My English 1110.01 class is currently working on our first blog assignment for the term. I have asked each student to tell a story using only internet memes and captions. As the first few have started to trickle in before Friday afternoon's deadline, I find that I cannot contain my excitement. The first few have already shown an ability to manipulate this form of language with humor, creativity, and a rather sophisticated level of self-awareness. I know that one forthcoming post will superimpose my image from the English Department's website onto a series of internet memes in the format of a RageComic in order to talk about this student's experience in the first week of my class; it is both wonderfully creative and incredibly informative (a far better class evaluation than anything I have read on my electronic SEI's or on the discursive evaluations that so often read like mini-love letters). If the students permit me to do so, I might share some of their work here, but in the meantime, I would like to tell the story about my (mistaken) attempt to introduce the students to Donna Haraway. What follows is a bit of a mash-up of what the students will be producing; it is part memespeak, part rage comics, and mostly just a bunch of nonsense. This is my first go at creating these things, so please be gentle in your criticisms.
But then the next day of class goes something this:
So I bring in a one-page excerpt from Katherine Hayles' book to give them some concrete examples of the ways in which the organism/machine boundary has steadily been eroded - not just through physical changes to the human body but also through our affinities to particular objects. The students' response to which looks quite similar to this young lady:
our affinities for these particular objects for the next twenty minutes.
Then, I offer some discussion questions for the next class and suggest that we should return to Haraway, the possibilities of our own becoming-cyborgs/cyborg-being, and her chart of the "informatics of domination" (because it is creepy how prescient that thing was/is).
(One needs to imagine a small room of twenty-five students doing this simultaneously to get the full effect.)