Since I have my students blogging these days, and I often use this blog to air out my emotions post-Katrina, I wanted to post about the number of posts that mention me crying. I’m certainly not in a state of depression, and to see me around campus or at home, I’m quite calm. Just sometimes, like when I have to write a dream analysis, the feelings I have about losing my home and the physical referent of NOLA overwhelms me and I get weepy. Then I feel guilty for feeling that way since so many of my friends have it worse and are more displaced than I am. I am just itching to get home and help in any way I can.
So the first step to getting home is finishing my PhD program, and I met with a prof from last semester to outline ideas for the dissertation. Here’s a rough sketch of what I want to do:
Ch 1: Trauma theory/kairos: Discuss the breakdown of communication at times of crisis. From 9/11 to Hurricane Katrina, how people respond to tragedy and how/where “news-telling” occurs has changed.
Ch. 2: How does the Internet remediate how we respond to tragedy? Online spaces create knowledge and trust differently; each site has its own validity, interaction level and concepts of truth.
Ch 3/4: Examples from Hurricane Katrina. Blogs weren’t just blogs anymore. Craig’s List changed visually. These two and many other sites became news forums. Different voices/witnesses spoke. Analyze how each gained legitimacy.
Ch 5: How does this affect rhet/comp teachers? The Internet’s flow regarding memorials and information is continuous and doesn’t go away, as Katrina has shown us. No matter if we use technology in our classroom or not, students now get knowledge online and off and what is created online is radically different. We need to teach them to evaluate sites for authority and train them to take advantage of it.
There you have it. We shall see how it evolves over the next year or so. Til then, I have to get to other pressing matters, like grading student work and vacuuming! 🙂