Recent Comments

February 9, 2017 - 09:37

It’s interesting, Gramsci wrote about “organic intellectuals”— everyday people who are not deemed by society to be an intellectual or knowledge expert — and how they have knowledge value and speak the “truth” more so than those holding positions of “knowledge expert.” I really gravitated toward that idea with the advent of social media and how it gives voice to those organic intellectuals who create “real” content and have greater participatory parity with the media and intellectual elite in creating a more robust and accurate national discourse. With every video shared on social media about the injustices happening in our society, I felt those organic intellectuals were getting closer and closer to holding real power in influencing change for a better society. For instance, the Black Lives Matter movement’s success in influencing discourse was due to content that told the real story of what was/is happening to many Black Americans. Once people saw the injustices being served, there wasn’t much debate—as a whole, the elite intellectuals verified that content to be “true.” But now, an interesting phenomenon is happening in America. Previously-deemed knowledge experts are being devalued by those in political power and “counter organic intellectuals” are scoffing at verifiable content or facts. They are elevating a perspective that values belief systems above fact. We seem to be approaching a Fahrenheit 451 moment in history, where all prior knowledge and rational, critical thought is burned to the ground.

Citations

Jones, Steve. Antonio Gramsci. n.p.: London ; New York : Routledge, c2006., 2006.  

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fahrenheit_451

February 8, 2017 - 21:37

When I think about the process of social engagement in shared communities of common interests, one of the main obstacles for the participants is determining when the engagement is warranted. Upon reading the statement, "If one of my primary objectives as a scholar-researcher is to offer meaningful analyses to the widest possible audience, I have a responsibility to make my work accessible, in terms of medium and in terms of readability." I agree that as a scholar there is a sort of responsibility to reach the masses and incorporate knowledgeable information that will augment the conversation/information being shared. However, the task then also falls on the scholar to determine when and on what platforms their expertise are required and/or needed. Furthermore, the scholar is then given the daunting task to convince the audience of their legitimacy and convince them that they are solely here to advance the conversation rather than combat others in order to produce a positive consequence.

I do believe that "the scholar can play a critical role in positively developing the communities about which we care," but only if the agenda of the scholar is welcomed into the community. I propose that because there is a strong shared interest, offering information to someone who doesn't comprehend or accept it, may have a counter effect and end up producing a negative outcome. On the contrary, my personal belief is that it would be beneficial for scholars to offer their expertise in group's of producers, writers, journalists, and less educated participators/the commons. I feel that it could ultimately lead to less unprecedented information and we could experience the unraveling of more fact based, research proven claims. However, being an avid user of social media platforms/interest based communities, I have noticed a sort of trend for the masses to be more opinion based driven than fact information seeking individuals. In conclusion, understanding what role should be played in the community in which one is interacting is key and roles could change depending on the audience. 

February 8, 2017 - 19:59

I agree with the point Gavin brought up from the Klein and Warner article stating, "pop-culture and media journalists, should be reaching out to scholars to help augment their work. In this way, the scholar can play a critical role in positively developing the communities about which we care. I do not think this is a passive way of engagement but a good way to "have a critical role in the communities about which we care."  Though scholars are deeply interested in certain specialties and disciplines, in order to use the information they are gathering and researching it is imperative to engage with the commons, such as journalists, producers and others. A great way to engage in the physical is possibly professionally by sharing expertise. For example, if a screen writer is working on a film and needs deeper understanding on how/why representation matters and how to combat stereotypes and reach the audience which he is writing the film for, this would be a good opportunity for a scholar to provide expertise and have research to back up the expertise. 

However, in situations where a scholar is not being called in as an expert or to share their expertise, I think they should engage normally. Being a scholar does allow for a person to be able to think more critically and with more research and facts to back up opinions, but that does not make a person more or less correct in their thoughts and opinions. So, in regards to engagement in online spaces/communities, such as social media or special interest websites, I think scholars are simply just participators just like the "commons". What I mean to say this is that scholars do not necessarily always augment or add more to conversations but are simply just engaging normally with normal people who may be more, less or equally educated as them. We are sharing our thoughts and opinions based on the information we know and others are simply doing the same. 

February 7, 2017 - 22:10

The end quote of your post resonated with me: "read your journals, know the answers to frequently asked questions across your domain of specialty, and be ready to show your work - in this skeptical time scholars need to believe in scholarship and to explain how they know what they know." Lately I've heard a lot more scoffing at 'liberal academia' and the 'educated elite', especially in context of political conversations. It is as if research and academia are villainized for having the audacity to investigate issues as opposed to developing an opinion based on emotion and individual perception. In this polarized political climate, having facts to support a claim doesn't seem to matter much as people tend to hold on to their beliefs more ardently in the face of information that negates it. I listened to a podcast today called "The backfire effect" where people's political ideologies were challenged by fact based information while they were being monitored by an MRI. Researchers found that subjects "reacted with the same brain regions that would come online if they were responding to a physical threat." It made me wonder about the process of changing minds and how that can be accomplished if we respond to information so primitively when challenged with alternative information that has been researched and proven. While I am in total agreement that scholarships should "stay the course", so to speak, I am also interested in understanding how to use the information in a way that promotes change.

February 6, 2017 - 23:26

I would have to agree with both A. Lorean Hartness and my peer Tonya Schmehl. Projects, such as this, allow for a broader interaction which leads to a wider array of insight, knowledge, and in Hartness' example of To the Starts with Difficulty, creative. It opens possibility for new perspective that may have not been considered previously. This can result in further research or questions to be looked examined. 

I believe the world we live in today puts a lot of value on the media and the information that comes from the media. I think the mix between the academic and the non-academic is crucial in ensuring that adequate information is being presented and questions are being answered factually. Which is why in my opinion easily accessible resources for academic research is imperative to guarantee that all sides are being considered. Having interaction with people from all over the country, even the world, helps understand so many different ideas. How are people understanding recent events? What are people curious to know about? What options are not being explored? and so much more. 

February 6, 2017 - 17:15

As A. Lorean Hartness noted in her example To the Stars though Difficulty, the project worked to bring together a variety of participants from all walks of life. However, what may be the bigger significance is that engaging in online activity has the ability to start a conversation about differences across a plethora of boundaries. While Hartness’ example provided a platform to engage between social classes; this project, at least to my understanding, will take on a global role.  

 

Projects like this allow a conversation of intersectionality to develop. Contributing with someone across the country or around the world has the ability to change each individuals perspective on the question. This opens up the possibility to expanding thoughts and new questions. Education and understanding does not develop in a vacuum, it expands as other ideas are considered and explored. Much like the poem referenced above, digital platforms allow us to physically connect with individuals around the globe, to expand our thoughts and ideas and create the possibility of expanding knowledge that only a few generations ago would require actual physical meeting.

December 7, 2016 - 11:57

Lauren, 

I am also more of a fan than a scholar on these matters, so I can offer more insight and opinions over actual facts. It is strange how this generational aspect works. I am a millennial, so I believe that I fall on both sides of the argument. I am both against the remakes of once popular texts, yet also intrigued by them. For instance, I think would throw a major fit if one my favorite 80's movies (Ferris and Back to the Future) were remade/reimagined. But with the recent Disney live action reimaginations, I am more open. For example, the show Once Upton A Time adds a twist to the fairy tales we all grew up with as children or the recent trailer of Beauty and The Beast. I am both for remakes and against at the same time. So I cant argue that it is completely generational, but rather the timeframe that they are made. For instance, my favorite 80's movies were made before I was born, so I regard them as true classics. These Disney adaptions, are of films that I grew up on in the 90s, so I am more comfortable with them. 

December 7, 2016 - 11:26

Hello Lincoln,

I must say that I enjoyed that you touched on the idea of ownership. Original fans of the series (and of any text), express a sense of "ownership" for their favorite shows/movies/games. They feel as if it is theirs, although they didn't themselves create it, they feel a strong connection of  personal property to the work. Which would explain the strong emotional ties of discomfort that they may feel from a Hollywood reimagining, plainly because it is not the original. No matter how well received the text may be, there will always be a tiny feeling that "'their' text is 'harmed.'" That is the beauty of fandom, it is both scary and romantic. 

December 6, 2016 - 20:10

I wouldn't say they are "forcing" them; fans will sometimes abandon a disappointing text for their own imaginings. But yes, it definitely makes it more appealing. I find it to be clever. 

December 6, 2016 - 14:39
I'm very interested in the view of what constitutes an active fan and their role they have within the industry. I believe you are correct that in order to be a fan, one must be an active and contributing participant in their niche and that one may use their active status and skill to strategically position themselves in order to gain more cultural and social capital.   While reading your submission, I cannot help but make a parallel to the gaming industry and how individuals follow the same cycle as you suggested. One example that came to my mind is Grand Theft Auto V and how fan communities will augment the game in order to generate a different kind of feel during gameplay to get a different experience. Rather than playing with the preset characters, one can change the entire theme of the game to change the main character to Harry Potter. I believe this is where these intersections come together, where what propels people to do this is either for higher social and cultural capital, or to gain money. The gaming industry is unique in the way gamers can gain significant agency in doing live streams—be it on YouTube or Twitch—and even are given sponsors.   I cannot help but wonder how resilient these communities really are. Looking into the Dreamcast, there is a relatively active community keeping the console relevant through recreating video games. While the deprecated system lost support from SEGA, the community gives support to those seeking it. This same community is lobbying SEGA to recreate the Dreamcast, showing the symbiotic relationship that the fans and those in the industry have. The fans want an updated console and seek the support of SEGA to produce it. There is this appetite that is difficult to satisfy with fans, which leaves them wanting more.  I cannot thank you enough for your thoughtful submission. It was very thought provoking and inspiring. 

—Ivan