Monday, March 30, 2009

Teaching blog wars.

I am curious to know if any of you who are teachers have taught about what happened with Seal Press, Jessica Valenti's books, and/or Amanda Marcotte's book. I'm going to be teaching a class that will look at conflicts in feminism/Women's Studies and where the movement/field is headed, and I'm thinking about looking at one or two of these moments. If anyone else has done this, I'd love to hear how you did it.


Sungold said...

I brought up the controversy around Marcotte's book in my feminist theory class last fall, as one example of how women of color still are often marginalized. Only a couple of students (out of 15, mostly advanced undergrads with a WS major or minor) had heard anything about it.

So if I were to bring it up again, I wouldn't just casually drag it into the discussion. I'd have students read some of the pertinent blog posts first. That seems obvious in retrospect, but I simply assumed they spent time reading feminist blogs. Not so!

I'd be interested, too, in hearing about any approaches that weren't so half-baked as my own.

Plain(s)feminist said...

Yes, this is one my questions - how to assign blog reading around a controversy, since so much of it happens in various places and over time, and sometimes with hundreds of comments per blog. Do you have suggestions for blog posts re. Marcotte's book? I know that unfolded over a year or two, and I only came in at the end.

If I have to pick one instance, it will probably be this or the online discussions of Valenti's Yes Means Yes call for papers. I had initially wanted to talk about Seal Press, but I'm not sure it would be as fruitful for students to study as would the others, just because of the way it all happenend - I think there's too much that would get in the way of seeing how marginalization happens in the production of feminist theory (though, since they are a feminist press, it's clearly relevant).

Sungold said...

On Marcotte's book, I came in at the end, too. It was very close in time to the blowup over her writing on immigration that apparently drew on brownfemipower's work without giving adequate credit. So I'm guessing that there's a span of maybe two weeks, when Marcotte's cover artwork became a public issue, where you could ask students to focus. (Okay, so you'd probably have to do the focusing *for* them!)

I just saw your query about this on WSTM-L and realized I've met you in real life (at the NWSA in Milwaukee in 2004). We had a great time dancing with a bunch of people who were part of the feminist mothering group. Email me (sungold85 AT if you're curious - I'm happy to divulge my real name in a more quiet space - and it's a weird asymmetry when pseudonymity breaks down in one direction only. Anyway, I liked you when I met you at the NWSA, I like you as PF, and it's pretty cool that you're the same person!