Thanks for your professional/personal encouragement, and your interpretation
of the list silences. I think it's even more meaningful to me that you
posted it on the listserv. This ethnography I'm doing is certainly relevant
to the Inkshed list as a strange rhetorical event... and people can observe
it in process and participate to some degree by tuning in to the listserv.
About this ethnog. being a group biography, I actually have a dream that
that would happen (that I could mind-meld with "so great a cloud of
witnesses") but I really doubt it will because of everyone being too busy in
their own worlds. It just so happens that I chose to write it up, that it's
convenient for the grad course I am taking and it's part of my own education
and interests, so it will end up be me writing it, mainly. I don't believe
objectivity is possible, even to an outsider, so I am just going to write it
as I see it, without doing _too_ much of the postmodern navel-gazing which
would make it more about the author than the group studied. It sure is
handy to have a lot of Inkshedder-authored stuff to mine from the listserv,
website, and the Inksheds "published" during the conference. That way I
have a lot of voices that are not mine. I still frame them and select them,
but they are authentic sheddings of "others."
I am actually writing parts of the first draft tonight, and we are giving
each other feedback during next day's class.
From: Doug Brent <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Tuesday, May 25, 1999 3:53 PM
Subject: Re: so suddenly silent...
>"As your enthnographer..." I really like that. SOunds like, "As your
>bartender, here's what I think..."
>Seriously, I wouldn't worry if this list goes dark from time to time.
>Historically it's always been prone to long flurries of postings sparked
>by somebody who asks a particularly interesting question, followed by
>silences as people try to catch up on their marking. I really don't
>think it's you.
>As for your specific request for information -- I suspect that the
>chattier of us have already answered that request the first time around,
>leaving only the less chatty (or maybe the ones who are feeling even
>more pressured) to respond to the latest round. I think I thought of
>your request as same-again and didn't respond, but reading it again I
>see that it is not just about the list as your previous one was, but
>about larger issues within Inkshed. I'll try to respond to these larger
>issues in another post. (Could you repost your original request--it
>seems to have gone done the gravity well of my e-mail file.)
>My impression from anyone I've talked with about this over a beer is
>that most people are quite interested in your project, willing to help,
>and interesting in seeing ourselves as others see us. Speaking for
>myself, I'm quite resigned to the fact that nobody is likely to paint a
>picture that exactly matches my own representation. I appreciate the
>opportunity you've extended to correct any errors of basic fact, but as
>for the exact shade and hue ofthe representation -- well, that's up for
>You've put yourself in an awkward position of being insider/outsider,
>with enough personal investment to make so-called "objective"
>ethnography really difgficult. I admire your courage in doing so.
>Don't let it get to you or dull your ethnographer's edge too much.
>We're by and large a friendly lot, quick to forget even our own
>appointment schedules, let alone an imagined slight by an ethnographer.
>If you make your results available I'll be as quick as anyone to say,
>"That's not how _I_ remember it!" but you'll just have to take that as
>the price of doing business in the world of ethnography. I for one
>promise not to take it personally and am impressed with the painstaking
>care you have taken to get it as right as you can. Any more care would
>gut the ethnography and make it a group autobiography.
>Write us up, Tanya!