CSUSB Ways Publics and Counter Publics Engage in Public Sphere and Bring Attention to Issues that Matter Paper

 For your original discussion post please choose one of the essays to focus on and write about any of the following: 

  • What forms of engagement did the publics or counterpublics use and why? 
  • Have you noticed this form of engagement or a variation on this form today? 
  • What rhetorical aspects did the counterpublic/public in the essay use? 
  • How does this reading open up our understanding of how the public sphere works or can work? 

The Inventing Sacagawea-Public Women reading helped me further understand the culture of the time of when was written and how it can be reflected in the character Sacagawea. It is a reflection of the public sphere’s thoughts. Sacagawea was an Indian woman who was written to be a fictional historical figure, loosely based on a real person, a character who was reinvented. Sacagawea was written to resemble a leader, symbol of patriotism, and to have white woman traits. I believe she was written to resemble qualities of white womanhood because it was more appealing to the audience. Historically people of color, especially women of color were seen in a low regard and were not treated equally. This represents the attitudes towards women and is a reflection of how Indian women were treated. Sacagawea nonetheless was a step forward for women, because of the fascination the people developed towards her. Raising attention to the roles women play in historical events such as the migration in the United States. Sacagawea was written to be a leader. It is also important to note how Sacagawea’s statue also included a baby on her back. This is important regarding how motherhood is an important trait associated to women. In addition to how Sacagawea also represented how women have contributed greatly to the United States. Despite this statue I do not feel the pubic sphere as a whole reciprocated this attitude. Considering the limited rights women had and how there was a lack of acknowledgment of how crucially important women are.

The article of “Black Feminist Hip-Hop Rhetorics and the Digital Public Sphere” addresses the ways in which the public sphere is taken into the digital form. The contemporary public sphere consists of marginalized groups or counterpublics that use social media to assert their voices. Specifically, this article focuses on the African American feminist counterpublic and what they fight against, such as the sexism and misogyny of the hip-hop generation, using this means of a public space to empower women. So, the rhetorical aspects that the counterpublic in this article used was digital counterdiscourses that challenged the norms of the traditional public sphere. The use of the digital media invited others to easily participate, made their voices known, and fight to contradict the hurtful stereotypes and racism. This use of the internet is still widely used today with even more public media spaces created for more and more issues to be heard and people to find solace and comradery with likeminded individuals. Overall, the article helps pinpoint how counterpublics are formed digitally and how they can more broadly affect the public sphere with how easily accessible it is. Anyone can see the voice of the oppressed, but at the same time, we cannot forget the negativity is also very apparent as well.

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