Thank you, Ismael for blogging so quickly and articulately!
My time at Harvard was fantastic and while at times it felt over my head on the policy and IP fronts, I learned so much about what it means to be an internet scholar, how to cross interdisciplinary boundaries, and when to “go meta.”
I know I am behind on writing up my thoughts on my own presentation from last week, but suffice it to say that I was reminded at how unique a story I have to tell and that the more I celebrate New Orleans and the people there rebuilding the city with their online actions and words, the better. I had not thought such a global and distinguished group of fellow PhD students would be as interested in my qualitative work, but I was wrong. They even recommended some quantitative tools in case I do want to go in that direction.
Most importantly, I was introduced [by Marcus Foth] to the term “action research” and I think it may be the way I want to frame my dissertation. I don’t know if this tactic will require me spending more time in NOLA, interviewing, etc., but I feel that any attempt to write about post-Katrina New Orleans and the self-organizing efforts are happening vis-a-vis the Internet requires me to think about how my work can both contribute to knowledge and successful change.
Dan Gillmor and Steve Schifferes were my “assigned” tutors, and their feedback was invaluable as was the entire 2-week experience.
At the beginning of the week I found out that Harvard Square was turning itself into Hogwarts Square in honor of the release of the 7th Harry Potter book. Since I am still in the midst of book 5, I knew I would not be hurrying to get a copy, but 1000s of people in Cambridge, MA certainly took to the streets in what I can only compare to a New Year’s celebration and rock concert all wrapped up as one!
After arriving to hotter than usual Boston and learning that my dorm room was on the fourth floor, no elevator and no air conditioner, I was very cranky. But I washed my face then went to meet the group for drinks at Cambridge Common.
It looks like there are 30+ of us doctoral students interested in, most generally speaking, internet studies. Everyone is very nice and laid back and it will be great to hear more about all of the dissertation projects since in my own department at USF I am the only one focusing on computers and writing. I still feel that my project may be more evocative than others, but during our opening session today I could see how it connected to the general idea of how the internet impacts our everyday life and culture, how trust is created online, and this thing we often call virtual communities.
I have more notes from Day 1 will have to share them for later. Day 2 is about to begin!
The Rising Tide Conference will be a gathering for all who wish to learn more and do more to assist New Orleans’ recovery from the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and the failure of the levees that were supposed to protect the area.
We will come together to dispel myths, promote facts, share personal testimonies, highlight progress and regress, discuss recovery ideas, and promote sound policies at all levels. We aim to be a “real life” demonstration of internet activism as the nation prepares to mark the two year anniversary of a massive natural disaster followed by governmental failures on a similar scale.
While I don’t think I will be able to make it there this year due to personal travel only days before, this year’s Rising Tide looks to be bigger and better with its theme likely changing from “Action, Accountability, Corruption, Determination and Responsibility” to “No Holding Back.” I say “likely” because there is a poll for which tagline works best.
I have to admit, I’ve really gotten into So You Think You Can Dance this summer. I caught the last couple of episodes last summer and really didn’t like how short the solo routines were, but now that I’m watching it from the beginning [with my eye on the ballet and ballroom boys, Danny and Pasha], I love the longer paired numbers.
2 weeks ago I was upset that Pasha’s partner Jessi was sent home, especially after their hot cha-cha, but now he’s still showing how versatile he is with a new partner. This has got to be the best routine all summer [even if it was choreographed by that goofball Benji]!
Out of all the summer blockbusters, I have to say that Ratatouille is the best. I wasn’t all that eager to see the film based on its trailer, but the movie as a whole is so clever and funny, I could see it again and again! I especially like Peter O’Toole’s character, the Grim Eater. But then again, I like Peter O’Toole in anything!
Also, I’ve finally joined the rest of humanity in reading the Harry Potter series. I’m only on Book 5, which I want to finish before seeing the movie this weekend, so don’t reveal anything to me. Having read the first four then watched the movies for all of them, I now see why so many people love these books so much. The writing is fantastic and the characters are so well-developed for each year at Hogwarts. JK Rowling has set a standard and young authors out there will have to keep it up once the 7th book comes out because readers deserve such quality writing.
And as someone interested in trauma theory, the 4th book is so applicable to the concept of bearing witness and the recurring pain that goes along with it, I may have to sneak some of that into my dissertation! I know Andy read a journal article on this topic, so I will have to find it and quote it here so you don’t think I’m crazy. 🙂
Since I don’t have much to blog about this hot and lazy [though secretly productive] summer, I thought I might share a quick post about my new dedication to pilates. My favorite group fitness teacher took the summer off to begin her graduate studies, so I had to find something to replace the cardio-dance workouts. A ball workout, pilates, and a class called “ab attack” have become my regular routine and I love them all! I never weigh myself so I don’t know if I am losing weight, but I feel leaner and stronger and that’s much more important!
I knew that as a former ballet dancer I should like pilates, but the first time I took it a couple years ago, the room was very crowded and I couldn’t see the instructor. Now I go early in the morning, twice a week, and it’s wonderful. It hurts my legs like crazy when I’m doing it, but I miss it on the days when I’m not working out.
I leave for my 2 weeks at Harvard this Sunday and by the looks of the schedule so far, I may have my evenings free to hit the Dance Complex and try out their pilates and other stretch classes!