Heard that phrase before, queering the pitch?
Think “spoiling the business at hand,” the hawker’s pitch. (Martin 1996-2011)

A restructuring academy positions us too in this street trade.
Hawkers ourselves we work hard to capture the attention of students, audiences, funders, publics, fellow knowledge workers
-- an infrastructure of administration across governmentalities and nationalisms. (Slaughter & Rhoades 2004)


Capturing attention and sorting through stories:
Practices to learn ourselves and to share with others.

Noting those sensations that hook us
when swimming among
restructuring economies and altering ecologies.

All this amid greater densities of detail or elegancies of story: extensive or intensive

Start with “transmedia storytelling.”


As they say at Starlight Runner Entertainment, a producer of transmedia franchises,

maximizing the value of entertainment properties and consumer brands works by extending them across multiple media platforms.

Since 2000, they have worked to expand storyline universes
to be marketed in concert across a variety of platforms simultaneously or gradually.

They package books, comics and graphic novels, as well as develop video games and alternate reality experiences
to dovetail with television, film, and ads,

They create narratives that are specific to each format – intensive – and that thread through a variety of platforms – extensive. (Gomez 2009; Jenkins 2006)


Our media ecosystem’s contours rub up against us --

economic, technological, neurological (Johnson 2005)

Restructuring economies come to include educational systems among the culture and knowledge industries,
and what works to focus popular attention matters as much to
higher ed and to foundations, institutes, and other funding sources
as it does to venture capital and entertainment markets.

=Any social studies of science now must attend to and itself practice such queered transdisciplinarities just to get funding, and that also along with our caring to make knowledge well.


Transmedia storytelling is quite literally necessary to these all, if packaged across platforms variantly for specific uses.
Social media become another companion species among which we intra-act in sensitized biomes including our bodily innies and outies.

Think of, say, the multi-tasking of dopamine, not only implicated in memory, learning, pleasure, attention, addiction, physical movement, trial and error practice at the edge of competence, adapting to adaptation –
but also in moral panics, debunking science inquiry, educational sideshows, and SF feminisms. (Merrick 2009)

Sitting among, sifting among these many stories is not about finding the authoritative among the dross, however debunking we might feel obligated or outraged to be,
But rather sensitizing ourselves: among platforms, to those in hearing distance and beyond it, with companions in action, and among new and old pleasures and sensations.

Transmedia storytelling is necessary across transdisciplinizing knowledge worlds. (Klein 2004)

Mass and burgeoning new media have many demonstrations of transmedia storytelling to perform for any of “us” moving among knowledge worlds. For example, funding requires investment in the urgencies of ecological knowledge for, say, global warming, and then inevitably participation in the entertainment value of conspiracy and catastrophe.

Other political affects come necessarily to shape work now in and around academies, opposing and investing in current budgetary crises and realities, and then thus explosively media- and activist-intensive.

We show our brand loyalties to one system of debunking critique or another.

In other words, media ecologies are not an area of study only anymore, but the air we breath, quite as much a part of global ecologies as global warming, if even more ambivalently politically charged and attended to.


These are ecological webs of what Vinciane Despret and Bruno Latour call “learning to be affected” (Despret 2004; Latour 2004)

ecologies of knowledge – include media as one form that hooks us into group affect and various neurosystems in families of critique

Transdisciplinary practice ranges today among worlds of entertainment, knowledge work, restructuring academies, economic sectors, governmentalities
And is inevitably a trial of intensive passions of rigor and detail, and extensive storytellings of connection, speculation

Those boundary objects Leigh Star talked about are part of this ecology of knowledge through which cooperation without consensus bubbles (Star, ed. 1995)

Boundary objects might very well end up contributing to transdisciplinary storytelling as mobile platforms.
Or perhaps as tools in a semi-conscious strategy for inhabiting relative and relational knowledge worlds, full of tangled communications and sometimes double bind circumstances. (Star 2010; Bateson 1972 [1969])


Despret is one of our great ethological fabulists
Retelling old stories with iconic status in histories of research methods.
Her “Clever Hans” science fiction challenges elegant parsimonies of explanation, accuracy, and rigor.
Rather than the debunking tale in which a famous horse is cleverly revealed to only appear to do mathematical calculations,
actually instead “merely” reading the reactions of the humans around him,
Despret’s retold story turns out to be about clever bodies and things which,
at the very edge of apprehension, attune themselves to one another. (Despret 2004: 113, 125, 131)

Stacked up blackboxes of elegance and simplicity unopened for the sake of communicative power start gathering among their transmedia….
Rather than only investing “rigor” in the accumulation of detail, closely negotiated among specific communities of practice,
transdisciplinary work is now required to rescale rigor, validity, being taking seriously,
among affects and infrastructures:
becoming exquisitely sensitive, indeed “learning to be affected” with each momentary horizon of possible resources and infrastructures, local exigencies, and differential memberships among knowledge worlds.


Last January 2011’s issue of Women & Performance offers some examples of the transmedia transdisciplinarity of concern to SF feminisms & 4S comparisons.
Its media and performance extensive range of infrastructural materialities
indebted to social studies of science and necessarily reciprocally invested in.

Entitled Transbiological Bodies: Mine, Yours, Ours,
this special issue is introduced by art and craft theorist Jeanne Vaccaro,
who says, “The transbiological body deployed here is not a singular entity, a literal referent, or a body with discrete borders and boundaries. Instead it is a prompt the contributors utilize to engage ‘trans’ and ‘biology’ and the relation between them, alongside questions of performance and performativity, animality, species modification, racialization, geography and the temporal coordinates of gender.” (Vaccaro 2011: 222)

One of the studies underway and described in this issue is the work of American Studies queer ecologist Bailey Kier, who provocatively opens his essay by saying:
“I contend that everybody on the planet is now encompassed within the category of transgender. I illustrate this proposition by tracing some of the not-so-visible links of how this shared rearrangement of sex and re/production is unfolding. I also contend that we might be better off responding to this rearrangement, not through fear of the eco-catastrophic assumptions transsex invokes, but by embracing our shared interdependent transsex, a term that is about queering ideas of re/production, and refers to dynamic ecosystemic relations of multiple ‘bodies,’ energies, and things – animals, humans, lakes, plants, uranium, etc. – which compose broader economic re/productive relations and energies of the bioscape.” (Kier 2011: 299)


=In the commercial worlds of entertainment material examples of stacked realities, cascading over various media and technological platforms with differing degrees of interoperability and standardization, tell these “transmedia stories.” Such transmedia storytelling is inevitably commercialized, indeed arises as a new commercial techno-practice for the sake of distributed funding and production in restructuring economic environments.

=This is a 1992 model for the controversial Science in American Life exhibit at the Smithsonian. (National Museum of American History 1994)

Technoscientific imaginaries in contemporary culture are material demonstrations of these practices. And not only in commercial worlds of entertainment.


=Academic practices of all kinds are now also enlisted as kinds of transmedia storytelling. I call these Queer Transdisciplinarities, but not in a move to enlist them in identity politics, although sometimes they very explicitly and quite properly are, inside my own feminist fields of interest and attention.

Rather, my point in naming them thus is to watch them “queer the pitch” involved in restructuring, and redirect the traffic of transdisciplinarities so that

they require us to attend to, to learn to be affected by, the political economies of knowledge worlds, to how interlinked now are the economies of entertainment, knowledge laborings, globally restructured academies, governmentalities, and the infrastructures of communication.

This Queering the Pitch talksite
Katie King's SF Feminisms classsite
Justin Dougherty's Queering the Pitch: Music for Solo Cello fundingsite