Contact Zones

How weird… After reading Lisa Parks’ essay on the Digital Earth project (anthologized in The Visual Culture Reader), I ran a quick Google search for people writing on blogging and Mary Louise Pratt’s discussion of “contact zones” and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Patrick, my former student, wrote an essay on the topic in his other freshman writing course. Check out the search results here.

In yet another happy accident, Patrick quotes the very passage that sparked my interest in the first place: Pratt defines contact zones as “social spaces where cultures meet, clash and grapple with each other.” Like Patrick, I think Pratt’s definition of contact zones might represent one of the best aspects of blogging, allowing these tensions to play themselves out in a productive way.

More later if this approach continues to spark my interest.


  1. Patrick Said,

    November 17, 2003 @ 9:57 am

    I’m still rather upset the Professor didn’t like the subject matter but she wasn’t a blogger, and like most “sub-cultures” to the outside it looks odd. Just another example of Pratt 😉

  2. chuck Said,

    November 17, 2003 @ 2:46 pm

    I think it’s especially hard to see as a “subculture,” if you’re not familiar with the phenomenon.

    I do have mixed feelings about whether or not these “grapplings” have any real effect. I’ve become tired of the self-congratulatory tendencies of some “A-list” bloggers, and the bickering between right and left-wing bloggers mostly seems unproductive. I do think there are exceptions, but for the most part, the “A-list” section of the blogosphere seems to be reinforcing opposed camps in an endless game of “gotcha” rather than producing productive dialogues. Off to teach…

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