Scholarly conversations in the digital age: Unsex Mothering: Online Colloquium | Harvard Journal of Law and Gender

I really like both the form and content of the “online colloquium” hosted by the Harvard Journal of Law and Gender here:  Unsex Mothering: Harvard Journal of Law and Gender.

On Monday, February 13, 2012, the Harvard Journal of Law & Gender hosted a conference at Harvard Law School featuring Darren Rosenblum’s article Unsex Mothering: Toward a New Culture of Parenting, published in the journal’s Winter 2012 edition. The author discussed his piece, with responses from Professor Duncan Kennedy (HLS), Professor Mary Anne Case (U. Chicago), Professor Elizabeth Emens (Columbia), Professor Suzanne Kim (Rutgers), and Katherine Kraschel (HLS ’12).

The journal also solicited written responses from twenty scholars in the field for an online colloquium. These responses are linked below. To read Unsex Mothering, please click here.

I think this is a great way to have the sort of real conversation that we all aim at in academia.  There are always barriers – time, distance, scheduling, other work – but I do think that in particular with respect to distance and scheduling, the web can be a real help, because it facilitates direct conversation in time frames shorter than the publication lag of journals but longer than the instant back and forth of a conference. They also seem particularly apt for those who are, for instance, trying to have a conversation across a large country, or who do transnational work, or who have environmental reasons to want to limit air travel, or caregiving responsibilities which limit the possibility of out of town trips.

Don’t get me wrong. I love conferences, when I get my act together and go to them.  A dash to Ottawa and back last week was surprisingly great.  Getting to see people, chat about everything (that’s you, A. Cameron) and have a drink together afterwards (thanks C. Mathen, and fingers crossed for next time, V. Narain) is great, invigorating and usually leads to good new ideas, or at least a sense of community that revives.  But I like the idea of other options alongside.




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