Location

Room 217

Type of Presentation

Individual paper/presentation (20 minute presentation)

Target Audience

Higher Education

Abstract

We argue that all knowledge begins with the body, the physical space it occupies and the territory an individual defines as “home.” The taken-for-granted nature of this reality is disrupted by the experience of moving into a new cultural space, whether this space is defined physically or in discursive terms. Cultural space is an extension of personal identity, both the physical circumstances through which individual consciousness is shaped, and the conceptual connections through which individuals construct a vantage point in the world. The students whose writing we examine were from an ESL class in first-year composition and an upper-division class, “Writing the Body.” Both sets of students were marginal to the mainstream culture of GSU: the international students overtly so, through their nationality and second-language user status, and the local students more subtly so, either through their self-identification as LGBTQ or their support of LGBTQ peers. Members of both classes, therefore, faced the challenge of negotiating their cultural space as university students and representatives of minority subcultures. The two classes were twinned through joint course planning and use of an electronic bulletin board. This cyberspace locus, one of virtual disembodiment, functioned as what Edward Soja has called a "Thirdspace," a space created by human practice. One posting, a plea for more “space” for sexual abuse survivors, created a chain of comments and responses. Reading the diverse WebCT entries as a complete text reveals the students' need to be heard, willingness to find common ground, and desire to claim and inhabit a space on the college campus.

Presentation Description

The presentation will begin with a description of a research project on mediated communication between LGBTQ and ESL students. Pertinent theory from a variety of academic fields will be summarized, followed by an analysis of the research questions and methods. Two students involved in the project will participate in the panel, one in person and one via webcam. The panel will conclude with some general observations about the research.

Keywords

Information literacy, Mediated communication, LGBTQ students, ESL students

Publication Type and Release Option

Presentation (Open Access)

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Sep 26th, 11:00 AM Sep 26th, 12:30 PM

A Web-Based Bulletin Board As Edward Soja's "Thirdspace": ESL And LGBTQ Students Claim Home Turf

Room 217

We argue that all knowledge begins with the body, the physical space it occupies and the territory an individual defines as “home.” The taken-for-granted nature of this reality is disrupted by the experience of moving into a new cultural space, whether this space is defined physically or in discursive terms. Cultural space is an extension of personal identity, both the physical circumstances through which individual consciousness is shaped, and the conceptual connections through which individuals construct a vantage point in the world. The students whose writing we examine were from an ESL class in first-year composition and an upper-division class, “Writing the Body.” Both sets of students were marginal to the mainstream culture of GSU: the international students overtly so, through their nationality and second-language user status, and the local students more subtly so, either through their self-identification as LGBTQ or their support of LGBTQ peers. Members of both classes, therefore, faced the challenge of negotiating their cultural space as university students and representatives of minority subcultures. The two classes were twinned through joint course planning and use of an electronic bulletin board. This cyberspace locus, one of virtual disembodiment, functioned as what Edward Soja has called a "Thirdspace," a space created by human practice. One posting, a plea for more “space” for sexual abuse survivors, created a chain of comments and responses. Reading the diverse WebCT entries as a complete text reveals the students' need to be heard, willingness to find common ground, and desire to claim and inhabit a space on the college campus.