Thursday, March 29, 2018

How (Not) To Argue on the Internet: Sample Online Assignments

“If you have to insist 
that you've won an internet argument, 
you've probably lost badly."

Danth's Law

Twitter Assignment

This week we finish our section in Intersex and Science, reading selections from Confessions of a Teenage Hermaphrodite. As discussed in class, the book uses a lot of imaginative imagery and metaphors. This visual style of writing has its benefits and difficulties, but is especially well suited to reading in a digital world. Twitter likewise depends on images, gifs, and other visuals.

For your weekly post, you will be posting a string of 5-7 tweets based on the information and ideas of one of the chapters. Each tweet should include an appropriate image. DO NOT simply copy and paste whole paragraphs. Rather, your posts should follow an arc:
introducing the idea in your own words (with image),
offering quotes (with image and citation),
close-read the quotation to unpack the many hidden or metaphoric meanings (with image)
sharing personal reactions (with image),
concluding by talking about the social implications (with image).

Throughout each tweet, use the hash-tags:


Additionally, you must respond to at least one other student's tweet.

Finally, copy and paste your tweets into Canvas as a response. The reason for this is to make sure we have a back-up record of your post just in case a Tweet gets lost or problems arise. No need to include images.


Podcast Assignment

This Wednesday's class will be another online class! Combining the Canvas post (2 points) and the participation for the day (1 point), you will all be creating a "script" for an imaginary podcast episode on misconceptions and problems in how people connect transgender and mental illness, responding to the book Last Time I Wore a Dress --- you only need to have read the prologue and first few chapters in the first PDF but may read the other PDF if you are interested.

The discussion thread will be "the Beyond Male and Female podcast." Each of you will be guest speakers on this discussion thread, although the first person(s) who posts should take on the persona of host/s and give a cute/funny introductory sentence or two. Everyone else should introduce themselves when you add your entry (e.g. "Hey, this is Susan here. I had a though about that..." Every entry should be written as though it was being spoken into a mic.

You are required to post two (2) entries.
One short (one paragraph) entry in that cites Scholinski's book, The Last Time I Wore a Dress.
One regular (two paragraph) entry that adds new information to the conversation which cites outside research from Case Western Reserve University's online library database.

Try to write your responses in ways that responds to the last person(s) as though you are all being broadcast together in one big conversation. Consider using the "yes, however," or "yes, and furthermore..." tactic of responding to another person but also offering your own thoughts.


Tumblr Assignment

This week, we discussed Leelah Alcorns life and death as recorded on her Tumblr, Transgender Queen of Hell. In class on Wednesday, we selected images from her blog and close-read them as representative of her mentality, social and digital contexts, as well as what kept her going and what ultimately failed her.

For this week's post, you will select two of the images from the PDF that were not discussed in class to produce paragraph length close-readings. Screen shots will be useful to help readers see the image you are describing and interpreting.


Youtube Assignment

This week we read and discussed Animorphs #3, reading Tobias the Hawk as metaphorical representative of transgender youth. For Post 7, you will not be posting to Youtube but should write your post as though you are a Youtuber/Vlogger doing a Review of Animorphs #3. Open with a fun title for your channel/video and write in the voice of someone speaking to a camera. Your review should focus on how Animorphs #3 could be used to discuss transgender issues with young people. Focus on one particular element: dysphoria, depression, isolation, being an ally, activism to save other marginalized people, privileges in relation to gender presentation or transition, drag, etc.


#Hashtag Assignment

Over the seminar, we have explored different elements of online life via themes, projects, and methods. In particular, we have learned the value of being pithy in social media, such as through the invention and use of hashtags.

As this is the final Canvas post, to bring the seminar to a close you will write three hashtags of your own (with explanations) based on specific days' discussion over the semester. These hashtags will be due on Monday and discussed as part of our final reflection.

I look forward to reading and discussing your hashtags in class on Monday!

Best wishes,

Dr. B

The format of your three hashtags may be a bit longer than usual hashtags (try to avoid just single words) although they are likely to be just a single sentence.

Hashtags 1-3:

"Write your #Hashtag in bold as a sentence that summarizes some lesson, motto, or rule." #LikeThis

Explanation 1-3:

Under the #hashtag, write in italics a description of what specific day of the seminar this precept reflects or derives from in some way. Name the assigned reading for the day, even if it is incidental to the overall lesson. Mention how this lesson stuck out to you personally as one of your top 3 take-away concepts. If your hashtag is more general, one that covers a whole section or a specific assignment, locate a day that represents this lesson for you. Try to give a medium sized paragraph of at least 5 sentences.



Monday, March 19, 2018

The Council on Queer Christianity: LGBTQI Marriage and the Bible

"Where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people and your God my God."

Ruth 1:16

The Bishops of the Queer Christian Church are writing brand new policies regarding the issues of marriage. To debate the issue, they have called you as experts to hold the First Council on Queer Christianity Because this is the 21st century, the council will be held online (not in the physical classroom), where participants will interrogate texts, respond to questions, debate proposals, and deliver decisions back to the Bishops. Beyond offering decisions for Queer Christian Church, the experts in the Cleveland Council will be demonstrating their acumen in close reading texts, considering contexts, dialectically arguing with one another, and collaboratively coming to a decision.

The First Council on Queer Christianity will begin at class-time (3:20 PM) on Monday, at which time the opening remarks will be made by each and all of the representative experts. Each post should be around four paragraphs with a paragraph devoted to a one particular line from each of the three required texts: Colossians 3, Ephesians 5, and Galatians 3. Posts must be made to Canvas by the START of class-time (3:20 PM). Next, the Council will enter the debating portion of the Council. Each of you have 24 hours (until 3:20 PM on TUESDAY) to submit AT LEAST two responses to two different experts’ opening remarks. Remember to try the “yes, and…” or “yes, however…” structure of arguing. Remember that dialectic argumentation is all about meeting THESIS with ANTITHESIS in order to arrive at an improved SYNTHESIS. Consider many sides.

Finally, in class-time (48 hours after the start of council) we will reconvene in the seminar room to bring the debate to give closing remarks and make recommendations.



Questions to the Council

Required Readings:

Colossians 3, Ephesians 5, and Galatians 3.
Reference each at least once but focus on particular lines.


WHO (with what qualities) should be married?
  • Consider the qualities of gender in the potential partners
  • Consider the qualities of sexuality in the potential partners
  • Consider the ethical or spiritual qualities of the potential partners

WHAT roles (if any) should exist in marriage?

  • Consider challenges posed by Feminism
  • Consider challenges posed by Gay, Lesbian, Bi/Pan/Asexual partnerships
  • Consider challenges potentially posed by Trans, Intersex, Non-Binary people

WHY should (or shouldn’t) marriage exist?
  • Consider the role of property, law, social divides, and/or familial authority
  • Consider the role of love, sexuality, and childbearing
  • Consider the potential “spiritual” (broadly defined) purposes or dangers




Monday, March 12, 2018

The Praxis of Silence: Teresa de Cartagena and Grove of the Infirm

"Who could hear with the ears of his soul such healthy advice if his physical ears were filled with the noise of human voices?"

Teresa de Cartagena

Deafness is traditionally defined as a disability but medieval and modern deaf writers have long made the case for the concept of “deaf-gain.” As part of our embodiment narrative exercises, we have been pushing beyond the intellectual assent to disability theory and into the praxis of enacting life and ideas together. Towards that end, each of you will practice the habit of Teresa de Cartagena by engaging silence physically, intellectually, and socially.

By intentionally experiencing silence in a loud, busy, stimulating modern world, you will engage to the writing of Teresa de Cartagena in a way that makes the theory into an embodied lesson and consider the challenges as well as the benefits of silence.

The Praxis of Silence will begin at the usual class-time (5:30 PM) on Monday. After this time, you have 24 hours to find an 1 hour 15 min of silence. The first critically important and integral task is to find somewhere as perfectly silent as possible to sit or stand for an hour and fifteen minutes. This may be a museum, a library, a park (be safe), or even your own empty room. Please do not use music or other audio to cover over the ambient noise. Note: what you will experience is NOT the same as what deaf people necessarily experience. Rather, you will be learning in your own way and with your own embodiment what it means to live in and with silence.

While you sit in silence, you are to limit your activities and distractions. You may walk around, think, and do some light reading from the book of Teresa de Cartagena OR from read the lyrics to some form of music (e.g. as Teresa does the Psalms). However, reading should only consist of less than half (30 min max.).




Before 24 hours is up, you must write a four paragraph post that uses two quotes from Teresa de Cartagena’ in order to help you narrative your embodied experience of silence. How does the theory inform your praxis? How did the physical experience inform your theory? Consider attached questions.

How did the experience of silence affect your body and mind?
  • Consider whether or not you moved, fidgeted, sat motionless, etc.
  • Consider what emotions and sensations came and went
  • Consider how your mind and thoughts changed over the hour.

How did the experience of silence make passages of the Grove of Infirm clearer?
  • Consider how certain sentences are different to read than to experience
  • Consider how words often are short-hand for complex physical events
  • Consider how reading changes in quiet versus among noise

How did reading the Grove of the Infirm affect how you experienced silence?
  • Consider what things you focused on because of the book
  • Consider how you felt about the experience because of the book
  • Consider how the book made the experience an intellectual one