Doing Twitter, Postdevelopmental Pedagogies, and Digital Activism
Nicole Land, Toronto Metropolitan University
Narda Nelson, Western University
Nicole Land https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9645-9550
We would like to acknowledge the funding support received by Narda Nelson from the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada.
For correspondence concerning this article, please contact Nicole Land at the School of Early Childhood Studies, Toronto Metropolitan University. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Narda Nelson at Western University. Email: email@example.com
Working in digital pedagogical spaces that are knitted together by a collective of scholars, educators, and activists invested in thinking early childhood education beyond the technocratic bounds of child development, this paper takes up the question: how do we do Twitter as a fragmented, situated, and responsive online activist practice entangled with postdevelopmental provocations? Phrased otherwise, our question is how our Twitter practices become a pedagogical—and not just instrumental nor self-promotional—provocation, one that matters for what we set in motion with our tweets and how our tweets dialogue, ally, and contract with the messy online world that is #earlychildhoodeducation. As we have written elsewhere (Land et al., submitted), we are interested in thinking how Twitter becomes a pedagogical space, one where we grapple toward a commons with questions of living well together. We want to acknowledge that our Twitter engagements are deeply emplaced amid ongoing settler colonialism in the lands currently known as Canada, with Narda engaging with Twitter as a settler on the lands Songhees, Esquimalt & WSANEC First Nations in Victoria, British Columbia, and Nicole on Anishinaabe, Mississaugas and Haudenosaunee homelands in Toronto, Ontario. We note the place-fulness of Twitter early on in this paper as we want to rethink colonialism outside the overdetermined conceptualization of this violent process as linked only to land. Ocean waters criss-crossed with cables, server farms, online niches and power dynamics, and conceptual colonization are constantly at work and matter deeply to how we encounter Twitter. The hybrid world that is Twitter is never removed from the ethics and politics that our classroom postdevelopmental pedagogies work to respond to in the name of living well together with children and with the situated systemic injustices that matter to a particular place.
In this paper we share provocations, ethics, and politics that guide our thinking as we coordinate two different Twitter accounts: the BC Early Childhood Pedagogies Network (ECPN) and the Common Worlds Research Collective. We begin by highlighting our relationship to Twitter, then naming four practices relevant to our online labour, followed by two examples of putting these practices to work in ways that activate the ethical and political intentions we carry into the way we use Twitter. These ethical and political intentions are critical to our Twitter engagements because they name the pedagogical commitments (Vintimilla et al., 2021) that we work to manifest through our tweeting. This is where our Twitter labour intersects with the Call of this special issue to articulate narratives of movement: we see Twitter as a pedagogical project grounded in educational processes, and as such we resist allowing Twitter to become technocratic or instrumental. We lean in to seeing Twitter as a potentially pedagogical space that moves beyond only individualist, performative self-curation practices. More than seeing Twitter itself as a movement, we are interested in the micromovements we might enact with Twitter. While we share how we (quote unquote) use Twitter, we are equally as conscious that Twitter uses us. We refuse the humanist hubris (Taylor, 2020) of imagining ourselves as a controller in charge of what happens on Twitter, where we guide the dialogue and make interventions that reiterate our power. We know Twitter is messy, and that it makes and remakes us as Twitter subjects, over and over.
First, what do we mean when we invoke the words “postdevelopmental pedagogies”? To think with postdevelopmental pedagogies is to join with a collective of early childhood education scholars, educators, and activists who reject and reconfigure the tenets and consequences of child development. This means studying developmentalism for the knowledges and relations it manifests (Burman, 2016; Dahlberg et al., 2013): technocratic practice, instrumentalism, universalism, assessment, pathologizing, and linear trajectories of growth and of temporality. Holding these knowledges, postdevelopmental pedagogies intervene in these logics, imagining how we might think pedagogy outside of the confines of normative developmentalism, where pedagogy shapeshifts from a technology of building proper neoliberal child subjects (Moss & Roberts-Holmes, 2022) to a process for figuring out how to live well together with children with the complex worlds we inherit together (Land, 2022; Land & Frankowski, 2022; Nxumalo & Pacini-Ketchabaw, 2022; Nxumalo et al., 2018; Vintimilla & Pacini-Ketchabaw, 2020). To think with postdevelopmental pedagogies, then, means invoking a world (in our case here, a digital space) where the logics of child development are intentionally made messy and, through the creation of alternative ways of coming together in early childhood education spaces, become too unstable to exert their normalizing power. Postdevelopmental pedagogies, it is critical to note, are not content to rest as critical pedagogies; their work is more than that of analysis and destruction. They ask questions of invention, of how we might think in the wake or ruins of child development and create more livable worlds together. As Murris (2017) offered, postdevelopmental pedagogies are “driven by a desire to show how matters of ontology and epistemology have implications for ethical relationships in educational institutions, and that they cannot, and should not, be reduced to apolitical governmental concerns about efficacy and standardisation” (p. 532). For example, in decentering the child as the primary actor and acted-upon body in education, postdevelopmental pedagogies ask questions in the vein of “how [we] might invent alternative dynamics beyond the predictable and stable rote centering of the child that is rooted in developmental psychology” (Land et al., 2020, p. 110). Invention, affirmation, and accountability mark the grammars of postdevelopmental pedagogies. Accordingly, when we argue in this paper that we are thinking with developmental provocations, what we mean is that we are taking the questions that postdevelopmental pedagogies ask—questions of knowledge, process, ethics, and life beyond developmentalism’s bounds—and imagining what the work of taking these seriously in our Twitter practices might create. We are crafting provocations that intentionally intervene in technocratic practice, instrumentalism, universalism, assessment, pathologizing, and linear trajectories of growth and of temporality. We take this work seriously as we think about postdevelopmental Twitter pedagogies: how can we connect to postdevelopmental energies and alliances through how and why we tweet? How can our tweets carry and enliven postdevelopmental provocations?
Twitter-ing and Inheriting a Context
Since 2020, Narda has been managing the ECPN Twitter account, which has approximately 790 followers today. This Twitter account is “a public forum to advance pedagogies & establish a network of pedagogists who support ECEs” throughout BC in an effort to promote “pedagogies responding to the conditions of our times.” Nicole manages the Common Worlds Research Collective account, which started in 2014 and has approximately 1,500 followers. This account links to the work of the Collective, where interdisciplinary researchers come together to think with children about more-than-human worlds, feminist worlding practices, and anti-colonial orientations. We situate our practices of tweeting and retweeting as activism/advocacy because of the way Twitter is in continuous dialogue with our complex, ever shapeshifting worlds—to hold a presence, take up space, on this platform is to stake an identity and a project amid a larger common project at hand. Because of this, we see Twitter worlds as entangled with ongoing complex more-than-digital worlds, where our contributions are always in dialogue with ethics, politics, and an activist’s attention to how it is we mobilize this ethico-political milieu. We have written on the political contours of using Twitter in pedagogical ways elsewhere (Land et al., submitted), where we detailed how we might activate our pedagogical commitments through our Twitter practices.
We know that Twitter thrives on a deeply neoliberal loyalty to the instantaneous and its continual reach for new terrain, transitory communication, and hyper-drive for individualized attention that neoliberalism demands. Working within a site designed for self-promotion makes it impossible to argue that we work outside of such logics. Born of neoliberalism, Twitter constantly risks capture by the very forces that make it possible; even when Twitter is a liberatory space, it walks a precarious line of recapitulation, of being gobbled up by the neoliberal politics of promotion and capture. This is, perhaps, what makes Twitter so interesting: the way some people and groups are able to generate small pockets of alternative worlds, where these worlds are rich through resistance against the flush of power held by dominant forces. This raises an absolutely critical question—a question that is even more of a juncture than a question: how might we use Twitter in pedagogical ways? This “how” is important because it gestures to a practice, something ongoing and methodological in its consequence. It hints at the whispering possibility of capture by the dominant forces that ignite Twitter. How can we use Twitter beyond a source of advertising? As more than a battle for airtime and attention? This raises another question: if Twitter always runs the risk of capture, why stick with it? Our answer is a return to the question we just asked: how to use Twitter in pedagogical ways? We want to work at Twitter. What might be possible to put into motion, on a platform wrought with imperfections, but also so capable of sustaining hopeful and speculative world making?
Tied to this question of pedagogy, we note the multitude of pathways through our activities on this platform; where tweets meet with others through complex algorithms, & feedback loops directed by artificial intelligence mechanisms. We do not control the spatial or temporal conditions that bring others to our tweets. We do not get to set the conditions upon which others encounter our tweets and writings. This unpredictability threads through our attention as 280 characters become tentacular, threading together with others’ online.
We want to propose that, thinking with postdevelopmental provocations, Twitter as a practice of advocacy or activism can be categorized in a few overarching shared projects, as follows:
cultivating a community online, where community names the anti-colonial, anti-neoliberal, anti-capitalism imaginaries that we are working toward together in early childhood education;
thinking with interdisciplinarity and cross-pollination on Twitter (what do we do with interdisciplinarity when we are not seeking “the next best thing,” or simply accruing numbers, but slowing down with what a concept shared in a tweet actually does in reimagining pedagogy) while taking seriously that our tweets will be in dialogue with countless others, knowing this is not something we control;
recognizing Twitter as littered with dominant images of romanticized Euro-Western childhood and the economies of education that sustain such images, we want to interrupt this as a site for mere self-promotion—or technological “elbowing in” for air time—asking what we are doing with Twitter, where “we” means early childhood education, and the pluralities within; and
thinking carefully about the ways that Twitter does urgency and archive, where we constantly respond to what happens with “a future on the verge,” as Twitter grasps for immediate attention, simultaneously creating a repository of what was; this space where temporalities blur and something new might emerge, we want to treat the histories and presences of our tweets as pedagogical questions—what becomes of old tweets; what do our Twitter archives manifest, and how?
To pause in this section, we want to note that tweeting during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a slippery project layered onto our ongoing work. Dominant discourses circulate about Twitter as saving us from isolation and our digital relations keeping us going during the pandemic. Within this context, our tweets take on strangely higher stakes amid increasing pressure of curating a digital world amid the “together-alone” of quarantine, as we contribute to creating past-present-future knowledges and possibilities amid the shifting ground of an uncertain world. We note this because our postdevelopmental affinities for thinking Twitter and pedagogy are situated and timely, and the analysis that follows is grounded in Twitter work that unfolded during the COVID-19 pandemic. Twitter, and our tweeting practices, encountered what Phelan and Rüsselbæk Hansen (2021) named as the “suspensions” of the pandemic. That is, there has been no Twitter-as-normal over the past 2 years and as we have worked to keep postdevelopmental provocations alive in our tweeting, we have encountered what Phelan and Rüsselbæk Hansen (2021) described as,
An opportunity to reclaim (educational) spaces—that is, as zones of indistinction in which the suspension of normal rules and innovative leaps from the neoliberal utopian logic that ordinarily governs education—in which we not only focus on and discuss ethico-political questions related to socioeconomic inequality, human vulnerability, and public spirit but do so in ways that playfully embrace paradox and tension. (p. 20)
Tweeting for us in and of this time is never separate from the viral worlds we inhabit and we refuse to see our tweets as contributing to a “new normal” where the power relations, structures, and inequities of prepandemic life are reiterated under the guise of postpandemic life. As we work through the four Twitter practices to follow, we carry near the need to attune to the breaks and the stutters of viral worlds, including the viral worlds that we inherit and craft online.
We turn now to thinking with four Twitter practices that guide how we activate our tweets with postdevelopmental provocations. These include counterpublics, counter-narratives and counter-memory, collectivity, and doing feminist digital activism.
Tentative Twitter Practices With Postdevelopmental Provocations
Now we will detail four practices that guide our thinking of Twitter as a site for advocacy and activism. What we hope you will pay attention to here is the immense interdisciplinarity of these practices—few come from education research. This further situates our own tweeting practices amid complex more-than-human ethical and political 21st century worlds; the same worlds we inherit with children. We do not intend for this to serve as a comprehensive literature review. Rather, it is us visiting with different literature that thinks with Twitter, imagining what these projects might do in conversation with ours.
Practice 1: Counterpublics
We come to thinking counterpublics through an article on animal welfare debates on Twitter in the Netherlands by Wonneberger et al. (2021) who noted that “counterpublics may be identified as communicative clusters that can be observed as distinct from communicative activities of elite actors, such as media or political actors” (p. 1698). This means that counterpublics are minor collectives that stand in the face of dominant forces or organizations. A counterpublic is in dialogue with a public but refuses the conditions of subjectivity and relationality engendered by that public. This means that our tweeting toward counterpublics must both refuse and speculate, doing more than offering critical thinking and instead doing the hard work of caring within a public. A postdevelopmental pedagogies proposition at play here relates to subject formation and the notion that we are composed, over and over, differently through the constantly recomposing publics of which we are a part (Vintimilla, 2020). To tweet with this provocation is to recognize that tweeting is a practice of making ourselves perceptible to the publics that inhabit a space, be those dominant publics or counterpublics, and that to become knowable to and within a counterpublic is an intentional decision; we are always public-facing as we tweet, and we need to take seriously what publics our tweets advance, contradict, and elide—and why.
Counterpublics make us and we make counterpublics. Kuo (2016), in the context of racial justice activist hashtags, wrote:
Making subversive use of both visibility and invisibility, members of a racialized digital counterpublic who have been perceived as “invisible” within the public at large utilize hashtags to make their presence and message more visible to publics dominated by whiteness. (p. 499)
Here, we learn that counterpublics are a practice of making and taking space, of asserting an existence amid a public that makes little space for such an existence. That counterpublics are spatial is a postdevelopmental provocation against the universalism and displacements of child development, where developmentalism is positioned as a knowledge that applies in multiple contexts in multiple places. To think counterpublics for how they are spatialized and emplaced is to echo the calls of postdevelopmental scholars (Kraftl, 2020; Kraftl & Horton, 2018) and to plug in to our contention, in the introduction to this paper, that it matters that we tweet from the lands currently known as Canada amid ongoing settler colonialism. In the face of the colloquial—and dangerously digital—disembodied avatar of Twitter, to tweet into a counterpublic is to join with tweets grounded in a time and place and responsive to our ethical obligations within that time and place. What this means for us is that we never tweet outside the context of ongoing settler colonialism; our tweets always need to answer to our multiple responsibilities of being embedded in a particular ecological, political world. Counterpublics, accordingly, are high stakes; we never want to lose the immense responsibility that comes with trying to articulate and nourish any counterpublic on Twitter. This echoes a postdevelopmental provocation toward figuring out how accountability happens within a space, without already assuming the ethical commerce of an interaction. Here, ethics becomes about responding, being implicated, and becoming vulnerable to the worldly impurities (Shotwell, 2016) that make us as subjects within an early childhood education postdevelopmental commons (Giamminuti et al., 2022; Taylor & Pacini-Ketchabaw, 2018). What this means for thinking about our tweeting practices is that we are constantly walking a tightrope of inhabiting digital space; we traverse the status-quo terrain of Twitter and its demands that we participate in dominant publics through dominant hashtags to gain power in dominant online spheres. We, concurrently, always hold the potential to turn toward a different public, a counterpublic, one fighting for space amid what already exists, and create tweets that feed such a counterpublic. This is, in a sense, what it might mean to tweet against child development: to tweet toward not already space-taking, not already perceptible, post-developmental digital spaces.
Practice 2: Counter-Narratives and Counter-Memory
Through Vats’ (2015) article on #PaulasBestDishes in the wake of food celebrity Paula Deen’s racist comments and the Black activists who re-asserted food narratives beyond Deen’s White-centered history, we learn of counter-narratives as a Twitter practice. Vats (2015) argued, “The tweets demonstrate the continuing realities of racism and equalize the often unequal politics of time across race. #PaulasBestDishes thus illuminates Twitter’s role in circulating counter-narratives of food in ways that confront embedded forms of inequality” (p. 210). From Vats, we learn that counter-narratives are temporal; they are the stories that we tell that grapple with the inequalities of a time and of a place and that take on the work of making another time and place, with other politics, in Twitter swirls. Counter-narratives challenge dominant stories but it is how they challenge these stories, not just the content of the stories, that gives them life on Twitter. How we create counter-narratives, or reiterate existing stories, is a question we carry with us in our tweets. Storying is a postdevelopmental provocation, one that asks which stories of life and living we tell in education and which we silence in the name of child development. Nxumalo & Tuck (2022) named an “interruptive visual and textual storytelling” (p. 138) that works to “disrupt a human-centric storying” (p. 138) of, in Nxumalo’s case, children’s forest relations, where storying becomes the work of making some knowledges perceptible and others imperceptible in the name of caring with knowledges that interrupt the dominant epistemological networks that we inherit. As we tweet, this means that our tweets must be interpretive storytelling mechanisms and that they must do the work of storytelling otherwise, beyond the pillars of child development. This means participating in counter-narratives that refuse, as we often find ourselves working at, objective responses or “nice” tweets that gently pivot from a problematic tweet, and instead taking counter-narratives and storying as an ethical obligation to more directly contravene problematic tweets and to not let “let’s just ignore it” stand. The temporal nature of counter-narratives, as Vats invoked, is also deeply relevant as a postdevelopmental provocation against the universalism and out-of-placeness of developmentalism (Pacini-Ketchabaw & Kummen, 2016); it is a reminder that our tweets have a life through time; they become visible and invisible with the idiosyncratic rhythms of Twitter time. For our tweeting, this means that we have to understand that our tweets endure and disappear, sometimes in the same timely moment in different peoples’ feeds due to algorithmic pulses. We have to write tweets both of a time and out-of-time, understanding that Twitter time does not obey the linear trajectory of clock time (Pacini-Ketchabaw, 2012).
We come to thinking counter-memory through Bosch’s (2017) discussion of youth Twitter activism in South Africa via the #RhodesMustFall project. Bosch (2017) wrote,
The #RMF campaign could be framed as a collective project of resistance to normative memory production, creating a new landscape of ‘minority’ memory and bringing to the fore the memory of groups who have been rendered invisible in the landscape, thus speaking to an alternate interpretation of historical events. (p. 222)
With Bosch, we learn that counter-memory, like counter-narratives, are both temporal and spatial on Twitter; they engender an archive and take up space as a presence. How our tweets make and take space is a question we often grapple with. This connects to a postdevelopmental provocation of understanding placemaking as an epistemological project, where we have to work hard to continue thinking alternatively amid the overwhelming spatial and temporal power of dominant narratives and dominant trajectories of memory. Vintimilla et al. (2021) proposed a postdevelopmental provocation where “think we must with situated matters—[matters] as a feminist call to actively think against the anti-intellectualism sustained by existing structures in early childhood education in what is currently known as Canada” (p. 2). Here, there is a postdevelopmental call for our tweets to think; to set into motion kinds of spacemaking that are rich with thinking against the instrumental and technocratic demands of the early childhood education canon. Twitter place and spacemaking is work, where places and spaces do not exist for our ready consumption or for us to parachute into, but that we are actively involved in collectively formulating how and why a space matters. What this means for thinking counter-memory alongside postdevelopmental provocations is a call to fight for these alternative streams of memory, storying, and space as we tweet; as Vitimilla et al. proposed, to insist on thinking in our tweeting.
Practice 3: Collectivity
Haymond (2020) wrote in the context of #PeriodsAreNotAnInsult, and noted that “there is greater value in exploring how the group of tweets functions as a whole. It is the very use of the hashtag that permits collective analysis. The tagging mechanism allows for the collection and categorization of tweets” (p. 76). Collectivity, we learn, happens through hashtags. We also learn to pay attention to a hashtag as something with a life, as something with an assembling and disassembling function. How our tweets function, as Haymond said, as a whole, is a very interesting question for us. In the context of postdevelopmental early childhood studio work, Pollitt et al. (2021) wrote of co-labouring (Vintimilla & Berger, 2019), proposing:
Co-labouring practices are not centred on the individual subject (be that the child as learner, or the adult as teacher). Rather, the attention is in the multiple acts of responding and corresponding that emerge in the everydayness of studio work. (p. 2)
To tweet with thinking about co-labouring and collectivity means understanding that a commons is made in the work of tweeting, where no one tweet is easily severable from another tweet. Our tweets are a compendium, a body, a bundle of stories, narratives, and memories that do something together, in dialogue with the publics and collectives they make and unmake. This means that we, as humans, never tweet in isolation and that our tweets, as digital marks on the world, never exist in isolation. To tweet is always to dialogue with a collective—how, and which collectives, are the questions that Twitter continually poses to us.
Yang (2016), speaking of #BlackLivesMatter, offered that “the temporal unfolding of such an incident [#BlackLivesMatter] is a process of people interacting with one another and collectively creating a larger narrative” (p. 15). This means that creating a larger collective narrative is work—Twitter is work, it is labour, it is common in its formation of a collective. Twitter does not and cannot presuppose a public, but counterpublics are made through collective labour against existing structures. This raises questions for us around the kinds of collectivity that our tweets do, and do not, make possible—and how we pay attention to these collectivities. A postdevelopmental pedagogies provocation of the commons matters here: what do we mean, what worlds do we plug into, when we say “commons”? What collectivities and commons can our tweets engage and not engage? Taylor et al. (2021) sketched the contours of common worlds pedagogies, proposing that common world pedagogies—which we position as postdevelopmental in their refusal to engage with the individualist, essentialist, bounded human subject of child development—are “concerned with the common good and with finding ways of learning how to live well together with our differences (human and more-than-human). They are neither individualistic nor competitive” (p. 75). This means that to think a postdevelopmental provocation of the commons with Twitter, we must grapple with questions of learning to live well together as we tweet—that is, that our tweeting must be oriented toward crafting more livable worlds even if we do not yet know what these words might engender. For us, this means that tweeting always brushes up against world-making and is, therefore, extremely high stakes. To tweet with questions of the commons is to tweet with questions of multiple futures and to delve into worlds to come.
Practice 4: Doing Digital Feminist Activism
Finally, we turn to Mendes et al.’s (2018) analysis of #MeToo and challenging rape culture to think about the work of being a feminist activist on Twitter. Mendes et al. (2018) wrote,
Like other types of ‘women’s work’, the labour involved in running these digital feminist campaigns is highly affective, precarious and exploitative—and as such, we raise questions about the sustainability of such unpaid labour in light of online abuse, burn-out and other issues around work–life balance in the digital age. (p. 239)
Here, we are reminded that doing Twitter with feminist convictions is hard— counterpublics, counter-narratives, collectivity: doing these in the name of feminist work is difficult, uncertain, speculative, risky labour. We take this seriously in our tweeting, recognizing that there is nothing easy about Tweeting into the life of the feminist projects we dialogue with and contribute to. This connects to a postdevelopmental provocation that centres the work of care as a feminist project. Here we turn to Maria Puig de la Bellacasa’s (2011) feminist ethics of care as a mode for tweeting with postdevelopmental provocations. For Puig de la Bellacasa (2017), care is as “an affective state, a material vital doing, and an ethico-political obligation” (p. 90) that makes visible that “these three dimensions of care—labor/work, affect/affections, ethics/politics—are not necessarily equally distributed in all relational situations, nor do they sit together without tensions and contradictions” (p. 5). This means that, as we think with tweeting, we take the work, the affective potential, and the ethical and political backbone of care seriously as a practice for guiding our tweeting. We tweet from within Puig de la Bellacasa’s triad, knowing that our tweets must always traverse work, affections, and politics as we weave these concerns together. Put differently, following Puig de la Bellacasa we do not see tweeting with care as an instrumental, simplistic practice. Instead, we want to get to know Twitter as a project of “carr[ying] [this complex form of] care—as ‘ethics-work-affect’—into the terrain of the politics of knowledge, into the implications of thinking with care” (Puig de la Bellacasa, 2017, p. 13). This raises for us questions of what other conditions might living such forms of care via Twitter (algorithmic care? Techno-childhoods care?) crack open or contribute to the creation of? What is required of us in the doing of our Twitter practices?
Tweeting With Counterpublics, Counter-Narratives, Commons, and Feminist Activism
We turn now to giving examples of our tweeting practice. First, Narda will share a tweet that Nicole tweeted from Common Worlds and will walk through how and why she would retweet this tweet. Nicole will then work with a tweet Narda created with the Early Childhood Pedagogy Network and will think through how she might amplify this tweet.
Retweeting With the Early Childhood Pedagogy Network
Original @Common_Worlds (2022), (Nicole) Tweet:
@EcpnBC (2022), (Narda) Retweet:
Ethical relationality is an ecological understanding of human relationality that doesn’t deny difference, but rather seeks to more deeply understand how our different histories & experiences position us in relation to each other. (Donald, 2009, p.6)
2nd part of this quote (to build on, from Z. Todd’s, 2016, An Indigenous Feminist’s Take on the Ontological Turn: ‘Ontology’ Is Just Another Word for Colonialism): This form of relationality is ethical because it does not overlook or “invisibilize” the particular historical, cultural, and social contexts from which a particular person understands and experiences the world.
Narda’s Tweet Thinking:
I approach this tweet by asking: What is important (within the set of pedagogical commitments the ECPN works with/from) to uplift/expose/refuse/support here? Commoning is a tricky word. Within the romantic, “homogenous & happy” narratives imbued within ECE, commoning risks slippage into a flattening. Circling back to think with Kuo (2016) about counterpublics, Donald (2009) came to mind to counter the habit of rendering certain bodies “invisible within publics dominated by whiteness.” (p. 499)
Thinking with Practice 4, doing feminist digital activism, alongside Fikile Nxumalo and Veronica Pacini-Ketchabaw, (alongside the work of Marisol de la Cadena, for example, de la Cadena, 2020; de la Cadena & Blaser, 2018), commoning necessarily invokes a sense of the uncommon commons, where we can refuse simplistic, romantic renderings of “the commons” as an imagined, neutral white space. Where rich, political forms of difference and resistance are not co-opted into easy forms of consumption. Where something already in motion, risks capture in digital space. So, in a minor and partial way I simply thought beginning with Donald (2009) could be helpful in crafting a response, to add to the conversation in a way that resists while gesturing towards commoning as more than “happy together” spaces.
Retweeting With the Common Worlds Research Collective
Original @EcpnBC (2022), (Narda) Tweet:
Oft we can think the child thru dev perspective. But there is a childhood situated w/in the context of Canada. We need to think w/Indig knowledges, w/post-colonial theories, w/ideas that remind us how to live w/in [transform] anti-Black space. Multiple perspectives help us think. ... and respond with where we are & what we might want to create right here. Not only ideas that come from somewhere else. What children might be saying & doing, acting out. Connected to what we are doing here right now.
@Common_Worlds (2022), (Nicole) Retweet:
‘Here right now’—a proposition for thinking about inheriting past-presents; “The work of holding open the future and responsibly inheriting the past requires new forms of attentiveness to biocultural diversities and their many ghosts” (van Dooren, as cited in Rose et al., 2017 p. 12)
Nicole’s Tweet Thinking:
I first revisited the orienting concepts of the Collective—commoning, worlding, and inheriting, thinking how I need to activate these and thinking about the imperfect practice of inheriting as both inheriting a now and a past and gesturing toward a future. I wanted to emphasize the “here right now” of the original tweet because I felt cautious that sometimes inheriting, as we inherit it, comes with a tinge of nostalgia, with a temporal logic that separates past from present from future; here right now emphasizes the present but not at the expense of the work of inheriting. I link this to the discussion of counter-narratives and counter-memories also being temporal projects: how we remember and how we storytell is not abstracted from temporal and spatial accountabilities and possibilities. In emphasizing “here right now” and inheriting, I am trying to invoke a counternarrative the reconfigures inheriting as a practice without a bounded trajectory, one that doesn’t rely on humanist divides between past and future. Then, thinking of inheriting, I thought first of Deborah Bird Rose’s and Thom van Dooren’s (i.e. 2017) work on the temporal entanglements of inheriting in common worlds of life and death. This is where I first learned of inheriting; I find it nourishing to think inheriting in the company of Bird Rose. This connects to collectivity as a Twitter practice, as I am pulling in scholars to think in the company of while also pointing toward the work of thinking with van Dooren and Bird Rose—there is nothing easy in their provocations here, nothing simple about assembling a collective around their words. Finally, thinking about the feminist risky labour of tweeting, this quote from van Dooren speaks of attuning to a present while also inheriting the situated relational “ghosts”—a dangerous, precarious, world-making provocation for thinking about life, temporality, and being implicated that I hope readers will carry with them.
We have shared how we want to think doing Twitter as an act of advocacy and activism, where we do not always know the worlds our tweets might bring into being but where we hold closely to the practices we think/hope will stretch possibilities for inheriting and living well in common worlds together. In thinking with the tensions of Twitter amid capitalism, free speech, human rights, and a myriad of other debates this social media platform is embroiled in, we propose counterpublics, counter-narratives and counter-memory, collectivity, and doing feminist digital activism as possible anchors—slippery and contextual as they need to be to respond to a context underwritten by hateful elements of society (transphobia, racism, ableism)—as practices that help us remain accountable to at least work with a serious intention of offering up tweets that do something; tweets that care about making more livable worlds. To conclude, we want to offer a question: What concerns, ethics, politics, or relations nourish decisions about how to engage with the imperfections and inventions of Twitter? Why? And, how?
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 As of September 26, 2022, Narda no longer manages the ECPN Twitter account.