Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

Beautiful Chaos & Messing Around – Unwriting #rhizo14 collaborative autoethnography

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So Keith and I were DMing the other day and came up with this crazy idea that just proceeded to get crazier and more complex and definitely more beautiful in its chaos. I think we created a monster, but a good one, really 😉

Keith’s already blogged about it here. It started out as me suggesting “why don’t we write an article about why the #rhizo14 collaborative autoethnography isn’t getting written?” and ended up as a google doc to which maybe 14 people got access and maybe 9 or 10 participated either in the body of the text or in the (truly beautiful) marginal comments.

And now we’re faced with another dilemma. What we have created so far is, as Keith has explained, something like a micro-instance of #rhizo14 in action. But in short form. Not really that readable, but something short enough that someone could wade through it and get a sense of what it feels, experientially, to have gone through rhizo14 if you were following the posts of the people who authored that doc.

And now here’s how I feel about this doc: let’s embed it into whatever article we write – but we still need to write something legible that collects our thoughts from everywhere (much of which is in that doc, too, hidden in the ways we’ve written it, but there all the same). We’re all authors of THIS text, and if everyone’s willing, Keith and I could do an intro and conclusion that pulls together some legible strands for an article, with the gdoc embedded in the middle as the “meat” of the article, or as an artefact.

What do others think?

The other thing I’d been hoping to do is to actually give a sampler of the autoethnog itself (from narratives of those people involved in authoring this untext).

Apologies for the messy thoughts. A little overwhelmed after reading the totally unlinear gdoc.

What was incredible about it, though, was this: only ONCE near the very end did I wonder “who wrote that part?” – throughout the document, I could either tell whose voice it was writing, or I could tell it was more than one person writing. Do I really know these people’s writing so well right now that I didn’t even need to consciously process something like this? That’s amazing.

Oh – and one final note (and question to Keith): decalcomania; how’s that concept different from recognizing that “the map is not the territory” (as was mentioned in the marginalia of the gdoc)?

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