Presentation Abstract

Feminist CMC Administration: A Systemic Approach

Feminist CMC Administration: A Systemic Approach

Since Hawisher and Selfe’s 1991 challenge to imbue computer-mediated composition (CMC) with theory, Romano, Selfe, Flores, and others have made feminist theory central to their response. In these discussions of feminist theory as CMC theory, liberal feminism is the dominant lens. Liberal feminism has helped scholars in the field envision decentered classrooms, a multiplicity of voices, and an egalitarian approach to different textual practices. On the other hand, a strict focus on liberal feminist tenets has limited potentials for classroom practice by universalizing and essentializing individual experience. A systematic exploration of the ways liberal feminism participates in dichotomy and limits CMC practices can contribute to theories which build upon and develop liberal feminism tenets of empowerment for all students.

I will discuss the ways in which postmodern theories of feminist communication (including J. Butler, S.Herring, and C. Stabile) can offer a more symbiotic relationship for both CMC and feminist pedagogy. Because we want to ground our practices in a variety of feminist theories, it is not enough to have individual feminist instructors working toward different goals in isolated classes. Rather, we need a systemic implementation of theory that begins with the administration of the CMC network and classroom. My presentation will focus on the ways in which feminist administrators of CMC can encourage instructors to use these feminist theories as a basis for classroom technology. Specifically, I will examine the methods one CMC administrative staff has used to implement feminist theories into practice by incorporating a systemic approach to shared knowledge-making. Illustrations will include: * orientations with experienced and inexperienced CMC instructors where the goals are examining the theory-practice relationship * instructor support systems that encompass face-to-face discussions and electronic communications * ongoing instructor development that focuses on theory and technology * various assessment practices and technologies. Additionally, I will outline the benefits and challenges associated with feminist administration, speaking specifically as a graduate student administrator.

Author: Morgan Gresham


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