Blogs and Literacy for UWA students


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Talk for Laetitia Wilson's class at the University of Western Australia. This is a lightly adapted version of my presentation at Digital Arts and Culture in Perth, Sept 2007.

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  • Blogs and Literacy for UWA students

    1. Blogs, Literacies and the Collapse of Private and Public Jill Walker Rettberg University of Bergen, Norway [email_address] UWA Sept 25, 2007
    2. 1450s: The printing press
    3. Qualities of print that led to cultural change: <ul><li>Dissemination </li></ul><ul><li>Standardisation </li></ul><ul><li>Reorganisation </li></ul><ul><li>Data collection </li></ul><ul><li>Preservation </li></ul><ul><li>Amplification and Reinforcement </li></ul>
    4. The Gutenberg Parenthesis Tom Pettitt, MIT5 conference, May 2007.
    5. 1990s: The Web
    6. Technological transitions lead to new literacies <ul><li>Print </li></ul>Network literacy Web Literacy (create, share and navigate social media - 57% of US teens by 2005) ( (read and write - 70-90% of Europeans by late 18th century)
    7. New literacies shape our ideas of the relationship between self and world <ul><li>Print </li></ul>Web Literacy Network Literacy Private/Public collapse: Self is connected to network Private/Public divide: self is distinct, separate
    8. Young man reading <ul><li> by JorgeQuinteros Creative Commons licence: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 </li></ul>
    9. Silent reading ... the increasingly common practice of silent reading, which fostered a solitary and private relation between the reader and his book , were crucial changes, which redrew the boundary between the inner life and life in the community. Roger Chartier: The Practical Impact of Writing
    10. Silent reading Between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, as growing numbers of people learned to read, new ways of reading became popular. The most novel of these (..) was private reading in a quiet place away from other people, which allowed the reader to engage in solitary reflection on what he or she read. This privatization of reading is undeniably one of the major cultural developments of the early modern era. Roger Chartier: The Practical Impact of Writing
    11. The library is a place to retreat to, a place from which the world can be seen - but the reader remains invisible. See Chartier, “The Practical Impact of Writing”, p. 130.
    12. Plato: Written texts are unresponsive Plato: Phaedrus SOCRATES: I cannot help feeling, Phaedrus, that writing is unfortunately like painting; for the creations of the painter have the attitude of life, and yet if you ask them a question they preserve a solemn silence. And the same may be said of speeches. You would imagine that they had intelligence, but if you want to know anything and put a question to one of them, the speaker always gives one unvarying answer . And when they have been once written down they are tumbled about anywhere among those who may or may not understand them , and know not to whom they should reply, to whom not: and, if they are maltreated or abused, they have no parent to protect them; and they cannot protect or defend themselves . PHAEDRUS: That again is most true.
    13. The solitude of writing is a solitude without which writing could not be produced, or would crumble, drained bloodless by the search for something else to write. Marguerite Duras, Writing .
    14. Writing is a solipsistic operation In composing a text, in “writing” something, the one producing the written utterance is also alone. Writing is a solipsistic operation . Walter Ong , Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word. 1983. Page 116.
    15. Writing girls by “This Year’s Love”
    16. Blogging: social? solitary? - Creative Commons licence - by kk+
    17. Is blogging a different kind of writing to novel-writing? One thing that was immediately clear to me, from the first blog, is that this is not an activity, for me, that can coexist with the writing of a novel . In some way I only dimly apprehend, it requires too much of the same bandwidth (yet never engages anything like the total *available* bandwidth). But, definitely, the ecology of novelization and the ecology of blogging couldn't coexist, for me. It would be like trying to boil water without a lid . Or, more like it, trying to run a steam engine without a lid. ( I wonder if that would be the case for a native of the blogosphere -- for whom, as Lou Reed once said of heroin addicts, &quot;the needle is a toothbrush&quot;? Maybe not.) William Gibson in his blog, 13 April, 2003 . William Gibson
    18. J ürgen Habermas developed the theory of the public sphere as founded upon debate in the 60s. Today, he worries about the internet.
    19. Blogs are often seen as a new public sphere <ul><li>Baoill, Andrew. 2004. Weblogs and the Public Sphere. In Into the Blogosphere: Rhetoric, Community, and Culture of Weblogs , edited by L. Gurak, S. Antonijevic, L. Johnson, C. Ratliff and J. Reyman. </li></ul><ul><li>Boeder, Pieter. 2005. Habermas' Heritage: The Future of the Public Sphere in the Network Society. First Monday 10 (9). Available from </li></ul><ul><li>Notaro, Anna. 2006. The Lo(n)g Revolution: The Blogosphere as an Alternative Public Sphere? Reconstruction 6 (4). Available from . </li></ul><ul><li>Poster, Mark. 1997. Cyberdemocracy: Internet and the Public Sphere. In Internet Culture , edited by D. Porter. NY: Routledge. </li></ul><ul><li>Thompson, Garry. 2003. Weblogs, Warblogs, the Public Sphere, and Bubbles. Transformations (7). Available from </li></ul>
    20. Today, Habermas worries about the Internet “...intellectuals seem to be suffocating from the excess of this vitalising element, as if they were overdosing. The blessing seems to have become a curse. I see the reason for that in the de-formalisation of the public sphere, and in the de-differentiation of the respective roles. (..) In this medium, contributions by intellectuals lose their power to create a focus.” J ürgen Habermas: Acceptance Speech for the Bruno Kreisky Prize for the Advancement of Human Rights, March 9, 2006.
    21. ...the ferment engendered by access to more books... 'All the world is full of learned men, of most skilled preceptors, of vast libraries...neither in Plato's time nor in Cicero's was there ever such opportunity for studying. . .’ (Rabelais)
    22. The library is a place to retreat to, a place from which the world can be seen - but the reader remains invisible. See Chartier, “The Practical Impact of Writing”, p. 130.
    23. Reading is no longer anonymous. Lurking is becoming impossible.
    24. You’ve got to be silent to be spoken to. (..) Passivity is the “logic” of this technology. <ul><li>(Richard Sennett) </li></ul>
    25. Today, the text reads the reader. Writing is not unresponsive as in Plato’s day.
    26. Participatory media changes the relationship between readers and texts
    27. ...and the relationship between readers and readers
    28. This is a time of transition. Print created the lurker. The web allows us to delurk - easily.