Fata Morgana (chimerically) wrote,
Fata Morgana

Academic update

I've been reading work by Erving Goffman for two classes. At first I didn't like his abstruse prose and blatant sexism, and I thought that most of what he said was obvious anyway. But as I further reflected on his observations, I realized that he was a very talented researcher who happened to be observing and writing in the fifties, and was just expressing the norms of his time. We've read primarily The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, a painfully detailed analysis of personal interactions. The reading and the fieldwork exercises have made me bring my vague observations and subconscious impressions of everyday situations to the fore and name them in terms of Goffman's vocabulary. This week my assignment is to observe online interactions.

In my Information Organization and Retrieval class we have until recently been talking about the web. After being exposed to dag29580863's research the past few years, much of it is familiar - especially the technical aspects, but also some of the motivations of search - though I still found that I didn't have much to contribute to the discussion.

Tomorrow I give my first research talk to GUIR, practicing for the Grace Hopper conference next week. If you're in Berkeley around 11:30 and want to come, it'll be in the BID lab, 346 Hearst Memorial Mining Building. I'm also almost finished with my "Talent Card" poster which will also go up at Grace Hopper. Finally, since I occasionally get requests for them, I added some of my scripts to my webpage so I have somewhere to point people when they ask in the future.

I recently heard of an interesting website, Living Room Candidate, which gives presidential campaign commercials from 1952 on. Those are great fun to analyze in terms of Goffman's social norms theories. Also, Bill Gates is coming for a "conversation" with the Dean of Engineering and (hopefully) Berkeley students at 9 a.m. this Friday at Zellerbach. I'm involved in some scheming, but I'll divulge more information about that after it happens.

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