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019 — Care
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Teacher of the Ear 019 — Care

With the Pedagogy of the Digitally Oppressed Collective

This is Teacher of the Ear: a show presenting conversations of learning, teaching, and technology, listening for ways to empower educators and champion student agency. It’s the aural side of Hybrid Pedagogy. I’m Chris Friend from Kean University.

As the global pandemic continues, conversations related to mental health have become increasingly common. The sudden and drastic changes to our social connections, the nature and locations of our work, and even the quality and quantity of our home lives have each made demands on us that we were generally unprepared to handle. The humanist side of the work of teaching has gained greater attention and taken on greater importance. I plan to return to these issues regularly in this show because they warrant attention and exploration from multiple angles and perspectives.

In this episode, I talk with the Pedagogy of the Digitally Oppressed Collective, which fosters queer, feminist, and anti-colonial approaches to digital humanities teaching. The collective consists of Ashley Caranto Morford, Arun Jacob, and Kush Patel, representing the fields of English, Indigenous, and Filipinx/a/o studies; Information Studies; and Architectural History-Theory and Design Studies. They lead workshops, deliver talks, author texts, and teach courses within coalitions in and across the Global North and Global South that challenge the overlapping injustices of historically white, upper caste, and heteropatriarchal orders, while illuminating the specifics of those injustices and education-centered counternarratives in a given place.

Chris:        So that was quite a biography. There is a lot to parse in there, and I as I was reading through it, I noticed some connections between how you introduce and present yourselves and some concepts from previous episodes in the Connection and Active Gratitude episodes in particular. Those shows were presented with the global pandemic as a backdrop. I was doing those episodes and having those conversations to emphasize the importance of the care and compassion within our teaching, and that connection is super important there.

You shared some work on the Humanities Commons in which you all imagined Digital Humanities pedagogy as what you called “care work”. I'm just wondering if we could start this with you saying what care work is in general and how—and this is where I'm stuck—how does teaching in DH do care work?

Ashley:        That's a huge and hugely important question. As a practice of care and accountability, we acknowledge that we are connecting with one another from various sovereign indigenous lands. I myself am currently connecting to you all from Lenapehoking, the Lenape territory colonially called Philadelphia.

As part of our care work, we recognize that many of the digital infrastructures we use are built on indigenous lands. So part of our care work practice is really being responsible and accountable to our obligations in these lands and in the digital spaces that extend from these lands.

In terms of care work, more broadly, there is a quote from Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha’s work about making space accessible, being an act of love for our communities, and when I think about the context of the digital and making space accessible as being an act of love, I think that means access to digital technologies and infrastructure. Access to spaces and communities and conversations through the use of digital technology. As we think through care and collective access, as well as collective responsibility, during an ongoing pandemic. And as educators, then this includes the ability to teach or for students to attend class asynchronously or with digital options and digital participation.

I started off with this land acknowledgement because I think care work in digital space also means thinking about and being responsible to where and how digital infrastructures are being built on, through, and with the land. And so care work is always — even when we're thinking about it in digital environments — is always extending out into the lands that we reside in, and are nourished by as well.

Kush:        Yeah, and I couldn't help but think how care work within communities and as a collective, within chosen kinships, and even within professional settings is what you do to survive on a day-to-day basis; to survive with each other. Which is to say how not to think of care or care work as a commodity with exchange value, but rather as a relationship with life value.

And which is to also then begin to spell out, name, and honor our dependencies on one another; dependencies with which we build strength in relation to each other; and to continue to sort of work with those dependencies as we teach and learn. Here, relationships, I’d stress, are not defined by one’s institutional setting, nor in the context of communities, are necessarily limiting of their possibilities to then have a much wider spectrum of engagement.

And so we call this practice “deep care work”. And that sense of emphasis on depth is to draw attention to both cultural, but also methodological dimensions of teaching and learning. bell hooks models for us what it means to work across differences of class and communities, but in ways that does not distance us from kinships and communities that we may come from but also those kinships and communities that we are forming.

Arun:        So the way I would like tackle your question of teaching DH and care work. I think what comes to mind first and foremost for me is the recognition. As DH practitioners, we are caretakers, repair and maintenance workers and in in in a way that the recognition of care, maintenance and repair work is foundational to both, like feminist politics and indigenous worldviews, but it is understanding like how it is as teachers and learners there is an interdependence between the communities of the digital workspaces, our teaching and learning spaces between the people involved and the environments within from within which we emerge.

So in that work, it is the repair and maintenance work that resonates with me the most to think about the teaching and learning practice in DH.

Chris:        So Kush and I met at Digital Humanities Summer Institute out in U Vic in Victoria, British Columbia. And one thing that I hear every year at that particular event is how fortunate everyone feels to be able to share space together to occupy a place at once with other practitioners within their disciplines. And at the end of the week, there's always this acknowledgement that we are going to take what we have experienced and learned and how we've grown and take that with us to the other spaces to which we are returning.

I'm still struggling with how land is represented in digital work. I'm being devil's advocate here admittedly, but if we're doing digital work, how is that land based? Because it's digital, it exists in this geographically agnostic space that we know as of as the Internet. Why do we need to worry about a sense of land in that space?

Arun:        The way I would tackle this is with the most recent example of an outage that we saw in in the world of like where Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram all went down by virtue of it being located in one spot in in space and time. One outage over there [in the U.S.] was enough for an entire digital infrastructure to fall flat on its face, so in that instant we got to see what was supposed to be a decentralized, networked infrastructure unable to do so because in it in this contemporary moment, the way the architecture of the Internet seems to be is within the hands of FAGMA—Facebook, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon. So these corporate players seem to have so much real estate in how it is that the media infrastructures operate both in terms of the hardware, the software and the wetware—the people engaged in it.

So if it is in those concentrated hands that the space and time within which the Internet operates exists, then we have to acknowledge what it means not to have available in where we live access to that kind of network connections, the kind of media infrastructure you need in order to work, play, study, all of that.

A good student in the 21st century has to be able to have a connection that the fidelity of the connection has to be good enough so that they can be active participants in a classroom. If not, it is then the instructor and the student who are both unable to participate by virtue of the network infrastructure not being good enough, their computers at home have to work, the network connection speed coming has to work, and they have to work, so the different layers of the stack are being made clear here on how it is and where it is located.

Ashley:        But let me add too when we're talking about access, what happens on land then gets reenacted in digital space and I think about you know you're talking about DHSI. Well, how many of us are very privileged to have access to the teachings and the technologies that are available at DHSI and then available in our institutions on many of us on indigenous lands, their lands are being used to create digital infrastructures that they themselves don't have ready or dependable access to.

When I think about DHSI as well, I think about who's present at DHSI and who isn't. If we're going to talk about land-based-ness, there are people — majority settlers residing in indigenous lands — who are able to attend DHSI and there are so many people coming from other areas — including from the global South — that don't have access to DHSI’s spaces, so when we think about the digital and access we have to, we have to think about land because they are inextricably intertwined.

As someone in diaspora —I'm a diasporic Filipina British settler — digital spaces connect me to my homelands in a way that I haven't been able to physically go to my homelands. But I'm able to connect in some way through digital space and this is true too for many indigenous nations. So I think digital and land are just so inextricably intertwined that we can't talk about the digital without also recognizing the land-based-ness of the digital and also thinking about land and access.

Chris:        And I'm hearing in what you're saying, is that physical colonialism invading a space and taking over a physical area and using that space — then to create digital resources extends that colonialist approach into those spaces — come almost out of hand, almost automatically, and so the very people who have been excluded from the physical space on which the digital spaces have been created are then excluded from the digital space because they aren't seen in the physical space that is used.

Ashley:        And often it's these communities and lands they're being exploited and commodified too, so it's also there's that lack of visibility and lack of presence, but then also the commodification and the exploitation of these lands and communities to create digital infrastructures.

Kush:        This is fascinating because historically we know that space was always a frontier and now the digital is continues to be the frontier and a new frontier to continue to colonize. But one of the things that we've done in our writings is to also talk about scholars like Cherokee new media theorist Angela M Haas, who emphasized that the original digital technologies are the fingers. That is, one’s digits, right?

And so the long-standing indigenous technologies like wampum belts which were codes created through the work of the fingers are digital technologies. So if you think of the body that inhabits the world and continues to participate in world making, the digital and the land-based are so intertwined both in terms of reproducing the oppressions that have otherwise historically existed, but also occluding histories of the digital that are not necessarily starting with computing technologies. So I think that's something that we draw attention to in our practice.

Chris:        Arun was Speaking of the tech stack that's necessary for participation in today's online classes or, hell, in this conversation right now, if that technology stack fails — if the connection is bad, if some part of the hardware, all of that — if something goes wrong, it's often seen as the student’s problem. And that makes it so that the student is unable to actively participate. And what I see a lot of around me at least is that we still have this expectation that participation is this thing that a student must do. It is a thing that a student must provide, a student must bring.

And so we've got all of these systems, and we have maintained the expectation that participation is a standard. That participation is something that can be graded that participation is a demand that a teacher makes of a student. And that a student then has to bring that, and that includes the stack and a lot of times, like sure, an institution will say, “oh, but we've given zoom pro to all of our faculty” or what have you, but it's still up to the student to make the stack work in their own home space rather than being able to come to campus and use these spaces.

Ashley:        I was a teaching assistant when this pandemic started I was finishing up my PhD and I think about how you know the institution said OK, now you're going to teach online and you're going to teach through zoom, but we are not going to do what is necessary to provide you the infrastructures to teach effectively.

So if you don't have the money you don't have the financial stability to have the Wi-Fi Internet connection, this high speed connection that's needed to teach, like, we're not going to provide that to you. So even the institution demanding something without providing the ability for students and precarious graduate students who are doing this teaching work to be able to teach in the in the best way possible — the way that's most nourishing for them and for their students.

And that kind of active or breaking of care work and breaking of care on the part of the institution towards its students and some of its most precarious staff as well, faculty and staff.

I'm thinking too of you know, sessional and adjunct instructors who also didn't receive that kind of support necessary to make that transition into teaching online during the pandemic.

Arun:        And if I could add another important interesting aspect of of this participatory culture thing about it is there's an interesting element of responsiblization that is going on there as well. We are seeing here the transition from BYOD (bring your own device) to BYOI (bring your own infrastructure). So you at home are expected to have a working camera, a working microphone, a working Internet and in the network storage necessary and all of that.

So the institution has responsiblized the instructor, the learner, and the support staff to all have that necessary infrastructure at home in order to turn your home space into a workspace, which, by extension, is now a part and parcel of the academic institution. And so in that responsiblization we are seeing the classic neoliberal turn of this. And that is problematic in house how we are saying we will be expected to think through some of these aspects of it.

Kush:        And there are such normative sort of expectations, too, right, for example, around home. I mean, we're assuming that in this act of what Arun calls responsiblization, infrastructure starts and ends with the home, so we are assuming that students come from a place called home which is which is conducive enough to learning, and accordingly sort of, you know, flatten out both the differences that exist within academic institutions, but also conveniently deny the very sort of making of the institution on that difference.

So I think the institution then becomes this monolith, which perhaps it always aspires to do, but then the digital or the sort of the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated some of those dimensions in ways previously otherwise hidden or occluded or invisibilized, or what have you.

Chris:        So I'm coming from the United States, and here care for others — to put this gently — doesn't exactly have the same popularity as it seems to have in other cultures. Yet plenty of our organizations, institutions, and corporations have thrown around the word “care” the past 18 months either as an ideal or sometimes even as a service or a commodity —  something that we can pay a subscription to enjoy. And I feel like what I'm thinking of and the things that I've heard over the past 18 months aren't real. They're not actual care. They are a product or service that is disconnected from actual human connections.

And so my question for you is what distinguishes genuine care from something that is perhaps either performative care or something that you might have a better term for? How do we know when care is real?

Arun:        I'll start by saying in Canada at least there was a group of two amazing individuals who came out of Toronto that coined a term called “care mongering”, where it was moving forward in into their communities.

It was Mita Hans and Valentina Harper who decided on, you know, forming a Facebook group 1st and then reaching out to people in the community to make sure that there was  the care required for them in those community spaces, and we also saw this in the DH community where rapid-response teaching resources were, you know, provided and shared with at the time when everybody was making the transition happened there.

So we saw scholars come together to put together teaching and learning resources that were available. So almost an abolitionist praxis was emerging there, and the thinking about in terms of like non-carceral ways of thinking of care were emerging in the fringes of our society to get us back to a space of where we are in this together, a sense of mutual aid being offered.

That is there and it becomes necessary for us as educators to be able to be the glue that connects with those who can and may be able to provide those resources and the social glue required to get them to the people who do need them. And in order to be able to be that conduit necessary, I think educators — public educators essentially — have a part to play to be able to do that.

Ashley:        And you touched on something really important there, Arun, which is the ways in which the state and institutions have used care as a carceral technology or how care is a carceral technology under colonial institutions and colonial States.

Historically and ongoingly, folks who are neurodivergent, disabled folks, chronically ill folks have been treated in carceral ways that are labeled as care, and these are incredibly abusive where they're locked up and all kinds of horrible atrocities happen without their consent and the state and these institutions that are part of the state label this as “care”.

Or we see migrants or refugees, often the state will label — they will control and enact carcerally against these communities, these people, these refugees and immigrants, and then say that this is security for the nation. So again, this façade of care or the creation of care as a technology of carcerality.

And here I'm thinking about Nicole Nguyen’s Suspect Communities as a really important book that unpacks the ways that the nation perpetuates care as an imperial power and a carceral power.

I think too about my own community in the context of colonially called Canada. The live-in caregiver program in Canada, where predominantly Filipina and Black Caribbean women have been stripped from their families, their communities, their homelands and then brought to Canada and made to care for white families. So they offer care work to white families under highly precarious, often abusive, state-sanctioned circumstances.

And so we see all too often how care under a colonial and capitalist lens, as Arun was saying, it's commodified, it's abused, it's a technology of personality and ongoing colonial imperialism.

Chris:        So we've just talked about the problematic care practices in the physical realm. What is the digital equivalent of those problematic care practices?

Arun:        There what happens is like every other move being made in the technical realm of, you know the as a service in where infrastructure as a service — everything can be offered as a service — as a model.

So CaaS — let's call it that, Care as a Service — is a way of doing business. It's not masquerading techno solutions as care. This is the regime of care that the private institutions and public institutions offer as a business model and what that includes are practices that aim to predict how posit and manage how clients need care, so there is a measurement based into the care. There is a metric that is attached to the care practice that deliver an appropriate amount of care, as determined by the service level tier in which they have subscribed to.

So there are stages of care that are accessible to those who have been approved for and subscribed to, that they are eligible for, so it becomes monetized and on the back end of it, if you're not at the table, you're on the menu. So the data that comes out of this is also a commodity that the data Tomb Raiders find extremely valuable.

So what we are seeing here is something like trauma-informed care can become a service. I mean, critical care can become a service. Palliative care as service. Any of these can be offered as service with a data back end as well. So the techno solution there is the capacity to be able to modulate, to pinpoint, and to use KPIs like critical performance indicators etc. The organizational dashboard will have the necessary informational touchstones required to optimize service delivery.

Chris:        So again, devil's advocate question here. What you just said sounds great! Doesn't that mean we can offer exactly the services that we need to offer to exactly the right people at exactly the right time without waste? Because we are offering the exact right amount of care at the right touchpoints?

Kush:        But that's where, Chris, this idea of the subscription model of care: that you subscribe to services because ultimately, they'll reciprocate with care is problematic because it reproduces this idea of the commodity, the transaction; the idea of you being just an entity or a number in the larger system.

And so if we go back to your original question of what care might look like, feels like generally, then it's non-transactional. It's it's something that we come together to look out for each other to ensure that that we are able to do, to simply have a good day or take care of each other’s needs, as and when needed. And because of these connections also mobilize resources, either in the form of the mutual aid network or more generally, in a day-to-day life, just build capacities to survive against these very subscription-based models.

Chris:        I'm over here cracking up because I just got a job at a new location here. And so in the United States, that means there's been a discussion of health benefits because health benefits are of course tied to our employer — [sarcastic tone] because that makes sense.

And so I am just a number and I am subscribed to the particular plan to which I have applied. And the things that you two are saying, like on the one hand they sound ridiculous and they sound absurd and they sound absolutely horrifying.

On the other hand, it's like yes, I did just sign up for that and I was so grateful that I signed up for that two months ago, because if I didn't sign up for that, I would not have health care. And I know that health care and the care that you're talking about are two different things. I get it, but like, I would… Arun, when you were talking, I was not freaking out about what you were saying in the way that you wanted me to freak out about it.

You were telling me all these horrific things, and I'm just going, yeah, that's how we do medicine in this country. That's how Healthcare is doled out. We provide this service that you subscribe to through your employer with a paycheck deduction. Because America. Oh, man.

Arun:        But let's turn that up a bit more then. So what if the what is coming next involves something like .care and .help, where in order to be a care provider, the domain name that ICANN has given you is .care?

So what that means is then once we have an Internet of Health Things on a network, the emancipatory potential of the computer, I mean computing technologies like the circuits of socialization, interaction, identification. All of these texts that come together.

What they do then is create this agile health management program that makes it easy for the providers to provide these scalable just in time services, but what this does then is it unspools health work. It's like the tradecraft that involves personalization into a digital version of virtual care. Which is tied into bioinformatics.

And then we are headed into a space where critical practitioners are sidelined for these cost-effective techno-solutions that supercharge the private and corporate health infrastructures that are happening through all the datafication processes that are in charge. So care — bio equipment manufacturers like the hardware, the informatics, the platforms, all of them are coalescing to create it's a different kind of care infrastructure, which is removing the human from it.

And that is one where the metrics and power twinning together to create a certain algorithmic value is kind of very problematic.

Ashley:        Yeah, so I have two things. First — it kind of ties into what Arun was just talking about too — with algorithms and the biases that are embedded in algorithms, which of course were made generally by white cisgender or wealthy men. So of course their biases become embedded into these algorithms.

If we think about the idea of care as a carceral technology in the hands of a capitalist colonial state, we also can't erase the fact that digital surveillance technologies and racist coding within digital infrastructures and algorithms that these are weapons of hyper surveillance that endanger those who have faced the most precarity and the most systemic oppression.

But the other thing that I would say, tying more into that question of health care and the institutionalization of care that you were talking about Chris, is that the fact that you were not horrified, by what Arun was saying earlier, is horrifying, right? The ways in which the institutionalization of care and the stripping of care work into something that is transactional, like Kush was saying, that isn't reciprocal, that isn't community. From community based and community focused the fact that we've normalized care as an institution, care in the United States is not something that is a basic human right.

So the fact that that has become normalized and the reaction is, well, I'm not actually horrified by what you're saying Arun, that shows the urgency of abolishing that type of institutionalized colonial capitalist care work and fostering the care work that we were talking about as, you know, collective responsibility as mutual aid, as reciprocity, as not transactional. And I think that ties into something that Kush, Arun, and I have been talking about. About framing care work as a technology and the problems around that. Because to frame care work as technology renders it a static noun or object rather than an ongoing process, an ongoing practice or verb that requires reciprocity and mutuality.

And that's why we as a collective, really frame care work as pedagogy because to us that emphasizes and honors the process, the practice, the verb, and frankly the messiness of doing this work. The ways in which we're trying to work, to go back to teaching in relationship with digital tools and environments to offer safe collective access to classrooms, classes, conversations. And then that reminds me too, to frame care work as technology is the reduction of care to individual rather than community responsibility.

So the framing of care is the individual's responsibility which we see we've been talking about. This the capitalist self care movement that really dismisses and doesn't take responsibility for systemic oppressions, often that are wrapped up in this illusion of care, as we were talking about that negatively impact people's lives because this capitalist move reframes care as buying. You know something that tastes good or something that's comforting. Buying this product from the capitalist market to treat yourself.

And that's completely refusing state and institutional responsibilities to address systemic and structural inequities, and it enables then that kind of not-actual-care-work parading as care work to continue.

Kush:        Continuing on this on this line of thought and returning to questions of teaching and learning: so  we've looked at care and its use and utility as a commodity, how it normalizes and normativizes who we are, how we operate and behave in in the world   — all of that also translates into academic institutions and then how they begin to govern not just the institution and its programs, but also the ways in which they begin to govern bodies that occupy those institutions.

And so I think one of the dangers of normativization is what I was saying: the erasure of this difference, the difference that is not just by virtue of where you are and the kind of positionality that each student, staff, or faculty member might bring,  but difference as an active marker of, and a requirement for, new knowledge production is continuously being erased. And so, you know, I’m reminded of the words of Katherine McKittrick, who asks us that how can we forget—for too many of us we keep forgetting—that our students and many of our colleagues continue to live unsafe lives irrespective of whether or not we are in a global pandemic.

So if our classrooms have bodies and histories and lived realities that are unsafe, what does it mean to then create a safe classroom in the name of care? What does it mean to then create a safe classroom in the name of participation and equal opportunity or what have you?

So I think we need to get to the very structural conditions of how and in what ways differences are manifested, but also sustained. But then also how could they be reclaimed, and then sort of move us towards what Arun was mentioning — an abolitionist practice or ways in which we can imagine new models, new possibilities for institution-building.

Chris:        You asked really good questions there. How can we reimagine the classroom environment within the existing structures in such a way that it produces care rather than avoids it, or offloads it onto some other set of responsibilities?

Do you have a suggestion for what that looks like? Do you have a description of what you see when you imagine that happening? If we really bring this, you know, wheels to ground, what does this sort of approach look like within our current structures?

If I've got somebody listening who wants to try this out, what do you do?

Arun:        I think for starters where I would come from is recognizing that, say, for example, the year 2021, a first-year university student that we come across, the last time they were in a physical classroom was the winter of 2019–20? And so their grade 11. The end of grade 11 was when they were in a classroom last, and now they're coming into a university classroom so that transition from moving from secondary to postsecondary, they didn't get to experience those life-changing events the way that others have before them.

So care here looks like what is remedial teaching for people who have missed out on several aspects of socialization. Of understanding concepts and ideas that happen in the interstices between classes. When you walk to and walk from a class, what you share with and have here those hallway interactions have been missing, so that's the kind of activities where we are actually minding for and caring for each other to know how it is that we are interacting. Right now, we zoom out of a classroom where we don't really know how did we affect the other individuals in these spaces.

So taking into account those things that we have missed out, and to make sure that we all give space and time for each of us. Incorporate some aspects of it to recognize that in our practice, the institutions that we are at want to rush back to a business-as-usual model, and we have not had the time to actually recognize the pain and suffering that a lot of people have gone through, so that would also be a part of the care practice that we can bring to our teaching and learning spaces.

Ashley:        Yeah, for me, I've been thinking a lot about Kimberly Crenshaw's intersectionality and what it means to offer an intersectional accessibility.

So currently I'm teaching classes that are both in person and then also online asynchronous and how do we ensure an intersectional accessibility, where the class is accessible for asynchronous participants where participants asynchronously attending can feel part of the community and can feel like they're really part of the class, and it's a meaningful learning experience for them.

But also, what about, I often have students who come from systemically marginalized, systemically oppressed communities. What about when in the classroom space they share something that's incredibly personal, and we're recording at that time, and maybe that's not something that should be, or that they would want to be shared outside, preserved through recording, outside of that in moment classroom space.

So what that means is that I have been going through and before I post the recordings, editing out anything that feels like it's particularly intimate or vulnerable that those students have shared so that it doesn't move beyond the classroom space as a means of trying to practice an intersectional accessibility.

But as I've been doing this, and as I know, the deep need of doing this work in a way that is intersectionally accessible, I also I keep messing up. And so I think about how I care so deeply about care work. I'm committed to it. I'm committed to providing an intersectionally accessible pedagogy, but I fail so much so throughout pandemic teaching.

I've learned in tangible and first-hand ways that you know, just because you've recorded a class for asynchronous participants that in no way means the class or the recording is accessible. I've come up against what it means to ensure safety and accessibility for everyone in that class community.

So again, I go back to the need to challenge the idea that care work is technology and understand it as an ongoing process, an ongoing practice, and a commitment that's grounded in reciprocity and mutuality.

And we need to remain honest and open-hearted in this approach and process to listen and then here I'm drawing on the words of Cree-Métis scholar Deanna Rederto “keep our hearts open for correction” in this process too.

Kush:        Yeah, and then you know, just building with these ideas, thoughts and politics. I would say simply: find your people.

And it's interesting that we started this conversation with the reference to DHSI because not only was that the venue where Chris, you and I met for the first time, but also that's where I met Arun and Ashley. And in 2018 we had this very politically charged experience in one of the DHSI courses on race and social justice where collectively, class members, which included Arun, Ashley, and I — we sort of came up with a group project on a public performance called #OurDHis.

And that hashtag not only emerged from what we were sort of coming together to learn and share in the context of that course, but the larger and the more specific aim of that performance was to make visible connections between precarious workers and precarious means of producing scholarship in and with the digital.

You know several scholars from Radhika Gajjala to Maitrayee Basu to Moya Bailey have talked about hashtag publics — ways in which one is able to mobilize, support and find people who may be otherwise dispersed in physical geographical location. But there is value to finding people to then create systems and possibilities for new institutions or even openings within existing institutions times to emerge.

And that's something that we, as a collective — it is a transnational collective — we often find ourselves very precarious (and) even though we occupy academic positions, we are not defined by those positions, but rather by our responsibilities and commitments to the communities that we call our own. So I think it's important to not lose sight of the fact and to keep the critical project of pedagogy alive or pedagogy as a “practice of liberation” as bell hooks continues to remind us, to sort of keep alive that project for us, as a way to then also survive these times and beyond.

You've been hearing Teacher of the Ear, a production of Hybrid Pedagogy.

Just because the show is over doesn't mean the conversation ends. Everyone who contributed to this episode is accessible through Twitter, and so is the show itself. Along those lines, @TeacherOfTheEar and @chris_friend would like to thank @arungapatchka, @ashleycmorford, and @kshpatel for chatting with me for today's show. Our theme music is by Blue Dot Sessions. This show is hosted on, and you can subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. The full catalogue of episodes, including show notes and complete transcripts, lives at That’s

So that’s it for this episode of Teacher of the Ear. I’m your host and producer, Chris Friend, from Kean University in Union, NJ, on land taken from the Lenni-Lenape people in the late 1800s. where a nor’easter came through yesterday, and the wind gusts today keep reminding us the storm is still out there. Until next time, let’s all keep our ears open for more ways to empower educators and champion student agency.

Thanks for listening!