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Transforming the Imaginary

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Created: December 29, 2000
Latest update: January 3, 2001
E-Mail Curran or Takata.

Dialog on the Arrogance of Domination:
Our Students and Higher Learning

December 29, 2000
Data Sequence 01

The following e-mail dialog occurred between Wisconsin and California, as we planned research activities and papers and conference presentations. jeanne decided that the dialog should go up, with very minor editing to protect the innocent, so that those of us who work with qualitative data could have access to the actual data. The dialog shows how we come to know one another and to negotiate each others' different agendas, priorities, and concerns. Analysis will follow at a later time. jeanne, December 29, 2000.

The participants are jeanne, Susan, Gale and Mac, Wisconsin students of Susan's, whom jeanne has never met face-to-face. This is our first attempt to put such data up in accessible form, and we realize we'll have to learn how to do this. But meanwhille, we hope that you can begin to see the formation of transformed discourse. Notes on our own perceptions of how the discourse is transforming will appear in contrasting color: green, Mac. It's arbitrary! But I won't give up my colors, jeanne.

On Thursday, December 21, 2000, jeanne wrote to Susan:

"Gracious, what a day. I did the painting for Mac. Haven't written the who's who yet, but will soon.

It's at: http://www.csudh.edu/dearhabermas/whowho.htm#mac. Going to bed. love and peace, jeanne"

On Friday, December 22, 2000, Susan wrote:

"went out in nearly zero temperatures to pick up [the family] from the airport. they're back safely. 'spose to get more snow tomorrow but only a couple of inches. i'm so tired of winter already!!! gotta go. susan"

On Friday, December 22, 2000, jeanne wrote:

"Glad they're home safely. I'm having a scandously good time working. jeanne"

On Saturday, December 23, 2000, Susan wrote:

"more good news. they accepted both proposals. next week, i'll start working on the travel grant proposal for us." susan

E-mail from WSSA:
"Congratulations. Your paper has been accepted for the WSSA meetings in April. A formal letter will follow after the first of the year. . .
j eller"

Friday, April 20
XIII. 10:15-11:45
New Ways of Learning: An Interactive Teaching/Learning Model from the Student Perspective
Moderators:
Susan R. Takata, University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Jeanne Curran, California State University, Dominguez Hills<,br> Presenters:
Gale Horton, University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Rebecca McLaughlin, University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Other students?

E-mail from WSSA: "Congratulations. Your paper has been accepted for the WSSA meetings in April. A formal letter will follow after the first of the year. . . .
j eller"

Saturday, April 21
XX. 10:15-11:45
Interrelating Theory, Policy, Practice: Examination of Habermas and Other Critical Theorists
Moderators: Susan R. Takata, University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Jeanne Curran, California State University, Dominguez Hills
Presenters: Gale Horton, University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Rebecca McLaughlin, University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Other students?

On Saturday, December 23, 2000, jeanne wrote:

"How did you like the painting of Mac? Hope to get to the story soon, but Arnold's home all week-end, so . . . . I just put up that Reno is a go . . . Exciting, hmm? love and peace, jeanne

On Saturday, December 23, 2000, Susan responded:

"noticed that this morning!" (On Saturday)
"i've been checking Dear Habermas to see what you've been adding daily. (On Friday)"

jeanne's comments:

I went back this far in our data because I had noticed in the process that Susan and I were conveying our intense excitement with the process itself. Only in rereading the e-mail did I begin to wonder why on earth Susan, on the 22nd of December would announce as "good" news that we had two entire panels of papers to prepare with our students for April in Reno. And why did I respond with similar enthusiasm? I know what Susan will say "Because it's really real." Only on the 3rd of January, as we faced the impending deadlines, did we realize the pace we were setting for ourselves.

I have tried to keep most of the e-mail dialog intact, because it seemed to me that it gives a sense of how the site, the virtual community, and the transformation of discourse are taking place.

The above sequence of dialog also shows the willingness of both faculty and students to risk trust in one another. The WSSA panels were discussed, and Susan and I had a fairly strong sense of how they would go, but as becomes clear in the following dialog sequences, some of our students didn't have a clue. What we will be explaining as we review this data is the ways in which trust developed, slowly, with glitches, and by ascription, not strictly by achievement. That's an important distinction for us. The sharing of theory and praxis has begun to establish a bond which leads to ascriptive status within the virtual community. That bond serves to help us trust one another when normative expectations seem not to be met, as when a student disappears and becomes a "field mouse" we have to go hunt for.

Or when Susan and I are writing at different times and trying to stay in touch and map a common direction. Those are pretty hard things to do across thousands of miles. I trust that at some point Susan is checking on what I'm putting up, and she trusts that I will call when we're moving too fast, and need to touch base. The students trust that the ambiguities will be straightened out; that we won't deny them; we won't assume that our perception is the only really real perception involved. They trust in a good faith hearing.

Our initial recognition of this "trust" relationship was described in Trust Is Not Easy to Come By, based on Marlene Veliz' insights. And we're still working on buliding that process of trust into the academic discourse.

Continue dialog.