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On-line writing can disrupt conventions; it can challenge the way writers write in the classroom; however, after logging off, the writer re-enters the academy and its more traditional ways of inscribing student subjectivities. The question is asked if educators, when arguing for the freedom of electronic classrooms, are taking into consideration the material conditions in which students write outside of the classroom? On-line conversations may create the sense that the writer works and speaks in a safe, unconstrained and ideologically empty space--in a space where he or she is not physically identified and categorized. Computer users might ask why they find themselves searching for a face and a body given that pseudonyms are framed as the most "freeing" of ways to challenge limiting and restrictive identities. Maybe they have to satisfy surprisingly essentialist needs for a visible connection between writing and writer. This act of "naming" that computer users perform either unconsciously or consciously could be read as perpetuating society's hegemonic namings. By calling some anonymous writer "female" or "woman" after reading her entries, perhaps computer users are merely re-subscribing to the strategies of the dominant essentialist voice--re-inscribing a gendered self to the self that they had been so euphoric about deconstructing or exploding on screen in writing. It is concluded that what on-line writing does is mystify and obscure the "material" imprints of institutional patriarchy, imprints that students will have to deal with when writing outside the classroom. (TB)

Descriptors: Bias, Computer Networks, Computer Uses in Education, Electronic Classrooms, Electronic Mail, Feminism, Gender Issues, Higher Education, Sex Role, Sexism in Language, Student Reaction, Writing Instruction

Autor: Grubbs, Katherine


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