Handout: King Overview: The Orality Literacy Heuristic: Folger Institute: 12-14 June 2013 Speaking with Things: an introduction

to writing technologies & media ecologies enfolded among complex systems…. Katie King, Women's Studies, University of Maryland, College Park / Email: katking@umd.edu Home Page: http://katiekin.weebly.com/ ; follow on twitter @katkingumd ; pinterest site: http://pinterest.com/katkingumd/talksites/
WHICH PARTS OF THE ELEPHANT HAVE WE FELT OUT? KNOW ABOUT? INHERIT? Orality Literacy Heuristic: a conceptual and material infrastructure, a set of practices with their grounding assumptions: • its objects such as ideas and tools • its players as theorists, makers, and agents within disciplinary, archival, media ecologies • its sites of production such as new tools and their makers, as in digital humanities, schools of thought, particular institutions in time, forms of power • its layered assemblages, accretions and networks such as disciplines and their critiques, feminist activity in various places, times and generations, political actions and resistances. • “People often cannot see what they take for granted until they encounter someone who does not take it for granted.” (Bowker and Star 1999: 305)

The Blind Men and the Elephant: Painted by Laura Winge. Exhibited in: Copenhagen 2011: http://www.elephantparade.com/elephants/blind-men-and-elephant PROPERTIES OF INFRASTRUCTURE (Star 1999: 5-7): • Embeddedness ("sunk into and inside of other structures, social arrangements, and technologies"; don’t distinguish components but in them) • Transparency (not reinvented each time or assembled each task; or learned new) • Reach or scope (spatial or temporal; "beyond a single even or one-site practice") • Learned as part of membership ("taken-for-grantedness of artifacts and organizational structures...member in a community of practice." "Strangers and outsiders encounter infrastructure as a target object to be learned about. New participants acquire a naturalized familiarity with its objects, as they become members." overcome strangeness; overcome naturalization.) • Links with conventions of practice ("shapes and is shaped by") • Embodiment of standards ("takes on transparency by plugging into other infrastructures and tools in a standardized fashion.") • Built on an installed base (eg. "optical fibers run along old railroad lines"; "new systems are designed for backward compatibility") • Becomes visible upon breakdown • Is fixed in modular increments, not all at once globally ("big, layered, complex"; "it means different things locally"; "Nobody is really in charge"; "legacy systems.") boundary objects, such as literacies & alternatives, script & inscription, primary & secondary orality or media: • as spaces for communication • as carefully tacit, deliberatively discreet grounds for collaboration without agreement • as objects wrought over time through intensive negotiations over practice and terminology • as structured objects that permit recursion at different levels of system holding paradox in tension • as process points in cycle of standardization, generation of residual categories, emergent alliances BOUNDARY OBJECTS (Bowker & Star 1999: 297-8) "Boundary objects are those objects that both inhabit several communities of practice and satisfy the informational requirements of each of them. Boundary objects are thus both plastic enough to adapt to local needs and constraints of the several parties employing them, yet robust enough to maintain a common identity across sites. They are weakly structured in common use and become strongly structured in individual site use. These objects may be abstract or concrete.... Such objects have different meanings in different social worlds but their structure is common enough to more than one world to make them recognizable, a means of translation. The creation and management of boundary objects is a key process in developing and maintaining coherence across intersecting communities. ¶ ...Boundary objects arise over time from durable cooperation among communities of practice....sets of boundary objects arise directly from the problematics created when two or more differently naturalized classification systems collide.... // ¶ The processes by which communities of practice manage divergent and conflicting classification systems are complex, the more so as people are all members in fact of many communities of practice, with varying levels of commitment and consequence...." LOCAL TAYLORING AS A FORM OF WORK (Star 2010: 607) “subtly influenced the development of boundary objects in the sense of understanding local tailoring as a form of work that is invisible to the whole group and how a shared representation may be quite vague and at the same time quite useful.” ON GROWTH AND DEATH OF BOUNDARY OBJECTS (Star 2010: 613-4) “Over time, people (often administrators or regulatory agencies) try to control the tacking back-and forth, and especially, to standardize and make equivalent the ill-structured and well-structured aspects of the particular boundary object.”

• Being inside and moved around literally by the very material and conceptual structures you are analyzing and writing about is a kind of self-consciousness only partially available for explicit, or direct discussion • Under global academic restructuring we are obliged to network among all these lively agencies, as we look to see things as they exist for others, in different degrees of resolution, of grain of detail. INTENSIVE PRACTICES, knowledges, definitions, boundary work: closely negotiated among relatively bounded communities of practice; such as disciplines-in-the-making, local alliances, threatened units, long-lived organizations; emphasis on rigor and membership EXTENSIVE PRACTICES, knowledges, definitions, boundary work: speculative connections, practical coalitions, trial and error learning; such as transdisciplinary projects, transmedia storytelling, alternative practices-in-the-making; emphasis on peripheral participation and the edges of standardized practices • EXTENSIVE investigations perpendicularly analyze relative and relational shifts across authoritative and alternative knowledges • EXTENSIVE displays can work without displacing INTENSIVE work of specific communities of practice Extensive explorations of intensive meanings works out in and around GRAIN OF DETAIL • membership • peripheral participation • intensive knowledge management • extensive knowledge inspections • distributed author agencies • distributed, niche, emergent “audiences” or uses • scoping out: assemblage and infrastructure • scaling in: closely negotiated disciplinary interests • And attention to any particular grain of detail provokes response and affect. And that matters. In the midst of such cognitive overload, it helps to experiment with strategies for working with overload, rather than denying it. • Transdisciplinary work befriends and experiences a range of academic and other genres of writing, entailment and analysis, befriends and experiences their consequent and diverging values. The “rigor” of transcontextual feminist methods comes into play when we welcome peripheral participations (robust across sites) as well as work for an exquisite sensitivity to each horizon of possible resources and infrastructures, local exigencies, and differential memberships (plastic and local). Transcontextual feminisms as I have come to understand them, work to remain curious, even about and in the midst the affects of affiliation and disidentification, scoping extensively and scaling intensively among Ecologies of Knowledge.
• • • • • • Bowker, G.C., & Star, S.L. 1999. Sorting things out: classification and its consequences. MIT. King, K. 2001. "Productive agencies of feminist theory: the work it does." Feminist Theory 2/1: 94-98 Star, S.L., ed. 1995. Ecologies of Knowledge: Work and politics in science and technology . SUNY. Star, S.L. & Ruhleder, K. 1996. ”Steps toward an ecology of infrastructure.” Information Systems Research 7(1), 127. Star, S.L. 1999. “The Ethnography of Infrastructure.” American Behavioral Scientist (Nov/Dec) 43/3, 377-392. Star, S.L. 2010. “This is Not a Boundary Object.” Science, Technology & Human Values, 35/5: 601-617.

KATIE KING’S CURRENT TRANSDISCIPLINARY FEMINIST PROJECTS: • BOOK: Speaking with Things: an introduction to studies in media, writing technologies, complexity Proposal in preparation for Duke – orality literacy heuristic as infrastructure here – khipu as object of reference will thread through the book to illustrate shifts in thinking across this infrastructure and these ecologies & objects over the last thirty years. E-BOOK: Demonstrations and Experiments: Quaker women, plain style, and the Scientific Revolution Project in process with Punctum Books, “open-access and printon-demand independent publisher dedicated to radically creative modes of intellectual inquiry and writing.” Downloadable "tetebeche" pdf book with companion online hyperlinked version. Intro

by Eileen Joy with an eye to object oriented feminisms. • • • • ESSAYS: "In Knots: transdisciplinary khipu," essay for inaugural issue of O-Zone: a journal of object-oriented studies on Object/Ecology. “Queer transdisciplinarities: materialities as linkages, extensive knowledge practices,” essay for special issue of Feminist Theory on Feminism and its Methods. “Science Fiction Feminisms, Feminist Science Fictions & Feminist Sustainability,” essay co-authored with Joan Haran for special issue of Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media and Technology on Feminist Science Fiction. “Transcontextual Tangles, Transdisciplinary Ecologies, Disciplinary Habitats: Barad’s Entanglements,” essay for special issue of the journal rhizomes: cultural studies in emerging knowledge on the work of Karen Barad.

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