Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Today I was told that by stimulating the creation of Dancing the Virtual and by encouraging the students to read together I was "distracting the students from doing their real work." I was told that while "we would all like to have reading groups" there simply was no time in the academy for these kinds of ventures. I fought with everything I had to protect those who have made exfoliation not only a way of learning, but also a way of living. Institutions (in my experience) are about consolidation. Consolidation for the instution is inscribed within a moral framework of "doing" where doing involves ascribing to what is perceived to be the very real limits of the discipline. Dancing the virtual was an experiment in resisting discipline even while acknowledging the very real need for constraint. Constraint and discipline are not the same thing. Constraint creates an opening for improvisation. Discipline holds you to a representation of that which has already been done. Teaching and learning go hand in hand for me. If teaching is to discipline I will not teach. I am proud of the students who have taken this provocation seriously. At the same time I am deeply sad and angry that this initiative is considered worthy of punishment. I am writing this not only because of what Dancing the Virtual set out to do regarding this tenacity toward discipline (and thoughtlessness) but because when I thought I would drown this afternoon I felt the effects of the event and it strengthened my resolve.


Blogger phreeduh said...

If any of us would like to write letters commending your work with the sense lab, who would be the appropriate recipient?


I personally think you are adding tremendously to my education and life-love-knowledge. THANK-YOU.


12:37 PM

Blogger JoaoDaSilva said...


Dancing the virtual is a fabulous example of how wonderful learning and sharing knowledge can be!!
Thank you!!

2:27 PM

Blogger Erin said...

Thank you both for your nice words. I guess rethinking what it means to learn can never be an entirely smooth experiment (especially with regards to those who have given up on experimentations)... To answer Freida - I'm not sure to whom such a letter should be addressed. Perhaps the chairs, perhaps the dean. It depends who you would like to reach...
thanks again.

4:45 PM

Blogger Philipa Rothfield said...

I'm just settling back into my own zone and am dismayed (not the cynic in me perhaps) to read this. I've been spreading the word and the infection of philosophical enthusiasm bred by the DTV event. It was so GREAT to be reading, working, dancing and thinking together, and working so hard with the philosophy. I also loved the way the event was so carefully crafted, conceptually and kinaesthetically in a learning sense - oh, well, ignorance has no bounds. Your labours, Erin, are greatly appreciated by those who were able to experience and enjoy

1:15 AM

Blogger Tagny said...


I will write a letter to the Dean of film studies in support of you and Ronald if it will help the situation.
I am sure we can get a letter writing campaign going.

3:02 PM


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