I did not want to write a blog post today. Yet I stutter along in public today.

I did not want to write a blog post today – but the thoughts cannot be contained – neither can they be written.

You know -one of those days – many days go by like this.

Presenting at The Toronto School event on sunday – my power medium being the Spindle – allowed me to write the narrative in yet another way – the connecting of women’s labor, technology, affect, value and spinning….. so much history to find. I pre – presented before the presentation in conversation with several people – and recovered more bits a pieces of what I need to write….

looking to map spinner histories – looking through “archives” of oral histories – and myths and folklore – where might the history of women’s productive labor be hidden?

Anyway – at the same time as I was prepping – I saw Nancy Baym’s instagram post sharing  Joanna Vasconcelos exhibit images – and again today I saw those shared on Facebook when I returned to post (after a hiatus from FB)…


I remembered a draft of something I wrote for Fembot Laundry Day  that I don’t think I ever finished or published . So here goes (see next blog post). Its to serve as a reminder to make some connections I am thinking about in my offline diaries and in my notes when I write up my next … something … for publication along the themes …



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Snapchat Lectures for Online ACS 6820

**Warning – clunky videos – not best quality – spontaneous production – typos and sound issues …

But we explore ….

Here’s the storify explanation for what I’m doing for my summer graduate class in 2016 (This method will also be adapted for the undergrad class later this summer – but there are more than double number of students enrolled in that online class so I may do it a bit differently).



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Digital Humanities and the (Critical) Communication Discipline and Methods

Forthcoming and  in-progress – meanwhile – look at my tweets, Facebook posts and other scattered notes.

And note that my Fall class from SMC will be taking up this theme:


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writing thoughts

Not for the first time ever has it occurred to me … how many times my daily work and home life routines have actually destroyed some very good writing habits I developed in my key teenage years when I was convinced I wanted to be an “author” – what that meant to me then and what that means to me now of course are very very different.
I also had far better writing habits when I had an infant and then a very tolerant toddler around me to make me stay in place and read and write.
(and type  –  even though I had to give up my writing tools to him and find another mode of writing – that was easier done when I was in notebook and pen mode than when I had to handover the typewriter and later the computer)
I even had far better writing habits when I was completing my dissertation!
(Perhaps because I had no unrealistic expectations that it would be earth shattering – it was not – but it was done)
And yes I shared the computer with the then preteen too. It wasn’t until I got my tenure track position that I completely relinquished my desktop to him and then eventually he went and built his own computer(s).
I am grateful this academic year for a period away from the busy work of everyday university service (even though I have to teach and grade here and I am still working closely with all my graduate advisees and mentees at BGSU – I don’t have to worry about some of the other things). That kept eating away at all my strongly cultivated writing and concentration discipline. I think slowly I may figure out how to re-route my brain circuits so I can write straight sentences everyday and get my writing projects completed.
fingers crossed.


Thank you to all my colleagues at my home institution – BGSU – who are doing all this work – because that work – although it disrupts the research work – must be done to protect our academic integrity and teaching philosophies.

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Gender research NOW at UiB

Today and tomorrow I can be found presenting and discussing here:


On December 16, – you will find me at http://www.uib.no/en/skok/91744/future-womens-and-gender-research-disciplines

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Look! The “subaltern” is using shiny things….how “evidence” skews investigation

A  post header inspired by a few recent conversations:

One with a past Doctoral advisee and good friend who is a documentary film maker and nonprofit organization founder with a Phd in cultural studies; another based in conversations with a second life/South India based contact and collaborator; and another on several discussions in Berlin and Frankfurt/Oder and of course conversations with a collaborator or two or more in Bowling Green, Ohio… and most recently another conversation that occurred yesterday as a very nice world traveller couple helped me out with interviewing a Syrian migrant through multiple layers of translation as none of us (including interviewee) present were extremely fluent in Norwegian and only three of us were fluent in English and one of us (me) was unable to understand Norwegian (lots of nonverbals were (mis)understood on all sides and there were a few attempts to use a translation app).

{umm… sentence structure? what’s that?]

While I won’t reveal our actual discussions yet (look for some in maybe something I’m writing for a recent call about media and migration) – Here are some prompts for me to follow up on later. Feel free to join the conversation.

For instance – two blog posts I started and didn’t feel like writing about yet were…

  • Big Data, Small data, Canned Data, Repeated data, Commodified Voice and  Researcher Responsibility
  • Look! The “subaltern” is using shiny things….how “evidence” skews investigation (or what counts as “evidence” for what – a question I’ve often repeated).


Random links – not necessary what I agree with or fight against or related to what I might have posted in this blog post that isn’t:

  1. http://courses.ischool.berkeley.edu/i203/s13/?p=212
  2. http://culturehive.co.uk/resources/big-data-what-it-means-for-qualitative-researchers
  3. http://ethnographymatters.net/blog/2013/05/13/big-data-needs-thick-data/
  4. http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/1949
  5. https://www.academia.edu/7586221/Big_Data_Qualitative_approaches_to_digital_research._2014._Emerald_Press._Pp._250
  6. http://journalistsresource.org/studies/economics/business/what-big-data-research-roundup
  7. http://cyberdiva.org/blog/re-reading-residual-and-emergent-williams/journey-to-rajavolu-interspersed-with-memories-of-the-trip-to-rajamundry-maybe/dastkar/re-reading-alcoff-and-potter-and-other-feminists-on-voice/continuing-discussions-inmedia-res-can-the-subaltern-speak-online/no-i-wont-give-you-his-voice/
  8. http://www.newcriticals.com [somewhere on the site later this week there are related questions I pose].
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From Situated Knowledges, Partial Truths, Extended Ethnographies, Locating of Selves to Ethnography of Fragments/Fragmented Access

As I continue my interviews and ethnographies for my three books in-progress (don’t don’t ask ….) I begin to understand anew (it happens each time I embark on a new research project and try to sort out how to verify information from one interview to another – from one ethnographic context to another source of information and so on) that a lot of the research is based in researcher access to contexts  – this access is mediated – and I don’t mean just by communication technology when I interview them via skype. The mediations and negotiations are social, cultural and while it appears that I as the academic researcher might be in a position of power to represent – with so many ways to put the stories out – there is no guarantee my “power” is more than other representers of situations, selves and others. The question of who can represent who is always layered and mediated by hierarchies – who says what is a “good” hierarchy? The best I can do is map the hierarchies, differences and similarities as they become visible in the fragments I access and describe. Thus my methodology is based in fragmented access,fragmented ethnographies and fragmented narratives from various interviewees and media texts. In the putting together of the fragments, I take full responsibility for the stories I tell. But the stories are based in evidence that you are free to verify and reconstruct into counter narratives and stories based on what other pieces of the many puzzles you find.


In 1988, Haraway asked how we could aspire to “have simultaneously an account of radical historical contingency for all knowledge claims and knowing subjects, a critical practice for recognizing our own “semiotict echnologies”fo r making meanings, and a no-nonsense commitment to faithful accounts of a “real” world, one that can be partially shared and that is friendly to earthwide projects of finite freedom, adequate material abundance, modest meaning in suffering, and limited happiness.”

In 1993 Alcoff wrote “On the Problem of Speaking for Others”  where she noted that “a speaker’s location (which I take here to refer to her social location or social identity) has an epistemically significant impact on that speaker’s claims, and can serve either to authorize or dis-authorize one’s speech…..location is epistemically salient.”

She further asks, “However, we must begin to ask ourselves whether this is ever a legitimate authority, and if so, what are the criteria for legitimacy? In particular, is it ever valid to speak for others who are unlike me or who are less privileged than me?

We might try to delimit this problem as only arising when a more privileged person speaks for a less privileged one. In this case, we might say that I should only speak for groups of which I am a member. But this does not tell us how groups themselves should be delimited. For example, can a white woman speak for all women simply by virtue of being a woman? If not, how narrowly should we draw the categories? The complexity and multiplicity of group identifications could result in “communities” composed of single individuals. Moreover, the concept of groups assumes specious notions about clear-cut boundaries and “pure” identities. The criterion of group identity leaves many unanswered questions for a person such as myself, since I have membership in many conflicting groups but my membership in all of them is problematic. Group identities and boundaries are ambiguous and permeable, and decisions about demarcating identity are always partly arbitrary. Another problem concerns how specific an identity needs to be to confer epistemic authority. Reflection on such problems quickly reveals that no easy solution to the problem of speaking for others can be found by simply restricting the practice to speaking for groups of which one is a member.
Adopting the position that one should only speak for oneself raises similarly difficult questions. If I don’t speak for those less privileged than myself, am I abandoning my political responsibility to speak out against oppression, a responsibility incurred by the very fact of my privilege? If I should not speak for others, should I restrict myself to following their lead uncritically? Is my greatest contribution to move over and get out of the way? And if so, what is the best way to do this—to keep silent or to deconstruct my own discourse?
The answers to these questions will certainly depend on who is asking them. While some of us may want to undermine, for example, the U.S. government’s practice of speaking for the “Third world,” we may not want to undermine someone such as Rigoberta Menchu’s ability to speak for Guatemalan Indians.7 So the question arises about whether all instances of speaking for should be condemned and, if not, how we can justify a position which would repudiate some speakers while accepting others.”








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All knotted up…

As I said to one of the young people I was interviewing for the “South Asia” book project yesterday on skype – I’m going to have to figure out how I am mapping the themes for this book….not only because I am constantly aware that the use of “south Asia” for the “data” set and contexts I write about does one of two things –

1] Once again it uses the umbrella term “south Asia” while several of the actual geographically located ethnographic material and case studies are from “India.” I do not want this to be seen as another move to have “India” be representative of “South Asia” – so I will have to find a way to organize and write to make this clear.

2] As I interview mostly South Asians in diaspora and also map ethnographic journeys and encounters in U.S. and Europe – it is still a socio-political coalition category that is necessary in engaging people from various parts of South Asia who identify as cosmopolitan, liberal and open minded.

National identities are re- placed in diaspora through various other networks and cultural meeting spaces. The linguistic identifications of “Bangladeshi” (which sometimes blurs Bengal from India and Bangladesh – through linguistic cultural commonalities among other things); “Sindhi” and “Punjabi” (likewise blurring Pakistan and India)… and religious identifications (where, for instance, a Hindu Maha Sabha in Norway is actually inhabited and managed mostly by Sri Lankan Tamils ).

I do not think a title sub title change from “South Asia” to “India” would be useful – I’m not sure that all the Hindus in Bergen, for instance, who hail from South Asia would appreciate being called “Indian.”

3] Migration too is complex and not easily mapped in the cases I look at – as I collaborate with possible co-authors on looking at South Asians in Dubai, issues around subaltern use of mobile and smart phones in India, and the migration of care workers and wage laborers from materially underprivileged locations (whether rural or urban) to households in India, the U.S. or the middle east.

In re-organizing the book then I have to consider themes around digitality – redefinitions of access through circuits of  control, affect, algorithm and connection…

So…work , leisure, labor, affect, relationships, connectivity.. remain as themes.





Cover of book possibly - Digital Diasporas 2016

Tentative cover

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Affective circuits and Digital Mediation – Borders, Refugees, Migrants, Bottom of the Pyramid, Smartphones, Care workers, Work/Labor, Games for change, Gender and Race…

Baumhaus, Kreuzberg, Berlin (formerly East Berlin beyond the wall)Affective circuits and Digital Mediation –  Borders, Refugees, Migrants, Bottom of the Pyramid, Smartphones, Care workers, Work/Labor, Gender and Race….

These are but a few of the key words for all the flurry of research activity that has been occurring in my life these past few months since I arrived in Bergen, Norway as Fulbright Professor in Digital Culture.

Since I got here I have actually not only continued work on my “Tangled Yarn and Tangled Wires” project while concretizing some understandings drawn from over 60 interviews that were done mostly over the summer of 2015, I have also continued work (interviews and collaborations) around my highly collaborative project on “South Asian digital diasporas, circuits of Affect and Labor.” In addition to the over 30 interviews collected and continuing conversations with some who are co-authoring with me, I’ve been writing informally and formally based on understandings that actually lead me to juxtapose findings from both these larger projects in shorter articles and thought pieces. Eventually some of these will be out in blog post publications and in more formal journal based publications and in the long run they will come out as co-authored journal publications and book chapters (with some of it going into my book under contract).  The Philanthropy 2.0 project continues with much involvement and dialogue taking place through classroom settings as well (in both the Bachelor’s level and Master’s level classes that I am teaching here at UiB) and this project too interweaves with the other two in some thought pieces and invited book chapters I’ve been working on. But most exciting is the collaborative writing I am doing with the Master’s class on games for change and philanthropy 2.0. While observations and data from all this will go into the book under contract (entitled “Philanthropy 2.0”) these conversations are leading to collaborative writing with both doctoral advisees at BGSU and Master’s students at UiB in the long run. Some writing that draws on all three of the above book projects based research has already been written up in shorter and longer pieces with co-authors from amongst my doctoral advisees and mentees at BGSU and some may come out in publication eventually in 2016 perhaps. I have also had the pleasure of co-supervising a couple very interesting BA thesis projects here in the DIKULT BA program at UiB.

In addition to what might be considered pre-decided projects initiated by me – the above three projects based on books in progress – I have had the pleasure of connecting up with colleagues in Bergen, Netherlands and Germany to continue investigations related to migrants, diasporas, refugees, gender and technology.

These include but are not limited to:

Continued collaboration with Koen Leurs and Sandra Ponzanesi on their project on “Connected migrants: encapsulation or cosmopolitanism?”

  • Co-investigator on “World University Network” Research Development Fund (RDF) 2015 grant application for project on “Inclusion/Exclusion in Digital Culture” (PI Dr. Hilde Corneliussen, University of Bergen). Other co-investigators include Bridgette Wessels, Valentina Cardo, Laura Czerniewicz, Jeanette Dillon, Brian D. Loader, Gerard Goggin, Lin Prøitz, Sally Wyatt and several others.
  • Collaborator on a grant funded project “Virtual identities of Muslim women in Norway” with Carol Azungi Dralega, Hilde Corneliussen (University of Bergen), and Lin Prøitz (Sheffield University).
  • Investigation of Gaming Cultures and Game Development in Norway with Kristine Jorgensen and Linn Sovig.
  • Research on Syrian Migrants, Refugees and Media/Technology with Jill Walker Rettberg and other collaborators.
  • Also some emerging collaborations around Games for change.

One resulting forthcoming commentary – see link.

see also Jill’s blog posts which actually led to her inviting me to collaborate on this –

 Jill Walker Rettberg on “To look into a refugee’s eyes” http://jilltxt.net/?p=4341

 Jill Walker Rettberg on “How do Syrian refugees use social media and technology?” at


  • Research on Migrants and Refugees to Europe, Indian Diasporas, Technology, Affect, Care, Smartphones and so on with Urmila Goel and other collaborators from Germany.

some connecting points –


Gajjala.pdf ]

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An Indian in Bergen – or a US citizen in Bergen? (or shall we call it – the importance of knowing your Hing”?)

So we walk around looking for stores where they sell Indian (ish) vegetables, spices and grains and legume – we exhibit mannerisms and mixed accents that reveal us as “ugly Americans”… who are we? Who are we when we whip out an American Express card sheepishly as we run out of Norwegian Kroners? Who am I as I go asking for “hing” from the store checkout person (who is immigrant from either middle east or south Asia but not India, we decide, based on his accent in pronouncing “hing” – but he knows what it is …). A familiar brand – a plastic bottle of asafoetida –

this one –







Not this one below –  and yes… I am still processing why this visual matters – there is a timezone flashback associated with the image above – and a contemporary moment from my U.S based daily living in the image below – perhaps having to do with the routes taken by each of these bottles? Perhaps just random on the part of the stores carrying them – but invoking particular domestic memories from childhood to adulthood – traveling in India and outside India through various kitchens….


But why is hing important? I didn’t realize why until I “missed” this spice in some daal I had made during my phase of experimentation and self-learning (by reconstructing “recipes” through an exploration of taste -memory)… I didn’t actually know then that *this* was the spice missing – until, when I was visiting a friend in 4531 Forbes I smelled it as she plonked a pinch of it into the hot oil “bagaar”/ “tadka”  that was being readied to go into the boiled daal (lentils)… Then came pouring all memories of these bottles and realization that despite my pooh pooh ing of what my mother tried to teach me – I had learned something. What you put in the food and how you prepare it makes a world of difference to one’s state of mind.

Food is home.

But what home – which home – which spacio-temporal home is each of us reaching for?


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A vegetarian in search of food – again. Craving spice.

Traveling as a child it was easy to be vegetarian everywhere I was travelled to by my parents. My mother made delicious vegetarian food – both my parents did the work of finding out where the ingredients were available and my mother could make good Indian spiced up vegetarian food anywhere. Of course, in those days with fewer restrictions on things carried in hand luggage, she probably travelled with her spices and legumes and pickles in hand (it certainly sounds like she did based on the advise she gives me even now).

I hate packing legumes and pickles in my luggage – there I said it. I will not.

But I did bring my mother’s special brand of curry masala (koora podi) brought from Hyderabad to Bowling Green and some portions taken to Dallas on my visits to my son. What remains of it. I did.

The first few days I used it with (penne) pasta, rice, lentils in a box (not raw), spinach….

My Indian recipes are mixed up and self-learned mostly though – because – well who doesn’t know the story of my being the youngest child who did not learn to cook and the daughter-in-law who didn’t have to cook? I won’t tell that story again.

I self-learned to formally cook everyday meals when we first moved to Pittsburgh (come to think of it I did self-learn several things in Pittsburgh – self-learn as in learn from peers, friends and colleagues and books and the newly available modem connected communities – I have good cyber friends).

Ok – back to Bergen …

Today we found both McDonald’s and a global food store. McDonald’s is never a happy place for me – all I have are bad carb choices (I think they ran out of side salad today) as a vegetarian. But it was cheaper in cost than any other place and the Thai food place I really wanted to go to was to open for lunch at 2 pm.

The global food place made me happy – we came home with raw lentils – different varieties that make the different kinds of daals and cumin, mustard seeds, dry red chillies, grated coconut and what not.

My food factory is ready to be activated, folks.

In other news, today I went to the immigration/police office for the appointment where I was photographed and finger printed – the permit card is on its way. Next step – social security card.

Also – in case it looks like I have forgotten all about my research and the interviews lined up and my writing deadlines … I haven’t. I sit on this  window seat with my books (yes in spite of saying that I would only do kindle books this trip I did bring some precious ones – like Janet Greenlees “Female Labour Power” , Barthes “Mythologies” “Nancy Cott’s “Bonds of Womanhood,” Frances  Sinha’s “Microfinance Self-help Groups in India” and one more… I did want to bring “Before the Luddites” and “Crafting the Nation” but they seem to have been removed in my last-minute attempts to make my luggage weigh “right”).  I also have my paper based journals/books where I have notes from the interviews recently done. I am going to be emailing and setting up times with a few people who have been waiting patiently for me to get a bit settled in here.

I also am excited about the two courses I am co-teaching this semester at the University of Bergen. But more on all these another time.

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Multiple modes of reporting: variable connectivity

As my FB friends list becomes more and more uncontrollable (sometimes I don’t even know why and who I’m adding when I get the requests anymore) – I am thinking of this huge “joint family” of social media relations that i keep shouting out to. Is anything in my life private anymore (yes it is you just don’t know because I haven’t told you) – and who assumes that this – here what I say on social media – is the whole of my life? Does it matter what readers and social media friends assume? When does it matter? How is what I do here material? (It is material but that’s not what I’m asking is it? As always the key word is the “how”.)
As I relocate for a year, I am processing my thoughts in Facebook, twitter, instagram and blog posts. These are everyday negotiations of private and public – of choosing to tell stories about our everyday. Choosing when and where – but also about spontaneity and form. 
Is anything different this time from previous times I have relocated? I have always liked to report out from my everyday experience. I don’t remember if I did this reporting “out” in my childhood – my siblings and parents would know. I do know I was very shy – debilitating-ly shy at various points in my childhood and pre-highschool (yes my high school friends will laugh at this because I grew into quite an obnoxious person as I started to learn not to be shy – deliberately talking myself out of shyness).
A lot of my reporting on events happened in handwritten diaries/journals during my teenage travels – so I guess I really did not do much “reporting out” except if I was writing letters to a sibling, parent or niece who wasn’t in the same place as I was.
Very few letters to friends, come to think of it…
I did have a lot of reporting out and interaction during my modem based listproc days – and many of my current social media networks contain friends I “met” in those days – I guess reporting out to publics I didn’t always know face to face or really “know” were lurking on lists started then. Well I wrote a dissertation and some of my chapters in my first book on “Cyberselves” recounted some of this. Play became work, Work became play, personal relationships wove into the public – things got a bit mixed up.
I think I reported out in letters when I made my first few adult moves away from my parents’ home – and the letters were few and long and individualized to specific people. Then my post internet adult move was when I moved to Bowling Green and my spouse and son were still in Pittsburgh. I think most of my communication then was by email and landline with the two of them and sometimes letters and emails to others.
 I think my early websites in those years were the first attempts at “reporting out” spontaneously to the world out there. Subsequently myspace, Facebook, twitter and so on  became scattered hurried modes of reporting out to larger groups while to smaller groups and individuals I started texting, skyping, emailing and mobile-phone calling.
But coming to the present move – I find that I have many daily stories to tell – at least for the moment until I begin to feel I am “wasting” words when I should be writing for publication in academic venues instead… (I’ll come back to this thought about “Wasting” words and the associated guilt of excessive social media use another time).
So the daily stories get told in several messenger groups, emails, skype conversations, blog posts and Facebook status messages – each version tells different parts of the overall experience  – because  I have this awareness that what I write must remain audience appropriate. Yet – when I blog, instagram, tweet or Facebook status something – or even post to each discrete group of people in Facebook groups and messenger of cc email messages – I feel I am dumping “excess.”
I don’t know what use anything I write will be to anyone reading – I wonder what makes “use value” in this instance – and what gets categorized as self-obsession and narcissism?
I noticed some other travellers posting on Facebook raising similar questions. And some people have told me how they Facebook followers object to them posting frequents reports on their daily lives  – but… really – there is such confusion about why people friend each other, then…
If what I say offends you or its information overload – don’t friend me:)
You can’t lurk and watch my life and then object to too much posting and reporting?
On the other hand if the concern on my part is – what will my colleagues think? What will my family say?
Well that’s taken different forms in different modes of communication over time and space,
As someone who’s published work that a lot of people may or may not like – when does it matter what my social media “friends” think?
I don’t always sound smart (I’m assuming I sometimes sound smart to some people). I don’t blog on current events or public politically important issues. I reserve my Theory posts for formal publication venues (in my experience I am not well-known enough that my blog posts get cited – so I’d rather put my research and theory stuff in formal publications where they will have to be cited if used – my professional value and mobility after all depend on the citational indexes and the academic validation given to writing and ideas clearly tied to my name).
[Ok now I shall publish this and proceed to feel uncertain and embarrassed – and return to edit typos and content now and then].
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Arrivals after departure

Departed from Bowling Green, Ohio, USA for a year to be in Bergen, Norway. This will be my home for a year  as Fulbright-Norway Scholar (in Digital Culture) 2015-2016 at University of Bergen (with my BG home safely under the care of JD).

My first couple days here have been spent in fascination with the seemingly never setting sun. Apparently the beautiful sunny weather of the last two days is unusual – but it was lovely. There are hills, fjords, trams, cable cars…. today there is rain.

Enjoyed the very generous hospitality the second evening of our arrival with one colleague and spouse and will be doing the same tonight with another two colleagues and their children.

Because I don’t start official work yet I have been pottering around creating recipes out of the food bought at the grocery store just a couple blocks away. Trying to learn to read Norwegian labels to identify the food. The house we rented belongs to fellow academics who have small children and its a charming little house with a small garden and some high tech cooking technologies (high tech for me because in Bowling Green I am usually so caught up in my professional life I haven’t bothered to upgrade my kitchen – but maybe when we return…).

I’ve started many journals – in offline and online. So I have several versions and stories of my arrivals recorded in all these places. I have seen and felt the presence of migrant populations and South Asians (connections for my research), but I have not tried to find yarn stores yet.

Last night the sun was still up at 11.45 when I finally started to fall asleep and this morning my eyes popped open at 3.40 and the sun was back up by then…. It’s not bright sunlight at midnight but more like a prolonged dusk. Then a dawn …. yesterday the sun was quite bright a little after dawn (which might have been around 3.30 am but I can’t say since I wasn’t up yesterday until 6 am) – but today its cloudy.

As my mother noted yesterday as we skype called her phone, this is our major residence move in a long time. Having moved around and lived in many places during her active times – I think her observation had more meaning than a passing comment. Even though all through my settle- ment in Bowling Green, Ohio I have felt mobile, multiply-placed, a traveller, a migrant and even a nomad – I was quite settled in a home for over 10 years – and being in one single home and town for more than 10 years continuously (with only vacations, work trips and journeys to see family in India) is actually not what I’ve thought of as “normal” in my kind of life.

I have officially lived longer in Bowling Green, Ohio than anywhere else in the world – my second longest stay in one town/city being Hyderabad, India where I resided mostly – even as I travelled every summer and winter to be with my parents in South East Asia (Bangkok and Jakarta). Yet because I was traveling every summer and winter I felt I was in two places at once during those years until after 1976 and my college years when I stopped traveling outside India since my parents were now in Hyderabad. The third longest stay was in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania which was our first real nuclear family home and where my son’s childhood happened. My son’s infancy was in Bhopal, India (and yes we were there at the time of the infamous “Bhopal Gas Tragedy”).

In my years of infancy and early childhood – the two places I stayed in cancel each other out as the places I spent the least number of years continuously at – Bombay (birth to age 3 I believe) and Enugu, Nigeria where I first experienced school and became an ardent fan of my British kindergarten teacher (subsequent attempts by my parents to send me to school in Hyderabad and Bangkok were not so easy and pain free;-) – I was rarely happy in school after that initial happy time in Enugu and although I had some very good friends in High school – it is perhaps a miracle I passed high school at all).

On the academic/professional front – my (outside the domestic space) professional journey began only after I joined grad school in 1990 (my “professional” life if at all before that was in freelance writing and I worked from domestic space while I was full-time mother – so this phase was invisible to most other members in my family. Writing is invisible work when the domestic is the expected work). So…. even though I had an official faculty improvement leave in 2005 – this one, now, with the Fulbright year, is the first really extended (funded) research leave I have ever had. In 2005, I did some research travel but was mostly unable to use that semester to travel for a longer time because I was still parenting an undergraduate student who I pretended to pay attention to  (well – we perform parenting/mothering in various ways ….) by not doing extensive professional travel.

So – this one year of relocation/dislocation will likely be very educational to say the least.


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Looking forward to starting my Fulbright year in August 2015

Now that arrangements have been made for my house to be lived in by a friend (as she house-sits for me) and we have sold a car and are getting closer to our departure date, I am beginning to feel that this Fulbright thing is real.

I will be working on data collection for two of my projects (leading to the completion of two different books) while also completing the writing of another book on Philanthropy 2.0.

I will also be (co)teaching at the University of Bergen and connecting with fellow scholars across Europe and UK.

I know I’m going to jam pack this year with all the things I wanted to complete over the last two years after my last book (Cyberculture and Subaltern) finally came out in print. But for those who know me – that’s the way I work best.

Here are a couple recent reports about my forthcoming Fulbright at Bergen, Norway.



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Hash tagging my Writing notes

I did have a good early morning ordering of ideas so I should be writing right now – but I am, of course interrupting myself to post this.

It occurs to me that I have little writing related notes all over my blogs, emails, Facebook posts and twitter feed that I might do well to pull together and post somewhere and have a common hashtag for so I can go back to them (and who knows my meanderings might be helpful to others struggling with the writing process).

so here is a consistent hashtag I will try and use #divawrites along with any others such as #writing and so on. In my next several “down times” – when I can’t really write (but am staring at the laptop anyway) and need to revisit why I write I will go find some past posts and notes (this would take a long time since my notes about my writing process are scattered all over in my notebooks even way back from the 70s if I still have any of those).

Do I need another random organizing project? No. I don’t. Actually this is partly the reason a lot of writing projects get stalled – we think we have to write everything “from the beginning”….

So I’ll just meander on with the hashtag from today. And when I find the others I’ll pop them in – but I won’t go looking for them – just so I can procrastinate on the current writing (which started out really well this morning, btw, and then when I found a comment in my inbox to a post on my blog from long ago – that actually connects to the digital diaspora points I am making in what I’m writing, Istartedtosearchinmydropboxforsomekeywordsfromthatblogpostbecauseitneededtobetalkedabout


all the activity was useful – but now I should go back and write


so #procrastinate_no_more



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My latest *thing*

Yes – its a thing folks –

Come register, sign up, watch…. (Click here to register)

I made another course thing open to all (not really – only to those who tell me why and who etc) … lookie


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Call for Papers – Open issue of ADA – deadline August 2015

Call for papers: Open issue

Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology | adanewmedia.org
Issue 9, April 2016

Editors: Radhika Gajjala (Bowling Green State University) and Nina Huntemann (Suffolk University)

We invite contributions to a peer-reviewed open call issue <http://fembotcollective.org/blog/2015/02/18/call-for-papers-issue-9-open-call/> featuring research on gender, new media and technology. We are particularly interested in contributions that exemplify Ada’s commitments to politically engaged, intersectional approaches to scholarship on gender, new media and technology

Contributions in formats other than the traditional essay are encouraged; please contact the editors to discuss specifications and/or multimodal contributions.

All submissions should be sent by AUGUST 10, 2015 to editor@adanewmedia.org. Your contribution should be attached as a word document. Please use “Ada Open Call Contribution” for your subject line and include the following in the body of your message:

·      A 50 word abstract

·      Your name

·      A mailing address

·      Preferred email address

Important dates:

–       Deadline for full essays: Monday, August 10, 2015

–       Open peer review begins: Monday, January 11, 2016

–       Expected publication date: Monday, April 4, 2016

About Ada:

Ada is an online, open access, open source, peer-reviewed journal run by feminist media scholars. The journal’s first issue was published online in November 2012. Since that launch, Ada has received more than 200,000 page views. Ada operates a review process that combines feminist mentoring with the rigor of peer review.

We do not — and will never — charge fees for publishing your materials, and we will share those materials using a Creative Commons License.

Information about the editors:

Radhika Gajjala is professor of media studies and American culture studies at Bowling Green State University, Ohio, where she teaches courses in global media, international communication, media and cultural studies and feminist research methods. She is the author of Cyberselves: Feminist Ethnographies of South Asian Women and of Cyberculture and the Subaltern: Weavings of the Virtual and Real. She has also co-edited South Asian Technospaces and Cyberfeminism 2.0 She is co-editor of Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology.

Nina Huntemann is associate professor of media studies at Suffolk University and and co-director of Women in Games Boston. Her research focuses on the intersections of gender, culture and technology, applying feminist theory and cultural production perspectives to the industrial and social practices of digital gaming. She is co-editor of Gaming Globally: Production, Play and Place and Joystick Soldiers: The Politics of Play in Military Video Games. She is also the associate producer of the film Joystick Warriors: Video Game Violence and the Culture of Militarism and produced and directed Game Over: Gender, Race and Violence in Video Games, both distributed by the Media Education Foundation. She is co-editor of Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology.

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Getting Caught up

Its been a while since I updated my blog. I’ve never been much of a blogger except for shared bits and pieces and reports.

Just a quick update though – this post snow day in February – on what has happened since my Eugene post.

In November 2014, I was at NCA.

ADA has launched Issue 6  (see – http://adanewmedia.org ) and we are preparing to launch issue 7.

I have been working on several co-authoring projects with graduate advisees while also continuing work on my book(s) in-progress.

This March I will be at the Ms. Fembot event (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Ms._Fembot_Edit-a-Thon).

Other than that I’ve been busy teaching my undergraduate online course and my graduate methods course (in person class) and attending meetings etc. My next major professional event after Ms. Fembot will be ICA if I ever get down to buying those flight tickets…



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Next Week in Eugene Oregon

I look forward to participating in the

Globalization, Gender and Development

Conference next week and also to catching up with my Fembot/ADA colleagues.




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Speaking at Newschool on Nov 4, 2014


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The “Karma” of women….

greenless copy




womenspinnersandunions1833 copy




womenspinners copy

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Back to School

Been a bit silent on the cyberdiva blogging – but anyone who knows me know I haven’t been silent online at all – been very busy on instagram and very busy being lazy on Facebook and smatterings of stuff sent out to twitter and tumblr while the dark broken sentences sit on my LJ.

Working with the selfie researchers network this fall and setting deadlines for the writing of my Digital Diasporas – Labor Affect and Technomediation of South Asia – book because I’ve finally realized I have things to write beyond the proposal I sent for the contract;-).

And the fiber craze continues for the next book.


Oh and the wikipedia editing in my undergrad class – rocks! This is the third fall semester in a row and the 6th or seventh class I’m doing this in – I have my routine clearly set up by now;-)

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#DHPoco with Roopika and Rahul

salaam 38.1 (Summer 2014)

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Free to the first 50 to access this link


Woman and Other Women: Implicit Binaries in Cyberfeminisms

Radhika Gajjala
Published online: 12 Jun 2014.

Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies 



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spindle speak

collaboration: working with indigo

two spindles climbing together
working with blue


One spindle fed into the other and moved backstage

Collaboration: The yarn has it all...

The yarn has it all – the work of the spindles, the color, the skill of the spinster… ready to be woven into fabric.

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#charkhamornings today

image from instagram

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Fiber and Cyber….

This week has been taken up by intensification of my interaction with actual people where fiber crafting and cyberworlds meeting…where” geeking” and “domestication” collide…

I’ve joined http://knitayear.ning.com/  and have been tweeting moods through the hashtag #knitayear…

Had various enlightening conversations that lead to more coding of categories/nodes via nvivo..

And more knitting, crocheting, fiber stashing, spinning and add on sewing now to the list (the loom still awaits my attention since if I finish up that last inches of what’s left of the warp on it – I’ll feel pressured and guilty about an unwarped loom for the remainder of the semester…)

The good news is that I likely have more than enough now to start work on my revise and resubmit and the book chapter abstract I wanted to send off before the deadline.

There is a journal article I promised someone  – that I should be working on and a couple other shorter pieces – but first I need to finish up the reviewing for AOIR before the NCA reviewing piles on.

Today (a noted in my mood tweets) is mostly devoted doctoral advisee feedback.



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Selfies …. Elfies whatever…

When the word


Began to be thrown around widely last year, I was reluctant to enter into that conversation and even annoyed at this new “fad” label for things young people have been doing in internet culture for years let alone what people have been doing since the advent of the camera …. Even if we don’t want to goss far s calling a painted self portrait a “selfie” practice.

However, as is inevitable, when dealing with online practices pedagogically and in research communities, I’ve had to begin to own the term like many other scholars and teachers of online communication.

Liz Losh interviewed me yesterday about my use of snapchat in my online class and that interview now firmly situated me publicly in selfie land.

I will have more to say/write about this by and by.

Meanwhile, thankyou Liz!

P.s. In other research related news, I’ve been tweeting and instagramming and Facebook status upas in about my craft networks book and I will have an update on that as well soon.

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Screenshot 2014-02-01 21.23.20

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Console-ing Passions 2014

Happy to be on a plenary panel for 2014 –  http://www.console-ingpassions.org/

3:30 – 5:30

OPENING PLENARY – Jesse Wrench Auditorium, Memorial Union S107

Nancy Baym, Microsoft Research

Radhika Gajjala, Bowling Green State University

Katherine Sender, University of Auckland

Beretta Smith-Shomade, Tulane University

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the trend for trending – and what is lost…

“I worry that like the UK teens discussed by Miller or so many technology “evangelists,” digital culture scholars might decide that particular phenomena like Facebook are the least cool thing we could be associated with on the planet. And in framing the phenomena in question as basically dead, finished, kaput, ”

read the rest here



This is also how we lost so much in-depth understanding that comes of older forms of MMORPGs and MOOs, MUD, listprocs, earlier versions of software and emerging service industry formations in the 70s and 80s and…….so much more…

where so much more in-depth critical engagement was happening …

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Happy Sankranti to all!

Happy Sankranti to all!

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Dont look for me on facebook – taking a break

I see google searches for me on facebook – fyi – I am taking a break from facebook.


See you in the new year!



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Forthcoming talk at CSUSB – November 14, 2013

csusb copy



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Research Projects resulting in Publications, Grants and Partnerships

Research Projects resulting in Publications, Grants and Partnerships:

(obviously many of these overlap – but different titles have been used in forming various proposals and projects)

Microfinance Online/Offline – 2005 to present

Representations of the Subaltern Online – 1994 to present

Technology, Mobility, Body and Care (health, elder, child) – 2011 to present

Global Craft Networks  – 2006 to present

Critical Making and DIY  craft – present

Virtual Worlds and Money – 2003 to present

Rural South India 2004 to present

Gaming, Social Media and Global/Local Youth Cultures 2005 to present

Pedagogy in Virtual Environments: Epistemologies of doing and learning 1997 to present

Cyberfeminism – 1995 to present

Women Laborers Transitioning and Reskilling through Digital Divides – 2007 to present.

Immaterial Labor, Affect and Materiality in Virtual (Gaming) Worlds – 2007 to present

Digital Media and NGOs (social media and participation)- current

South Asian Diasporas and the Internet – 1994 to present




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Labor of Care, Subaltern, Affect, Globalization and Health Communication

Last week, at the   World Social Science Forum 2013, a few colleagues and I did a panel that connects issues of Care, Labor, Affect, Subaltern, Globalization. These presentations critically engage the emerging interdisciplinary field of Health Communication.


Here is the slideshare presentation – http://www.slideshare.net/kandrade/habitof-care

Thanks to one of our panelists, we have a recording of this panel and I am sharing the link below:


If using any of the material – be sure to cite the panel.

If you need elaboration on any points – feel free to contact me.



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Africa and IT and DOCC2013

see my tweet stream #africaandit2013



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Use/Use less: Affect, Labor and Non/materiality – Radhika Gajjala


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Welcome to DOCC 2013!

Below are links to some recent press on Femtechnet/DOCC collaborations.







And further below – local BGSU adapted press-release.

Also – I can be contacted (as can several others involved from the various other institutions – see the Femtechnet site from newschool) for questions about the assignments and the beta class and continuing collaborations via email. 


Also – if you are in Urbana in Sept – feel free to drop in on Sharon Iris and myself on a panel at the “Africa and Information Technology: Practices, Potentials and Challenges” conference talking about the DOCC, Cyberfeminist networking online and offline, labor of teaching and learning tacit praxis on the margins of Modernity  and possible international collaborations that are not just “diffusion” of westernized innovations – https://illinois.edu/lb/files/2013/08/21/47089.pdf


Feminist Digital Initiative Challenges Universities’ Race for MOOCs

Bowling Green, OH (8/19/2013) – FemTechNet, a network of feminist scholars and educators, is launching a new model, the DOCC, or Distributed Open Collaborative Course, for online learning at 15 higher education institutions this fall. They include: Bowling Green State University, Brown University, California Polytechnic State University, Colby-Sawyer College, The CUNY Graduate Center, Macaulay Honors College and Lehman College (CUNY), The New School, Ohio State University, Ontario College of Art and Design University, Pennsylvania State University, Pitzer College, Rutgers University, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and Yale University.

The DOCC is a new approach to collaborative learning and an alternative to MOOCs, the massive open online course model that proponents claim will radicalize twenty-first century higher education. The DOCC model for 21st-century higher education recognizes and is built on the understanding that expertise is distributed throughout a network, among participants in diverse institutional contexts. This model explicitly departs from the typical MOOC approach organized around the delivery of information from an “expert” faculty (or a pair of instructors) to the uninformed “masses.” The organization of a DOCC emphasizes learning collaboratively in a digital age by enabling the active participation of all kinds of learners (as teachers, as students, as media-makers, as activists, as trainers, as members of various publics and/or social groups). By virtue of its reach across institutions and learning sites, the DOCC also enables the extension of classroom experience beyond the walls, physical or virtual, of a single institution.

FemTechNet’s first DOCC course, “Dialogues on Feminism and Technology,” will launch fall 2013 as a result of experimentation and BETA course implementation at BGSU and Pitzer College in spring 2013. Feminist Dialogues in Technology was a Women’s and American Culture Studies course offered by Radhika Gajjala of BGSU in Ohio and Alex Juhasz of Pitzer College in California during spring 2013.

The BETA course offered students and faculty the opportunity to participate in collaborative University learning by taking advantage of various digital platforms, including the Sakai student portal at Pitzer, Facebook, Vimeo, and Google+ Hangouts. This course emphasized key issues in Feminism and Technology within the context of American culture, Globalization, and Media Studies. Students explored gender and technology through 11 themes including: TechnoFeminism, machine, body, archive, labor, difference, systems, place, race, sexualities, and transformation. As part of each theme, students collaborated by writing responses, producing keyword videos, contributing to Wikipedia, and creating crafts representative of the 11 themes for further connection and conversation. Christina Gayheart, a BGSU undergraduate student, said “the course was exciting because, though each school had a separate classroom, we worked collaboratively to further our understanding of Feminism and Technology; furthermore, the course explored a wide array of teaching mechanisms to offer variety. In many ways, I think the professors learned as much as the students did in this course.”

Expanding upon the spring 2013 course “Feminist Dialogues in Technology,” each participating institution will offer one or more NODAL courses for “Dialogues on Feminism and Technology” in fall 2013. Faculty members at each institution (working singly or in teams) have developed courses within their specific educational settings. Both faculty and students will share ideas, resources, and assignments as a feminist network: the faculty as they develop curricula and deliver the course in real time; and the students as they work collaboratively with faculty and with each other at their institutions and beyond. Participants may engage as on-site or on-line students enrolled in a NODAL course, or as “at-large” or “drop-in” learners.

At BGSU, Dr. Radhika Gajjala is being assisted in this DOCC project by two doctoral advisees, Nikki Reamer and Anca Birzescu, as well as, one of her undergraduate students Christina Gayheart who was in the Beta course from Spring 2013.

These dialogues are also anchored by video curriculum produced by FemTechNet. “Dialogues on Feminism and Technology” are currently twelve recorded video dialogues featuring pairs of scholars and artists from around the world who think and reimagine technology through a feminist lens. Participants in the DOCC — indeed, anyone with a connection to the web — can access the video dialogues, and are invited to discuss them by means of blogs, voicethreads and other electronic media. As the course meets, students and teachers can plug in and join the conversation.  Through the exchanges and the participants’ input, course content for the DOCC will continue to grow. From this process emerges a dynamic and self-reflective educational model.

The DOCC’s feminist focus highlights the interactions of art, science and technology as foundational knowledge areas for the twenty-first century and aspires to create innovative learning contexts that value the voices and expertise of both students and faculty.

While the DOCC initiative will be piloted primarily in North America, international participation in future projects ensures the kind of challenging dialogue and stakeholder inclusiveness necessary to imagine, and then create, more equitable and socially just educational models in the digital world.


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List of Published Books and Reviews of the Books

Published Books:

Gajjala, R. (2004). Cyber selves: Feminist ethnographies of South Asian women. Walnut Creek:  Altamira Press. [1,003,595 paid on Kindle; 1,031,555 in Books – Jan 23, 2011]


                               Reviewed by Maya Ranganathan in Indian Journal of Gender Studies, 15:1 (2008): 163–182


Gajjala, R., & Gajjala, V. (Eds.). (2008). South-Asian technospaces. New York: Peter Lang, Digital Formation Series. 

                                     Reviewed by Aswin Punathambekar in New Media Society 2009; 11;

 Blair, K., Gajjala, R., & Tulley, C. (Eds.). (2009). Webbing cyberfeminist practice: Communities, pedagogies, and social action. New Jersey: Hampton Press.

                                             Reviewed by Letizia Guglielmo in Composition Studies, 2009

Chopra R. & Gajjala R., (Eds.). (2011) Global media cultures, and identities. Routledge.

                        Reviewed by Nitin Govil in International Journal of Communication 6 (2012),                                                          390–395

Gajjala R. & Yeon Ju Oh (Eds.). (2012) Cyberfeminism 2.0. Peter Lang, Digital Formation Series edited by Steve Jones.

  1. Reviewed by Elizabeth Mazur in Psychology of Women Quarterly 2013 37: 411
  2. Reviewed by Estee Beck Technoculture: An Online Journal of Technology in Society, 2014
  3. Reviewed by Sarah Champion in Media International Australia, No. 147 —May 2013
  4. Interviewed by Kate Reynolds for Fembot Collective “Books Arent Dead” section – http://fembotcollective.org/blog/2013/03/01/books-arent-dead-cyberfeminism-2-0/

 Gajjala, R. (2012). Cyberculture and the Subaltern: Weavings of the Virtual and Real. Lexington Press.

                            [no book review done on this one yet – would love it if someone did a review and let me know                              of where it’s published]

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Speaking at WSSF 2013 in October 2013






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Yes I am off FB and planning to be off for a while

Once again… Please note I did not drop any FB friends. I deactivated the account. I don’t plan on reactivating until this next book manuscript is done. So don’t feel rejected… (;))

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random continuing notes

notescyberdivalive copy

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thinking through…

seekingapattern copy

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Identity crisis yet again for all my blogs

Ok – I’ve never been known to keep my blogging consistent.

I’d rather write little post-it notes or on backs of envelopes – a habit that started because I was juggling a lot of tasks in my early years of tenure track.

Writing at length – in long hand in my notebooks or tapping on a typewriter – was a regular – even daily – thing for me in my teens and even in my 20s (so cant blame the baby for the post-it scraps and envelope and grocery reciept scribblings) and into my 30s (come to think of it – I might be able to blame the computer … but not really – it was because I was juggling much more in my thirties than ever before).

After the days when I was writing to listprocs and then moved into the background of those by taking on moderating roles (early 90s) – neither of which I do anymore – I would start various blogs (livejournal and typepad and blogger) and let them languish unattended – they’re still around – the free ones at least.

So it sounds silly to say my blogs are having an identity crisis again – when this post is probably the longest I’ve written in a long time…

Still – they are having an identity crisis.

Mostly because of my research transitions in the past year since I finally completed “Cyberculture and the Subaltern” and my research immersion is not really as clearly about “the subaltern” or “the raced, gendered marginal/victim” of virtual worlds/games/networks as much as it is about globalization, public spaces of deliberation and marketing 2.0. (yet always reaching for and part of critical development studies, political economy, critical feminist methods and postcolonial/subaltern studies, even some affect theory stuff in there).

So should I say – “my research shifts” and not “identity crisis for all my blogs”?

hmm …

and yet – is it really a shift though?

Nah – I dont think it is an identity crisis or a shift – that was just me thinking aloud.

heading back to making notes for that next book, then.

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Recent and forthcoming talks

Some recent and forthcoming talks.

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Cyberselves – still available

and apparently (to my surprise) this book is still being read and used so here’s a ibook link

Cyberselves: Feminist Ethnographies….

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Watch out for the spinners!


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#spin2013 done -Happy New Year all.


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cheer us on – Spin-along, spin-in, spin- out….



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Crowd Fund Cyberdivalive Creations

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Revisiting HASTAC

Being pre-occupied with administrative duties (Interim Director of Women’s Studies and then Director of American Culture Studies) – I have not been blogging as much as I might have in the past 3 to 4 years. Now revisiting all my online venues for writing since not only have I completed my term as ACS director, I have also finally completed the book Cyberculture and the Subaltern.



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Its here


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As I head to NCA 2012…

I will be presenting continuing work in relation to cyberculture and subalternity at NCA – this further examines socio-financial networks and extends it to other sites. It is forthcoming in Rae Lynn Schwartz-DuPre’s book on

Communicating Colonialism: Readings on Postcolonial Theory(s) and Communication

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Continuing ….


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I will slowly translate my ideas from and in relation to the book Cyberculture and the Subaltern – extensions and thoughts – at http://www.cybersubalternity.com/


As I re-read each chapter – I realize there is much subtext and unpacking and continuation to do. This may indeed lead to the sequel I’ve been promising – but in the meanwhile – the blog.

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Posted in affect, building_theory_through_practice, cultural studies, dastkar andhra conversations/monologues, development studies, digital media, epistemology, ethnographies, handloom, internet research, labor, Microfinance, rad Zabibha, representational practices, ruptures, rural, rural_gaze, secondlife, seema, technology, Weavings of the Virtual and Real: Cyberculture and the Subaltern, writing the Self and Other | 1 Comment

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rereading laboring

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no no its not procrastination – its not a fear of writing – its …

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Next set of forthcoming articles/book chapters based on materiality of “immaterial labor” and affect as praxis

dont ask me when I will tire of just uploaded my fb posts as images…


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archives instapersist

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Women’s formal and informal labor ( category layering and unpacking to be contd)

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I study the unfolding present

I study nooks and cranies

Unfolding presents

Here and there

I do not study the Other as past

I do not study the modern as present.

I study the present as it unfolds
And endlessly inter links
Or fades away

To re emerge in yet another present.

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Weavings of the Virtual and Real: Cyberculture and the Subaltern

Its time to write some of those tangents and cross-thoughts and by-products…


and maybe I will.


My publisher and I ended up deciding we should just call it an edited issue – I have so many collaborators woven into the project as authors – I would have loved to add on more chapters – authored by some more people – but maybe next time.


The chapters in the book are a result of several years of conversations and collaborations. So here’s a footnote from chapter one (page 53 or so of the book if the pages dont change as the production process continues) that notes this:


“… we illustrate our arguments through examples and understandings drawn from a long term collaborative research project that includes interdisciplinary participants and which was started in 2004 and 2005 when the first author of this chapter [Radhika] and her collaborator at that time, Annapurna Mamidipudi, worked on a project with the BASIX livelihood promotion institute (http://www.basixindia.com/) where they investigated the possibility of using online portals for the training of fieldworkers who worked in livelihood promotion. Financial inclusion services are provided by this institute, in addition to training and other livelihood promotion services. These financial services include rural microcredit lending. Later, the first and third authors [Anca] of this chapter began to look at online networks for the empowerment of women along with a few other collaborators who had worked on projects resulting in the publication examining lexicons of women’s empowerment and online non—profits (Gajjala, Zhang and Dako—Gyeke 2010). The first and third authors of this chapter thus encountered kiva.org during that research project and proceeded to investigate (Gajjala and Birzescu 2010). We drew in a development economist and a few other graduate student collaborators (see Gajjala, Gajjala, Birzescu and Anarbaeva, 2011) along the way, and the second author of this chapter then ended up taking up particular aspects related to the digitization of race in online microfinance and elaborating on this aspect in his dissertation. The first and third author still continue to examine digital financializationand non—profits online through a transnational feminist lens in relation to offline non—profits and movements to empower the subaltern in Romania and India. The second author of the current chapter proposes to look at issues of empowerment through the Internet in relation to the Ghana context. ”



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Rooftops again

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TOC – Weavings of the Virtual and Real: Cyberculture and the Subaltern


Introduction: Subaltern empowerment, socio-economic globalization and digital divides

1. Producing the Global: Microfinance Online
with Franklin Yartey and Anca Birzescu

2. Philanthrophist or Investor? Microlending to the Other
with Anca Birzescu, Franklin Yartey

3. Snapshots from Sari Trails, Cyborgs Old and New
with rad Zabibha

4. Framing the Loom: An Indian Context
with Seemanthani Niranjani and B. Syamasundari

5. Kente Cloth and Adinkra in the Global Market
Precious Yamaguchi and Franklin Yartey

Conclusion: Multiple interfacings with the so-called subaltern: To be continued

Key Concepts and Terms
About the Author
Contributor Bios

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(Auto) ethnographic streaming project currently in progress on my FB stream

One aspect of it will possibly be presented soon (details forthcoming) as
“Gandhi’s Granddaughters Scattered Worldwide: Spinning, Weaving and other Craft(ed) Networks in (Post)Modernity”

Radhika Gajjala | Create Your Badge

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Sankranthi Subhaakankshalu

“Sankranti is the Sanskrit word in Indian Astrology which refers to the transmigration of the Sun from one R?shi (sign of the zodiac) to another. Hence there are 12 such sankrantis in all. However, the Sankranti festival usually refers to Makara Sankaranti, or the transition of the Sun from Dhanu rashi (Sagittarius) to Makara rashi (Capricorn).” (wikkipedia).

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ad hoc learning environments

I should do more research workshops in my weaving room (the other living room in my house) – around cultural work, craft, economy, nationalism, Gandhi, Marx, affect, labor, value, everyday rural (and urban) practice and globalization…
Y O, D P, A B and I had a very engaging conversation intertwined with demonstration of four harness loom use and Y J’s modelling of the Kanjeevaram sari

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And I gave in to knitting too

As I said the other day on my Facebook status update.

There is method to my madness even if it looks more like madness to my method.

(but really that’s just the point isn’t it – method does not just happen. its carved out ofmadness).

So now I’m struggling through knitting. My UFO s now include knitting, quilt patches, weaving and crochet…

Thinking through issues of value, labor, affect…

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my crochet patterns – random ramblings

Most of my patterns are improvised as those who view my UFOs and FOs on rav know by now. My main modes of fiber expression have so far been designing quilt patches mostly from handloom fabric (from India), crocheting with handdyed/handpainted yarn which is mostly (even if not always) handspun. My so-called knitting project frogged because I cannot sustain interest long enough nor do I have time away from my day job (which is really an all day all evening and all night job depending on what time of year it is and what writing and teaching projects I am in the middle of) to learn more on knitting. I tried many times to commit to buying a sewing machine but I dont see myself being able to spend time at a sewing machine – so my quilting designs are mostly simple hand sewing (with practice I hope to be better at the sewing – for now I just enjoy putting the designs together in patches I may someday sew into a quilt).

I recently (well its getting to be two years since I took my first lesson and a little over a year since I bought my four harness table loom – at a fiber market day – and my ashford antique spinning wheel -off e-bay and some spindles – off etsy…) started weaving and spinning – and have had warp anxiety and so on … the spinning wheel I have has broken parts and repairing those I am told may be more expensive than getting a new one.. .. I am waiting an thinking before getting a spinning wheel – it will have to be small and portable for now – so a spindle does the job fine and I am still learning – I have watched my mother with the charkha and the takhli spindle and since I am still in awe of her perfection in craft – I wont be able to succeed in learning those just yet (my mother has tried teaching me many things – crochet, beading, cooking, sewing, takhli spinning, charkha spinning – but I have never been successful in the face of my mother’s careful perfectionist mode of expectation and teaching – I have had to journey through learning spaces on my own and try to learn in memory – visual in my mind or through finding teachers who allowed me to make mistakes over and over again …. I am not good with paying attention when people are teaching – because once I start watching someone else doing something – I am fascinated and my mind wanders into a land of enchanted craft possibilities – if only I knew the skill – dont know if this makes sense to anyone else – I am the same when reading – therefore a very slow reader … I live and think to my own rhythm in my head – have always done so – but not many people know this – they may see this as fanciful, flightly, distracted or just plain obstinate and lazy:))

so… my crocheting practice comes from slyly watching my mother (slyly because if I let her know of my interest she will try to teach me – and I cannot learn from her! and depending on when in her age span she has tried to teach me she retreats in irritation or hurt – but I think at some level she does understand now that what I have learned I have learned from her. My father never actively tried teaching me anything (maybe some math or algebra when I was in high school – but not really) so it was easier to learn his ways – he let me lurk around – I dont know if he knew I learned that way or he was just an older father not knowing what to do with his youngest daughter born later in his life when he was fully caught up in an international travelling/journeying career.)

my crochet designs then – are free flowing but very much from having watched my mother never actually use a pattern (or so I thought – she may have poured over paper patterns but rarely) she mostly got the patterns off actual artefacts that others made and was meticulous in following that pattern (this practice she learned from her mother-in-law – who made intricate white cotton doilies and table cloths I recently discovered… will share a snapshot sometime of a piece my sister found amongst my mother’s things a while ago) – I however can neither follow a paper based (on website based ) pattern, a how to video nor can I consciously and with awareness of the stitches – get a pattern off an existing artefact.

I just crochet.

So when warping requires a different level of planning I struggle a little – but I think I will figure that out too so I can work around my own demons of perfection and my practice of learning my watching and lurking when others are not
focusing their attention on me…



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Traces of existence and interaction

I have always looked for signs
Some others did not consider

Relevant or as existing

Awake before dawn much of my life


Feeling and “seeing”

And hearing and smelling

And searching

Databases and archives

In material and mind


This child my body brought forth

My mind wonders how he could have grown

In his home
I see
The magic wonderlands

We constructed

For him
For me

As we tried not to think of material we could not afford to own

Stories in our heads in his and mine

My not being able to narrate as my mother did

Lacking the time to be present to him in continuity

His tools

Were in narration through writing and drawing technologies he codes now

As in his home I see his

Built dawn …

Light after light that gently

Turns on

Like in the fairy tales and science fiction he narrated to

In his childhood.

This morning I see tesla working with vishwakarma

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today in my inbox…

Today in my inbox

arrived a poem from a dear dear friend

of expecting age to arrive with clarity….

and I turned inward thinking of my age(ing)…

I in turn
am engulfed in trying to distinguish what is memory

what is a thought

a dream

a nightmare

a wish

I have taken to reaching for the earth through my mother’s Gandhian


her rural memories
not mine

haunt me to return

to places that no longer exist

I imagine I spin

I spin a mental image instead

I weep afresh for the pain of disagreement between old friends

and freedom fighters

like Nehru and Gandhi

I re
member my father’s voice as he tells me of the sadness

I weep afresh knowing I have felt this in my life in different ways

I turn to the past searching for the future

I turn to the spindle and wool roving

dreaming of my mother’s charkha

hearing her sing

watching her spin

I did not expect
that getting older for me

would mean returning to memories I do not


memories that belonged to my parents

in the lives they lived

that possess me

as I try to reconstruct histories and presents

not mine

not knowing why

on a journey to return to their past

where do mine begin and where do theirs end?

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Happy winter solstice

Happy winter solstice to all! Whether we call it that or not – whatever the reason any and all of us celebrate – can it be the objective truth that the stars do – in this time period and in relation to the planet earth – align in a particular configuration on this day – and this indeed is common to all?

season’s greetings – whatever it is you are celebrating this season:)

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nomad building families/links through online networks

my current immersion in a network leads me back to the theme of mobility and immobility and the (problematic ) assumptions about nomadic life as mobility….

building (new) “families” as families fade and delink … what epistemic shifts in relationality occur?

what sorts of avoidance and rerouting around trauma?

and the assumption that this is is done through a particular kind of “outside of community” choice is further problematic.

nomads are never delinked or outside.

this returns us to the issue of assumptions embedded in how individual agency is interpreted and referenced in everyday discourse (not just in many theoretical writings) – as implicitly non-relational…

I probably need to return to taking a look at Braidotti and put it in conversation with Sassen…and the role of micronarratives

But for now I head back to caste, craft, colonial nation and ethnographic state.

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sinking sinking…thinking aloud in public again – research/writing journeys

[my initial instinct is to put this post on my LJ and/or in a private setting – and maybe I will change this into a private setting later…even here]

Being part of multiple contexts – as I immerse myself here, there and then there and here – following the connections – I am once again sinking in and getting lost in being within them – the angst, joys and practices carrying me through – I have to remind myself to write – to pick up those scattered post it notes and scribblings in the margins and make them into sentences and paragraphs… linking them to the parallel journey of reading that each intersection leads me to in order to get a broader view or more detailed historical context for….

How do I write all this without freezing and type-casting – how can the act of writing and theorizing record the active fluidity while noting the nodes and shifts and connections with clear evidence that what I see is happening?

Starting with a story that dates back to 2006 to note what seemed like a power imbalance when viewed through language and image – that hid expertise and located the Othered body in local weavers… then finding out about how existing binaries are mired in historical rewritings and encounters with various forms of romanticizing and Othering – while the materiality of everyday life shifted because of policy made in response…

how do I stack these up (do I “Stack”) – organize and write?

The positioning of particular theoretical knowledge and expertise – production modes in the space of practice – while placing others in the domain of Theory, Abstraction and drawing them into policy… when traced through history go back into a intertwining of both colonial and nationalist imaginaries… decisions made through multiple kinds of exchanges and dialogues across contexts to place them in one…

Indeed, even the writings of nationalist leaders Gandhi and Nehru reveal that they were very aware of these binaries in practice… resistance movements and later national policy was developed with this awareness..

yet the policies perpetuated some of these – and solidified particular ethnographic observations as actuality – so that even when at the time of writing those ethnographic writings were as much partial truths and shaped by ideologies and viewpoints of those writing them – as they wrote them as “history” – these ethnographic observations are now acted on as the only historical reality…

multiple histories of social movements, political movements and industrialization provide the possibility of re-routing through another strand… what sorts of shifts and collaborations might those lead to?

would this happen through grassroots everydayness, networks of active resistance, planned policy intervention?

yes the writing has to commence – but where do I start?

what are the limits to unravelling? The key nodes/knots formed that refuse to unravel – these might be the moments to stop and reflect on before unravelling further and …

[[ok ok – I will stop with the roving metaphor – there is a point when it cannot go back further –

and the metaphor can carry me to a logic that wont allow me to see something else…]]

This is why, of course, it is a good thing the MS for the Weavings book is at a stage where I cant drag it back into a full overhaul – even though I will likely add and revise a bit more before the final stage of going to press in the next couple months….

These questions will organize a into a next book project – based on which intersection I land on in the articulation of that project.

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a quick comment/note as I write afterthoughts into my book chapters…

I realize now that the question “has the internet empowered the subaltern woman” is not the question to ask – in one sentence – the answer could be “yes” – in another reply the answer could be “no” – but…. it tells us nothing about what I set out to investigate in the past 18 or so years…

the point is that the “internet” is part of a logics that are even in place in processes offline – and from before the “internet” came along to “empower” the subaltern (at the risk of sounding repetitive and restating what many others have stated).

the issue then is why is the “internet” considered an outsider and who does the “west” vs “rest” binary serve.

My articles from Development in practice and Gender and Development – from 1999 – both fail to extricate themselves from this binary… because they start with the question and assumption of empowerment through the internet – which is a question imposed from a logic that such research is forced into – and therefore is a logic even non-profits and ngos are complicit in.

more on this in the book – perhaps.

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archive fever again

As I work on the final revisions on the book manuscript while the publishers examine the camera-ready samples – I once again got caught in an archive search frenzy.

Also my continuing work and leisure in various mostly women-centered networks (because the practice of knitting and related fiber craft is still gendered as a female activity) made me think back on the spoon collective listprocs I founded and ran in the 1990s – women-writing-culture, third-world-women and sa-cyborgs.
Discussions on that are still relevant – and suddenly I need to find archives if I am to historicize net presences of women writing and creating and connecting through the internets…

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Hook and spindle ….

Early morning hours of reading and writing and thinking….

Today’s understanding…. Encapsulated by code words hook and spindle….

No sunrise yet at the time of writing and reading

curtains not yet pulled apart to see if…

But I anticipate a beautiful mood…

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what’s in my bowl this weekend?


and… what’s on my drop spindle this weekend?

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Thinking ethnographically…. doing, relating, narrating, recounting, reading…

The other day it was:

So there’s this one word I am fixated on

going back, going into texts, looking at histories, going bck – relooking at the relationshp. unpacking, layering

temporarily, multi contextually, placing it in various relationships…

the day before that it was …


Yesterday, it was

and then …

today – I am back to leafing through pages in books (hardcopy and on kindle and google) searching for the “exigency” – two points in history – two totally different geographical locations that weave virtual and real in ways that pose yet again when is virtual and when real – why did these practices and focus on process (as opposed to product for sale) re- surge in this way…

and did one of these re-surgences further the binary of practice vs theory in this context

while the other blurred it in the moment – but continues the binary because of the impossibility of archiving without freezing?

yet can the practice be “re-surged” without resorting to archives – how is practice coded outside of bodily experience when intergenerational exchange and apprenticeship has been disrupted through modern modes of production and standardization?

perhaps I need to look for the relationship (sometimes hidden and barely visible and not always noted) of learning and doing intergenerationally – in spaces of so-called leisure…

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re- membering…re- posting (thamaam umr kaa hisaab maangthi hai zindagi…)



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2011- 2012 – some forthcoming presentations and talks

October 11 to 13 I will be at AOIR

October 14 and 15 – I will be at the New Media Symposium in U of Oregon

November 15 to 20, 2011 I will be at NCA

June 28-30 2012 – I will be at “Digital Crossroads”

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My mother and sister

My mother and sister in Hyderabad.

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Digital Diasporas and Transnational Social Movements: Capital, Labor, Mobility and Identity

“Digital diasporas” occur at the intersection of local/ global, national/

international, private/public, offline/online and embodied/disembodied. In

digital diasporas, a multiplicity of representations, mass media broadcasts,

textual and visual performances and interpersonal interactions occur. The

term *”digital diaspora”* is most often used to talk about how diasporic

populations the world over use the Internet to connect to each other.

Scholars such as Anna Everett (2009) and Jeniffer Brinkerhoff (2009) have

each used the phrase in relation to very specific situated histories of

forced migrations (African American histories of slavery) and transnational

travel respectively. The link to labor flows and hierarchies of colonialisms

and digital globalization is clear in both. In most general usage of the

phrase “digital diaspora,” however, it is used to describe migrant

populations without attention to the specific conditions of subjectivity

that produces diasporas. Further, it is interesting that international NGOs

(specifically the United Nations) and Transnational corporations as well as

National businesses have mobilized the notion of digital diaspora in

“reverse brain-drain” efforts where very materially successful

transnationals and migrants with moneys to invest actually get to return


In the past I have edited a couple publications that center around South

Asian Digital Diasporas (a Special Section of New Media and Society in 2006)

and South Asian Technospace (a co-edited collection of essays). My intent

with this next volume on digital diasporas is to include material that helps

elaborate on the more current platforms where links between transnational

capital and labor flows can be mapped in the context of the increasing

NGOization and ITization of the globe. Thus questions include (but are not

limited to) – why “digital diaspora” and why now? What forms a “digital

diaspora” within gaming environments and social networks? How are

non-profits and transnational corporations (similarly or differently)

mobilizing this idea of digital diaspora in relation to labor and capital

flows? How does a “digital diaspora” form – how does it “look” – how does it

function and so on.

>From prospective contributors, I will need an extended abstract of 800 to

1000 words that fleshes out the theoretical and methodological approaches in

relation to a specific site that will be examined.

Due Dates:

1] Extended abstract due on July 26th, 2011

2] You will hear back about your abstracts by August 15th 2011 – with

suggestions on how

you can proceed if the abstract is considered acceptable for the collection

3] Full essays are due by October 1, 2011.

If you have questions regarding the publisher and what exactly I’m looking

for and so on – feel free to email me –

radhika@cyberdiva.org with the subject header

“digital diasporas.”

Posted in cultural studies, development studies, Digital Diasporas, digital media, ethnographies, internet research, native informants, representational practices, technology | 1 Comment

Platform Politics – May 11 to 14th

At the Platform politics conference in Cambridge, UK

twitter hashtag – #platpol11

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chopra and gajjala, 2011


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April 27, 2011

Speak at the the South Asia Colloquim, Yale.

published in “Social Identities” May 2011

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which is the enactment and which the representation

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Digital/Media, Race, Affect and Labor Conference @ BGSU (April 14 and 15th, 2011)

Program and Flier Attached

see also blog – http://blogs.bgsu.edu/raceandaffect/

twitter stream http://twitter.com/#!/search?q=%23drabgsu2011

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scattering into (fb)ether

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following the stash

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Concluding… to be continued.

[for citation details – email me]


Changes, Transitions, Upgrading, Rewriting… what stayed constant if anything?

I started work on this book during a post dot.com socio-economic era soon after I had completed my last book. The last book (Gajjala, 2004) to be based fully on my own research endeavours and collaborations drew on the work I’d done both for my dissertation and towards tenure, during the mid to late 90s. In the midst of that book project and this current one (and I anticipate the same for the next one I am embarking on as I shut the covers on this one) – shifts have occurred. These shifts have reaffirmed for me that what I was observing at these cross-sections are indeed impacting our presents and futures in ways that compel us to re-seat ourselves from disciplinary comfort zones. What is discussed in this book that you are reading the “conclusion” of, for instance, does not just impact our social and cultural lives as if those were separate from political and the economic. These online/offline intersections are changing the way we need to respond to situations around us – whether in our domestic everyday or in the world-wide political milieu. What is most compelling is not that there are shifts or there is change – these are givens in any era. Our urgent attention and reflexive engagement is needed to observe carefully how this so-called speed of change allows a loss of memory that permits status quo hierarchies to be unchanged generation after generation. While bodies and cultural objects are coded as interchangeable and made visible as agents of difference, democracy and multiculturalism – code is standardized and these individual agents of so-called change are placed on naturalized technical platforms. Code is made invisible. Does this mean that the cod-ers – the labor that codes – have the power? Does this mean that the complex literacies involved in producing the platforms and networks are created by the labor-force that codes them? What configurations of practices, literacies and assumptions underpin how this labor force is trained and simultaneously rendered powerless while they labor to produce “us” in the interface?

Should the Humanities and Social Sciences be left out of these kinds of inter-disciplinary practices of standardizing socio-cultural financial code named as “technical” and “Technology,” as we continue incestuously “blind” peer-reviewing each other’s work, gatekeeping to ensure there is not more than a bit of fashionable dissonance and multiplicity in voicing – as we maintain outdated hierarchies of knowledge-production?
In continuing work my call to fellow researchers is to scrutinize closely every practice, every code, every interface, woven designs, crochet patterns, spoken word – for what seams seamless. We have been looking at and reveling in the discovery of “ruptures” and celebrating them or pointing to them as evidence of hopeful change. But we are missing what hides in the background of the ruptures we see “popping up.” What are the non-changing factors that are hidden by the fast appearing manner in which the “newness” of the place/space/time/body intersections seem to have the potential for reproducing “old” oppressive regimes in brand new bytes great speed and less time for reflection and contemplation.
How do we “upgrade” the lens that sees – what do we look for and why. How is an “unscripted entry” (here I refer to a recent podcast interview of Larry Gross where he talks about the unscripted entry of Justin Beiber and the likes into the mainstream) into the mainstream actually a product of status quo production mechanisms that have shifted and been hidden through the continual and simultaneous upgrading and standardization of layers of access and literacy. What do we write and publish for and why – if we reproduce consistencies in the name of discovery of newness?

Posted in cultural studies, dastkar andhra conversations/monologues, internet research, representational practices, ruptures, technology, voice, writing the Self and Other | 1 Comment

posthuman in networks….thinking through in-status

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the binary the emerges…

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You dont know me – and why are you so sure I want you to know me?

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Affect Conference_names(2)

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CFP: Digital Diasporas and Transnational Social Movements: Capital, Labor, Mobility and Identity

CFP: Digital Diasporas and Transnational Social Movements: Capital, Labor, Mobility and Identity

Editor – Radhika Gajjala

(see http://personal.bgsu.edu/~radhik )

“Digital diasporas” occur at the intersection of local/ global, national/ international, private/public, offline/online and embodied/disembodied. In digital diasporas, a multiplicity of representations, mass media broadcasts, textual and visual performances and interpersonal interactions occur. The term “digital diaspora” is most often used to talk about how diasporic populations the world over use the Internet to connect to each other. Scholars such as Anna Everett (2009) and Jeniffer Brinkerhoff (2009) have each used the phrase in relation to very specific situated histories of forced migrations (African American histories of slavery) and transnational travel respectively. The link to labor flows and hierarchies of colonialisms and digital globalization is clear in both. In most general usage of the phrase “digital diaspora,” however, it is used to describe migrant populations without attention to the specific conditions of subjectivity that produces diasporas. Further, it is interesting that international NGOs (specifically the United Nations) and Transnational corporations as well as National businesses have mobilized the notion of digital diaspora in “reverse brain-drain” efforts where very materially successful transnationals and migrants with moneys to invest actually get to return home.

In the past I have edited a couple publications that center around South Asian Digital Diasporas (a Special Section of New Media and Society in 2006) and South Asian Technospace (a co-edited collection of essays). My intent with this next volume on digital diasporas is to include material that helps elaborate on the more current platforms where links between transnational capital and labor flows can be mapped in the context of the increasing NGOization and ITization of the globe. Thus questions include (but are not limited to) – why “digital diaspora” and why now? What forms a “digital diaspora” within gaming environments and social networks? How are non-profits and transnational corporations (similarly or differently) mobilizing this idea of digital diaspora in relation to labor and capital flows? How does a “digital diaspora” form – how does it “look” – how does it function and so on.

From prospective contributors, I will need an extended abstract of 800 to 1000 words that fleshes out the theoretical and methodological approaches in relation to a specific site that will be examined.

Due Dates:

1] Extended abstract due on June 1st, 2011

2] You will hear back about your abstracts by June 30th 2011 – with suggestions on how

you can proceed if the abstract is considered acceptable for the collection.

3] Full essays are due by September 1, 2011.

If you have questions regarding the publisher and what exactly I’m looking for and so on – feel free to email me –

radhika@cyberdiva.org with the subject header “digital diasporas.”

Posted in cultural studies, Digital Diasporas, technology | Leave a comment

Rad is back and watching shifts

Recently I wrote/published a bunch of articles on conceptualization of identity in Secondlife space – and am back doing further immersive ethnographies in various virtual worlds in relation to building monetary value for social identities and in relation trans-nations, inter-nations and the local and global. Some of what I write next will both contest and extend what I have written and published in the previous phase of immersive online and offline (and offline trans- rural as well as trans- urban “deep hanging out”) ethnographies.

As usual – some of this will be co-authored and other essays will be single-authored with a clear acknowledgement of its collaborative nature. Am working in bits and pieces with multiple groups of people both within and outside the Western academy as well as both within and outside virtual worlds.

Let the layered investigations resume (continue – actually they never stopped – but now that I have my first draft of the book manuscript on Technocultural Agency finally done – I am calling it phase two as I move this work into my next two book projects being developed)!

Posted in building_theory_through_practice, cultural studies, epistemology, ethnographies, Eve Online, facebook, internet research, machinima, Object_stares_back, rad Zabibha, secondlife, technology, WoW, writing technologies, writing the Self and Other | 1 Comment

personally revisiting internet pasts through offline journeys

Mapping nodes where my research and personal journeys have (and continue to ) overlap online/offline

over the years …its mostly a personal journey on my own, not surprisingly.

Last week (not yesterday) on Saturday, I was walking the streets of London looking for an Internet Cafe where my first experience of a f2f meeting of friends (flesh meet we used to call them?) formed fully through online discussion spaces (this group were from the spoon-collective list “cybermind” http://www2.iath.virginia.edu/spoons/).

It was akin to meeting a group of pen pals – but with hardcopy snail mail letters we would not have shared the same letter with a *group* of people – some of whom we did not know we were “broadcasting” to since we were still writing as if we were writing one to one letters (I think I said something of this sort in my dissertation way back in the 90s when this was all new in my understanding and experience and it was considered a research “finding” through my cyberethnographic investigations)….

I had my 11/12 year old son with me then – and we both figured out the London underground to get there (this was our first actual venture into London city – previously we had only been at Heathrow airport en-route to the US etc) – and little did I know at that time, how much the online/offline social world would be shaping his skills and personality – future social and professional life. But knowing this and being aware of this in this very personal, applied, concrete and historically contextual manner makes me able to connect with how my undergraduate students (not just grad students) live through these contexts. The fact that I have many nieces, nephews and even a grandniece and grandnephew who are not only sophisticated with-body world travelers but are also sophisticated navigators of online/offline social networks in their personal, educational and professional lives, enhances this understanding.

I think how commonplace it is now to weave online and offline social networks and how the younger generations no longer think about this … and of course the social networks that form through each of the platforms (multiple and multifarious in present times) and software available in present times are of such a wide range…

Now, as I continue my ethnographic investigations in virtual worlds – am waiting for an upgrade again so I can re-join the 3D worlds and continue to follow the RMTs…

It would be another kind of personal journey, no doubt, if I also tried to stretch my mapping to physically travel through
all the places (not just the countries – but the actual places, nooks and crannies) I recollect from my journeys hopping from country to country in my childhood.

[excuse the sloppy erasures in the image below :)]

Posted in building_theory_through_practice, ethnographies, going down memory lane, internet research, stuff, technology, writing the Self and Other | Leave a comment

Discussing Affect on FB

Greg Seigworth – co-editor for the Affect Theory reader recently released, is kindly donating time to help my grad students in trying to understanding and dialogue around issues of Affect.

(and p.s. – yes there is a connection between my following of micro-moneys, placement of affect and online/offline ethnographies – partly why my grad seminars this semester are “Subaltern Studies and Affect” and “Digital Media, Race [Labor] and Affect”)

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and yes – I’m still following the saris…

meshes everywhere….

learning everywhere

just so I can get the “correct” aesthetic…

Posted in dastkar andhra conversations/monologues, ethnographies | Tagged | Leave a comment

Following the Money…from fluff to essentials…

My research journeying to where money is being exchanged through online software is taking me into various muddyings of ideology, finance and socio-economic practice – in places of work through play.

click, click, click…

Start with the fluff and move to essentials…. microtransact away… or make essential the fluff (which is a bit different from essentializing fluff…)

[there’s an interweaving commentary I have that’s being staged in my head on the interweaving of social entrepreneurship, microtransactions, crowdfunding and micropolitics – but you can ask me about that f2f sometime]

Virtual worlds and social networks… looking at crowdfunding, microtransactional software, RMT and so on.

Practices of money exchange have always been “virtual” so this makes me think anew about the binary we have in the internet era – between “virtual” and “real” – in the context of money.

Parallel -ly, examining historical descriptions of finance communities and parallel as well as alternative practices of production, consumption, marketing … seeing how these trajectories allow me to push at the teleology of modernity ….(that [in]visibly underpins various current day political approaches to money and transactions of value).

So reading about Money and Liberation … Micropolitics and microtransactions – money as discourse (but of course it is – I dont see that as “new”) – exchange value, after all, is based on valuing through discourse and practice – and this connects back to Virtual worlds, RMTs and Virtual Economies (at least in my writing that is forthcoming). In that sense I am taking these issues in a different direction than that taken by some researchers of gaming cultures and virtual economies.

Posted in Crowd-funding, development studies, e-commerce, etsy, Eve Online, internet research, Microfinance, secondlife, technology, WoW | Leave a comment

widening gaps…

The body will be more vulnerable

it can be attacked

no amount of social networking and learning of skills
may help

networking in so-called public space where the body cannot enter

voicing out loud when the body



be there

no it is NOT

a revolution if you can only speak or write to me

I worry about what is happening to your body
and how you can protect
and shape it….

because these bodies – all we are doing
is watching you…

we cannot be there to help you

so why are we asking you to shout out to us?

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when you see it out of context….

“Moreover, khadi mentality means decentralisation of production and distribution of the necessities of life”

– M.K. Gandhi

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revisiting (actually, looking for some past exchanges I need for a paper – but…)




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Sari tales

S writes – “Master weavers did pick up this technology…true, it was more for furnishing products, especially when markets opened out….but I again come back to narayanpet, where master weavers have framelooms, and are making sareees on it. It does have a clear product identity (unlike a more universal fursnishing fabric), but I think what matters is the existence of a market niche or demand which drives entrepreneurs to exploit the potential (of higher productivity) in frameloom technology. But if we go back in time to consider its introduction, then it was definitely an agenda of modernization and not market demand.”

Okay – so here I am a (not seasoned and quite ruptured and awkward) consumer of saris.. a consumer of fabric…

asking if the apparel shapes me or I shape the apparel?

if I wear a sari – where must I loose weight? if I wear jeans where must I loose weight?

Did the loom make the sari or the sari make the loom?

what kinds of looms allowed what kinds of saris (we know that as they exist looms are structured around the sari concept so it is difficult to adjust them to work with fabric for other garments etc)

how did the loom shape fashion and convention

and how does our distance from the loom in the market “freeze” notions of sari as tradition – even while it is a living shifting fashion/style practice in everyday life –

as also does bollywood and tollywood (and the fashion industry internal to India) shape the notion of the correct or chic way to wear a sari …

or dupatta…

What I write below may make absolutely no sense – but I have to insert this in the conversation – will elaborate later:

I am designing and producing saris on an online 3d social and technologically mediated environment (called secondlife) where people buy and sell clothes etc. – I have several stalls and shops and a studio there where I make these saris and sell. However different consumers respond differently to my way of designing saris (using handloom textures bought mostly from Dastkar Andhra). Some of them have museumized the notion of sari as traditional indian wear in a very particular way – and they have developed “traditions” of what it means to design and create a sari in secondlife – so they have begun to lay down the rules on what layers a sari must contain (and yet each of the sari sellers on secondlife makes them differently – some have bollywood style transparent flowy “fabric” others have pleats attached and so on) so when I adapt and shift the notion it is to experiment with how I can shift the fashion of sari wearing in that environment through providing a slightly different product – but also because of how I use the technologies that help produce these “saris” – such as digital imaging software, digital cameras and the actual building in secondlife after the raw “fabric” has been created offline and imported in….

of course there is the whole other aspect of the sari consumer on secondlife who is part of the Gor…and I dont what practices of sari designing that privileges…

Depending on who the consumer is and their prior experience with saris on secondlife I get different kinds of responses about how a “real” sari should be designed on secondlife and what sorts of practices secondlifers are used to and have come to expect in a sari.

Thus my virtual “loom” (a combination of a situated social panopticon and the digital technologies used to construct the product) shapes my particular style of sari (shall we call it “rad Zabibha pEta cheera”?;-)) – and also my offline practice and experience with sari wearing shapes the way I visualize saris – but some of the people setting the precedent for the “Tradition” of sari making may have actually never worn a sari in their life…

which version of sari is tradition and which authentic – and why

so to get back to the master weavers and niche markets – markets are formed in interaction with what the weaver can produce – that was when loom was the only technology that produced the cloth for the sari….

Posted in bollywood, building_theory_through_practice, dastkar andhra conversations/monologues, epistemology, ethnographies, handloom, rad Zabibha, ruptures, secondlife | Leave a comment

Mangalagiri gown – most sold of rad Zabibha’s items at Nirma Designs location


Posted in building_theory_through_practice, ethnographies, machinima, Object_stares_back, rad Zabibha, representational practices, ruptures, secondlife, stuff, technology, writing the Self and Other | Leave a comment

“staging authenticities” by itineraries that never take us “home”?

what can I say?

whose voices am I consuming as I say

why can I not say

when you can

but yet you want their authentic voices

what I tell you cannot be trusted

that’s what you say

as if you had heard the authentic


then why do you need me to reveal it to you

if you know what it should look like?

Posted in affect, building_theory_through_practice, development studies, epistemology, ethnographies, native informants, representational practices, ruptures, rural, voice | 3 Comments

Tweet One: Genderlog curation from cyberdivalivesl

Hello everyone,

[yes I’m cheating – I doing a blog post that I will then tweet;-)]

Thankyou again to the genderlogindia team for inviting me to curate this week. I start ambitiously wanting to map a social history of South Asian feminist engagement on the internet using a variety of digital tools, software, gadgets and platforms.

I invite you all to help fill in gaps.

Twitter like – I will throw out some statements – you can contest them – add on – debate – elaborate and ask questions. My ambition was to find all the people who’s work I directly or indirectly refer to and link their info to the tweet or ping them if they are twitter – but I doubt twitter speed writing will always allow that. So my apologies ahead of time if I manage to ping or attach links and images of only some people and the work relevant.

There will be much I cannot get to in this timeline of my gender log curation. I can continue with you either through email/skype or my own twitter feed – in fact all of the above.

Depending of course on the tone of the response.

I am originally from India but have lived in the US since 1989. My ethnographic and digital ethnographic work in relation to South Asia was done

  • in India during my travels to India, 
  • among South Asians living in the US, and
  • in various digital spaces as participant ethnographer – so even this act of tweeting for genderlog works to increase my learning as a researcher. 


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Has it been that long?

Well – I’ve never really been a blogger. I have a blog. But never got much into lengthy and regular blogging. I shy away from writing long pieces in public internet space unless they are authorized publication spaces – peer reviewed spaces most often. Writing long pieces for me is associated with formal publication – and I always fear that if I place my well articulated, fleshed out theoretical and research based work in informal online space such as a blog – it will get appropriated – people don’t tend to think to actually cite my work unless its formally published in a journal article; an organization’s blog or in as a book chapter in a print book or as a print book that then all get digitized and placed online for circulation anyway.

I do however like to converse online – via my various social media outlets.

So why am I back here to “converse/monologue” on my blog site – because I remembered it was here… and I want to invite people to join the twitter conversation this week (starting Dec 3/4 2017) as I curate  for https://twitter.com/genderlogindia 

Posted in building_theory_through_practice, digital humanities, epistemology, internet research, random notes, representational practices, technology, writing technologies | Leave a comment


Radhika Gajjala is Professor of Media and Communication and of American Culture Studies at Bowling Green State University, USA.


My work with what has now come to be termed as “Digital Humanities” dates back to the 1990s when we used to call it “Humanities for Computing,” “Technology and the Humanities” and so on. Early collaborations supported by the Institute Advanced Technology in the Humanities (when John Unsworth was Director of the institute) included my work with the Spoon collective (as moderator of the Postcolonial listproc and founder of a couple other listprocs focused on women) and explorations in the PMCMOO and Lingua MOO. My research into South Asian Digital Diasporas through postcolonial and subaltern studies framewords resulted in further engagements in various digital environments. In addition I have used immersive environments such as textbased MUDs and MOOs, secondlife, various social media tools and gaming environments in my teaching at both graduate and undergraduate levels. My research continues to investigate issues around “digital subalternity” and women’s digital labor in contemporary global spaces of work and play. Explorations around cyberculture and the subaltern have led me to offline spaces in rural India and to look at issues around craft communities, women and microfinance, women and mobile phone apps, carework and gendering of space/place through the deskilling of labor. I am particularly engaged in researching contradictions around digital inclusion and the production of archives of subalternity and asking what the “decolonizing” of “Digital Humanities” would look like.


Posted in digital humanities, digital inclusion, epistemology, ethnographies, rad Zabibha, representational practices, ruptures, rural_gaze, secondlife, teaching related, technology, Weavings of the Virtual and Real: Cyberculture and the Subaltern, writing the Self and Other | Leave a comment

Working on my statement/bio for the DIGITAL HUMANITIES ALLIANCE OF INDIA (DHAI)

Its been a while since I’ve blogged (yet again).

I came back here because I’m writing my para etc for the DHAI that I’ve been conversing with…. so thought I’d try out my DHAI bio here and then tweak etc – what’s interesting of course is that links to my projects from 1995 on (before the term “Digital Humanities” are not possible (either because I took them down or someone else did – and some MOOs no longer exist) . I might have saved snapshots (especially of my second life projects) and others but …. to list my pre DH but still definitely DH projects ….I’d have to describe them —


will put the bio/statement in next blog post so I can send that as link to the group.

Posted in digital humanities, digital inclusion | Leave a comment

Almost a whole academic year after #Fulbright-Norway 2015-2016

I returned to Bowling Green, Ohio in June 2016 after a productive and idyllic stay at Bergen for 2015-2016 academic year as Fulbright Professor at University of Bergen, Norway. Many European trips; insights into migrancy and everyday technology use; academic collaborations and so on occurred . The collected interviews and observations in my note books still lie waiting for me to make sense of them almost a year after my return.

But I don’t feel the year of my return was unproductive at all. I was asked to step into an administrative role again for the year – as Director of the American Culture Studies program – and I enjoyed pacing myself out. I was fortunate to have super staff working with me in the School of Cultural and Critical Studies and especially in my East Hall office. Administrative work is a collaboration between the staff member and the administrator. We worked well as a team.

I also enjoyed returning to my graduate seminars (I had two course releases for being Director but I taught an extra course on overload anyway because so many of the ACS/SCCS faculty were on FIL and other sorts of leave and assignments). I also learned a lot about this generation of academic and their anxieties and concerns – this will be a next generation of faculty in a few years. Hopefully these experiences will be useful to me and can be shared and put to use as I proceed in my work as a senior faculty member.

My writing – at first it felt I was dropping all writing and a sense of frustration lingered. But I managed to send a book manuscript out (thanks to the persistence of the publishing editors in encouraging me to send whatever I’d written – I was reluctant to release it – and yes am terrified at how horrible that MS might seem to my external reviewers…).

Beyond that I struggled to write on another of my contracted books – I do collaborative writing so its not easy. Collaboration for me is not about allocating duties and putting pieces together. I write most often with graduate students who also need to be mentored and trained into the process – brilliant as they are – and they teach me a thing or two about writing and persistence as well. This is a process that takes time – much time. Besides with the interviews I have (over 40 for this project) do not feel “enough” – so I started picking up more collaborators and conversations.

A third book project – not contracted – but for which I have over 65 interviews – the tangled yarn project – about which I have given talks (and most recently the SEWSA 2017 keynote) also continues. The interesting thing about this project is that I am engaged in the DIY crafting myself. Slow writing and slow crafting. I have written on this with no set deadlines (except when I have talks/conference presentations). I have so much to say here too.

I have done a lot of reviewing – several journal articles and a couple book manuscripts. I worked with Carol Stabile and the ADA/Fembot team on ADA editing and reviewing.
As a senior faculty member joint appointed in two schools – I did service on committees, worked on an external tenure review letter or two and helped out internally on other review processes on campus.

Finally – I read dissertation and thesis proposals – my advisees and my mentees . Several of these wonderful graduate students received their diplomas this May and I am so proud of the work they’ve done.

I haven’t done so badly really.

So on to a summer of teaching and another academic year of being an academic.


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Fembot Symposium 2017 @BGSU

Fembot Symposium 2017: Gender, Race, Technology and Labor

March 30, 31 and April 1, 2017 @BGSU


Please note that everything in this document is continually being updated and cleaned up


Fembot is a collaboration among faculty, graduate students, media producers, artists, and librarians promoting research on gender, new media and technology. The Fembot community presently spans North America and encourages interdisciplinary and international participation. The ADA journal is an initiative of Fembot.


For info on Fembot Staff – see http://fembotcollective.org/people/fembot-advisory-board/


[All events in KNCR 410 A/B unless otherwise stated]


Info on travel and lodging – https://www.dropbox.com/s/5v67le5ydz5beeh/Directions%20Flyer.pdf?dl=0 ]


Organizer of Symposium at BGSU: Radhika Gajjala, ACS/COMM



Event Planning Assistants @BGSU: Alissa Butler (ACS), Zehui Dai (SMC) and Jacqueline Adams (ACS


(we will list more of the volunteers later)


With funding and in-kind contributions from:


Stoddard O’Neill Grant

School of Cultural and Critical Studies

WGGS Program

Women’s Center

ACS Program

School of Media and Communication

Department of Communication

BGSU Libraries

Provost’s Faculty Development Grant


  • Thursday March 30, 2017 from 1 pm to 2:30 pm – Administrators respond to Digital Humanities: Moderated by Dr. Lee Nickoson, Director of GSW at BGSU,

Invited guests:


Dean Raymond Craig, CAS, BGSU

Dean Kris Blair, CAS, Youngstown State University

Associate Dean Julie Barnes, CAS, BGSU

Dean of Libraries Sara Bushong, BGSU

Associate Dean Carol Stabile, CAS, University of Oregon

Associate Dean of Libraries Colleen Boff, BGSU

Director of ICS – Dr. Jolie Shefer

Director of Collab Lab – Dr. Jeffrey Schnepp

ACS Director – Dr. Andrew Schocket

Dena Eber – School of Art

Acting Director of ACS (2016-2017) – Dr. Radhika Gajjala




  • Thursday March 30, 2 pm to 4 pm – Roopika Workshop with Rhetoric and Writing program? Location not specified


  • Friday March 31, 2 pm Decolonizing Digital Cultural Memory: Digital Humanities as Digital Activism | Research Symposium/Fembot Collective Keynote Speaker: Dr. Roopika Risam, Salem State University |308 BTSU


  • Friday March 31 3 pm to 5 pm – Workshop on Race and Social Media by Andre Brock


  • Friday March 31, 6.30 pm – Opening Speech by Dr. Carol Stabile, Fembot/ADA Founder and Managing Editor


  • Friday March 31, 7.30 pm – Andre Brock Keynote


  • Saturday April 1, 9 to 10.30 “Anticolonial Feminist Information Guerillathon” lead by Bryce Peake


  • Saturday 11 am to 2 pm – workshop on Fembot South Asia (Leaders Sherham Mokhtar, Carol Stabile, Sarah Hamid and Radhika Gajjala)


  • Saturday April 1 2 pm to 4 pm – Critical Pedagogy (Leaders Erika Behrmann and Bryce Peake).


  • Fiber Art and Activism: DIY Handcraft and Women’s Labor: Domestic to Digital (Abby Franquemont, Nancie McCraw and Radhika Gajjala) – may involve spindles, yarn, hooks and needles – 4 to 6 pm
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ADA issue 11 OPR – please participate.


Issue 11 of Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media and Technology is now in open peer review at: http://adareview.fembotcollective.org/.


For those of you new to the Fembot collective, open peer review is when the Fembot community has a chance to read and review contributions being considered for publication in Ada. Additional information about Ada¹s open review process can be found here: http://adanewmedia.org/beta-reader-and-review-policy/.

If you are a member of Fembot, but don’t have a login for the review site, contact our webmistress, Shehram Mokhtar (Schehramm@gmail.com), who will set you up with one. The issue will be in open review until February 20, 2017.


As co-editors of this issue, we are really excited to begin the process of peer reviewing the below contributions:

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Writing about women’s labor

I’ve been rereading work on writing women and “the subaltern” into history –  from 199os ….

I struggled to write – wondered where the writing might happen today (yesterday it happened in my notebook at coffee shop (not the Amsterdam kind – the NW Ohio/USA kind)… the day before it happened somewhere else …

Today I wrote a note or two in a draft blog because I wanted to write out to the world but not on twitter or Facebook.

But – I briefly glanced a Facebook anyway – and well I guess that’s where I started my blog post.


Now these are to be continued in my offline notes.

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hashtags I follow.

Posted in building_theory_through_practice, craft, ethnographies, representational practices, stuff, Weavings of the Virtual and Real: Cyberculture and the Subaltern, writing the Self and Other | Leave a comment

Time for wishful thinking again. Less FB status messages, more blog posts?

Shall I become hopeful that I might actually write blog posts regularly? No promises despite the subject header.

Time will tell.

If you noticed – this “blog post” is itself really written in a format similar to my Facebook status messages – and it would have been a tweet if I’d stayed with the first sentence.

What does a blog post do that a tweet does not – or that Facebook status message does not?

Will it invite my “friends” to come to this site and click some sort of “like”? How will I write without thinking in relation to the sometimes/often unthinking spontaneity and expectation of some sort of response that stands in for a not or a thumbs up?

Perhaps I should explore this medium again for a bit and see what sort of writing and sentences emerge from my engagement with this format for the remaining 10 days of 2016.

Posted in stuff, writing technologies, writing the Self and Other | Leave a comment
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