Medium Post 5

Author, Paul Heilker, explores the idea of genre as a persona to adopt in his essay “On Genres as Ways of Being.” Heilker argues that genres are “…ways of being, ways of emerging into the world.” He uses the personal anecdote of being a pessimistic stoner as a senior in high school but turning convincingly optimistic when asked to give the commencement speech at his graduation. He believes that he changed because of the demands put upon him by the genre of a commencement speech. Heilker also defines genre as “… human-created artifacts… [that] embody and enact ideologies, values, ideas about what we should believe, what we should want, and how we should be.” Under this definition, almost anything can be a genre. Anything like Miller 102, the collaborative space in Western Washington University’s Miller Hall. There are certain demands and ideologies that surround this place, just as any genre. Similar to to Staeheli’s idea of place as a cultural location, which states that a physical location can be surrounded by an abstract idea of culture — with it’s own norms and traditions.

Just as any genre, Miller 102 has its own demands.

- There are only chairs and tables here. To use this location, I must be able to work sitting down at a table instead of standing up or moving freely, or laying down to work.

- This place is very modern. I must be okay with modern architecture and styling and be okay with not being in a traditional study setting.

- This place is mainly used for studying. I must be okay with either studying here myself or being respectful to others that may be here working.

- This place is very exposed, with windows all around. I must be okay with being seen while I am in this location.

- This place is very open. I must be okay with being near to and within earshot of many other people.

- This place usually consists of college students. I must be okay with being around this younger generation.

- This place is public. I must be comfortable with anyone being able to enter or exit the room as they please.

- This room is not silent. I must be okay with low sounds during quieter hours of the day and loud sounds and conversation during the busier hours of the day.

- This room is within an academic building. I must be okay with being respectful of classrooms and students also using the building and the room.

- This place echoes a lot. I must be okay with either being quiet or having every user of the room hear what I am doing if I am not quiet.

- This place is not customizable. I must be okay with leaving the room in much the way I found it.