Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Net/Working: Looking back and looking forward

This week marks the one-year anniversary of Hook & Eye! Rather than try to emulate Heather's inimitable style I've decided to embark on a bit of a meta-consideration of why we decided to begin this blog, and to look forward into the unknowable future.

My involvement with Hook & Eye began with a conversation in a loud restaurant in Montreal. I had met Heather when I was a graduate student attending a conference in Edmonton, but we certainly didn't know each other well when we made plans to get together to chat during Congress 2010. Truth be told, we knew each other so little that I was more than surprised--and flattered!--when Heather showed up to my panel. You can imagine my surprise when she came up to the panelist and asked is we minded if she tweeted our talks. Believe it or not, this was my first introduction to the useful tweet. I left the panel inspired not only by the papers and discussions, but also excited to figure out why in the world academics were on Twitter. Alright, I also left feeling sheepish that I didn't really get Twitter yet, but it should come as no surprise that I'm the luddite of our editorial group.

Later that evening we met for dinner. I was excited and anxious (I'm a nervy little thing) and curious: what would we talk about? We talked about many things, but ultimately we talked about networking. No, not the kind of networking that made me break into a cold sweat as a graduate student. The well-meaning encouragement that 'you need to get out there and network!' was hugely confusing for me as I thought hard work and publishing was all it took to get a job. What a lamb I was. We talked about what I've come to think of as feminist networking: networking that is positive, proactive, and often as much in the service of the good of another as it is for the good of oneself. A few weeks later as Aimée entered the conversation and the idea of Hook & Eye began to take shape as a reality I had my first experience of what many of you have known for a long time: online communities are networks of heterogenous subjects  that have the potential to function as "culturally productive, politicized counterpublics" (Nguyen).

Writing for Hook & Eye have been formative for me this past year. I've seen my co-bloggers move ever onward in their stellar careers, I've watched our stats grow, I've fretted over low-to-no comments, and I've fretted over too many comments. I've met readers at conferences, recognized my students names as they bravely post comments, and I've grappled with how very difficult it is to take up public space.

As we move forward into our second year I'd like to thank Heather and Aimée for their wit, wisdom, and general chutzpah, and I'd like to thank you, Readers. We started this blog as an attempt to create space to think through the gendered realities of working in the Canadian university system, and we couldn't do that without you.

So thank you for reading. Thank you for commenting. Thank you for lurking. Thank you for submitting guest posts (& thank you in advance--please keep them coming!) Thank you for discussing, disagreeing, conversing, thinking, and net/working with us.

Bring on the new year!
_____________________________
Nguyen, Mimi. Untitled column. Punk Planet, no. 40 (November/December).
http://www. worsethanqueer.com/slander/pp40 .html.


3 comments:

  1. Thank you for writing! Reading Hook & Eye is one of those acts of positive feminist networking for me--it feels like I'm sitting down for coffee and learning about the parts of academic life that they don't teach you in school from women I admire.

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  2. Aww, shucks! What a great way to start the year, Erin! I can hardly believe this is our second September already, not because it still feels new to me to blog and comment here, but because it feels so natural, like something we've done forever.

    Hooray!

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  3. The three of you have done such good work here over the past year. Blogs are an increasingly important space, and it's encouraging to find one that can allow room for both the academic and the personal (and I really try not to believe in the dichotomy that phrase indicates!).

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