Category: events

Addressing Anti-Feminist Violence Online – beginnings

I’m delighted to announce here that the Digital Media and Learning Competition 5: The Trust Challenge has selected FemTechNet’s “Addressing Anti-Feminist Violence Online” for funding.

This was a wonderfully collaborative effort that arose out conversations sparked by both GamerGate and the violences experienced in the summer of 2014 by female public intellectuals like Dr. Sarah Kendzior (which Eric Garland’s Urgent Dispatch from the Seat of White Privilege does a good job of contextualizing as gender based) and Slate.com author Dr. Rebecca Schuman.

Feeling unsure about life as a feminist scholar with a reasonably strong public profile I wrote the following to the FemTechNet community:

“I’ll be honest and say that I find myself feeling pretty uneasy these days. …with this summer’s threats against female scholars, the shooting on the west coast, and the latest wave of anti-feminist threats it strikes me that it might be a good time to talk about the above and what we can all do to help support one another. I’m also concerned about situations where institutions are themselves part of the threat and deeply aware that many feel threatened for a multitude of reasons these days.”

I was both heartened and saddened by the flood of responses from this relatively small community. It was good for me not to be alone in struggle – but it sucked to hear that so many shared my worry. The responses confirmed that the threats I was concerned about are real and also that women of color and transgender and queer folks face even greater risks.

Out of that discussion came our collective commitment to do something to address the harassment and violence that women and feminists are facing online. There are many who have participated in this effort and we are actively working to join in the chorus of voices that support the rights of feminists to work, write, speak, and live. I’ll be writing more in the coming days about our project and the connections that we hope to make with other efforts to address violence online.

For now, we are delighted to be in such good company with the other DML grantees and honored to be able to do this work.

The awards were announced March 10th at SXSWedu.

ASU Project Combats Online Threats Towards Women, Girls

DML Competition Press Release

TCFW: Feminism – the right to say 'no' in all contexts

The title of this THATCamp Feminisms wrap up post is an approximation of my favorite quote from TCFW’s events (there was too much good that came from the event for a single post, so there will be a series). Several of us were in a session on Feminist Collaboration and Adrianne Wadewitz reminded us that in so far as feminism is about empowering women, it is about supporting our right to say ‘no’ not just in sexual encounters, but in all kinds of contexts. In this particular context, this might mean saying ‘no’ to an excessive service load, to being the sole representative for gender/sexuality issues on campus, to being the one who does everything. It was the third reminder I’d had that week to say ‘no’ and it was the one that finally stuck. Why? Because it helpfully recast what I was seeing as myriad “Important Opportunities/Needs” as compulsory forces.

Let me take a moment to parse that statement. I look around and see a lot of work to be done, a lot of work on behalf of gender, race, class, and sexuality equality. I see a lot of need and a lot of opportunity to effect change at local, national, and international levels. In those needs I see a great deal of opportunity for change and I want to help bring about that change. THATCamp Feminisms arose because of a set of conversations that were happening virtually that deserved our more concentrated efforts and in person meetings. I saw a need and moved to address it. That’s great, but I see need everywhere these days and even when I limit my scope to the areas where I have the most interest/talent/training it’s still more than I can tackle. The needs here on campus are enough to exhaust a single person.

When colleagues suggested to me that it was critical to my career and well-being that I say ‘no’ more often, I understood what they were saying. I see the ways that one needs to navigate a career, choose her battles, and protect the room to get scholarship done. But I also have strong passions and those passions are what feed my work, and I think that this is a good approach to work – I have to care about what I’m doing if I’m going to really do it well – and I felt passionate about the opportunities that I was seeing everywhere. So the “say no, Jacque” exhortation often felt like a suggestion to squash what makes my work vital and interesting in order to survive; it felt like rejecting opportunities in which I was invested or turning away from those to whom I feel responsible (like my students).

What Adrianne’s observation helped me to see, with startling clarity and speed, is that there are other ways to see the situation. It’s not that I need to give up on the things I care about or am committed to; it’s that the system is designed to make me feel that I should be responsible for all of this work, that ‘yes’ is the only acceptable answer when faced with the next Important Thing. It may not have been Adrianne’s intent, but the form of her comment activated a metaphor: suddenly all of this opportunity to address need was recast as a threatening sexual need, a set of uninvited advances. The beauty of the metaphor is how quickly it clarified things for me. For example, my chosen position as an academic woman was no more invitation to be responsible for all of this mess than a short skirt might have been an invitation to rape.

This isn’t a new insight and I certainly have enough training to know this, but I didn’t feel it. I don’t think I’m alone in this either. The TCFW conversation found it’s way into a conversation with a group of women who are all faculty at Harvey Mudd, our science and engineering school in the consortium. Women were sharing their experiences being told as junior faculty to “say ‘yes’ to everything” to think of invitations as welcome “validations” and a colleague’s rejoinder to make ‘no’ the default was quickly cited. The conversation then turned to how hard that advice is to follow. A friend then cited our colleague’s advice to “fuck the guilt” and I think this is part of why the rape metaphor – a powerful and risky metaphor to be sure – works for me. When work is cast as addressing need or taking advantage of special opportunity, it’s easy to feel guilty. When those “important” or “validating” opportunities or “urgent” needs  are cast as an uninvited compulsory force, I don’t even entertain the possibility of feeling guilty.

The power of the metaphor –  cultural or professional Need/Opportunity as pushy date – is that it let me feel the threat. Suddenly ‘no’ was not a rejection of opportunity or need, but the articulation of my own right to not be responsible for fixing everything and to pursue my work. Saying ‘no’ isn’t a rejection of opportunities or an expression of ingratitude because I have the right to work on the issues/texts/objects that I think are important *without becoming responsible for fixing an entire system of inequity.* Do I acknowledge my own privileges and responsibilities? Yes. Does my work engage with colleagues and students in ways that seek to address inequity? Yes. Do I need to feel compelled to “take advantage” of every “opportunity” that comes my way? No. Is it ok to say ‘no’ *for any reason*? Yes.

Now, even as I write the above I find myself uncomfortable. There are opportunities that I want to take advantage of and that I feel indebted to others for creating – not all needs and opportunities are like sleazy date who won’t take no for an answer. Not all opportunity is opportunistic. I also understand the violence of a metaphor of compulsory sexual force and I use it with seriousness – I think the sense of professional and personal threat that some women experience in those moments when they say ‘no’ warrant the metaphor. For me, as a corrective to my sense that saying ‘no’ was closing doors, shutting down possibilities, and turning away from serious needs, thinking about feminism as the right to say ‘no’ in all contexts is incredibly empowering.

TCFW: Feminism – the right to say ‘no’ in all contexts

The title of this THATCamp Feminisms wrap up post is an approximation of my favorite quote from TCFW’s events (there was too much good that came from the event for a single post, so there will be a series). Several of us were in a session on Feminist Collaboration and Adrianne Wadewitz reminded us that in so far as feminism is about empowering women, it is about supporting our right to say ‘no’ not just in sexual encounters, but in all kinds of contexts. In this particular context, this might mean saying ‘no’ to an excessive service load, to being the sole representative for gender/sexuality issues on campus, to being the one who does everything. It was the third reminder I’d had that week to say ‘no’ and it was the one that finally stuck. Why? Because it helpfully recast what I was seeing as myriad “Important Opportunities/Needs” as compulsory forces.

Let me take a moment to parse that statement. I look around and see a lot of work to be done, a lot of work on behalf of gender, race, class, and sexuality equality. I see a lot of need and a lot of opportunity to effect change at local, national, and international levels. In those needs I see a great deal of opportunity for change and I want to help bring about that change. THATCamp Feminisms arose because of a set of conversations that were happening virtually that deserved our more concentrated efforts and in person meetings. I saw a need and moved to address it. That’s great, but I see need everywhere these days and even when I limit my scope to the areas where I have the most interest/talent/training it’s still more than I can tackle. The needs here on campus are enough to exhaust a single person.

When colleagues suggested to me that it was critical to my career and well-being that I say ‘no’ more often, I understood what they were saying. I see the ways that one needs to navigate a career, choose her battles, and protect the room to get scholarship done. But I also have strong passions and those passions are what feed my work, and I think that this is a good approach to work – I have to care about what I’m doing if I’m going to really do it well – and I felt passionate about the opportunities that I was seeing everywhere. So the “say no, Jacque” exhortation often felt like a suggestion to squash what makes my work vital and interesting in order to survive; it felt like rejecting opportunities in which I was invested or turning away from those to whom I feel responsible (like my students).

What Adrianne’s observation helped me to see, with startling clarity and speed, is that there are other ways to see the situation. It’s not that I need to give up on the things I care about or am committed to; it’s that the system is designed to make me feel that I should be responsible for all of this work, that ‘yes’ is the only acceptable answer when faced with the next Important Thing. It may not have been Adrianne’s intent, but the form of her comment activated a metaphor: suddenly all of this opportunity to address need was recast as a threatening sexual need, a set of uninvited advances. The beauty of the metaphor is how quickly it clarified things for me. For example, my chosen position as an academic woman was no more invitation to be responsible for all of this mess than a short skirt might have been an invitation to rape.

This isn’t a new insight and I certainly have enough training to know this, but I didn’t feel it. I don’t think I’m alone in this either. The TCFW conversation found it’s way into a conversation with a group of women who are all faculty at Harvey Mudd, our science and engineering school in the consortium. Women were sharing their experiences being told as junior faculty to “say ‘yes’ to everything” to think of invitations as welcome “validations” and a colleague’s rejoinder to make ‘no’ the default was quickly cited. The conversation then turned to how hard that advice is to follow. A friend then cited our colleague’s advice to “fuck the guilt” and I think this is part of why the rape metaphor – a powerful and risky metaphor to be sure – works for me. When work is cast as addressing need or taking advantage of special opportunity, it’s easy to feel guilty. When those “important” or “validating” opportunities or “urgent” needs  are cast as an uninvited compulsory force, I don’t even entertain the possibility of feeling guilty.

The power of the metaphor –  cultural or professional Need/Opportunity as pushy date – is that it let me feel the threat. Suddenly ‘no’ was not a rejection of opportunity or need, but the articulation of my own right to not be responsible for fixing everything and to pursue my work. Saying ‘no’ isn’t a rejection of opportunities or an expression of ingratitude because I have the right to work on the issues/texts/objects that I think are important *without becoming responsible for fixing an entire system of inequity.* Do I acknowledge my own privileges and responsibilities? Yes. Does my work engage with colleagues and students in ways that seek to address inequity? Yes. Do I need to feel compelled to “take advantage” of every “opportunity” that comes my way? No. Is it ok to say ‘no’ *for any reason*? Yes.

Now, even as I write the above I find myself uncomfortable. There are opportunities that I want to take advantage of and that I feel indebted to others for creating – not all needs and opportunities are like sleazy date who won’t take no for an answer. Not all opportunity is opportunistic. I also understand the violence of a metaphor of compulsory sexual force and I use it with seriousness – I think the sense of professional and personal threat that some women experience in those moments when they say ‘no’ warrant the metaphor. For me, as a corrective to my sense that saying ‘no’ was closing doors, shutting down possibilities, and turning away from serious needs, thinking about feminism as the right to say ‘no’ in all contexts is incredibly empowering.

A short follow up to THATCamp Feminisms

The work of THATCamp Feminisms deserves much more writing than I have in me right now – I’d like to talk about the challenges we faced, from strange website issues, to hacked project pages, to missing people whose funding fell through as well as the amazing outcomes and insights – the power of the local and of the national, new apps to be built and communities to grow, and rich thoughts about the history of DH, its politics, and where we can go in the future.

But the baby has just gone to sleep and we will be up in the early morning to watch Matt/Papa run the LA Marathon. So a short aggregator post will have to do for now.


There have been several follow up posts

Now I’ll Blog it: Re: #tcfw (Alex Juhasz)

http://aljean.wordpress.com/2013/03/16/now-ill-blog-it-re-thfw/

THATCamp Feminisms Day 1 (Alicen Lewis)

http://geekitout.wordpress.com/2013/03/15/thatcamp-feminisms-day-1/

#tcfw: Precarity, Solidarity, and Pressure (Anne Cong-Huyen)

http://anitaconchita.wordpress.com/2013/03/25/tcfw-precarity-solidarity-pressure/

TCFW: Feminism – the right to say ‘no’ in all contexts

https://jwernimont.wordpress.com/2013/03/25/feminism-saying-no/

THATCamp Feminisms West Thoughts (Chandra Jenkins)

THATCamp Feminisms West: thoughts

Notes from THATCamp Feminisms West (Mia Ridge)

http://openobjects.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/notes-from-thatcamp-feminisms-west-tcfw.html

Building a DH Feminist Network (Amanda Phillips)

http://uchumanitiesforum.org/2013/03/19/building-a-dh-feminist-network/#comments

Here are the Storify collections:

#tooFEW Storify

http://storify.com/crunkfeminists/toofew-twitterfeed-feminists-engage-wikipedia-3-1?utm_source=t.co&utm_campaign=&utm_medium=sfy.co-twitter&awesm=sfy.co_jGOB&utm_content=storify-pingback

THATCamp Feminisms South Storify

http://storify.com/moyazb/tcfso-tweets-tweets-from-thatcamp-feminisms-south?utm_source=t.co&utm_content=storify-pingback&awesm=sfy.co_jGQb&utm_medium=sfy.co-twitter&utm_campaign=

The Collected TCFW

http://storify.com/jwernimo/the-collected-tcfw

There were a number of google docs created during the two days of THATCamp Feminisms West, all of which are in the notes stages. Feel free to edit into more refined prose or to expand on ideas so that these docs become helpful to others. Here are the ones of which I know:

Google Docs

DH 400 https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-FMagbblT3JqFjBHxc0mosClan0aZeXabdnjKz-3hUQ/edit

Feminist Collaboration

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1VfmrwGwXmQgqSuqxsbR1z9E6dHSancLv7owHkjg3inw/edit

Creating a Regional Hub (aka the DH Food Truck becomes Mindr)

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1CBjRI_xUlGwNAv8D9BgXXGg6d-EMycTlI-AgjO8E1N0/edit

Transform DH https://docs.google.com/document/d/15caTX2281lvG4J0EN9YwgN0pcsbpXeiUVj1m59N5J0Y/edit

My slideshare from Intro to DH:

Mentioned Sites

http://www.usefulfruit.com/pearnote/

http://doceri.com/

http://writeordie.com

http://writtenkitten.net/

https://noisebridge.net/

http://fab.cba.mit.edu/

http://journal.transformativeworks.org/index.php/twc

“Free as in sexist?” Free culture and the gender gap (Joseph Reagle)

http://www.uic.edu/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/4291/3381

 

~~ I suspect I’ve missed some things and that more will emerge as we all have some time to chew on the weekend’s topics. Please leave me a comment or send a tweet and I’ll keep adding.

Thanks to everyone for a rewarding set of convos – I’m aware of the work it took on each of our parts to make this happen and I’m grateful to all involved!

Notes for #tooFEW Edit a thon

In preparation for Friday’s #tooFEW Wikipedia Edit-a-thon, I spent some time watching the great training session that Adrianne Wadewitz did for a Pitzer class taught by Alex Juhasz.

To help those who are coming to our local editing party and those who will be working virtually, I’ve written up a few rather lightweight notes. I really recommend watching the video in full – these notes are intended as reference for those who have already seen the session.

Beginning on the Wikipedia Homepage

Wikipedia has internal peer review processes that assess writing, research, structure; a great article review can lead to showcasing as “Featured Article.”

“Did you know” articles are newly created articles, which are refreshed every couple of hours.

Before you begin editing

Adrianne noted that it’s important to recognize that it’s not just people within our own community reading the articles; Wikipedia has a world-wide audience. Editors need to think about your audience in a very broad sense. For example – the world largely takes evolution as uncontroversial, so the article is not dominated by the largely US debate on evolution. Need to get a sense of the global perspective before you write.

Most people don’t stick around to be editors – an “Established editor” is someone who has been editing for 4 days – people don’t stick around more than four days because it’s hard. The upside of this is that if you have the tenacity to do the work and do it well, then you’ll quickly be an established editor!

Everyone who edits is a volunteer  – including the “Recent Changes Trolls” – they get badges and levels for finding things that are wrong.

Recent changes page – demonstrates how much change is going on at any given moment

Wikipedia editors need to screen through all of this; vandalism is super common so there are scripts that identify the vandalism. If you’re coming just from an IP address, it looks like you don’t know what you’re doing. If you’re logged in, you can explain what it is that you’re doing, which helps the editors parse entry.

Sources

What counts as a good source – a secondary source! You can’t make the claim yourself; you can’t cite someone’s personal blog page. You need other people publishing on the topic/person. Among the kinds of things that can work: secondary books, published media accounts (beware the press release for promotional material), book reviews, biographies or published profiles.

Thinking about the structure of your post

Summary: most people never read past this part, so work hard on this section.

Article Contents: set of sections with hyperlinks in TOC

Basic rules: Wikipedia “Five Pillars”

Wikipedia is a “tertiary” source (as opposed to first or secondary sources) “summarizes secondary sources,” which means that in a way it is “very conservative” in the sense that it only publishes what has already been published: “verifiability not truth.”

Encyclopedia publishes already published knowledge – not truth per se.

If you argue, it’s about what the scholars have said – what the sources say.

W is written from a “neutral point of view” – derives its pov from the sources. You cannot use own personal experience, opinion, or perspective. You can only cite published material.

W is free – anyone can edit, use, modify. Therefore any information that you post is available for free use. Creative commons share and share alike license. What you are writing will appear on other sites as well.

W editors should interact with each other in a respectful and civil manner. Remember, however, that it is still an internet community. It is 90% male, mostly 20-30’s and mostly white. Can be very aggressive and argumentative. Adrianne recommends not using your legal name as login, which is partially about not having all of this content appear in a google search for you.

W –beyond that, there are no firm rules. You cannot break Wikipedia. All edits are saved. Feel emboldened.

Getting started

To start, login and then go to your sandbox – a space where you can play around and generate text; like a draft area. If you’d like to generate text, you can go to www.lipsum.com for dummy text.

Practice writing summary, saving, creating section headers (use equal sign =  on both sides to make something a header, different numbers of signs surrounding gives you different sizes of headers). A TOC is automatically created if you have 4 + sections.

Use “show preview” to see how your page looks before publishing and use “edit summary” to narrate the kinds of changes that you’ve made.

Versions are saved, so you can go back in time and you can restore.

Error messages will tell you the nature of the error and will tell you how to fix the error – don’t fear the error message!

Helpful How To Tips

  • To create a section use equal sign = on either side, different number of = gives different weight to section header
  • To create bulleted list: use asterisk * in front of each item in list
  • To create a numbered list: use pound sign # in front of each item in list – will automatically generate numbers for your list based on order
  • To add links:
    • For internal link use 2 [[on each side]] of what you want to link – very important to check the link to ensure that it works
    • For external links use single brackets on either side. You can also use the wisiwig editor to insert link.
    • You can always click on “Help” button if you forget editing details
    • How to add in a reference – put cursor in place and then hit “Reference” button. A new window will appear and you put in your citation there. Note that references will automatically renumber

 

#tooFEW Feminists Engage Wikipedia

Few_logoLike Moya Bailey, I am really looking forward to our THATCamp Feminisms (TCF) kick off event. TCF is a national event happening in local spaces. Part of our local/national effort is a collaborative event called Feminists Engage Wikipedia.

Women and men around the country (heck, it could be the world) are invited to sign into Wikipedia, edit targeted entries and add new ones to help improve and increase the quality of the content on Wikipedia. The work that we will be doing is characterized by feminist and queer-friendly principles, which might take a number of different instantiations.

We will be working in person (at Honnold-Mudd Library in Claremont) from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. EST. We are encouraging all THATCamp attendees to join us and we welcome those who cannot attend in person to join us virtually.

Here are some of the ways that you can get involved:

Help generate ideas for new entries or entries to be improved – you can add your ideas to our working list here

Participate in wikipedia community
Sign up for a wikipedia account (consider using a pseudonym at the outset, you can always change it once you’re comfortable)

Watch this video to learn just how to edit wikipedia. Be sure to set aside some time for this video, it’s an hour long, and I recommend clicking on FLASH – it tends to play better that way.

Join us virtually by doing your work during our edit-a-thon, tweet to let us know you’re out there using the hashtag #tooFEW

Join us in person in Claremont: 2nd Floor of Honnold-Mudd Library – follow the signs – 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Tell Somebody (quoting Moya’s great ideas here)
Students – Do they need extra credit? Can this be a class project? Are you learning about some really cool people in POC/Trans*/Queer/Women’s History that don’t have wiki pages or have pages with bad information? You can fix it!
Friends – Do you know other folks who should know about this? Please spread this information to activists you know, faculty, etc. Everyone is welcome!
Organizations – These edit-a-thons work best with lots of folks working on specific things. Do you know orgs like INCITE or SONG that know specific types of folks who should be added to wikipedia or projects folks should know about?

Too swamped to be able to edit yourself? Post your ideas as comments below, or send me an email and I’ll add it to the agenda.

Please spread the word far and wide!

THATCamp Feminisms @ Scripps College

I’m looking forward to our upcoming THATCamp Feminisms, hosted at Scripps College, March 15th and 16th. Normally I’d link to our site so that you could check out our planned workshops, suggest a session, or register. Unfortunately, the THATCamp sites have been hacked and are down. While I’m generally not prone to conspiracy theories – this is the second time that the THATCamp Feminisms sites have been down and I’m beginning to feel a bit like someone wants to stand in the way.

Happy to report that all THATCamp sites are back up and running. Visit THATCamp Feminisms West to register, suggest sessions, etc

For those who are new to the THATCamp phenomenon – these events are “The Humanities and Technology Camps.” Designed as “unconferences,” these events are more free form, collaborative, and production-oriented than traditional academic conferences. No papers being read from lecterns here. THATCamps are also either low-cost or free – THATCamp Feminisms West (the one here at Scripps) is FREE!! Thanks to the generosity of the Scripps College Office of the President, Scripps English Department, Intercollegiate Media Studies, Intercollegiate Science, Technology, and Society, and Scripps Gender and Women’s Studies. We also have support from MSN Research.

I am particularly excited about the coordinated national effort of THATCamp Feminisms, what began as a west coast event will now also be a southern (@Emory) and eastern (@Barnard) event. We are also going to be participating in an exciting national Wikipedia editing event on Friday morning from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. You can visit our wiki page for more information, or check out Moya Bailey’s great write up of the event. This is both a virtual and in-person event. Here at Scripps we’ll be working at the Honnold-Mudd library in the future CCDH space and we’ll be joined by the fabulous Adrianne Wadewitz, who has helped host other recent WikiStorm events.

We currently plan to host two workshops:

Mia Ridge’s “Data visualisations as gateway to programming,” in which participants will be thinking about how to structure data for use in software, learning basic programming concepts, and moving towards tinkering with scripts. This is a great workshop for humanists who want a friendly intro to the world of programming.

Miriam Posner’s “Building Online Exhibits with Omeka,” in which participants will learn how to use Omeka to develop exhibits for classroom, research, and project use.

If we have enough interest, I will also be hosting an “Intro to DH” workshop for those who are attending their first THATCamp or who are new to the Digital Humanities field; we’ll discuss the origins of DH, it’s many different instantiations, and develop a common vocabulary for use during the rest of the THATCamp.

As with all THATCamps, the sessions will be decided upon during a welcome event and will be designed to focus on productive and collaborative work (feel free to suggest sessions in the comments below). Want to set an agenda for transnational feminisms in DH? -great, write that up. Want to design a syllabus or assignment for a feminist DH course? Wonderful! Have the skills to work with a group to build a lightweight mobile app? Get it done!

While most of the planning is going smoothly, the malicious attack on the THATCamp sites means that we have to hack our work flow just a bit – so please, spread the word that this site is here as a temporary substitute and that questions are most welcome. I’m looking forward to seeing what collective feminist engagement will yield!