Just off the plane from a fabulous trip to Atlanta for the National Women’s Studies Association Conference.  Thought I’d share my opening remarks from Girl w/Pen’s session, “Gone Virtual: Opportunities and Challenges for Feminist Scholar-Bloggers.”  Thanks to everyone who came and participated in the Roundtable, and to those who weren’t able to be there, I hope these postings help!

It’s an honor to be here in real space with these women with whom I share a platform virtually.  A bit about the history of Girl w/Pen: In 2007, when my first book (Only Child) came out, and then my second (Sisterhood, Interrupted), I started a blog.  It’s mission morphed as I did, becoming eventually a group platform designed to “bridge feminist research and popular reality.”  Today, we are a collaborative blog of 10 scholar-bloggers across disciplines–all of them what I would call “engaged scholars,” women who are not only modeling something important for their students (namely, engagement in a more public form of dialogue) but reinventing what it means to be a feminist scholar along the way.  They’re going to share with you how blogging for a larger audience impacts their research, their writing, and their teaching, and how collaborative blogging can serve broader feminist goals.

But first, a quick comment about why it’s particularly interesting and important to be blogging NOW.  The blogosphere is remaking the media.  It’s part of media, sure, but it’s also proactively shaping, often, what becomes news.  I’ve recently teamed up with The OpEd Project and have been teaching seminars with them.  A big part of what we talk about there is women’s imperative to contribute to public forums and public debate given our woeful underrepresentation in the nation–indeed, the world’s–most public and prominent thought leadership forums.

How many of you blog?  How many of the rest of you would like to blog but feel you have no time to?

My hope, by the end of our session this morning, after hearing what these scholar-bloggers next to me have to say about it all, is that the question becomes not how can I possibly add blogging to my already packed life but how can I not.

Panelist introductions:

Heather Hewett is an Assistant Professor of English and Women’s Studies.  Her work has been published in a range of academic and popular venues, including Women’s Studies QuarterlyWomen’s Review of BooksBrain, Child, and in several edited collections, including Chick Lit: The New Woman’s Fiction. She writes and edits the “Global Mama” column for GWP.

Veronica I. Arreola is the assistant director of the Center for Research on Women and Gender and the director of the Women in Science and Engineering program at the University of Illinois at Chicago. A veteran blogger, her own blog, Viva la Feminista, is where she discusses the intersection between feminism and motherhood. She holds a bachelors degree in Biological Sciences and a masters in Public Administration, both with concentrations in Gender and Women’s Studies. She began work on her Ph.D. in Public Administration last year.  She writes the Science Grrl column at GWP.

Alison Piepmeier directs the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at the College of Charleston, where she’s an associate professor of English.  Her most recent book is Girl Zines:  Making Media, Doing Feminism (NYU Press, 2009).  She’s a member of the NWSA Governing Council.  She writes the Body Language column at GWP.

Allison Kimmich has led the National Women’s Studies Association since 2004.  Most recently she has guided the Association’s Teagle-grant funded research on women’s studies and civic engagement.  She holds a PhD in women’s studies from Emory University.  She writes the Girl Talk column for Girl w/Pen.

Kyla Bender-Baird is a Doctoral Student at the CUNY Graduate Center where she focuses on sociology of gender, embodiment, and the law.  Her book, Transgender Employment Experiences, was released this fall by SUNY Press.  Prior to returning to graduate school, Kyla worked at the National Council for Research on Women where she served as the managing editor of their blog (among other things).

And I’m Deborah Siegel. (Bio and all that stuff at www.deborahsiegel.net)

A quick note about how the blog itself works: We’re each “editors” and welcome guest posts that fall under the broad rubic of our particular columns.  We also welcome guest posts on other topics as well.  (See the guidelines, and use our contact form to get in touch with our fellow blogger and webmaster Avory Faucette!)


SCIENCE GRRL / Veronica Arreola Can We Whistle Stereotypes Away?
BODY POLITIC  / Kyla Bender-Baird Love Your (NonNormative) Body – a dialogue with Kyla and Avory
GLOBAL MAMA / Heather Hewett Maternal Health, One Year Later
GIRL TALK  / Allison Kimmich The Other Sex Talk
BODY LANGUAGE / Alison Piepmeier High Expectations
MAMA W/PEN  / Deborah Siegel Midlife Mama Asks Whether We’re All Too Isolated to Fight the Pink-v.-Blue Battle Outside Our Homes

Baxter Sez
Ms. Magazine Blog
The Pink & Blue Diaries
Viva la Feminista
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