December 2007

I (me, myself) want (with my friends!!!!!!!!) to

“see more stand-alone centers that are devoted primarily to . . .

preparing students to think collaboratively when they try to solve … problems outside the academic world.”

A Threat So Big, Academics

Try Collaboration

This NYTimes article notes that collaborations across disciplines in the academia are most popular on environmental issues, but that seems to me to be one area of many possibilities: including resolving world hunger and ending war.


Ever heard of shopdropping?

These folks are serious, from artists and authors, to protestors of all stripes:

“At Powell’s Books in Portland, Ore., religious groups have been hitting the magazines in the science section with fliers featuring Christian cartoons, while their adversaries have been moving Bibles from the religion section to the fantasy/science-fiction section.”

I am attracted to the spirit of  “try[ing]to inject a brief moment of wonder” into the daily rush of commercialized life.

From an article by the New York Times:  Anarchists in the Aisles: Stores provide a Stage

Rachel posted this onto Facebook (!), from the NYTimes:

On Facebook, Scholars Link Up With Data

Recently (December 12), I received a joke over email:

A driver is stuck in a traffic jam on the Tehran-Ghom Motorway.

Nothing is moving.

Suddenly a man knocks on the window. The driver rolls down his window

and asks, "What's going on?"

"Terrorists down the road have kidnapped Ahmadi Nejad. They're asking
for 100 million tomman ransom.

Otherwise they're going to douse him with gasoline and set him on fire.

We're going from car to car, taking up a collection."

The driver asks, "How much is everyone giving, on average?"

"Most people are giving about a liter."

I googled the unfamiliar name and came up with Iranian President Ahmadinijad!  A few images came up as well, including an obviously irreverent one from May 3rd, 2007.  The text accompanying the doctored image is challenging, too.   People are paying a price for practicing freedom of expression: twenty students were arrested on December 7th.

A challenge put out to you (us!) via youtube, to ask questions of the leaders at the Davos Economic Summit.

Don’t know what Davos is about? Watch the video.

The rigid segmentation of course material into discrete “subjects” provides gaping canyons for student’s intellectual engagement. As the Fall, 2007 semester wraps up, my thoughts leap ahead to the next class and the next group of students. I want to challenge us to think beyond narrow definitions of “group” focused on “identity” to sophisticated notions of “role” and the ways our own day-to-day activities participate interactively with the larger sweep of social and political affairs.

My idea at the moment is to assign the novel, After Dachau (Daniel Quinn), for the first week of class. I read it in about four hours (see excerpt). I also want to show this media analysis from Al-Jazeera, on the divide in US news reporting over the Iran Nuclear Report. Pedagogically, can the students draw parallels between “fiction” and “reality”? In terms of continuity, might I be able to entice some of the students from this semester to keep talking about the important conversations we began?

Open access electronic versions of new (2007) texts in

  • Civic Life Online
  • Digital Media, Youth, and Credibility
  • Digital Media, Youth, and the Unexpected
  • The Ecology of Games
  • Learning Race and Ethnicity
  • Youth, Identity and Digital Media

And a new journal, due in 2009:

The International Journal of Learning and Media

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