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Links to my published articles online
List of Publications with Full Citations

(in press)
A Longitudinal Analysis of Weblogs: 2003-2004

Language Networks on LiveJournal

Adolescent Diary Weblogs and the Unseen Audience

Conversations in the Blogosphere: An Analysis "from the Bottom Up". Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS-38) Best Paper Nominee.

Weblogs as a bridging genre

Bridging the Gap: A Genre Analysis of Weblogs. Winner of the 2004 EduBlog Awards as best paper.

Common Visual Design Elements of Weblogs

Women and Children Last: The Discursive Construction of Weblogs

Time until my next publication submission deadline
8 December 2006 23:59:59 UTC-0500

Links to my conference papers online
The Performativity of Naming: Adolescent Weblog Names as Metaphor

Buxom Girls and Boys in Baseball Hats: Adolescent Avatars in Graphical Chat Spaces

Time until my next conference submission deadline
1 December 2006 23:59:59 UTC-0500

Adolescents and Teens Online Bibiliography
Last updated July 8, 2005.

Weblog and Blog Bibliography
Last Updated November 22, 2005.

My CiteULike Page

My Book2
New books are added but reading status is rarely accurate.

May 29, 2006

A Victorian woman wants to give me money?

Ok, like everyone else I get my share of "Nigerian" email, but this one really caught my eye.  Look at the language, it's not the usual broken English rather it is decidedly period structure.  Is this taken in part from a real period letter?  Say from the 1800's-ish period or did the writer learn English from reading Victorian novels?  Clearly it does not approach modern English (U.K.) usage.  It is interesting isn't it.

From: Madam Rita Mosley.
4 Old Church Street,
Chelsea, SW3,

Here writes Madam Rita Mosley, suffering from cancerous ailment. I am married to Sir David Mosley an Englishman who is dead. My husband was into private practice all his life before his death. Our life together as man and wife lasted for three decades without child. My husband died after a protracted illness. My husband and I made a vow to uplift the down-trodden and the less-privileged individuals as he had passion for persons who can not help themselves due to physical disability or financial predicament.

I can adduce this to the fact that he needed a Child from this relationship, which never came.

When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of 2.45 Million (2.45 Million Great Britain Pounds Sterling which were derived from his vast estates and investment in capital market with his bank here in UK. Presently, this money is still with the Bank. Recently, my Doctor told me that I have limited days to live due to the cancerous problems I am suffering from.

Though what bothers me most is the stroke that I have in addition to the cancer. With this hard reality that has befallen my family, and me I have decided to donate this fund to you and want you to use this gift which comes from my husbands effort to fund the upkeep of widows, widowers, orphans, destitute, the down-trodden, physically challenged children, barren-women and persons who prove to be genuinely handicapped financially.

I took this decision because I do not have any child that will inherit this money and my husband relatives are bourgeois and very wealthy persons and I do not want my husband hard earned money to be misused or invested into ill perceived ventures. I do not want this money to be misused hence the reason for taking this bold decision. I am not afraid of death hence I know where I am going. I do not need any telephone communication in this regard due to my deteriorating health and because of the presence of my husband relatives around me. I do not want them to know about this development.

As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the bank in UK. I will also issue you a Letter of Authority that will empower you as the original beneficiary of this fund. My happiness is that I lived a life worthy of emulation. Please assure me that you will act just as I have stated herein. Hope to hear from you soon.

You can contact me through my personal email address  [email protected]

Madam Rita Mosley.

Mail sent from WebMail service at PHP-Nuke Powered Site

Posted by prolurkr at 05:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 27, 2006

CFP - Children and Childhood Studies Section of The Mid-Atlantic Popular/American Culture Association 2006 Annual Conference

Children and Childhood Studies Section of The Mid-Atlantic Popular/American Culture Association 2006 Annual Conference
Baltimore, Maryland, October 27-29, 2006

The MAP/ACA is a regional division of the Popular and American Culture Associations, which are, in the words of Popular Culture Association founder Ray Browne, "multi-disciplinary associations interested in new approaches to the expressions, mass media and all other phenomena of everyday life."

From the MAP/ACA home page

Children and Childhood Studies (CCS) is a new section within MAP/ACA and is actively seeking proposals for the MAP/ACA Annual Conference.  CCS focuses on the societal, cultural, and political forces, which shape the lives of children and the concept of childhood. CCS research draws from the behavioral and social sciences as well as the arts.   Papers in this area examine the impact of popular culture on children and childhood, as well as the role of children and young adults as influencers and creators of that popular culture.

For more information about the conference visit:

To submit a proposal, please send a 150-word and a brief CV or bio the area chair listed below by June 15, 2006.  Panels of 3 or 4 presenters, single papers, roundtables, or alternative formats are encouraged. In your proposal, please indicate your AV needs.  Note:  all presenters must bring their own laptops. Only slide projectors, carousels, screens, and combined DVD players/VCRs with monitors can be provided.

2006 Annual Conference of the Mid-Atlantic Popular/American Culture Association
Baltimore, MD October 27-29, 2006

Send proposals to:

Vibiana Bowman
Paul Robeson Library
Rutgers - The State University
300 North Fourth Street
Camden, NJ 08102
[email protected]

Posted by prolurkr at 07:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 24, 2006

Reference Management Sofware...a new tool

I found a reference to a new online-, or offline-, based reference management tool.  I'm going to check it out and invite you to do the same.  It's called WIKINDX.

WIKINDX is a free bibliographic and quotations/notes management and article authoring system designed either for single use (on a variety of operating systems) or multi-user collaborative use across the internet.

Current version is 3.3.1

Developed under the GNU GPL license, the project homepage can be found at sourceforge and the required files/updates are available for download there. A FreeBSD port by Babak Farrokhi may be downloaded from

The sourceforge site has all the appropriate contact details, forums for you to report bugs, request features etc.

It sounds very interesting.  I think I may, with a bit of help I'm sure, be setting up a database to test it out on my own data.  The site says it has:

Posted by prolurkr at 06:05 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

May 19, 2006

CFP - Workshop on Virtual Ethnography in Contemporary Social Science

Call for submissions for workshop
Virtual Ethnography in Contemporary Social Science

Submissions are invited for a workshop to be held in Amsterdam, 27- 29, September 2006.

This workshop aims to focus attention on challenges posed to ethnographic methods by the new digital and electronic media. It will be of interest to scholars engaged in ethnographic research which touches on digital media as well as other social scientists studying globalization and cultural change, digital communication, or cultures of digital media. The workshop forms part of the ongoing programme of the Virtual Knowledge Studio to study and stimulate new research practices in the humanities and social sciences.

Paper submissions are invited which address the following key themes:

The workshop will include presentations, and a poster session. Please send abstracts (500-700 words) to [email protected]. The deadline for submissions is 15 June 2006. Submissions will be reviewed by the organizing committee, and will be selected for a paper presentation or for the poster session. Notice of acceptance will be sent by 1 July. Following the workshop the ambition is to submit selected papers for a special issue of a journal.

The organising committee is made up of Anne Beaulieu (VKS- KNAW), Marjolein van Asselt (U. of Maastricht), Christine Hine (U. of Surrey) and  Ernst Thoutenhoofd (VKS-KNAW). This event is funded by a conference grant from the KNAW and by the VKS. Funds are available to cover travel and hotel costs for speakers whose submissions are selected for presentation at the workshop.   

Posted by prolurkr at 10:11 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 18, 2006

The critters in my backyard

The house I am renting sits on nine, almost vertical, acres of mountainside.  I put out two makeshift feeders, it's amazing what you can do with cheap shallow painting buckets, and a hummingbird feeder.  It's beginning to feel like I need a traffic light outside my workroom window because the rabbits and squirrels seem to think they are in the Indy 500 as they tear around.

So here is my critter sighting list for 1.5 weeks in Colorado, I've seen many other critters but they are the same species I have seen at home:

Posted by prolurkr at 08:58 PM | Comments (0)

New blogging stats

If you haven't looked at Sifry Alerts latest numbers I suggest you check out both posts, State of the Blogosphere, April 2006 Part 1: On Blogosphere Growth  and State of the Blogosphere, April 2006 Part 2: On Language and Tagging.  Here is the conclusion from Part 1.

  • Technorati now tracks over 35.3 Million blogs
  • The blogosphere is doubling in size every 6 months
  • It is now over 60 times bigger than it was 3 years ago
  • On average, a new weblog is created every second of every day
  • 19.4 million bloggers (55%) are still posting 3 months after their blogs are created
  • Technorati tracks about 1.2 Million new blog posts each day, about 50,000 per hour

Part 1 also has an interesting graphic that shows the growth of spam blogs.

Posted by prolurkr at 07:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Work update

I started working on the paper last weekend.  I read:  Frow, John (2005). Genre. New York: Routledge.  I am currently working my way through:  Duff, David (2000). Modern Genre Theory. Essex U.K.: Pearson, it's good reading while I soak at the hot springs.

Yesterday I spent some time writing, I have written about my writing style previously so if you are new to prolurkr you can check the old post to understand why the word counts go up and down.  The diary section started the day at 5142 words and is now 5029, a count that belies the amount of work I did on the section.  Maybe a better count would be that the day started with one page of narrative text and now has close to two pages. 

After working on narrative I found that my completed section had a problem in that my Reference Manager citations had gotten converted from dynamic reference to simple text.  This happened when I was finishing my extended abstract earlier this year.  The change is a problem at this point because the paper exists as subfiles tied to a master document, which means that the reference list is created dynamically each time the paper is brought together.  This will need to be done until the final edition of the document is in place, then I can do a complete convert to text and make it stick.  So I had to go through the chapter and reenter each dynamic citation over the old flat text.  Not hard but defiantly a time consuming pain.  Ain't computers wonderful...?...!...

Today I need to write my Future Faculty Teaching Fellowship evaluation so quals writing will have to wait a bit. 

Posted by prolurkr at 01:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 16, 2006

CFP - HICSS Minitrack on Genres of Digital Documents

Dcument genres are communicative actions with a socially recognized communicative purpose and/or common aspects of form (such as newsletters, FAQs, and homepages). Such genres are situated in complex communicative practices; they are anchored in specific institutions and processes and can be equally applicable to physical as well as electronic documents. Recognizing the genre of a document is especially useful because it helps build an understanding among communicating parties.  Besides enhancing our understanding of information searching and use, studying genres provides insights into organizational or community structures, and leads to designing more effective and usable systems. It is becoming increasingly clear that the use of digital media brings with it the emergence of new or transformed genres of digital communication. In a digital environment, documents have functionality as well as form and content, but in many ways the contextual clues by which functionality can be ascertained may be missing. For this reason, genre provides a certain fixity in communication and becomes increasingly important in providing users a resource for the interpretation of the content, role, and function of a digital document.

Suggested topics for the Minitrack include:

HICSS will be held 3-6 January 2007 at the Hilton Waikoloa Village Resort, Waikoloa, Big Island, Hawaii. HICSS Proceedings are published and distributed by the IEEE Computer Society and carried on the IEEE Digital Library.

The firm deadline to submit papers is 15 June 2006. Authors will receive decisions regarding paper acceptances by 15 August 2006.  We would be happy to provide guidance and indication of appropriate content, so please feel free to contact us with an abstract at any time. Papers should be submitted on the reviewing system following the instructions on the HICSS website. For the latest information on the conference, please visit the HICSS web site at: or the mirror sites:  and

Minitrack co-chairs:

Kevin Crowston, Professor
Syracuse University
School of Information Studies
348 Hinds Hall
Syracuse, NY   13244-4100
USA Phone:  +1 (315) 443-1676
Fax:    +1 (866)  265-7407

Carina Ihlström, Assistant Professor
School of Information Science, Computer and Electrical Engineering
Halmstad University
P.O. Box 823
S-301 18
Halmstad Sweden
Phone: +46 35 167531
[email protected]

Dmitri Roussinov, Assistant Professor
Department of Information Systems?W.P. Carey School of Business
Arizona State University
Office: BA 267 E
P.O Box 873606
Tempe, AZ, 85287
Phone: (480) 965-8488? [email protected]

Posted by prolurkr at 07:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Teaching schedule for academic year 2006-2007

Looks like I will have a full teaching schedule this year, assuming all of the classes make.

For Fall 2006 I will be teaching at IUPUC.  I have two classes:

I101 Introduction to Informatics (4 credits) (required class)

Course description: Problem solving with information technology; introductions to information representation, relational databases, system design, propositional logic, cutting edge technologies: CPU, operating systems, networks; laboratory emphasizing information technology including web page design, word processing, databases, using tools available on campus.


I202 Social Informatics (3 credits) (required class)

Course description: Introduction to key social research perspectives and literatures on the use of information and communication technologies. Discusses current topics such as information ethics, relevant legal frameworks, popular and controversial uses of technology (e.g. peer-to-peer file sharing), digital divides, etc. Outlines research methodologies for social informatics.

For Spring 2007, I expect to be teaching I101 again at IUPUC, and will also be teaching a undergrad/grad topics course on Computer-Mediated Communication (elective course) at IUPUI.

Posted by prolurkr at 10:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 15, 2006

CFP - From A to <a>: Keywords in HTML and Writing (edited collection)

Call for Papers:
From A to <a>: Keywords in HTML and Writing

A proposed collection edited by Bradley Dilger and Jeff Rice

In cultural and writing studies, the relationship between new media and writing has become an important area of inquiry, as online forms such as web pages, content management systems, social software, and weblogs continue to grow in popularity. Too much scholarship, however, focuses on the instruments of technology at the expense of cultural, ideological, and rhetorical forces. In From A to <a>: Keywords in HTML ad Writing, we engage these areas of English studies by considering the omplex relationships between writing and the markup and scripting anguages which make up the web—such as Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) ad Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). By foregrounding the influences of markup which are less directly "technological," our proposed collection will address the many ways both novices and advanced users of technology create, consume, and shape writing and new media.

From A to <a>: Keywords in HTML and Writing takes an innovative approach to the "keywords" genre by using markup tags as keywords.  Following the keywords genre, essays should focus on a single tag or unit of markup, and break down that tag's etymological, historical, social, and cultural meanings. For example, while the tag <table> is often used to organize data in rows and columns, its role in web design cannot be ignored. Tables bring the grids of modernist graphic design to the web, with its underlying demands for rationalism, order, and regularity. For this and other tags or units of markup, the editors invite essays which engage similar inquiries. The resulting collection of essays will illustrate how the markup tags present in all web writing influence, shape, and affect the ways we read and write.

Essays can consider these and related questions:

Please email the editors a 500 word abstract which indicates the markup tag you wish to work with and outlines the issues you plan to consider. For a list of essays which have already been accepted to the collection, visit We welcome your questions and comments.


Abstracts: Aug 1, 2006
Acceptances: Aug 15, 2006
Drafts: Nov 1, 2006
Return drafts: Dec 1, 2006
Final essay: Feb 1, 2007

Contact information

Bradley Dilger, Assistant Professor of English, Western Illinois University
cb-dilger at wiu dot edu *

Jeff Rice, Assistant Professor of English, Wayne State University
jrice at wayne dot edu *

Posted by prolurkr at 08:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

CFP - Special Issue of Qualitative Inquiry on Technology and Ethnography: “Technography for a Digital World”

Editors: Norman K. Denzin and Yvonna Lincoln
Call for Papers:
Special Issue on Technology and Ethnography: “Technography for a Digital World”

Guest Editor: Grant Kien

Submission Deadline: September 15, 2006

Microsoft, Intel, Pitney Bowes, IBM, Xerox… Numerous companies have begun to employ ethnography as an important component in their research. Has ethnography as a techno-methodology come of age in the context of globalization and hi-tech communications?

Qualitative Inquiry invites submissions of articles for a forthcoming thematic issue focusing on ethnographic approaches to the study of technology. This is a call for papers that explore methods and works that investigate technology through ethnography. While technology may be variously defined at any given moment, submissions should emphasize ways of understanding how technologies are “created, apprehended and used” in everyday life (Carey, 1989). Moving beyond mere enumeration of fetishized objects and fetishizing practices, I suggest that a neo-technographic approach should seek to show how technology is experienced and participates in everyday life experiences. That is, neo-technography should produce texts that show rather than tell, that bury the theory rather than lecture, and that provide significant and precious moments in time rather than steal them from us.

While all ethnographic methods are invited, a special encouragement is given to experimental and innovative work that endeavors to push the frontiers of ethnography in the realm of technological research, and/or make the subject of technology more present in ethnography as a disciplined approach to inquiry.
Some questions papers might address include (but are not limited to):

Please contact the special issue editor by email if you have any questions or are planning to submit an article.
Manuscripts should conform to the formatting standard of the QI Manuscript Submission Guidelines (available at Please send both hard copies as per the instructions below.

Additionally, please submit your manuscript electronically as an email attachment to [email protected], preferably in Microsoft Word or rich text format.

MANUSCRIPTS should be prepared in accordance with the 4th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. Double-space all manuscripts, including references, notes, abstracts, quotations, and tables on 8 1/2 x 11 paper. The title page should include all authors' names, affiliations, and highest professional degrees, the corresponding author's address and telephone number, and a brief biographical statement. The title page should be followed by an abstract of 100 to 150 words. Tables and references should follow APA style and be double-spaced throughout. Ordinarily, manuscripts will not exceed 30 pages (double-spaced), including tables, figures, and references. Authors of accepted manuscripts will be asked to supply camera-ready figures. In addition to emailing an electronic copy to the editor, please supply four (4) printed copies of each manuscript along with a $10 submission fee for all manuscripts (the fee is waived if the author is a graduate student). Please make checks payable to the University of Illinois. Checks must be drawn on a United States bank.

Send manuscripts to…
Grant Kien
Institute of Communications Research
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
810 S Wright St, Rm. 228
Urbana, IL 61801
Tel: (217) 333-0795
Fax: (217 244-9580
Email: [email protected]

**Submission of a manuscript implies commitment to publish in the journal. Authors submitting manuscripts to the journal should not simultaneously submit them to another journal, nor should manuscripts have been published elsewhere in substantially similar form or with substantially similar content. Authors in doubt about what constitutes prior publication may consult the editor.

Posted by prolurkr at 07:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The plan of the day

I started out this morning with a dip at The Springs.  What a way to start the mineral water baths to loosen up the joints and give you time to plan the day.  And plan I did.  Today will likely be mostly reading, partially because I have a lot of genre theory reading to do and because there is a prediction of thunderstorms.

Thunderstorms in the mountains are not to be missed.  I watched one roll across the canyon last night, absolutely amazingly beautiful and probably quite destructive looking at the ferocity of the lightening.  Certainly these are creatures not to be messed with, so the computer gets unplugged.  I can always read and make notes.

Posted by prolurkr at 11:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 11, 2006

Day Two of the drive - St. Peter's MO to Salina KS

Sunday, May 7, I drove from St. Peter's MO to Salina KS, roughly 405 miles.  It was an easy drive with most of the routing on I-70.  Along the way I saw a herd of buffalo in a wallow, and lots of rail cars on sidings -both grain and coal haulers.

I stopped for lunch in Sweet Springs MO.  I had planned on grabbing a burger at Sonic when I saw the "Family Diner."  On this Sunday the diner was surrounded by families moving to and from cars and stopping to chat.  Looked like it had potential to be a good place for lunch.  I have to admit I was painfully under dressed to be hanging out with the post-church crowd though I didn't get to many sideways glances.  The food was good as was the country atmosphere.

I drove on from Sweets Springs to Salina, without much interruption.  Salina is a nice small town with a very nice Holiday Inn.  I spent a quiet night in a mostly empty hotel...not bad.

Posted by prolurkr at 03:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

From Urbana/Champiagn IL to St. Peter's MO

After the International Association of Qualitative Inquiry (IAQI) meeting I headed out on the road.  The plan was to get as far as St. Louis and spend the night there.  I didn't make reservations for hotels along the route, rather I targeted cities that looked likely on my Garmin software and planned on finding hotels once I got to a stopping point.  That way I could stop earlier if I was really tired without missing the cutoff time for cancellation refunds.

So after the meeting I drove down and caught I-70 toward St. Louis.  I had roughly planned on spending the night at Pontoon Beach but didn't like the look of the area around the interstate when I got there.  I have no idea what the actual community is like just what the exchange looked I kept moving.  I drove through the city at about 9pm.  It wasn't much fun as the road is in less the good condition and my little care - read four motorcycle tires - likes to dance on really rough pavement.  I kept driving until I was both tired enough to know that I had to stop soon and in sight of community where I felt safe enough.  That brought me to St. Peter's MO, and a night at a Ramada Limited.

Posted by prolurkr at 02:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 10, 2006

Exhaustion at the end of the first day in Pagosa

I had today on my schedule as a "Day of Rest" for the most part.  I thought I would wander into town and get the lay of the land, catchup on a few things (like the afore mentioned blog post reading), and write about my drive from Illinois to Pagosa.  Well I popped a pan full of teriyaki drumsticks in the oven and went out on the deck to play my flutes for a bit while they baked...thinking I would begin my posts after I played for a bit.  I played...and tried to open the door off the deck to find that it was locked and I was locked out. 

Thank the gods for good neighbors.  The folks up the hill took me in, made a bunch of calls to find the house owners, since the rental agency didn't have an emergency number on their recorder.  They were great.  And obviously I'm back in the house or I wouldn't have access to the computer to post this.

So now I'm exhausted, two hikes up the mountain and one hike down the steep grade will do that.  I guess the posts about the drive will need to wait until tomorrow.

Posted by prolurkr at 10:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Blog post overload

I opened Bloglines today for the first time in weeks.  I was bowled over when I saw that 6700+ posts were waiting for me.  *sigh*  There is no way to get caught up.  I'm clicking through and deleting as fast as my fingers will work, i'm down to 3296 now.  Well looks like my 10th grade teacher was correct after all...I won't ever know everything about a subject because there is to much information to process.

Posted by prolurkr at 08:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Finishing the Doctoral Degree in a Timely Fashion

Taken from Tomorrows-Professor, if you aren't already subscribing or reading their blog you should be doing so ASAP.

Finishing the Doctoral Degree in a Timely Fashion

The Dissertation as a Key Factor in the Humanities and Social Sciences

The Dissertation from the Faculty Perspective

Additional insights for choosing a dissertation topic were offered at a panel discussion by faculty members entitled "What Makes a Good Topic and How to Find It"). The professors were able to approach the subject from their experiences both as dissertation advisors and as scholars who have gone through the process of choosing research projects themselves. The speakers acknowledge that choosing a dissertation topic is a challenging process that can produce considerable anxiety. A student's ego and identity are involved-it's almost like choosing who you are.

They then devoted themselves to dispelling anxiety by offering a series of practical suggestions for choosing a good topic. They stated at the outset that they could not provide a strict set of rules. Topics are as wide as
human knowledge; different fields have different criteria, different paradigms, and different methods. In the absence of a clear set of rules, the speakers proceeded instead to apply common sense and experience to arrive at helpful advice.

* Originality is a principal criterion of a good topic. You can be original in diverse ways. You may examine material that has never been studied before; or you can examine well-known material, but provide new interpretation.

* Another way to view these different concepts of originality is to recognize that some topics are central to the field and that there is always new work being done; other topics are on the periphery and have been neglected.

* It is important to choose a topic that is congenial to you, that you think is worthwhile not only within the framework of the discipline, but on a personal level. It is not all irrelevant to consider how much you like interviewing, computers, dealing with insects-or whatever it is that a topic demands.

* The specific topic that you study may have a personal and idiosyncratic origin. It is no accident that research on certain groups is likely to be pioneered by people of that group: women have often led the way in women's history, Blacks in Black history, immigrants in the history of immigration.

* You should have a doable thesis that has boundaries; you have to be able at least to imagine where and when it would end. It if hard to start a thesis, it can be even harder to end one.

* This means that you should be ambitious intellectually, but not too ambitious, think of it as a task that will enable you to get on with your career. Students sometimes ask if their dissertation should include A, B, C, and D after the dissertation is finished.

* One speaker put this idea in a different way. He suggested that instead of writing a dissertation prospectus it is best simply to write a dissertation chapter. He explained that what he really meant was that it is best to do a little piece of research think small. If it is interesting it will lead to a bigger problem. The best proposal is a pilot project; once you have picked a path you can add on different forks as you go along. He observed that everyone knows the BIG IDEAS, it is harder to do the little ones.

* Modesty is also helpful in choosing a manageable topic. Some students set out to write a dissertation that will change the world; others just want to write a dissertation. In terms of results, there seems to be no correlation between the quality of the dissertation and the ambitious nature of the topic.

* They noted that it is useful to make the dissertation separable into parts with short-term goals. Work on the dissertation often competes poorly with other tasks that offer more immediate gratification. Confronting the dissertation as a whole can lead to endless postponements.

* There was also a warning that dissertations seldom turn out as planned; it is important to hedge your bets and be prepared in case you do not find data that speaks to the issue.

* A good dissertation topic should also allow you to say something that is convincing to other people. Each field has its own rules as to what is compelling evidence. There is always a topic of explanation and there must be interpretable results.

* One speaker suggested that topics that involve comparisons provide a more structured framework than studies of individual subjects. He also recommended building on the work of others. This does not mean replication, but rather looking for gaps or for ways to extend other investigations. He stressed that very few things start de novo.
Having a framework, testing things that others have done is very helpful.

* To find out what it is you would like to do, it is helpful to be attentive to your reactions in your scholarly reading. If you find yourself saying "I wish I had written that," you can use that as a key to finding something similar.

* Preparing a research design also requires conversation. Research is often a solitary activity, but designing research is an activity that should be carried out collaboratively. Decisions made at the stage of research design are so crucial to the value of subsequent labor that issues must be talked out thoroughly at the outset. Even highly experienced researchers often collaborate with colleagues, teach courses on methodology with them, or pop into each other's office with a query twice a day. Rule numbers one for graduate students beginning their first large research projects is: engage in an extended conversation with your advisors. Even Jove, with his legendary powers, could not generate a good research design full-blown from his head.

* Looking to the future, the speakers addressed the relationship between the dissertation topic and job prospects. Both agreed that job considerations should be subordinate to intellectual interests. In any case, predicting the market is like "guessing in the dark." A topic that is in the mainstream of the discipline might appear to be safer, but it may be in an overcrowded field. That problem is not completely solved by choosing a more peripheral topic, since there may be less demand. In general, you should avoid choosing a topic because you think it is fashionable. They also added that the dissertation topic does not necessarily identify your field that precisely-hiring departments tend to work by broad fields.

During the question period, several students wanted to know how best to choose a dissertation advisor-especially how to factor in problems of personality or accessibility versus area of expertise. Both speakers strongly recommended working with more than one advisor-it can be beneficial even if there are no conflicts. The arrangement would depend on departmental policies; in some cases it could be a formal dissertation; in others, it may be more a more informal consultation arrangement. It can extend to faculty members outside of your department and even outside of your department and even outside of the University. In general, it is wise to have a number of potential advisors in mind. Some of the most popular, professors can be too great a demand.

The speakers tried to reassure students that most professors care about their dissertation advisees-indeed, professors often find it a source of personal pride to be an active part of the process of training a new generation of scholars. They added that the faculty have an obligation to teach and advise graduate students-that is what they are paid to do. The speakers urged students to be more active than passive in seeking an advisor, to be more aggressive in their outreach to professors. They strongly recommended that students work hard during their first year or two in getting to know the faculty beyond their classes-interviewing professors, and attending lectures or seminars.

Another student asked about the role of advisors in getting a job-he particularly wanted to know what to do if an advisor was planning to retire soon. The speakers responded that a professor's retirement need not pose a problem. He or she may even have more time to give to students. It is common for professors to continue to work with students after they have left an institution. It is important to talk frankly with a retiring professor about this issue.

Finally, a student asked why Harvard students seem to take so long in finishing the dissertation. The speakers observed that the problem arose from a combination of external pressures and internal factors. After exams, most students start teaching, which is a major distraction from the thesis. In addition, some topics take a long time. However, both speakers had the impression that students take longer than they have to, and that they are especially slow to begin. Both felt that this was a mistake and that students ought to plunge in as quickly as possible. It is very important to work hard enough during the first year of the dissertation to keep it alive even while teaching.

Timing of the dissertation was also discussed in terms of reaching a crucial point in the dissertation where the problematics become clear; you reach a conceptual breakthrough that allows you to imagine the end. The earlier that you reach this crucial point, the better. If you reach it during the first year of the dissertation work, then you can probably finish in two years, which in many fields is a respectable amount of time. You should be able to project even early in the dissertation what a reasonable amount of time would involve. There was a warning that people tire of dissertations. The ideal is to pick a congenial topic, work at a reasonable pace, and FINISH.

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May 08, 2006

CFP - Text and Image: The Language of Images

Text and Image Conference
Central Connecticut State University
New Britain, CT 06050

The Language of Images, March 29-30, 2007

Central Connecticut State University and the English Department invite proposals for their international, interdisciplinary Text and Image Conference on “The Language of Images” on March 29-30, 2007.

The goal of this conference is to provide a diachronic and multidisciplinary exploration of the complex and ever-evolving interaction between texts and images in fields as diverse as literature, art, philosophy, history, drama, sociology, tourism, cartography, graphic design, and the media.

We welcome submissions that examine and challenge the relationships between texts and images from a historical, cultural, theoretical, and generic perspective, while emphasizing the illuminating or destabilizing effects of this interaction for the reader/viewer. By analyzing texts that incorporate visual images, or visual images that incorporate text, participants are invited to consider the forms and modalities that the debate on texts and images has taken over time and space from its origins in the Sister Arts tradition to the more recent discussions of the proliferation of images in today’s “pictorial turn” or “visual culture.” Submissions may emphasize, for example, the textual components of images and the graphical elements of texts according to the tradition of “Ut Pictura Poesis,” their joint nature as “signs” according to semiotic tenets, or the fundamental resistance of images to interpretation according to poststructuralist theories. Proposals may also address notions of truth, artifice, otherness, and evidentiality. We encourage contributors to consider the ambivalent reactions of iconophilia and iconophobia that images seem to generate historically and culturally, and to examine the interaction between texts and images in terms of power and gender. Issues of history, memory, trauma, and nostalgia may also be addressed, while formal issues may be raised through discussions of innovative “iconotextual” strategies that attempt to break the boundaries between the verbal and the visual. Whatever the focus, but particularly in cases of ekphrasis – the verbal representation of a visual representation – submissions may use the interplay between texts and images to provide a reflection on the limits of representation, as well to re-think the very acts of reading and viewing.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

Please send a 250-word abstract and a short biography as a Word attachment to [email protected]

Submissions must be received by October 1, 2006.

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May 07, 2006

Day Three of the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry

Day Three, one day late, was another great day at QI2006, though I don't have lots of notes to share.  My first session in the morning was Qualitative Evaluation and Adolescence.  This panel's papers centered on education and health issues.  The papers were interesting though not particularly useful for my research.

The second panel A Need to Know:  The Clandestine History of a CIA Family - Honoring the Work of Harold Lloyd (Bud) Goodall Jr. included papers from a group of great scholars.  Their insights into the work and themselves was profound.  I ended up with a list of phrases and terms used in their autoethnographic pieces that will be rolling around in my head for quite a while.

I had lunch with a group of internet scholars - Caroline Haythornthwaite, Radhika Gajjala, Yahui Zhang, Qi Tang, and Andre' Brock Jr. Good conversation was it always when internet researchers gather with food.  The group, minus Caroline, decided to attend the next two sessions together.  We headed off to the Internet Research Ethics panel but found no one there to present.  So we sat outside on the Illini Union deck and talked about research and blogs in particular.

The last panel of the day was Online Ethnography.  The presenters gave us glimpses into both ongoing and in-development research.  I think this panel is most valuable for the new people that I met and hopefully will be trading emails with in the future.

My final event before I headed out in the car, on my multi-day trip to Colorado, was attending the International Association of Qualitative Inquiry (IAQI) meeting.  IAQI is a new organization making the first moves to formalizing their structure.  If you are interested in Qualitative Research I suggest you visit their website and sign up for the listserv, which makes you a member of the organization.

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CFP - Authenticity

The University of Salford
An Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Conference

14-15 September 2006

A two-day conference at the University of Salford for postgraduate students of the arts, media and social sciences to consider current and changing perspectives on authenticity. The intention is to stimulate debate and generate fresh understandings through interdisciplinary exchange. We welcome papers in fields such as politics, philosophy, religions and theology, sociology, psychology, literature, history, classics, visual and screen studies, and the performing arts.

Possible themes include, but are not restricted to

o   Agencies and Bodies of authenticity
o   Models and Creations of authenticity
o   Practices and Enactments of authenticity
o   Mediations and Subversions of authenticity
o   Images and Representations of authenticity
o   Concepts and Theories of authenticity

Abstracts of 250 words are invited for contributions of 20 minutes. We aim to provide a supportive and friendly environment where postgraduates can gain experience in presenting their work and meet fellow researchers. The conference also welcomes participants who do not wish to present.

Website for details and registration forms
Email for abstracts and information
[email protected]

Deadline for abstracts
30 June 2006

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May 05, 2006

Day Two of the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry

My first session this morning was called Performing Methodologies [and/or/is/of/in/...] Performing Cultures. Ronald J. Pelias, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, runs a program that fascinates me.  In this panel three of his students presented autoethnographic performance pieces that ranged from a look at archival research and the researcher as artifact to whiteness and straightness using teeth as a metaphor.  Wonderful fascinating performance "art" pieces grounded in academic research...gotta love it.

I went to two more panels Computer Assisted Research, Irks, and Social Policy and Post colonial Blogosphere:  Examining Digital Diasporas.  I could give you a lot of notes from all the papers but I would rather talk about the most interesting paper of the day.

Research in New Media:  Ethical Considerations for Removed Subjects, Jen Almjeld and Sergey Rybas, Bowling Green State University.

Their paper looks at the ethical issues surrounding what they call "dead" documents.  What they refer to as "dead" are sites that have become stable and are no longer active.  They stated that "dead" is a problematic word, and I agree.  Mostly what I think they mean are sites that have become archival and have not been updated.  Their presentation acknowledged the complexities of public vs. private, asked when consent is really needed, and looked at subject autonomy of "removed subjects."  I sincerely hope they work out the kinks and submit this paper for publication.

I had lunch with Caroline Haythornthwaite and spent a couple of hours having great academic conversation...gotta love that too.

Posted by prolurkr at 09:03 PM | Comments (1)

May 04, 2006

First day of the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry

Today the conference was mostly workshops . I attended two -  Heartbeats:  Writing Performance Texts, and Writing Autoethnography and Narrative in Qualitative Research.

First, I need to say how much I enjoy this conference.  Both years, 2006 is the second year of the organization, I have found the sessions to be instructive, challenging, and invigorating.  But both years I have found the first session to be a real challenge...a breaking down walls challenge.  Heartbeats certainly met that challenge straight on.

This workshop was mostly about the writing of pieces for performance.  As such it harks back to my B.S. in theatre and the playwriting I did then.  I wanted to spend time in this workshop because I have ideas for performance pieces based on some of my work...something to finish post-diss.  So I spent the morning working with far better writers than myself, watching them take to prompts and write deep evocative pieces at the drop of a hat.  I was so jealous, not because I can't write like that but because I had to begin to tear down the barriers that keep personal stuff out of my professional life...barriers that really aren't that old.  Oh well, speaking of post-diss *swinging a mental wrecking ball*...

The second workshop was with Carolyn Ellis and Art Bochner, if you don't know there qualitative work look them up, both of them do fascinating research.  I have been trying to get into one of their sessions for a couple of years now.  Last year at QI and the last couple of years at NCA, when I have tried to attend their sessions the rooms have always been packed to beyond standing room only.  I can't deal with over-packed sessions, especially when I can't sit down, so I have had to pass on pressing my way into the room.  Well in this case I registered early enough to get a seat...and it was well worth it.

I walked away from the Writing Autoethnography and Narrative in Qualitative Research session with a detailed bibliography and three pages of notes.  I'm not a terribly coherent notetaker but here is what I have.


Ethnography continuum

Art/Lit --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Science
Impressionist                                                                                                                           Realist
Written                                                                                                                                    Reported

Presumptions of Narrative & Autoethnography

  1. The researcher is always part of the research data.
  2. Social Science text is always composed by somebody somewhere.
  3. Research always involves the emotionality and subjectivity of the researcher and the researched.
  4. What we write involves others and should be accessible to them.
  5. All published research is considered narrative.

Elements of story

Points about qualitative research that bother orthodox [read quantitative] researchers

Forms of autoethnography

When listening to the subject's stories the researcher must analyze "Who am I, as audience, for them?"

The researcher must write to "carry the truth of the interaction" rather then just reporting what was said verbatim.

Autoethnographic interviews (I didn't get all of them types down)

Posted by prolurkr at 08:49 PM | Comments (0)

May 03, 2006

On the road

The first leg of the trip is completed, I am now in Urbana/Champaign ready for a few days of qualitative research immersion.  Can't wait actually. 

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