Blog Post

Introduction

Greetings everyone ~  I'm delighted to see this workshop emerge and excited to participate. 

A brief introduction about me and my work: Until now, most of my work has been about race and racism in various forms of media.  I'm the author of White Lies (1997) and Cyber Racism (2009). Since about 2008, I've been at work on a project about feminist bloggers and race.  I've published a couple of pieces about this.  One a sort of theoretocal / lit review in WSQ ("Rethinking Cyberfeminism(s): Race, gender and embodiment" 2009); the other, more focused on one aspect of the data drawn from several blogging conferences, appears in the edited volume, Cyberfeminism 2.0 (2012). Here is the slide deck from a recent talk I gave 'speaking back' to the #femfuture report.

I have several, related feminist digital projects and look forward to discussing them in the workshop. 

Oh, and I should situate myself. Geographically, I am in New York. Institutionally, I am a professor at CUNY - both the Graduate Center and Hunter College - in several departments (public health, sociology, environmental psychology). The multi-department appointments reflects both the unique structure of CUNY and my wide range of intellectual interests.  Mostly my affiliation these days is with a large Ford-funded project I lead called JustPublics@365

All of that institutional/affiliation stuff feels like my 'day job,' and feminist, critical race scholarship about digital media is what I do for fun. ;) 

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12 comments

Hi Dr. Daniels, (or do you prefer Jessie?)

It looks like you have tons of previous writing and research experience; I keep waiting for the day when I can say "hey, here's this awesome book I wrote!"  That seems like such a long way off.  :)
 
I'm looking forward to learning more about your current digital feminist projects.  If you don't mind, can you tell us a little bit more about them?  I'd also be interested in learning more about your research on feminist bloggers and race.
 
Cheers,
 
Lori Beth 
 
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Hi Lori Beth ~

Thanks for the warm welcome!  And, yes please do call me Jessie. ;)

Current projects include:

  1. drafting an article out of the slide deck I posted above - speaking back to the #femfuture report.
  2. an interactive, crowdsourced Timeline of the digital feminist activism
  3. an edited volume (using Commentpress + crowdsourced peer review) on race, feminism and digital activism
  4. continue interviewing feminist bloggers
  5. figure out a tool to do a large content analysis + data visualizaion of the writing on feminist blogs

About race and the women's blogging conferences (admittedly, not necessarily the same as 'feminist' bloggers), some observations from near the end of the Cyberfeminism 2.0 piece:

The whiteness of the blogosphere and of women’s blogging conferences such as BlogHer is rarely remarked upon by the mainstream media, yet the racial composition of these conferences is set in relief when contrasted with the Blogalicious conference. The stark difference in sponsorship between the two conferences—over 40 sponsors at BlogHer, fewer than 10 at Blogalicious—speaks in part to the role of institutionalized racism in the political economy that women’s blogging conferences find themselves in.


The kind of niche marketing represented by American Airlines illustrates the way in which not only a particular experience of gender and sexuality, but also race, has been commodified. American Airlines, with its BlackAtlas.com product, has effectively commodified the black experience of racial oppression. In other words, the airline has taken the experience of racism, made it a product, and is now selling it back to African Americans by seeking to enlist the participation of the women at Blogalicious as prosumers—both consumers of this product and producers of content for the site. Further, racial divisions are also reinforced by the stark differences in corporate sponsorships based on race."

Part of what I want to do with the paper (mentioned in #1 above) is extend this political economy critique and apply it to the #femfuture report that calls for a "new, vibrant feminist economy" that the imagine will fund feminist blogging.

Cheers,

~Jessie

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Hi Jessie,

These are intriguing and important projects.  We need more conversations about the intersections of gender and race.  One of the critiques that has occasionally arisen regarding the birthing blog I study has been the lack of representation from women of color in the community. This critique is, of course, directly tied to class as it is typically white, middle- to upper-class women who can afford to have natural births (i.e. midwives, doulas, private birthing facilities, etc.).

I recently finished taking a class on rhetoric and the political economy (with Victor Villanueva) and in the fall I'm taking another course on rhetoric, technology, and the economy.  I'm hoping these courses will help me develop a more grounded lens/theory for understanding how rhetoric, feminism, technology, race, and class play out in online birthing communities.

In regards to the #femfuture report: I am curious as to how the creators/contributors have worked on developing "an infrastructure of support for these important voices"?  Does this infrastructure include non-academic voices?  I've only taken a peek at the report (I plan to go in for a more in-depth reading soon), so my apologies if my question is already addressed in the piece.

Lori Beth 

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Hi Jessie,

I am very interested in your work. I live in Cape Town South Africa and have written both individually and collaboratively about privilege including white privilege in this particular context. I am interested in the mechanisms people use to maintain and justify their privileges and how we can pedagogically use opportunities to shift people's positions. I am also interested in shame as a productive emotion in considering privilege.

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Hi Lori Beth & Vivenne ~

Thanks for your replies and thoughtful comments. 

Lori Beth wrote:

the lack of representation from women of color in the community. This critique is, of course, directly tied to class as it is typically white, middle- to upper-class women who can afford to have natural births...

I wonder about this. It may be tied to class in the way that you suggest, but I suspect that there are lots of Black and Latina women who are having natural births but they are not talking (or blogging) about it in the same way as the mostly white women you've found in this community.  Here, it may be that whiteness is built in to the infrastructure of the birthing blogs. 

The sort of critique about 'lack of representation' is what I've come to think of as a 'first order' critique that isn't terribly productive in moving us toward greater understanding about race.  If there are mostly (or, only) white women in a particular community, 'race' is still happening and requires analysis. This is part of why I think it's important to include a critique of whiteness, rather than simply take it for granted.

Lori Beth also wrote:

Does this infrastructure include non-academic voices?

While the original meeting that the report was based on was hosted at Barnard, the report's authors are not academics and the focus of their call to action (for a feminist economy) is almost exclusively for non-academic, feminist activists (e.g., one of the authors is co-founder of Feministing,com).

Vivienne wrote:

I am interested in the mechanisms people use to maintain and justify their privileges and how we can pedagogically use opportunities to shift people's positions.

I share your interest in this and I'm be very eager to read your work on this.

Vivienne also wrote:

I am also interested in shame as a productive emotion in considering privilege.

I, too, am interested in the emotions, or affective labor, involved in confronting or dealing with white privilege, especially among feminists. A white feminist I spoke with who had been critiqued for her white privilege in organizing part of the "slut walk" campaign described that experience as "painful and embarrassing." That has intrigued me as I think it's where a lot of feminist activism gets stalled.

Thanks again for the thoughtful comments!  Looking forward to the FSDW discussion!

Cheers,

~ Jessie

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So weird ~ I edited my original post to include my email and Twitter but now it's not showing up.  Oh, well, here is my contact info:

email: jessiedanielsnyc@gmail.com

Twitter:  @JessieNYC

 

Look forward to reading you all soon! ;)

 

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Hi Jessie,

Great response.  You've given me lots to chew on here and new avenues to start exploring. Many thanks!

Lori Beth

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Hi Jessie,

Thanks for the prompt and positive response. I am keen to share my work with you. How should be go about doing this?

Regards

Viv

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Dear Viv ~

I think the best thing to do now would be if you could post an introduction to the group and include your email address. 

We've been assigned to the same reading group, so once I have your email we can be in touch that way to share drafts. 

Looking forward!

Best,

~ Jessie

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Hi Vivienne,

If you would like to work with Jessie, we can put you in the same reading group. To do this, however, we'll need you to post your intro and contact information (if you haven't done so already) to the FSDW group.  You can find the directions on how to do this here

I hope that helps!  :)

Lori Beth 

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Hi Jessie,

Can you please post your email address to your intro? This will help group readers contact you.

Thanks!  :)

Lori Beth 

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Hi Jessie,

This has happened to me once or twice as well. I don't know why it does that--go figure.

Also, thank you for being a group leader; I appreciate it!

Lori Beth 

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