing on the U.S.-Mexico Border: Developing a Writing Curriculum for First Generation Mexican American Students

Paper IV. Janie Jaramillo Santoy, Texas Tech University/Texas State Technical College

-Chicanas/os Online: Enacting Resistance in Digital Spaces

Chair: Gina Guzman, Texas State University, San Marcos

NCTE Panel Proposal, 2008

By js, 11 September, 2008, No Comment

Panel Proposal Title:

—Shifting the Focus: Tutoring, Teaching, and Preparing College-Bound Latinos/as

Our panelists will provide theoretical and practical approaches high school teachers and college writing instructors can use to prepare college-bound Latinos/as for the shifts already happening in college and professional writing. All our panelists recognize the demographic shift which now places Latinos/as in greater numbers in our public schools and universities. With this recognition, our first speaker will present alternative tutoring strategies writing centers can use to promote confidence in the academic writing of an ever increasing number of Latinas/os in our high schools and universities. Our second speaker will present arguments for bringing Latino/a authors to Hispanic-Serving Institutions and Latino/a prominent high schools in order to further students’ understanding of the writing processes of skilled Latino/a writers who are increasingly entering the public sphere with culturally-based rhetorical skills. Our third speaker will show the importance of using digital technologies rhetorically rather than just functionally, by teaching Latino/a students to use culturally-based rhetorical appeals which cross cultural, national, and linguistic borders with ease. Our fourth speaker will show why Latino/a-based K-12 language arts curricular principles for college preparedness are better than the ones recently adopted by the Texas State Board of Education. The Board’s focus remains on mainstream literature and grammar, but the Board and certainly high school English teachers should instead prepare Latinos/as for college classes which are increasingly more writing intensive and not literature-based. In the 21st century, college English classes are instead focusing more on a diverse array of writing genres (WAC), digital technologies, and on topics other than those stemming from literature. Our panelists will therefore address these shifts in pedagogical approaches and technologies so that we can help more Latino/a college-bound students achieve academic success before and after reaching their college classes.

Chair: Yazmín Lazcano, Texas State University, San Marcos

Speaker I—Sarah Taylor, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi

Writing Centers: A Gateway to Promoting Latino/a Students’ Academic Confidence at Hispanic-Serving Institutions

Speaker II—Cristina Kirklighter, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi

Windows Into Latino/a Worlds: The Case for Bringing Latino/a Authors to Hispanic-Serving Institutions and Latino/a Predominant High Schools

Speaker III—Janie Jaramillo-Santoy, Texas Tech University/Texas State Technical College

Mi Retórica: Engaging Latina/o Students in the Rhetorical Use of Digital Technologies

Speaker IV—Jaime Armin Mejía, Texas State University, San Marcos

Arguments for Latino/a-based Language Arts Curricular Principles


By js, 10 September, 2008, No Comment

Will continue watching how the discourse around this issue develops. I wonder how I can join the suit



ACLU Challenges State Department’s Refusal To Issue Passports To U.S. Citizens

Official Suit Document

Harsh Reality: Faulty midwife practices has the federal government questioning border residents’ citizenships

Delivered by Midwife

Reading Mestiz@ Scripts

By js, 9 September, 2008, No Comment

I have just started reading Damian Baca’s Mestiz@ Scripts and once again I find myself learning how much I still need to learn.

Baca covers alot of ground in his book and it may take a second read before I am actually able to articulate what his argument is.

What strikes me thus far is that he focuses on Anzaldua’s texts, only one of which I’ve read and that was a long time ago. I need to go back and reread those. He critizes critics for watering down what Anzaldua says and not really engaging those parts of her argument which are more difficult but which are most critical in helping us to reconceptualize rhetorical possibilities which come from indeginous peoples rather than providing an alternative to dominant western discourse since doing so privileges it and places the indeginous as an “other.”

I think I’m so used to seeing things as binary and it is difficult to wrap my brain around a concept which isn’t binary. For example, if I say that I want to give those who are silenced a voice, don’t I alreadyimplicitly put in power that which has silenced. Similarly, if I am resisting am I not already working within the binary.

Baca (and I think others; I have to read more) argues that Anzaldua wants us to break free of the binary and accept multiplicity without falling into the binary trap.

I remember my gut instinct reaction to her writing was that it certainly created an us/them binary which was very powerful but also contained alot of rage. That rage scared me; it was the same rage that I saw in those around me who experienced the most discrimination, my male gay friends. It was a rage that I really couldn’t understand since I had not experienced overt racism while growing up and I did not yet recognize all the microagressions which I did experience. I wonder what my reaction will be when I reread her work.

Digital Divide –> Digital Consciousness

By js, 8 September, 2008, 1 Comment

Authors: Ginger, Jeff

Abstract / Summary: In the information era inequality is increasingly dictated by a myriad of issues related to both access and use of computer and internet technologies. Mere access to the web is an indisputably insufficient claim to equity; attention must also be paid to issues such as autonomy, skill, purposes, and perceptions related to technological access and participation in cyberspace. The final-and still yet emerging-barrier to equality is termed here as Digital Consciousness, a state of being which most digitally disadvantaged populations have little opportunity to develop. This is understandably so as the recipe for such an understanding includes socialization, digital literacy, and a realization of self and structure in the modern web. All of these factors are dependent upon both access and use. To develop a Digital Consciousness a person must have avenues and contexts available that provide these ingredients. The library is one potential space for this, but it is unclear to what extent contemporary libraries effectively facilitate this process. The inequalities that African American communities have endured historically have been harsh, and digital inequality is no exception. To truly remedy the digital inequality for the African American people and other disadvantaged populations we must call for extensive change; a social movement situated within the context of the information revolution. This movement must embody cyberdemocracy, collective intelligence, and information freedom, each of which is dependent upon Digital Consciousness. This report assesses the computing and internet resources present in numerous Illinois public libraries that serve African American populations. Library outlets are evaluated for their capacity to enable patrons to develop Digital Consciousness. The study finds that while libraries do a moderately good job providing basic resources for connectivity, creation, and the reception and production of knowledge, they do not live up to the potential that they could be. The paper concludes with discussion about how to best address challenges and start crafting sustainable and effective solutions.

Black American and the Digital Divide

By js, 8 September, 2008, No Comment

Digital Divide Narrows: Two-Thirds of African Americans Online

July 10, 2008

The digital divide between Black Americans and other groups in America has narrowed, with 68% of African Americans reporting they are online (compared with 71% of all Americans), according to a survey by Yankelovich that was sponsored by Radio One Inc.

Among Black teens, the number of digitally connected is even higher, with 90% reporting they are online. Of all Black Americans, two-thirds say they shop online. Blacks who live in the south are least likely to be online (63%).

These findings are part of the “Black America Survey” of 3,400 African Americans age 13 to 74.

The large-scale study finds strong group identity among Blacks across age and income brackets but also reveals differences in segments among Blacks that should preclude marketers from approaching Black America as a monolithic group.

Technology vs POC

By js, 8 September, 2008, No Comment

Another article by Anthony Walton, Technology Against African Americans, discusses some of the same issues that I have been seeing. People of color are represented as consumers and users rather than designers or those who control the technology.

What is intriguing, and deeply disturbing, is that blacks have participated as equals in the technological world only as consumers, otherwise existing on the margins of the ethos that defines the nation, underrepresented as designers, innovators, and implementers of our systems and machines. As a group, they have suffered from something that can loosely be called technological illiteracy. Though this has not been the point of technological innovation, it has undeniably been its fallout. It is important that we understand and come to terms with this now; there are technological developments in the making that could permanently affect the destiny of black Americans, as Americans and as global citizens. The dark possibility presented by the end of highly paid low-skilled labor, ever more powerful information machines, and global capitalism renders current policy disagreements over welfare, affirmative action, integration versus separatism, and the like trivial by comparison.


Not channeled to follow the largely technological possibilities for success in this society, black folkways have instead embraced the sort of magical thinking that is encouraged by the media and corporations whose sole interest in blacks is as consumers.