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#KRKTR is an open game for everyone interested in developing individual character and social resilience.

Points are earned for promoting and continuing communication, especially across different topics and among different groups. The idea is that both character and resilience are built at the intersections.


This ReTweet is worth 700 points: 100 (tweet itself) + 100 (it's a RT) + 500 (First Response).

This ReTweet is worth 700 points: 100 (tweet itself) + 100 (it’s a RT) + 500 (First Response).

  1. Every Tweet must include the hashtag #KRKTR
  2. Conference-based players should also include the conference hashtag, e.g., #NCORE2014
  3. All players, including non-conference players, may include other relevant hashtags
  4. Official play has distinct start and end times, announced by @KRKTR_HUB (all players are encouraged to follow @KRKTR_HUB but this is not a requirement).
  5. Unofficial play is continuous.
  6. This is a good faith game.
  7. Stimulating laughter is welcome; exercise good taste!
  8. Playing #KRKTR is an assertion of shine, all players are Bright Allies.
This ReTweet is worth 700 points.

This ReTweet is worth 700 points.


  • 100 points per Tweet (remember it has to conform to the Rules above)
    • Plus 200 points if your Tweet is a Reply to another’s Tweet (be sure to include the #KRKTR hashtag!)
    • Plus 100 points if your Tweet is a ReTweet (don’t lose the #KRKTR hashtag!)
    • Plus 500 points if your Tweet is the First Response (as determined by the timelines at and
    • Plus 250 points if your Tweet is the Second Response 
    • Plus 100 points if your Tweet is the Third Response or later; all additional responses earn +100 points
    • The Last Response in each thread earns all the points accumulated in that thread: 500 + 250 + 100 x (nbr of additional Tweets) NOTE: The Last Response is determined by the end of official game play as announced by @KRKTR_HUB.
1500 Points for SJEchat (800 + 700)...will elhistoryprof continue the conversation?

If this was official game play: 1500 points for SJEchat (800 + 700)…will elhistoryprof continue the conversation?


A thread is created whenever Replies and/or ReTweets are made to any original Tweet that includes the #KRKTR hashtag.

  • Previous Tweets from the #KRKTR archive can be ReTweeted or Replied to in order to earn points during official game play.
  • Threads can originate from any #KRKTR player.
  • Threads originated by @KRKTR_HUB may become privileged. (Haven’t figured this part out yet.)
  • Serious #KRKTR players are encouraged not to respond to “bad will” Tweets. Let them die alone and quickly.
Connecting issues across populations using hashtags. NOTE: The #KRKTR hashtag is missing = no points during official game play.

Connecting issues across populations using hashtags. NOTE: The #KRKTR hashtag is missing = no points during official game play.


Advanced play involves careful and strategic use of hashtags to make connections whenever an intersection appears.

Cultivation of a connection across two different discourses (as organized by the hashtag) requires repetition and persistence.

Rather than hashtagging every word, be focused and deliberate about the connection you’re trying to forge.


Prizes will be announced as sponsors come forth with them.  (Negotiations are underway. Contact Steph with offers for this and future rounds of play.)


The “intersection” in this blog entry on social resilience involves computer science and brain science.

What if we gamed Twitter?

What if we gamed Twitter?

While Professor Beverly Woolf and colleagues from the Department of Computer Science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst presented on smart tutoring at the Artificial Intelligence in Education conference, I listened to a webinar from Dr Dennis S. Charney, MD, from the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai present data supporting his “resilience prescription” for individuals.

Stimulating processes of social resilience

Two of Charney’s eight resilience principles, however, involve other people: role models and a supportive social network. Combining the social aspect of resilience with the human-computer interface and education has potential to enhance sophisticated problem-solving around the globe.

The developing world has 4 billion mobile phone subscriptions. In Africa, average penetration is a third of the population, and in north Africa it is almost two-thirds. South Africa now has almost 100% penetration. In sub-Saharan Africa, mobile phone ownership is 30%. ~ Dr Beverly P. Woolf

The potentials for knowledge communication through savvy tele-education exceed youth. These technologies can also enable adults who care about intercultural social networking and mass organizing for social justice. Read the rest of this entry »

I’ll be presenting this workshop at the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) Region II Conference in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Workshop Description:

Many interpreters are familiar with the idea of intercultural or intergroup communication, which takes the identity of participants as important to meaning. This workshop extends the idea of “identity” to the different roles individuals have in any communication situation. While keeping factors of gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, religion and other cultural dimensions in mind, the frame of reference that interlocutors bring to interpreted communication based on their role in the interaction is a crucial consideration. As an example and in order to practice skills, we’ll explore the case of emergency management interpreting, where First Responders have very clear priorities that may not coincide with what Deaf and hard-of-hearing people believe they need. Likewise, Deaf and hard-of-hearing people have express communication needs that may not coincide with what First Responders believe they can accommodate. This workshop plays with the idea of an interpreter’s role zone (Lee, 2010) as a pivot point within the larger mission of response and recovery. Developing interpreter competence in shifting alignments (on the basis of the relation between interlocutor’s specific roles and the overall context) is a skill that transfers to all interpreted interactions.

Educational Objectives:

Steph at work: presenting on "Dialogue under Occupation" at Lebanese American University, Beirut (Photo by Razvan Sibii)

Steph at work: presenting on "Dialogue under Occupation" at Lebanese American University, Beirut (Photo by Razvan Sibii)

At the conclusion of the workshop, participants will be able to

  1. name at least three ways of understanding role,
  2. identify the context of an interpreted interaction and describe how the context shapes interlocutor role choices,
  3. talk about the interplay of functional roles in a group with intercultural dynamics arising from defining role on the basis of identity,
  4. describe Goffman’s concept of footing and how it is relevant to interpreted interaction, and
  5. explain the grounded task of an emergency management interpreter.

Greenfield Coffee, Greenfield MA

Dialogue Under Occupation VI
Beirut, Lebanon
May 2012

Blogentries (Dynamic Diagnosis):

  1. stumbling into spirit
  2. Presupposing Salmon: Ready DUO Players?
  3. Fantasia
  4. A Temporal Turn?

Proposal (Prelude):

Dialogue at the Dialogue Under Occupation conferences is contested territory. Participants in this workshop will analyze the language use and social interaction among a roundtable of participants from a previous DUO conference discussing the academic boycott of Israeli universities. Specifically, two “problematic moments” will be presented for collective analysis. Dr James Cumming theorizes, “Problematic moments are unlike other moments because they mark a brief point in time when the conditions of possibility for the group to have new, more productive and deeper conversations can be realized.”

For the purposes of this workshop, to dialogue is theorized as collectively changing the meanings of the past in order to collaboratively invoke new meanings for the future. The goal of re-visiting problematic moments is to proactively engage the question of re-calibration in the Bakhtinian sense of orienting to a chronotope. Can we learn how to generate alternative timespaces with revised identifications and altered relationships? Workshop participants will explore and evaluate the language use and interaction among roundtable participants from DUO IV, with an eye upon ourselves as human subjects contributing to the persistence or alteration of existing social realities.

the future

Building on the potential for a paradigm shift is matter of recognition, marketing, and design. These processes can proactively influence each other, interacting and changing through the development of a project. All are contained within the conception and application of strategic planning.
Strategy has to involve conceptualizing the outcome in two different yet complementary ways. First, you must imagine what you want in terms of place. In the case of the next national conference of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID, US-based), the physical location will be some hotel in Atlanta, GA, but the more important issue is how the space of the place will be designed and implemented in order to generate the desired kinds of intercultural interaction. The second dimension that must be considered is time. By time, I do not mean the logistics of scheduling or considerations about the length of the event or even its parts. These are obviously important logistical factors that require detailed attention. However, the most important temporal factor to consider is how the conference contributes to long-term patterning of habits and attitudes for engaging in intercultural social interaction.

Not Even Related to a Deaf Adult: Buffered by Monolingualism
That would be me, and we NERDAs compose the largest percentage of the membership of RID. Most of us do not understand what it means to be Deaf. We want to understand, and we sure try hard, but our reality as native, hearing speakers of English in the United States is one of extreme linguistic privilege. No matter what other oppressions we may experience, we communicate with the same language as nearly everyone one else around us. NERDAs need to understand that we are affected by living in a society that has done more, historically, than any other country to enforce monolingualism. Unless you live or work in a dense urban city, it is quite possible that you never hear another language spoken in day-to-day living. Most Americans are protected from exposure to even tasting what it might be like to not know the language that would enable you to talk with your neighbor, your child’s teacher, shopkeepers and salespeople, peers in your classroom or a club, not to mention the doctor, police officer, realtor, banker, or the waitstaff at a restaurant where you must guarantee that there are no nuts or shellfish in the dish you want because you don’t want to risk anaphylactic shock.
NERDAs certainly cannot conceive of the intrapersonal, deliberate, conscious planning necessary to predict when and where and for how long we’ll need an interpreter, do not know the calculus of deciding why and for what reasons we’ll need an interpreter, and never have to weigh the costs – time, focused mental energy, unpredictable emotional surges – that come along with deciding, “Yes, in this situation I do need an interpreter,” or “No, in this situation I can manage without an interpreter.” Nor do we have to deal with the fallout from misjudging any of these factors: such as discovering an interpreter is necessary when it had not seemed so, or that the need is much longer/shorter than anticipated, or that the whole effort was a complete waste of time.

Atlanta 2011: Experimenting with New Norms
National conferences of professional associations occur for very specific reasons:

  • to further the organization’s business and
  • to provide members with professional development opportunities that are not available at home.

A critique offered by one of the other participants in the small group DEAF-FRIENDLY brainstorming sessions (described in the August 9 entry, “Embrace Change, Honor Tradition (RID 2009)” was that the conference focuses too much on training. In the immediate moment, I was most aware of the turn-taking dynamic – how her comment did not have any relation to mine – but I soon realized that her observation is significant. Why are we designing the national conference like an extension of an interpreter training program? Granted, many RID members are still in the early phases of their professional careers, but if we design the conference with students in mind, we generate a comfortable and familiar container for learning as usual.

No wonder, then, that many interpreters arrive and proceed to engage in comfortable, familiar, and usual ways! An alternative would be to take MJ Bienvenu’s deconstruction by reversal to the extreme. This would create a professional development experience that would use the capacities of our national organization to the fullest potential. We already have the technology:

  • knowledge of Deaf culture
  • linguistic fluency in ASL and English
  • professionally trained ASL-English interpreters
  • extensive experience with interpreter request systems and accommodation services…

What we need is the will to apply the tools in an altered configuration, and a rationale to convince people to come.

A one-time experiment of mutual discovery
Instead of following the dominant, inherently oppressive model (accessibility provided for the Deaf), we reverse it (accessibility provided for the Hearing). This would generate an experience like none other. In some respects it would resemble an ASL Immersion retreat, and in some respects it would resemble the environment at residential schools for the Deaf. What it would offer is the intellectual and empathy-building experience of being the one who has to ask.
There would not need to be any commitment or promise to continue: we can see what happens, evaluate it, and then decide. If the storming phase re-emerges – so be it, that will be an honest, deep indicator of the organization’s developmental status. If we do establish a foundation for new norms, well, that will be incredibly exciting and everyone who attends will have bragging rights for the rest of their life:

“I was there when…!”

Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf
Anaphylactic shock (Embrace Change, Honor Tradition (RID 2009), Reflexivity

Sea of Poppies
Amitav Ghosh (2009: 391)

“It was not because of Ah Fatt’s fluency that Neel’s vision of Canton became so vivid as to make it real: in fact, the opposite was true, for the genius of Ah Fatt’s descriptions lay in their elisions, so that to listen to him was a venture of collaboration, in which the things spoken of came gradually to be transformed into artefacts of a shared imagining.”

Index: references to Ghosh in Reflexivity

Originally posted June 13, 2005

“I would produce my secret treasure, a present sent to me by a former student – a map of the sea-floor, made by geologists. In the reversed relief of this map [the students] would see with their own eyes that the Ganga does not come to an end after it flows into the Bay of Bengal. It joins with the Brahmaputra in scouring a long, clearly marked channel along the floor of the bay. The map would reveal to them what is otherwise hidden under water: and this is that the course of this underwater river exceeds by far the length of the river’s overland channel.
‘Look, comrades, look,’ I would say. ‘This map shows that in geology, as in myth, there is a visible Ganga and a hidden Ganga: one flows on land and one beneath the water. Put them together and you have what is by hard the greatest of the earth’s rivers’


“Do you know where I live?”
I had remembered on the plane. When Koushik got his postdoc at the Max Planck Institute I was so proud to know him! Then he moved here – ok, I’m still delighted to rub shoulders with him (cool cosmologist and all-around great guy that he is!) but it turns out MPI bought a few of the apartments in the housing complex built for the 1972 Munich Olympics. I wondered if it would feel creepy to be on the site where several Israeli athletes were killed by commandos of a Palestinian terror organization, Black September.
All the apartments were sold after the games to private citizens or companies. The balconies are overflowing with plants, the complex seems abuzz with life. Dada and Jhunu’s apartment is cute and comfy. I think I’ve become a bit numb to the present-ness of the history of violence in Europe – having felt it intensely in many places over the past eight months.
What does strike me as one of those strange coincidences that populate my life is how immersed I am in co-writing a chapter for a book coming out of the Dialogue Under Occupation conferences that I’ve been attending since 2006. The chapter is an endeavor to act into Bakhtian dialogic space and turn discourse to dialogue. In some ways it is a response to the challenge of a Palestinian professor during the opening of the second DUO conference at Al Quds University in East Jerusalem: “Go ahead and see what you can do.”

online discussion forum

Language is a force.
Language names, and by naming, it calls into being. This is how social reality is constructed and maintained. I think it is an effect of quantum mechanics, but smarter minds than mine are needed to make the connections in a compelling scientific manner.
Last fall I wrote a post on some dynamics of dialogue and discourse, in which I engaged with ideas of a discursive psychologist, Michel Billig.

The core of the argument laid out by Michael Billig (in the articles from Discourse and Society 2008, Vol. 19, Issue 6) is that we who think in terms of critical discourse analysis (CDA) need to be acutely aware of our own uses of language, lest we repeat some of the very elements of language use that we critique in others. Billig’s concern is with social scientific language in general; he selects CDA for heuristic and practical purposes: “It should be a major issue for analysts who stress the pivotal role of language in the reproduction of ideology, inequality and power” (p. 784).

In particular, Billig goes after the academic/theoretical use of nominalization, which is a shorthand way of condensing a particular dynamical concept (something with a lot of parts) into a single term. Debate over costs and benefits of using nominalization seem to swing on the temporal grounding of interlocutors. I’m thinking at the mundane level as well as at level of ideological reproduction. For instance, does saying something about (i.e., naming) tensions in a friendship necessarily make them worse or can it provide a means to shift footings? At the precise moment of making the utterance, there may be a spike in bad feelings – all that tension concentrated and released in the acts of speaking and hearing. But I think that it is what comes next (at least, so I hope) that becomes determinative for the subsequent unfolding. When nominalization is at play, Billig argues there is a tendency to depersonalize behavior or action such that individual contributions to whatever unfolds are lost to perception. So the pattern of tensions enacted when one or another party to the tension actually says something directly about the presence or evidence of tension becomes bigger than the minute social interactions that compose it. The pattern itself becomes “the thing”, and individuals are simply swept up in it, all agency erased.
The question is, when things are not going the way one wishes, what next? I watched an interesting video on the synthesis of happiness this morning (20 minutes long) which argues that if we assume irretrievability, then we enhance our capacity to choose happiness. I’m wondering if this basic precept – that’s what done is done and can’t be changed – could guide many other choices, including the ways we respond when we find ourselves seemingly trapped in a discourse that we don’t necessarily want. I believe it is the element of acknowledgment that I am finding most attractive. Perhaps my general communicative strategy is to reduce uncertainty (see What You Don’t Know Makes You Nervous) in order to make choices clear.

written (mostly) at the time
was waiting to upload photos!

Most of the Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace Festival is over, there were only two events that lingered past my arrival Sunday [15 March] – I chose to add them to my tourist itinerary as prep for the Dialogue Under Occupation conference that I dash to next.
I spent some time Monday afternoon [16 March] sitting under a wood-cut and linocut (2/8, 1996) by Angela Lemaire. No photographs were allowed, but the text underneath a citysprawl intercut by yellow triangles reads:

Triangles: LIGHT IN THE CITY. Triangles is a service activity for men and women who believe in the power of thought. Working in groups of three, they establish right human relationships by creating a world-wide network of light and goodwill.

Earlier, I gazed upon the castle and walked some of The Royal Mile . . .
The cabbie who brought me from the airport had suggested that I get where I can watch the light fade – he was right. I couldn’t absorb all of the running commentary so late last night when I arrived but he did a terrific job extolling the glories of the city; I wish I had more time!
19 gloaming.jpg
Tuesday evening, I wanted to watch twilight fall on the water . . . anyplace high where I could get a beer with a view? The chap at the storyteller’s place whom I asked for a recommendation mused, “That’s the thing with Scotland, if you want comfort we go to ground.” His statement totally reframed my take on the basement room in the bed and breakfast where I was staying! I was given the lead to King’s Wark . . . it wasn’t as “on” the water as I had in mind, so I wandered around for awhile.
Leith 21 Leith harbor.jpg
is homey in comparison to the glamour of the Royal Mile. After trying The Granery, and getting turned around looking for The Waterline on another recommendation, I wound up back at King’s Wark, where I had a cask-conditioned Caledonian 80 with clams & mussels for what might have been a third of the in-town price.
Most of my time revolved around preparing the talks. I nearly always operate in the last minute like this. The base idea circulates for a long time, but the final preparations are best kept as near as possible to the moment in real time. Perhaps this is why the gentleman I met at the Scottish Storyteller’s Centre suggested I stay in touch?
The best stories feel spontaneous – the labor of laying down the framework remains unseen.

18 Scottish Storyteller's Place.jpg

film pitch
Master’s Thesis

Re-defining Deaf
Ryan Commerson

Ever wondered if abstract concepts can be discussed with signed languages?

    Here’s proof.

Ever suspected Deaf people may not be very smart?

    Find out just how wrong that view is!

The video is forty minutes long, so settle in and plan to give it your full attention. (Ryan suggests gourmet snacks to accompany viewing.)

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