Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

Honor in Company #oes2018

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Two nearly identical tweets made my day (my month?) today

https://twitter.com/greeneterry/status/993500455023112192?s=19

Much as this is great for the ego, there’s some extra special things to add here

  1. The honor in this slide resides mainly in the company on that slide. People who are inspirations to me but also many of whom are friends (my kid looked at the slide and immediately recognized Amy and Chris from DPLI and Catherine and Audrey from OER17) and others with whom I’ve worked and conversed closely (Robin) and two women whose work I respect highly and follow (Safiyya and Tara). The honor is in the company because of how great and influential their work is, so I’m honored to be counted among them
  2. The honor in the person who is mentioning us, Rajiv, also a friend and inspiration and himself a critical open educator I highly respect and love. Coincidentally, earlier today I was checking out his #ScholarSunday list where I think he pledged to amplify the work of (I think mainly) women and I definitely noticed many of the women who ended up on that slide. Rajiv just modeled how you can come up with a list of 8 influential people in the field of open edu, all of whom are women, POC (or as Tara pointed out, 3 of us are WOC). I had a moment of “take that every idiot who manages somehow to quote only white men in a paper or presentation”
  3. There was honor in the two people who tweeted a picture of the slide. One very close friend (Bonnie) and one really good friend (Terry), both of whom are part of vconnecting and which reminded me that so are Rajiv, Robin, Chris, Catherine and Amy. So that’s also a point of pride, that so many of the people I consider to be critical open educators (coz I agree w Rajiv) choose to be part of vconnecting.
  4. Such lists are always always partial. Incomplete. And also of a moment. Maybe a month from now at a different conference Rajiv would choose 8 others. If and when I make such lists I often forget someone really important. Or you gotta leave someone out or you’ll end up listing your entire Twitter list. So I take my presence on one of these with pride and humility together… And loads of appreciation. And a sense of responsibility to keep living up to these expectations. And a recognition that my work is louder than that of others (e.g. Virtually Connecting is the brainchild of Rebecca and me, and grew because of the work of Autumm… And works because of around 30-40 consistent volunteers, many of whom are women and critical open educators in some way, but I get more than my share of the credit). And that my work, particularly my global South and postcolonial critiques are co-constructed with others from my region such as Shyam Sharma, Laura Czerniewicz, Paul Prinsloo, Sukaina Walji, Taskeen Adam, Thomas Mboa, Rusul Alrubail… And Rajiv himself!
  5. My husband saw the term “movement” and got worried about politics. When Uncommon Women Coloring book came out, he was shocked by the term “activist” under my picture. Although my critical open advocacy and work is not political in the sense that worries him (aka can’t get me in jail in Egypt) it is inherently political in other ways. I don’t know if my family will ever “get it” about what I do or how this is an honor. It’s hard to explain it if u don’t know who Audrey Watters and Catherine and Rajiv and all of em are (and my husband has met half these people, but he wouldn’t know, right?)

I’ll stop here. I need to either sleep or write my next blogpost. Whichever I get energy for!

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