Over the last year, as I've mulled over various thesis topics, I've often returned to two imprecise concepts, "commons-based approaches" and "open culture", which I am now faced with sorting through in order to focus my research. In particular, now that I'm locking into "open culture" as my central topic, I need to decide whether to incorporate "the commons" or discard it altogether.
This post was originally published at gnovisjournal.org, then later cross-posted on my now discontinued thesis blog "Open Culture: the Future of Data, Code, Government and Culture," which chronicled my work on my masters thesis, "From Coding to Community: Iteration, Abstraction & Open Source Software Development."
I'm very excited to have settled on a thesis topic. It still needs to be ironed out quite a bit, and I'm not sure if I'll discuss it publicly for quite a few months, but it relates to Karl Marx, Linus Torvalds and David Korten... and it will be beautiful.
I just took a quick coffee break to read Wading in the Deep: Supporting Emergent Anarchies, a short article by Naeem Inayatullah at Ithaca College, which was given to me last week by a close friend of mine and a former student of Naeem's. Quite frankly, I was blown away... it has been at least three years since I read such a provocative piece on pedagogy in higher ed.
I'm no environmental economist, but something doesn't seem quite right about this quote:
"[Sugar] is a vital ingredient in the nation's food supply and you do not want to turn that over, in a great portion, to foreign suppliers... then you [will] end up being dependent, as we are on foreign oil."
-- Luther Markwart, American Sugar Alliance
(transcribed from this NPR segment)
The Mini Update
I gave a bit of an update recently, but here's the bullet point version, which covers more in less time.
I just posted over at gnovis on one of my pet topics: nostalgia. The meat of the post concerns a discussion of religious fundamentalism that I read today in "Empire" by Hardt & Negri, but I also pull in some comments on iPods, public transportation, bowling, the 1989 NBA finals, and heterosexual man-kisses. How could you possibly NOT read it?
I have long had a vaguely secretive fascination with what I'm going to call, in this post, "collective nostalgia," though I am often more inclined to call it "false nostalgia," emphasizing that the object of this nostalgia is generally something imaginary.
To scholars of nationalism and nation building, this concept is quite familiar, in principle if not in name -- the public memory that underlies national histories is characterized by a collective memory (and collective forgetting) that is selective, essentialized, and at times imagined.
-Full Article at gnovisjournal.org
As with many other young liberals, the environment has exploded into my consciousness in the last few years. Everyone likes to point to Al Gore as the catalyst for this trend, but I actually think he was merely an indicator of a trend that was already in existence... although I don't have any data to back that up, except for the anecdotal fact that, when I saw An Inconvenient Truth my thought wasn't "Oh, now I get it" but, rather, "Finally!
Stanley Fish recently wrote two posts on the intersections of politics and academia. While I agree that Fish's commitment to academic rigor is admirable, and his own ability to keep political views out of his coursework commendable, I've also always felt that he took his Ivory Tower positions way too far (I've also wondered whether he actually has political views).