Beginning January 3rd, Ohio State students will be participating in a graduate seminar in the department of Comparative Studies, facilitated by Dr. Maurice Stevens (NV, CV). As one of their course requirements, designed to facilitate public performance, they will be using Newsvine to publish their responses to readings and classroom discussions.
In the next ten weeks, Mykola Bilokonsky and I will help to facilitate this course by publishing our thoughts on P&P readings and student responses to Newsvine. (Who knows? We may even attend a real-life meeting or two! I smell a future podcast...) We will also be providing a weekly or bi-weekly roundup of terms and concepts in student response and discussions.
We welcome existing Newsviners, already experts in the act of political performance, to follow and participate in these discussions. We would also like to invite non-student users to join the CS Performance and Politics group and to publish their own reading responses, thoughts and ideas as they pertain to the course. This course is about political performance and identity--in short, it's about what we all do, and we need your participation to make it work!
The course will encourage its participants to think about the intersections between performance and politics. Through discussions in seminar and on Newsvine, the class will explore what constitutes "performance"; how institutions, communities and individuals use performance to define social populations and designate their behaviour; and how and to what extent groups and individuals resist those designations by engaging in "their own" self-making activities. Concurrently, the class will explore the ways in which political activity--from picketing to voting to participating in online debate--relate to each other and to the ways in which groups and individuals identify themselves.1
While the questions outlined in the course syllabus may seem heady and academic, they address realities that we, not only as world citizens, but as Newsviners, confront on a daily basis. We are bombarded by polls that force us to take sides with and against each other (Barack or Hilary? Patriot or Traitor? Believer or Atheist?); we bear witness to countless, endless partisan flame wars; we publish our political opinions for the world to see; all in the name of Getting Smarter Here2. But, are we getting smarter? How? Why? What else does Newsvine offer us? How does it help us to "make" ourselves, and what do we become when we participate here?
Should you like to follow along in our reading, I have published the book list here. We are presently exploring ways to publish the Course Reader in digital format, so watch for updates! If you would like to follow along with Performance and Politics discussions, you can do so by visiting the group page or by tracking the tag pandp.
A note to contributors: for any Performance and Politics-related material you publish, please include the pandp tag.
In-class discussion of the first reading will take place on January 8th, and the first set of responses should be posted to Newsvine on January 9th. Maurice, Myk and I are looking forward to working with all of you!