30.10.06

[transliteracy]

In preperation for the inaugural meeting of the WTP group (hopefully soon to be renamed to my suggestion which I can't disclose for copyright reasons...ha ha ha) I've been drafting my thoughts on transliteracy. I am enjoying the way the word fills up my mouth and rolls off my tongue, hopefully boding well for the way I will speak about my theory of multi-mimesis and how it ties into transliteracy. I'll finish my short introduction to transliteracy and my understanding of it with this slide (there are more bubbles and each will appear when I click the mouse, how high-tech):


29.10.06

[west wittering]

In a valiant effort to ignore my thesis writing (arg chapter on representation of temporality in web fictions...don't get me s-t-a-r-t-e-d-!) we decided to meet friends Della and Julian for an October (almost November, don't remind me!) picnic at the coast. Della remembered West Wittering from her childhood and thought it would make an excellent spot. Well done Della, we all commended her. It was absolutely fantastic. The beach was sandy, yep, you heard, sandy!! Not pebbly like most beaches. We stretched out on the sand and enjoyed glasses brimming with fizzy delights while watching the sailboats, the sea-dos, the kiddies playing in the sand, the dogs running and barking at the waves and the surfers. Poor surfers, trying so hard to capture the lazy wavelets. After our very leisurely lunch and much gossiping (oooh but I can't blog everything!) we embarked upon a requiescent amble around the West Head and East Head areas. So pretty. The East Head area felt like parts of Lake Ontario (around Oakville/Burlington/Port Credit), the supremely calm water, the sea gulls, the sailboats, the sand, even the smell (not really salty) and the gorgeous sunshine. I highly recommend a visit. The West Wittering website has some info. on the area much more eloquently phrased than I: "East Head is the sand dune spit situated at the eastern side of the entrance to Chichester Harbour. It is a stunning example of a natural and dynamic coastal feature which is of great interest to environmentalists and ecologists because of its fragile nature. It is an SSSI (site of special scientific interest) and a Ramsar site (a wetland site of international importance). The sand dune spit is about 1000 metres long and 400 metres wide at the widest point and covers about 10 hectares. It is joined to the mainland by a very narrow strip at the car park end which is known as the 'hinge'. The sea broke through at this point in October 2004 but the effect of the breach is being mitigated by the rock berm which was positioned on the eastern side of the dunes in 1999. The beach on the western (seaward) side is mostly of fine sand with shingle at the northern end and East Head has been formed from this sand washed along the coast from east to west by a process known as longshore drift. The sand is deposited on the shallow area on the seaward side of the feature which at times of low tides can be dried and blown by the wind onto the shore to form the dunes, which over time become stabilised by plants such as the marram grass."

Now, I better get back to writing about temporality! Maybe I can work on a theory of reading temporality that mimics the ebb and flow of currents...hrm....

27.10.06

[aboriginal pedagogy]

photograph of Ojibway Painting First Nations Mural Manitoba Museum Winnipeg Manitoba by Kim HunterI've always been interested in exploring other cultures and bringing them together - especially within an educational setting. In my own teaching I aim to be fully aware of each learner, his or her learning style, cultural setting and history (in a general sense). Working with students of all ages (including most recently adult learners) who are in England though English is neither their first language or culture, I find my teaching not only must address curriculum requirements but also that it resonates with each of my student's own personal experiences/culture. As I've been thinking about the "themes" I need to address, from the student's perspectives and from the "academy" I find Dr. Laara Fitznor's paper on "Aboriginal Educational Teaching Experiences" resonates with this balance-finding. Not only should be make visible the role of other cultures (I mean other as in stigmatised and/or minority) in all curriculum (not just in ESL studies or Aboriginal Education) but we must:

"recogni[se] the historic wrongs visited about Aboriginal peoples; the need for
culturally relevant and culturally-based Aboriginal education; and education for all Canadians
about our true history (legacies of colonization impacts, understanding and challenging
assimilation policies and practices, becoming aware of the residential schools fiasco and cultural
genocide, and learning about ways to honour and celebrate Aboriginal perspectives in
curriculum, and more.); an increase in the number of Aboriginal peoples in post secondary
education; and the need for educational institutions to take responsibility to make Aboriginal
education a priority."

Firznor is very right here. Not only should we, as educators, ensure that we're inclusive in our teaching, but we should also be activists; actively sharing and encouraging other teachers, parents, educators, school and universities (and more) to embrace a culture of knowledge sharing and inclusion.

Note - the amazing photo at the top of this post is called "
Ojibway Painting First Nations Mural Manitoba Museum Winnipeg Manitoba" and is by Kim Hunter.








24.10.06

[a natural coupling: the ioct and speed dating]

On the 20th of Oct. the IoCT held it's first speed dating exercise: an effort to allow affiliated researchers to share ideas and trigger new ones. I was unable to attend due to my recent accident but Bruce Mason has written a quirky post about the event:

My computer is nestled coyly against the computer of a person whose name I will
eventually remember to be
Dave Everitt. My Toshiba tablet, which I had proudly set up in tablet mode, looks rather hulking – somewhat like a 1970s Star Wars prop – against a miniature Mac thing. That said, despite the Mac being petite, it still manages to have big, chunky keys. I envy those keys with a passion. I’ve been using this laptop for just over 5 days and it makes me feel hunched. Every key stroke has to be precise. Luckily for me, the “BkSp” key is big.
Digressions aside, I get out my stylus, tap the screen and breathe deeply. I have 5 minutes to tell Dave about me, myself and my research. I have 5 power point slides, a breadstick and half a glass of wine. Welcome,
Bruce, to the world of academic speed dating.


Continue reading Bruce's post at the IoCT blog.

20.10.06

[eadem mutata resurgo]

Although not my own words, but Annabelle Thompson's from M. D. Coverley's Fibonacci's Daughter, "eadem mutata resurgo" sums up how I'm feeling. After the car crash (we were rear-ended) last Saturday I am finally feeling much more like myself. Thank goodness the accident was not as bad as it could have been. One speeding driver (accompanied by two children!) managed to ram three cars in his path. We were the fourth and last to be hit so the damage was minor when compared to the other vehicles. Sadly, I suffered whiplash (with concussion etc..) and am only now feeling better. For days I felt very dazed (maybe the painkillers) and out of it, like life was happening in the room next door and I was watching everything unfold. Very odd. It's still very uncomfortable to walk or stand for periods longer than ten minutes but at least my spirit if back to it's usual cheery self. Whew!

9.10.06

[logic and narrative?]

I'm working on chapter three and I keep getting side-tracked by Cortazar and Borges. I'm meant to be concentrating on web fiction and temporality but all my theorising seems to lead back to these two. Maybe posting something here will encourage me to get back on track....(although off-track is such fun).

For some of his readers (and for himself) the intention to write a novel of sorts without the logical articulations of discourse seemed absurd. In the end, one could vaguely perceive something like a transaction, a procedure (although the absurdity of choosing narration for non-narrative ends remained.)*


* Why not? Morelli himself asked that question on a piece of graph paper in whose margin there was a list of vegetables, probably a memento buffandi). (Hopscotch, Chapter 95: 354-55).


A novel without a narrative and footnoes which refer to other footnoes. Hrm...without logical connections one might have only chaos and disintegration. The printed book, then, does not always guarantee narrative logic, sequence, or connectivity. Narrative here, as in certain web fictions, evolves with each reading.


For an interesting interview with Cortazar go here.

5.10.06

[start of the academic year]

While Monday was the actual start to the new (undergraduate) academic year, the lectures and seminars that I'm involved with *really* began today. I'm leading seminars for MEDS 1000: Introduction to Media, MEDS 2000: Methods of Media Research, and MEDS 2007: New Media (can you spot a trend). I've also been invited to give guest lectures (how amazing is that?) for Simon Perril's new Creative Writing course and Margaret Montgomerie's Media Texts and Representations module and her Media Discourse module. I've also started a blog for the New Media course and hopefully students (and readers) will start participating.

3.10.06

[philosophies of walking: in preparation for the IoCT walk]

I'm sitting at my laptop feeling guilty in a sedentary sort of way, but instantly cheered up as I remember that on Thursday, from 1:00-2:00, is the IoCT walk. Anyone linked with the IoCT is welcome to join us for a walk which lasts about 40 minutes and takes us off the University campus to stroll along the banks of the Union Canal. Wondering why the prospect of this group amble would bring such a sense of calm to my demenour led me to google "walking." Somewhat serendipitously I found a group based at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The Walking as Knowing as Making group consider kinetic activity as part and parcel of any synaptic activity. One of the "walkers," David Macauley, has written a humourous view of the philosophies of walking. So foot-ist is he, his essay is composed only of footnotes with "handnotes" detailing any references. One interesting footnote:

11. But in idleness we are in danger of losing our sense of depth; we are taken out of the thick of things. The horizon flattens. Walking puts things back into perspective. Spacial, placial and qualitative changes occur. Distances and measurements, too, have historically been associated with the walking body - eg. the foot or the mile (from mille, a thousand paces) or the foot-candle. Pace, naturally, is important to perspective and is what distinguishes running, in part, from walking. When running distances of more than 20 miles I have occasionally been taken out of my body and its perspective - I begin to disassociate - or in better moments, lose myself in the rhythm. In our walks, we must try to harmonize body-mind - environment. We should be alarmed, as Thoreau was, when the body has walked a mile but the spirit is still loitering at the doorstep or the library.

Perhaps this is why I enjoy the IoCT walk; it offers an opportunity to other rhythms for a while. As Francesco Careri describes it, walking becomes "an architecture of landscape." The IoCT walks are storytelling in motion. For some of us, the walk offers stimulus for narratives, for others, the walk itself is the unfolding of narrative.