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Convergences, Day 2

See, here's my problem. I hate speaking in public. And so I go through 3 distinct phases when I have to do so. First, I get really antsy, and having trouble focusing. Then, when I have to speak, my conscious mind goes mostly on autopilot, allowing me to slide into some lizard-brain zone where I remember very little of what actually happens. Finally, I slowly climb back out of it, fueled mainly by relief that my time is over. And none of these phases is especially effective for note-taking. Keep that in mind.

Kevin Mahoney and Rachel Riedner began day 2 with a tag-team presentation, "Cultural Studies Pedagogy and the Corporate University," whose first couple of minutes I missed, thus depriving myself of the frame for their talk. As best as I can tell from my notes, Kevin and Rachel argued for a deeper understanding of pedagogy as a site of political engagement. What we have taken to calling empire is, in their words, a public pedagogy of neoliberalism and globalization, one that's especially effective at deflecting resistance. It does so by producing individuals who compete for their own personal gain, to the detriment of public participation. They argued that traditional leftist discourse has begun to interfere with our ability to form counterpedagogies and to sustain horizontal relations, and these were two of the strategies they suggested given current conditions in higher education.

Bradley Dilger talked about "The Logic of Default," riffing on a section from Lev Manovich's The Language of New Media. Manovich suggests that using defaults when it comes to interfaces is one way of resisting the lure of customization that drives technology consumption. Bradley complicated this notion, however, noting that Manovich's default-ism, even if it's relevant at the scale of interface, happens at multiple scales, and as a result, we're always already choosing, whether or not we go with defaults.

Then some nit talked about networks.

And after that, I stopped typing notes. This was bad. The panel after mine featured Jenny Bay, Sarah Arroyo, and Thomas Peele, and I listened rather than typing. They raised various questions about new media, and because they were taken up in the discussion that followed, I actually remember the conversations more than the panel per se. Perhaps someone else will contribute notes?

The final panel of the conference began with Byron Hawk, who presented portions of his book on vitalism. He traced a lineage of vitalism from Aristotle to Burke to Deleuze, one centered on Aristotle's conception of entelechy. Chuck Tryon discussed his study of the film Capturing the Friedmans, focusing on the way that this documentary complicates the separation of public and private spheres in its nostalgia for the nuclear family. Finally, Karen Kopelson presented some of the results for a qualitative study she conducted, asking graduate students about their expectations and experiences in rhetoric and composition.

I can't help but feel that this rundown is woefully unfair, because the two panels that followed mine were both quite good. By that point, though, I was tired of taking notes--the fact that I participated more frequently in the conversations was one sign of that, I suspect. Oh well. Maybe someone else can fill this gap...

Day 2 ended with a trip to Moonlight Pizza (long time to sit, but good food to eat), and then to Lizzie's, where we closed the joint, drank our fair share, and pledged to keep this conference going...


I take issue with your calling one of my fave people a nit. :)

Thanks for the rundown. We do need to sit down. Let's.