Wednesday, November 19, 2008
On Black Studies, BlackBerries, and Isolation
There has been lots of chatter lately about whether or not President Elect Obama should stay linked up via his preferred personal communication device. Perhaps you've read the Jeff Zeleny piece at NYT, or heard today's discussion on NPR's Talk of the Nation.
On the latter program, they talked about some of the problems associated with presidential isolation. Particularly, what does the Chief Executive risk, in the name of security, if he severs access to that group of people outside of the official structure? It has to be hard to keep your hand on the pulse of the community if you're locked up in a bubble.
As we got to thinking on it, many Black Studies programs face a similar dilemma. To avoid some problems of isolation that come with being a small department at an academic institution, we are constantly working to establish networks of communication. To be most effective, these networks need to be founded on reciprocal and collaborative relationships with our academic institution, the local community, and other Black Studies and African American Studies programs.
We hope that by instituting programs like the Poetry Correspondence Program, the Underground Freedom Galleries, the African American Health Initiative, and by maintaining this blog, we are preventing Black Studies from becoming disconnected from our fast-paced, ever changing world. Let us know if there's anything we can do more of, or better.
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African American isolation (students and programs) has been something I've become increasingly concerned about these days.
We'll keep thinking about how we can use technology in our efforts to address the barriers to access and interaction.
SIUE's Global Village might be a great venue to use to express concerns and ideas that the Black Studies programs have. I believe the more people see you, the more they are likely to remember you or think on what you have said. Agenda Setting is a theory applied to media studies. It suggest that the media can't tell you what to think, but it can tell you what to think about. Using Global Village or some public medium like this blog, would continue to keep Black Studies programs from becoming disconnected now and in the future.
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