Looking forward to Prism

With the end of the semester and year, and all of the accompanying hullabaloo (to use a polite term for it), I wasn’t able to write my final blog post of the semester, which was going to be a retrospective of my Praxis experience so far. But now it’s the new year and the new semester is imminent, so it seems more appropriate to look ahead – and who wants to look like Janus, anyway?

I think it’s brilliant the way that Praxis has been structured, with one training-intensive semester and the next semester spent – I’m assuming – in executing what we’ve been theorizing. That’s not to say that we haven’t done anything yet; we have produced the programming and design foundations for Prism that we will hammer down and build from in the months to come. There have been days in the grad lounge, though, when I’ve felt anxious about how much work there is left to do and how difficult it seems to reach concrete goals when our discussions usually raise more questions than they answer. But even if we spend our entire Tuesday mornings arguing/theorizing about what we think Prism should accomplish, our time isn’t wasted if it means Prism will be (1) a clearly designed tool (2) with a distinguishable thought process that (3) makes a specific intervention.

All of our discussions have addressed at least one of those three points without fail, so our mission in the months ahead is to channel our humanities-inspired zeal for theorizing into reaching the goals we set for Prism in September – mainly, that we want to produce a working, 1.0 version of Prism by the end of the academic year. To reach that final, rather intimidating endpoint, I’d like to suggest that the Praxis team begins the new semester by establishing (collaboratively, of course) some real, manageable, short-term goals for the coming weeks.

I’m beginning to recover from Winter Break Amnesia (I’m sure our first Praxis meeting tomorrow will quickly bring me back to reality), but I am looking forward to getting back to learning HTML and CSS, to our civilized theoretical arguments in the grad lounge, and to those glorious moments when we (with the help of the gurus) learn how to turn theory into praxis and bring Prism further into the light.

Brooke is a 2011-12 Praxis Fellow and MA candidate in the Department of English. She is currently working on a thesis which investigates Virginia Woolf's moment of being as a biographical, historical, and narrative phenomenon in Woolf's fiction and essays. Brooke is also a graduate research assistant in IATH, working on Alison Booth's Collective Biographies…

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