So why post my Watson Conference proposal almost three months before I present it? Lots of reasons. Sure, in one sense, it’s just another blog post, but I don’t exactly intend to shameless self-promote here. You’re already here… reading my blog. So the simplest explanation is that it’s merely another blog post, like any of my others. Consistent within the fuzzy focus of digital writing practices. So, here goes…
Reason #1: Generate interest. In my presentation.
Here I do intend a little self-promotion. Part of me hopes that a couple readers might drop a note on this blog to let others know they’ll attend the panel. (I’m not sure of the schedule yet, but I’ve heard that I’ll be presenting along with Jody Shipka and Carolyn R. Miller.) You know how it works. Attendance attracts attendance, right? So what, I want to feel like lots of people came to hear my paper? Considering the other two readers, I don’t think there will be a person in the audience (or on the panel) who will think I was the attraction. That’s not the point.
The point is to get some sort of a discussion going about what I see as an incredibly important topic. In the face of culturally vested technologies that seem to be emerging at the whims of forces beyond our control, what can we do? What can we do as writing experts? What can we do as one of the largest disciplines in academia? New technologies are developing at an increasingly exponential pace. Writing practices are both taking advantage and trying to keep up. How can we stop seeing this pace of development as a complicating factor in our pedagogies, and instead begin to see it as one of the opportunities for social relevance our discipline so often pines after? There are dozens of other questions that can spin off from this topic.
Feenberg‘s readings (of Heidegger, Marcus, Weber, Habermas, Adorno, Foucault, Lyotard, etc.) and investigations of social phenomenon (most recently I’m reading about the environmental movement, different ideas in socialism, bicycles, nuclear energy, and child labor laws) offer incredibly clear and relevant models for understanding the nature of change in writing technologies. In his work lies an opportunity for participation in these developments, instead of merely taking advantage, rejecting, or investigating them. Progress is always contested and underdetermined. We need to start talking about these ideas. Again: generate interest. In Feenberg. Not me.
Reason #2: Challenge other presenters to blog their proposals.
Reason #3: Get feedback from invested audiences.