Like Rachel, my expectation for AMST 507 would that it be something of a direct continuation of AMST 506, with more contemporary theoretical texts that might be considered foundational in American Studies. While less direct than I was expecting, I appreciate the overall shape of the course and the particular subjects we have worked with. I think I would have liked to have more connection with 506 just for my benefit, since some of the concepts we covered in that class were new to me, and I would have like to solidify them a bit further.

But I did enjoy the majority of the texts we read for the class. I think my favorites were the ethnographies. I tend to be a more "concrete" thinker, and having specific details and situations helps me to understand theoretical concepts more quickly. Tsing, West, Deloria, and Coleman to a lesser extent worked well for me in that regard. And although I tend to need more processing time with denser theoretical texts, I found myself really interested in Mirzoeff's work, and I'm planning to give it more attention over the summer.

Assignment-wise, I cannot emphasize enough how much I appreciate the project proposal assignment, as opposed to an essay. While it does some of the same work as an essay in terms of theoretical grounding, the proposal also allows us to really think practically about applying our work, and that's a skill we need as academics, writing grants for research and projects and the like.

Thanks for a challenging and enlightening semester!

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Trying this again....... viewable Prezi presentation?

In order to get this to open, I had to right-click and hit "Open Link in New Window." Heh, still figuring Prezi out.
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Hey there, Rachel and Jorge. Since you're reading my draft, I figured I would let you know that I could really use your help with:
  • Incorporating the course readings more meaningfully into the proposal
  • Deciding if and how to include Gramsci (see the note in my references section)
  • Making the composition parts clear and meaningful for non-specialists 
  • Anything else that you think needs work : )

Have a great weekend!
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Hiya folks, hope everyone's doing well. I have to admit to some slight confusion over a couple of the criteria for the project proposal, and I figured I'd bring it up here to see how you all are interpreting it. Forgive me if this question was ever brought up in class, but I'm not finding answers in my notes.

The criteria include a "literature review." They also include "specific links to class readings, discussions, and theme." In proposals I've done in the past, the term "literature review" was not used, so I am unsure as to what exactly that entails. I was assuming that this "review" is the establishment of the theoretical framework for the project using whatever of the class texts are appropriate. So is the second criterion something that is incorporated into the larger review section? Or am I missing something?

Sorry if this seems nitpicky or something...just want to make sure I'm crossing all of my Ts, as it were. -- Tiffany
While I'm here, I wanted to say that my project that I hoped to make a reality is seeming less and less like it's going to happen. This is because a much larger filming project has the convention's creators' full attention. They've got a Kickstarter and everything. While I still plan to attend the event and do my own filming, I'm wondering how (or if) I can incorporate this new aspect into my project. Very much still processing.

(The pic here is linked to the Kickstarter, if anyone wants to check it out for realz.)

Hi y'all, sorry if I'm late on this....was dealing with some physical whatnot.
And my downloadable pdf notes...
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  This summer will see the first ever gaming convention that focuses primarily on LGBT issues and community. GaymerX (formerly known as GaymerCon) will be held in San Francisco and will include panels, contests, cosplay, and opportunities for play for LGBT gamers (sometimes called “gaymers”) and their straight allies. Since this is the first convention of its kind, I am interested in how the con’s organizers intend to use the space to address issues pertaining to the games themselves, primarily the representation of LGBT and other characters in games, as well as issues in gaming society, particularly the huge problem of hate speech and bullying.

Further, I intend to analyze how GaymerX came to be -- particularly, its use of online technologies to gain popular support and funding through Kickstarter and, as a result of that massive success, the development of of a GaymerConnect app (which allows participants to find and connect to others with similar gaming/geek interests) as well as maintenance through Facebook, Twitter, and the GaymerX website. The use of Kickstarter essentially made corporate sponsorship of this event a non-necessity, allowing the event organizers more autonomy in creating a specific alternative convention (altcon).

Research Questions

Specifically, some of the questions I’d like to ask are as follows:

1) How does the GaymerX event serve as a space of both counterpublicity and counterpower?

2) Will the con be able to discuss and work to implement solutions to the above problems on an institutional level? (This to counteract typically neoliberal proffered solutions by both gaming companies and users, solutions that include anything from self-policing to simply ignoring the problem in the hopes that those who can’t stand the heat will get out of the kitchen.)

3) How will the con offer a safe space to all event-goers? And will the con really be inclusive of all gamers (queer gamers of color, women gamers regardless of sexual orientation, etc.)?

4) How have the event organizers utilized online social networks to build the event, and how does the use of these technologies serve what Castells calls "the autonomy of the social actor"? (7).

5) What is the relationship between the GaymerX event and the general consumer framework of conventions in general?


Because I consider this a folkloric event and because it is so very visual, I would like to create a film about the con. As a documentary setup, I would include not only footage from the con (floor action, panels, contests and community get-togethers) but also interviews with attendees and event organizers. The fieldwork would be combined with theoretical grounding that comes from the fields of American Studies, digital technology studies, leisure studies (game theory), queer theory and folklore, at least. As a queer gamer, I have an emic perspective on this subject, and so my challenge (as always) is to strive for as much reflexivity as possible and to consider the experience from an etic perspective, as well.


My hypothesis is that the event organizers are really looking to transform the convention space – from a potentially unsafe space consisting of “booth babes,” overly judgmental cosplay, and panels that neglect or only pay lip service to LGBT issues in gaming to one that that celebrates the queer gamer/geek, strives for inclusivity for all, and really attempts to bring awareness to the very real social problems that accompany these sorts of leisure activities. The need for this kind of awareness is important particularly for a generation where “everybody games,” which is the GaymerX motto. It’s not literally true, of course, but video game culture has become more mainstream than ever and serves as a primary source of recreation for many young people. In this visual/online culture, the chances of being exposed to hate speech and misrepresentation of LGBT communities have multiplied greatly, so the idea of creating a safe space for “gaymers” (particularly young gaymers) is significant.

One argument I’d like to make pertains to the social value of altcons such as these to bring publicity to an area that some people tend to dismiss as “frivolous.” But it is precisely because gaming is perceived mainly as “play” that it becomes important as an area of study and transformative power, however. In folklore, “ludic recombination” is an integral part of any ritual, for through play people learn the social mores of their communities. If in gaming people learn that epithets against race, gender, sexuality, ability, etc. are acceptable, or they are exposed to stereotypical representations of LGBT people, racial minorities, indigenous peoples, and women, then these are carried into other parts of their lives. Further, the anonymity provided by the Internet allows for the perpetuation of biases and makes hateful speech easier to get away with and harder to police.

I am hoping that how this con uses its space will help find ways of fighting these issues beyond the individual, forcing gaming companies to change their policies with regard to hate speech as well as include representations of LGBT peoples and other less dominant groups that are less stereotypically racist and/or misogynistic. This con has the opportunity to demonstrate to gaming companies that tolerating hate speech and creating racist/sexist/ableist misrepresentations in their games and at other gaming conventions is unacceptable because it DOES impact how people operate outside of these leisure frameworks.


Thus far, Coombe’s discussion of counterpublicity and how it operates is useful in informing I would approach the con as having a specific political agenda. I am also interested in Castells discussion about networks of power and how they operate, and I would like to discover how the con is a practical application of those ideas. I’m hoping that perhaps others in the class will have recommendations for expanding my theoretical framework?
So, I’m really struggling here to imagine the intended audience for my project. Cultural studies as a field is new to me and I don’t quite understand what is considered acceptable in terms of research questions or methodologies after reading our three books. The project idea below is based on my thesis, but starts with an issue I mention in passing (how teaching copyright and fair use might provide an opportunity for reframing plagiarism) and takes it up it as the focus of a new project. While I am not “rehearsing my project from my initial vantage point,” I am clearly dealing with issues that are deemed important within my particular scholarly community, which I think is acceptable. However, I am not sure if I am approaching the issues from a cultural studies perspective. Basically what I am trying to say is that any feedback or guidance you could provide would be very much appreciated. In particular, let me know if you could think of anything in the way of methodology or additional texts (keep in mind that I haven’t read what everyone else read last semester in 506 but could/should draw on those texts). Thanks to everyone in advance for helping out this slightly disoriented Rhet/Comp person : )

Research Questions

  • Currently, instructors and university administrators approach plagiarism through the rhetoric of fear and punishment. This approach has negative pedagogical implications for students because it further mystifies academic writing, glosses over the diversity of values and practices surrounding source use both in and outside of academia, conflicts with our goals as educators, and fails to prepare to students to use sources effectively in future writing contexts. How can instructors and university administrators move past this reductive and problematic approach to plagiarism? How might we reframe our understanding of plagiarism to make room for more effective and theoretically sound teaching practices?
  • In disciplines across the curriculum, the conception of “writing” is expanding from a limited notion of words on a page to include other mediums of communication beyond the linguistic. Students now “compose” texts with images, audio, and video. Given that this expanded notion of writing suggests the need to teach students about copyright and fair use, how might the introduction of these new concepts provide us with an opportunity to reframe (or recode) conceptions of and educational approaches to plagiarism?  


  • This project would involve the study of ten writing courses and would produce a detailed, multilayered set of data for analysis. Five of the classes would be traditional writing courses that don’t ask students to go beyond “the written word” in their compositions and don’t introduce concepts of copyright or fair use. The other five courses would assign students to “compose” texts with some mix of images, video, and/or audio and would introduce concepts of fair use and copyright.   
  •  Types of data to be collected: Course materials, including plagiarism statements, handouts, and assignment sheets; recordings and notes from class meetings where plagiarism, copyright, or fair use are discussed; recorded interviews with students and instructors; copies of student work; records of any disciplinary action taken against students.
  • Data analysis: I will conduct a discourse analysis of all collected materials. I will make several passes through the materials, focusing on instances that are connected to source use, plagiarism, fair use, or copyright. I will use key words and metaphors to identify and then code various “frames” for talking about or indicating intellectual property. Once coded, I will look for patterns between the two sets of classes and draw conclusions based on my findings.     


  • My hypothesis is that the concepts of intellectual property, copyright, and fair use provide an opportunity for teachers, administrators, and students to reframe and rethink our understandings of plagiarism and source use. My study is designed to see if there is evidence of this happening in classes that teach students about copyright and fair use. It is possible that I find that concepts such as copyright (although they contain the possibility to reframe approaches to plagiarism) might instead be folded under and presented to students in educational contexts through the dominant frames and narratives of plagiarism. 


  • Coleman, Coding Freedom. Coleman’s ethnographic study of how F/OSS hackers recode the meaning of intellectual property through concepts of free speech (thus critiquing liberalism from within liberalism) would provide a nice framework for me to consider how we might recode the meaning of plagiarism through concepts of copyright and fair use. In particular, the inflexible, black-and-white conception we have of plagiarism (at least in the dominant frame or narrative) is incongruous with the dominant discourse around fair use and copyright, which are more openly acknowledged as sites of contention and change. In other words, although plagiarism and copyright both operate through the notion of romantic authorship, the controversies within copyright law point to fractures within the ideologies surrounding intellectual property issues. It may be possible to take advantage of these cracks in our ideological approach to intellectual property in order to recode/reframe plagiarism. 
  • Boyle, Shamans, Software, and Spleens. I can link up Boyle’s discussion of copyright and romantic authorship to the ways in which romantic authorship frames the dominant frames/narratives of plagiarism. 
  • Coombe, The Cultural Life of Intellectual Properties. Coombe’s notion of the “ethics of contingency” provides an alternative frame for thinking about issues of plagiarism – one that emphasizes the importance of context over a static set of rules.  
  • Gramsci. Of all the texts listed on the 506 syllabus, Gramsci seems the most promising for my project. Perhaps I can draw upon his theories of education and social change?  
  • Additional: key texts from Andrea Lunsford and Rebecca Moore Howard, scholars in composition studies who have written extensively on issues related to plagiarism and intellectual property. I am already familiar with this scholarship from work on my thesis.