May 12, 2012. In honor of the third anniversary of this blog, I created a video introduction. Check it out to learn more about this blog and me, Sara Puotinen/@Undisciplined:
Overview: This blog is dedicated to giving serious (careful, intense, playful) attention to what it means to make trouble, be in trouble and stay in trouble. I explore the ethical and political possibilities for troublemaking in my own work and the work of others. I will gather as many different examples of troublemaking that I can find. And I will critically analyze a variety of discourses and media through the lens of troublemaking.
How I am using this site:
First, the most important way that I am using this site is as a WRITING TOOL. I have been thinking and teaching about troublemaking for several years now and I thought that it was about time that I started actually writing about it (okay, I have written about it a little). I have talked for a long time (over a decade, sometimes) about certain ideas/theories/topics that would make a great article or book chapter. Life (kids, moves, PhDs, illness) got in the way and, for that matter, is still getting in the way. So, I thought trying out blog writing might help to get me writing again, especially with the limited amount of time I have (did I mention I have two very young kids?). And, it has. I am really enjoying this blog and I think I have some great starts to many different articles and *hopefully* my first book. The format is great for the amount of time I have and I really appreciate how it allows me to infuse my academic writing with humor and some accessibility.
Second, I am using this blog as a way to EXPLORE AND DEMONSTRATE CONNECTIONS between my theoretical/academic training (in feminist theory and ethics, queer theory and ethics, 20th century continental philosophy, feminist pedagogy) and the rest of my life (and life outside of the academy). My reading of thinkers like Judith Butler or Michel Foucault has always been personal and tangible to me and resonated with my own understandings of the world. So for me, there has never been a strict division between the academy and the real world (I think this is the case for many–both those in the “academy” and those in the “real world”). And I have always been able to draw on thinkers (like Butler or Habermas) to make sense of my own life. I am using this blog to demonstrate that connections can (and should) be made between these seemingly different worlds. For example, I can use The Brady Bunch to understand why Habermas’ theories on communicative rationality have some problems. Or, I can use Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble to understand why a certain joke in Hannah Montana bothers me. And, yes, I have already written about both of these things here and here. My desire to explore and demonstrate connections leads right into the third way I am using this blog.
Third, I am using this blog to promote CRITICAL THINKING and to passionately and persistently argue that it EXISTS EVERYWHERE AND that it SHOULD BE PRACTICED ALL OF THE TIME. Critical thinking (in the form of asking Why?, refusing to merely accept ideas, challenging others, engaging in critical debates) doesn’t just happen in the classroom or when we are reading certain writers (that the academy has deemed to be worthy and worthwhile). Critical thinking should be happening everyday and all of the time. And, guess what? It is. We just don’t pay attention to it or recognize it when it’s happening. In this blog, I hope to offer some examples of how we can find (and engage in) critical thinking in unexpected ways–like when we are reading a children’s book to our kids to get them to go to sleep or watching a Brady Bunch rerun at 3 AM when we can’t fall asleep. This kind of critical thinking (and toublemaking/troublestaying) is not just esoteric or elitist navel gazing (or mental masturbation); it can be transformative, enabling us to resist and rethink damaging ideologies that are forced upon us everyday.
Fourth, I am using this blog as a TROUBLEMAKING RESOURCE for myself as I think more about how troublemaking works and for others who want to learn about troublemaking as one (but not the only) valuable and virtuous approach to life and living. Throughout this summer (and beyond) I hope to collect and reflect on as many examples of troublemaking as I can manage. I also intend to use the troublemaking lens as a way in which to understand certain issues and events. And, I plan to develop a glossary of troublemaking terms.
Fifth, I am using this blog as a PEDAGOGICAL TOOL. I have used blogs in my class for three years now (See Pop Culture Women; International Feminist Theory; Queering Theory; Rebels, Radicals, Revolutionaries; Introduction to GLBT Studies; Feminist Pedagogies; Contemporary Feminist Debates; and Feminist and Queer Explorations in Troublemaking). Although many of these blogs were not that successful (although a few, especially this one, were great), they have helped me to learn a lot along the way. Don’t get me wrong, I am definitely not an expert (or even close). But, I do feel that I have picked up a thing or two about how and, more importantly why, blogs are helpful in classrooms–especially queer and feminist ones. Even though I have used blogs in the classroom (and lurked on many a blog myself!), this is my first attempt at my own blog. I developed this blog to practice what I preach (I mean teach). I wanted to know what it felt like to write entries on a regular basis and I wanted to experiment with possible assignments for my students next year and beyond. So far, one way I am doing this experimentation is by playing around with my word count (See Troublemaking in 200 words or less).