The readings for this week were interesting and I enjoyed how they dealt with culture and identity. I think these aspects of technical communication are important within the field and in the classroom, because ultimately race, sex, gender, etc. have a pivotal role in the spaces that we work in. In Agboka’s chapter, I think I was looking for examples of the limitation of acknowledging human rights in the academia setting (maybe I just missed it). On page 169 it states,
“First, the scholarship in the field, so far, shows that “many teachers have a commitment to human rights principles such as justice and equity, and are skilled in the art of socializing students,” (Osler and Starkey 1994, 350) but they do not have the expertise to apply specific concepts of human rights to their pedagogy and research, because of the specialized nature of human rights.”
Here I asked the question, “Well, what are human rights? Because maybe in some spaces people have a different perception of what that means, and I believe that human rights can be culturalized, so I used this to engage with Dr. Cox’s chapter on Queer theory in technical communication.
When we think about the setting of a classroom, scholars in these spaces could consider it to be a safe space. We kind of touched on this last week how a professor might try to make a classroom a safe space for students to bring up topics that may be offensive. But it isn’t the same if we think of a workplace and Cox brought up a good point that I don’t really consider. For example, “There seemed to be a noticeable focus on what these workplaces and corporations believe (falsely) to be “non-raced”, “non-gendered”, “non-sexed”, and “non- embodied” areas such as means of production, corporate content and behavior, and the day-to- day operations of the business themselves” (406). To tie this back in with culture and identity, from my personal experience I don’t believe that workplace emphasize how important race, gender, and sex really are. Corporation may touch on a certain topic about it, but it’s one of those things that get brushed under the rug and I think it starts with instructors of technical communication and the information they provide to students in the field. By incorporating culture within a curriculum (such as Cox did in 2013) I think this moves toward the notion of risk communication, which will make these concerns of culture and identity apparent to scholars before going out into the workplace.
I also think Queer theory is a great example of making this situation apparent. One quote that I took out of chapter 12 was, “Queer theory on the other hand, is not only concerned with whatever is non-normative but also seeks to constantly disrupt the normative as well” (409). My question for Dr. Cox is “If queer theory seeks to disrupt the normative, does that mean certain situations are not meant to be normalized, but just looked at through a different lens?”
Side Note: I tried my best to articulate all these ideas that relate back to culture and identity.