Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

Virtually at home where others are visiting…

| 8 Comments

This post is inspired by Catherine Cronin’s blogpost on a workshop at her campus mapping the visitor/resident terrain, and a tweet I noticed a few days ago by Jade Davis about how that language (and the one before it by Prensky’s natives/immigrants) had colonial undertones (well said, Jade!)

Following my tweeting of Catherine’s post, and a Twitter convo that ensued in which Catherine included Dave and Donna in response to questions by Dilrukshi – and it sort of evolved into something that got me thinking…

This image of quadrants with some tools (meant to be personal, so one person might feel more “at home” with one place or another; may be using it institutionally or personally or both) is one taken from Catherine’s blog, one of David White’s (an example, I suppose).

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(Disclaimer: i am a “visitor” to the visitor/resident concept; heard of it a while ago and did not revise my understanding before writing this)

So I created my own version coz i don’t feel i am at home by tool, but by use of tool… I am comfy w facebook but check it more regularly for rhizo14 than to socialize; things like that.

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But also i realized something else: the personal-institutional continuum is problematic; there is a personal/professional blurry divide; and we also belong to multiple institutions – e.g. My university vs Hybridped for me, and i don’t officially belong to Hybridped in the sense i am not on its payroll or editorial board (but am on editorial board of others, one where i feel at home and the other visitor) and yet i have the column which is a monthly “commitment” of sorts.

The whole exercise helped me reflect again on the colonialism angle. How unwelcome ppl often feel as “visitors” (face it) when we are residents somewhere and they’re not – how faculty might feel when I am training them on something they’ve never used before, how it feels when we first start living in another country. Sure, sometimes it’s our home and they are friendly tourists, curious and we are welcoming. Sometimes tourists looking into our stuff feel intrusive. I feel quite uncomfortable, for example, this run of fedwiki where i am not really participating on the fedwiki but contributing to the googlegroup emails occasionally. Do others who don’t know me from before, from the previous fedwiki or elsewhere, do they find me intrusive?
Kinda like Texans think Mexicans are illegal immigrants to their land?

Ok…. Then again there are spaces where i am just less comfy.

I realized that basically i participate better in a MOOC if its main space, the most busy space, is one where i am comfy. Twitter and blogs mainly, tho for rhizo14 it was facebook. Places more busy on any LMS or google+ i can’t fully engage with because i never got around to residing there and… How many spaces can you occupy at any one time anyway?

Reminds me of sthg Dave Cormier raised: how many communities can you commit to at one time?

Which makes me realize why I am having trouble fully engaging with new hashtags and cMOOCs like #humanMOOC – too overloaded w #rhizo14 plus upcoming #et4online plus Hybridped stuff… And then there’s actual work and actual life in the 3rd dimension πŸ™‚ and time is linear, so… πŸ™‚

Anyway I like the mapping exercise and would like to use it in a workshop. Reminds me of one i learned via #octel last year and used in a workshop… Not on this device πŸ™‚ I’ll post it later πŸ™‚

8 Comments

  1. Thanks Maha, will have to follow the links you’ve given. Trying to read “Of Hospitality” by Derrida and understand his concept of “stranger.” Except it must not be the right season for reading French Philosophers and I end up in a D&G type fog?
    I found my inability to sift through their deliberately obscure presentation style was challenging at first, now I consider it jive and not worth the effort. It seems anti-intellectual but I grew up with people who thought being incomprehensible gave them special status though really they were just wasting your time.
    The map concept feels like the right-tool for finding a place to work from the sense of periphery or strangeness I’m starting to situate my understanding from. Now reading “The Primacy of Caring – Stress and Coping in Health and Illness” by Patricia Benner and Judith Wrubel on Nursing in a medical setting and realize the ideal they advocate is “accepted” as proper behaviour by the medical system but distorted by the realities of an overworked system.
    Being with people who’s beliefs in the sanctity of their calling justify their actual ingenuous presentation is something not to be openly mentioned. Knocking people in the sleep walk of their disillusions while they are awake can be dangerous. Though not dangerous with all people and I would think the barrier resides in the comfort of the comfort of residency or expertise.
    Thanks for the map idea!
    Is there a relationship between the Western calendar first day of spring on March 20 and Egyptian Mother’s Day?

    Scott

  2. Maha, this post has really got me thinking. I love the way that you’ve shifted from tool to hashtag, this has helped me think through my own sense of discomfort or engagement in different conversations. I agree with you, the positioning on any given map (with any given label) isn’t only relative to your own practices in other spaces, but is absolutely framed by the behaviour of others. It’s impossible to conceive of ourselves as visitors, residents, tourists, settlers, colonisers, invaders … without some tacit acknowledgement that this is relative to the other people operating in the same space.

    Scott, I’ve been reading Of Hospitality for a couple of years, just keeping it around me and taking in a bit at a time. I have the same instinctive reaction as you to disingenuous or obscuring work, but this one really has opened up a space for me, especially in thinking through how the host and the guest are always the same person. I think this relates directly to the ways in which the practices of others can unsettle our sense of belonging in particular spaces or conversations. I might think of myself as welcome, or at home, while having unintended impact on others.

    I would really like to take some time to develop a host/guest map of online practice although it would be difficult to represent precisely because these identities don’t settle, ever.

    • Thanks Kate and Scott for reminding me of Derrida’s “Of Hospitality” – i recently heard it mentioned in a podcast on rhetoricity and wanted to follow up on both concepts and forgot πŸ™‚ i keep thinking i might like Derrida but yeah. I resist obscure writing. Will probably just dip in a bit then fond secondhand accounts that use good quotes that i can steal πŸ™‚ my email signature is Derrida πŸ™‚ i may as well try to read him πŸ™‚

      But agreeing with both of you on many of the points you make. As I did this map i realized there was a time when my social facebook was soooo much more ‘resident’ and that sometimes i distance myself from the ‘rhizo14 facebook’ intentionally, etc. It shifts all the time, not just by tool but by hastag/topic.

  3. Kate, good to hear someone else is working on Derrida too. How much of ourselves we give to each other is difficult settle on. Can we ask for care as something we deserve or is that too much? My cancer clinic has finally defined and mapped out the care I’m to expect and it makes operational sense but leaves me as a place-holder for the care-object in question, due a particular fixed service regimen. As a human I THINK I’m due a different level of care but why am I different than any other broken thing to be readjusted to original specifications and discharged?

    Host / guest map, even if it comes out a bit fuzzy, would be great. I worry about polarities though. I feel like a resident but apparently trigger the stranger alarm in others. Do they determine my right to residency? If each of us is placed in this contextual way will the map reveal anything? To me, the map would be my places of assumed residence surrounded by arrows indicating the forces of rejection, acceptance or stability. That allows me to name variables of felt hospitality or rejection–all I can do is account for myself. Except of course for my Rhizo-swarm identity that I’ll pretend I didn’t mention:-)

    Back to Derrida. He’s more useful to me as usable tool than D&G.

  4. Scott, my thoughts on care are also being formed in the context of trying to decode the meaning of “cancer care”, where it strikes me that care is both a covering euphemism for treatment, and is also the thing covered up: the many surreptitious ways in which humans practice small gestures of care for one another in complex spaces like treatment centres. I’ve recently become interested in hospital signage as a kind of event captioning: what does it mean to enter a building that is labelled in terms of care offered as a service, and in particular, how does this captioning frame the experiences you then have there?

    I’ve read medical practitioner narratives that speak of the moment of passing from being a professional to becoming a patient that fit Derrida’s (and others’) thoughts about the indivisibility of guest and host. So beyond a position on a map there’s also the constant knowing that you are also the map itself.

    The visitor/resident framework has all sorts of hospital resonances, I now see.

  5. Kate, my first “test” of the cancer centre came when I was very sick and strung out and the response was an explanation of the proper behaviours of patients in order to receive service. I thought it was inappropriate treatment but since have come to realize that emotions fall outside their services mandate. They do have posters plastered everywhere declaring support for those in emotional distress but make it hard to access and not
    available outside Edmonton.

    All the human needs things are expectations built by assumptions strong enough to cause the making and displaying of posters but these are just icons to a greater purpose than can actually be practiced. The institute in this case is a kind of a gesture to what could be. Intentions enacted in a space where my “care” is as clumsy as is my behaviour as a resident.

    This map thing gets complex really fast. Now I need a category called “expectations and performances” within my role as map and actor within it. Have to think about this.

    Maha, this I liked:
    O’Gorman, K. D. (2006). Jacques Derrida’s philosophy of hospitality. Hospitality Review, 8(4), 50-57.
    https://pureapps2.hw.ac.uk/portal/files/4162817/Jacques_Derrida_s_philosophy_of_hospitality.pdf

    • Scott what a wonderful reference you gave me! Reading it now before reading Derrida gives useful context. I have lots of questions, such as, what made him anxious in college and what helped him succeed after failure? Why did people at Cambridge object to giving him an honorary doctorate before a majority agreed to give it… And i was v interested in his experiences growing up as a Jew in anti-semitic French Algeria… Gives the whole hospitality thing a different angle, doesn’t it?

  6. I’m curious about the missing bit of Derrida’s past too. The reference came up in a google search: ‘Jacques Derrida+Stranger’. Picked it because it jumps around in a way that I think Keith’s brain does on vacation:-) Restless. I’m reading the Stanford University Press publication “Of Hospitality, Anne Dufourmantelle Invites Jacques Derrida To Respond” which gives text and commentary / interpretation of 2 lectures: “Foreigner Question” and “Step of Hospitality / No Hospitality.”

    Kate’s comment on the indivisibility of guest and host has me thinking about how I sometimes arrive as a guest assuming to topic of conversation will naturally be me. Unfolding my map I begin the lecture… Obviously, my etiquette as a guest needs some work to tone down The-Barbarian-in-the-Tea-Parlor schtick I seem fond of:-)

    Hospitality seems like a tension concept. Something that will never have a definitive resolution. Derrida’s spunky Rhizome?

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