The ever-thoughtful Carl Dyke graciously provided me with this expression as a way to talk about edubloggers might call “lifelong learning.” Part of teaching is about exposing students to some notions which may have radical effects later on in their lives. This is especially true for us in social sciences as some of the things we discuss not only go against the grain of some well-ingrained notions but also connect with very intimate ideas people may hold.
I think the example we were using was the construction of ideas about Nation-States/Countries, Citizenship, and Democracy. Lots of people (and, clearly, most of our students) assume that the ideas we have about States and governance are continuous and even equivalent with those held by any group at any point of history. Simply put, national identity is taken as a “natural” idea. Which makes it hard for some people to discuss such issues in a historical perspective. This is one reason I enjoyed Appiah’s “Golden Nugget” idea so much (not to mention that his talk was quite entertaining). It’s a way to put the very notion of “Civilization” in perspective (without using an evolutionary model). Carl also provided me with references to Eugen Weber and to the Taviani Brothers’ Padre Padrone. We could even use scene 3 of Monty Python and the Holy Grail (video). All of these things are, in my mind, landmines. Actually, “mind landmines” or, erm, “landminds.” (Should I get a trademark?)
Of course, literature on nationalism (Benedict Anderson, Terence Ranger, Eric Hobsbawm, etc.) can also be used. Personally, I tend to like work on similar subjects by ethnographers like Regina Bendix and Kelly Askew.
Those “landminds” are only triggered when people start really looking into issues lying underneath society and politics. But when they explode, these landminds can be quite transformative. As per the deadly effects of the explosives from which they’re inspired, these landminds destroy some apparently strong intellectual models.
So, although I see landmines as a major problem, I do see part of my work as “planting landminds.”
Much less positive than the usual “planting the seeds of knowledge” metaphors, but also much more powerful.
This write-up may sound a bit strong but the issue should, in fact, be discussed.
Making Light: The Associated Press wants to charge you $12.50 to quote five words from them
There are different ways to look at these, whether or not people are taking sides. My personal perspective is that these rules The AP is trying to set may contribute to a very important chilling effect and that, in the long run, AP publications will suffer. I also think that we should strive to reach some form of agreement as to rules involving copyright. Laws don’t come in a vacuum.
What’s fun about the Open Source episode on reading Shakespeare for political insight is that it briefly gives attention to the notion that representative democracy may not be an absolute value.
Open Source » Blog Archive » Shakespeare and Power
This is a rare event, on that show.
Time to honour rhe majority of the world population. Of course, if things were equitable, there’d be 186 days like March 8. As things stand, it’s the day when machismo disguises itself into respect.
Are there trees left to shake?
Digital Fair Use bill introduced to US House (sans teeth)
If passed, the FAIR USE Act will amend the DMCA to codify recent exceptions granted to the anti-circumvention rules by the Register of Copyrights, which include some allowances for obsolete technologies and cell phone unlocking.
Doesn’t sound like a whole lot, especially since the bill specifically does not address some of the most controversial parts of the DMCA. But if codifying fair use is the goal (as fair use is not yet guaranteed, in the United States), maybe this bill can shake things up at least a bit.
It’s quite interesting to see how a large majority of citizens agree that things need to change yet a handful of corporate entities enforce the status quo without much apparent effort.
It’s also quite funny how many bills in the U.S. have acronyms designed to work as expressions. This one is: Freedom And Innovation Revitalizing U.S. Entrepreneurship Act of 2007. Catchy!
Actually, they’re more like late September links, but still…
- History of the Internet
- ZERO SECONDE: Les 6 cultures d’Internet (par Martin Lessard)
- Military personnel (DARPA)
- Academics (universities, colleges)
- Programmers/Coders (Alpha Geeks)
- Virtual communities (BBS)
- Entrepreneurs (Web 1.0)
- “Web 2.0” (bloggers, social networking, user-generated content…).
- Of course, there’s a lot of overlap, some categories could be reshaped, and the term “culture” is applied somewhat loosely, but it’s an interesting perspective.
- It’s hard for me not to think of the specific cultural turn there as it seems that the West Coast of the United States has had a tremendous impact through this history. Still have to read the article but some people are making connections between “geek culture” (linked to the third step above), specialty coffee (Peet’s, Starbucks), and the “craft beer revolution.” The thlot pickens.
- Celebrity Chefs, Culinary Philosophy, Personality
- NewAcademic Journals Online
- Now online, CMoS: The Chicago Manual of Style Online
- As the printed manual is a bit bulky and costly, having an online version can be very useful.
- Academic Podcasting
- Editing structured texts
- My Wandering Wiki: MultiMarkdown
- From a simple email-like syntax to XHTML, LaTeX, PDF, RTF…
- We really need a new approach to editing and “word processing.” XML is likely to be a key in this respect.
- Canadian Politics: Stéphane Dion
- Stéphane Dion, candidat à la direction du PLC
- My own personal opinion: he does seem to be on a “charm” campaign but his ideas sound like a rather rigid application of Leviathan instead of a principled take on direct democratic representation.
- Jane Elliott’s discrimination experiment (1968 through 2006)
- Religious tolerance, atheism/secularism/agnosticism, multiculturalism, and peace
Is that Disparate enough for you? 😉