Thanks Mom! Banksy Beside JennyHolzerMom

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Thanks to Susannah for this image and her question about the link between troublemaking and care. I really like the idea of envisioning encouraging kids to make trouble (well, maybe not always or often in the forms represented in this image) as part of a parent’s caregiving practices. I’d like to read/reflect on this beside JennyHolzerMom’s tweets about the tension between rebelling and following rules:

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Giving an Account and Telling a Story

As I think through how I use my blog to give an account and/or tell stories, I want to put the following books and ideas about storytelling and giving an account beside each other:

Dorothy Allison’s Two or Three Things I Know for Sure
Judith Butler’s Giving an Account of Oneself
Paul John Eakin How Our Lives Become Stories 

In thinking about how and why to put these beside each other, I’m partly interested in exploring the different (and sometimes similar) ways in which they explain the purposes for our stories. Why do we tell stories? Who are they for? What compels us to give an account? What sort of self is created/revealed/performed through these accounts/stories?

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Another great twitter source

Looking through my Safari Reading list, I found an excellent post by Josh Greenberg “about the benefits and limitations of using Twitter in support of research and teaching.” In addition to providing his own list of reasons why he tweets (research, building profile, professional networking, teaching and personal), Greenberg also links to a Storify on why scholars tweet: Twitter in the Tower which has even more great ideas and links (like to this prezi on social media and this site about being a Networked Researcher).

This post has provided me with lots of great sources for more reflecting on twitter; I’m especially excited to read this article on social media and ethics and this one on personal branding in academe! It has also inspired me to begin sorting through my twitter reflections and fine-tuning my own statement on tweeting. And it inspired me to tweet the author:

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Trouble and the Academy

A recent comment that I wrote on this blog has got me wondering about my own relationship to the academy/academic spaces. Just a few minutes ago, I wrote:

I’m currently struggling with my own relationship to the university. Having devoted so much of my life to formal education (as a student and teacher), I’m deeply invested in it. Yet, I feel that in the last few years, I’ve really pushed up against its limits and experienced a deep sense of alienation because of it. Is it fatally flawed? I really hope not, but sometimes I’m not so sure…especially when institutions are unwillingly to rethink elite models that serve the interests of so few at the expense of so many others.
As I think through my own (troubled) relationship to the academy and academic spaces, I thought I’d revisit some of my past reflections on the topic. Here are just few entries in which I write about my struggles of feeling alienated in the academy:

a note about podcast 6 @The Undisciplined Room

This afternoon, STA and I had another fun, albeit free-wheeling and fairly cranky, podcast conversation about: what’s wrong with the Apple app store, becoming increasingly dispinterested, social media etiquette, #notbuyingit, bad Superbowl ads, live-tweeting, how awesome Keith Ellison is, making music only using iPhone apps, Fame (the 80s movie and TV show), and possible kickstarter projects. I love podcasting! While I would consider myself more introverted than extroverted (as a side note, I haven’t bought the newest book championing the introvert, Quiet, but I do have a sample chapter in my iBooks library), I do love good conversations. Deep conversations that make you curious, get you thinking and enable you to imagine new possibilities. I think podcasts can create the space and opportunity for interesting, intense and great conversations. Am I achieving that in my podcasts? Not sure, but I do know that I come away from my discussions with STA inspired and with new ideas. In the future, I think it would be fun to develop a podcast where I get to have great conversations with other troublemakers. Hmm…

Check out Episode 6: Cranked up

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on procrastination

Right now I need to be finishing up another non-blog writing project. It has a non-negotiable and pretty urgent deadline. So, what have I been doing today instead? Yep, writing several blog posts and avoiding, at all costs, what I’m actually supposed to be doing. Sadly, even as I recognize my acts of avoidance, I can find ways to justify them. Like: One purpose of this blog (and my twitter feed) is to document the writing process. That includes the painful non-writing, procrastinating parts. I need to archive those experiences for future reference! Ha!

Here’s what I just tweeted:

To save time, I just took a screen shot of the four tweets. Here’s a link to the New Yorker article on procrastination.

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Duel 1971

I just saw Duel for the first time on Saturday night. It’s Stephen Spielberg’s first film…and his best. This film seems like a good one to archive for the trouble blog; it provides a lot of critical commentary on the rapidly slipping position of the white, privileged, heterosexual male in the U.S in the 1970s and the trouble (anxiety, fear, terror) that this caused. Maybe I should amend my statement about this providing critical commentary–I don’t necessarily think that Spielberg intended it, but this film says a lot about gender, race, class and the limits of the American (capitalist) dream. He’s doesn’t so much offer up his own critical commentary as he provides, through this story about a man terrorized by a truck who relentlessly and inexplicably chases him on a remote highway in southern California, a space for the viewer to critically reflect. When I was in grad school , I took an awesome film class on Masculinity and Violence in 1970s Westerns, War and Boxing films. Duel would be a great one to watch for the western section. Hmm….now I want to dig up some of my notes from class.

Here’s an extended clip from Duel. I hope to return to this film and write more after the semester is over.

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Caring (about) as sacred

Yesterday was a beautiful day. So beautiful that I decided to bike over to the library and pick up a book that I found via an article (“The Embodied City“) in Transformations: Teaching with Joy. Educational Practices for the Twenty-first Century. I’m excited to read it; especially after noticing (and wondering about, ha!) an article by Jinx Watson entitled, “The Invitation to Notice and Wonder: Caring about Ideas.” So cool. My vision of troublemaking as a form of care centers on the value of noticing, wondering and caring. So far I have only had time to quickly glance at the essay, but I’m struck by the connection Watson makes between learning, caring and the sacred (their essay is in a section of the book entitled, The Sacred Word). I really like the idea of linking teaching/learning with spiritual well-being. I’d like to read this book in conversation with bell hooks and her many discussions of bringing the whole self into spaces where we learn, teach and engage.

Here’s a question I want to ponder for the next few days: What class activities can I develop that encourage students to notice (pay attention) and wonder (be curious and ask questions)?

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Can you ever have too much trouble?

The semester has begun–two weeks done already!?  Anyway, I am once again making trouble by pushing at the limits of how to engage with ideas inside and outside of the classroom. I’m also pushing at the limits of what I, as the instructor, can manage in the semester. In a recent tweet, I wrote: “Is managing and writing on 4 blogs and 3 twitter accounts too much? Not sure yet.” I’m not too worried…yet. The beginning of the semester is always crazy as I adjust to new students, new classrooms and new assignments.

I plan to regularly revisit this question of taking on too much trouble throughout the semester. I think it is a really important one as I think about the limits and possibilities of social media in the classroom (which is a key theme for both classes).  Here are the links to my course blogs:

Every year I increase my participation on the course blogs. More comments, more entries, and now, more tweets. But, will I be able to keep up with my own personal blogs? I really hope so!

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Troubling Clowns

I want this book! I saw it today at the Wild Rumpus, an awesome kids’ bookstore not too far from my house. Okay, do I really want this book–I’m not sure, but it made me laugh (a lot) at the store. I could see it making a lot of trouble for kids and adults. It reminds me of this freaky art installation at the Art Institute of Chicago on clowns that I saw this past fall (AMP, can you remember this installation and the name of the artist who did it?).

SPOILER ALERT: Here’s the “pop-up” surprise in the middle of the book:

Now, there are lots of ways to connect clowns with troublemaking–excessive parody, playfulness, comedy, laughter. Maybe I should read more about clowns this summer…or, maybe not. I don’t need these clowns haunting my dreams!

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