Opening: Kelty, Groom, Eve, and Zuckerman

Some Thoughts/Qs:

  • Groom’s inspiring 2009 piece reminds me of Hannah Alpert-Abrams’ writing. Another DHer who left academia, Alpert-Abrams has since gone on to make all of her academic job-search/grant materials freely available online to help academic jobseekers. Groom now runs Reclaim Hosting (a paid but highly affordable hosting platform). On leaving academia and these resources: is there something about being in the field that makes free & open aid difficult/impossible/unideal (even at CUNY)? What do we make of the lingering prestige of costly and dense resources and content in this field? For me, Groom makes an excellent point about the way he communicates and the work he does….
  • Zuckerman got me thinking into a politics of free tech/infrastructure as well as goals or ideals for its application(s). A few related ways into this might be:
    • can a FLOSS revolution be fully achieved within/alongside existing institutional structures: academia or even Google/Microsoft? Knowledge infrastructures certainly don’t only originate in such places. More broadly, should we focus on removing existing structures of power—“the university as we know it” or “Google”—or on what Zuckerman calls “filling in the gaps”? I am interested in our take on the BBC/NPR dichotomy of comprehensive vs complementary change.
    • A la Zuckerman’s question of not only how we fund public infrastructure, but what would it do: how might we go about getting past our “failures of imagination,” and consider infrastructure that work for the public (not simply academic research and corporations)? Can we make the public option “our work” or “humanities work”? How might/mightn’t this be doable?
    • Zuckerman and Eve both reference UK models of state-sponsored media (among others), but what should the US government’s role be in all this? How do we understand the line between protecting citizens and censorship (esp. in an American context where censorship is a particularly hot topic)?
  • Kelty’s proposal of reorienting power around “recursive publics” as a counter to various organizations is an interesting and important point. I wonder, though, how we bridge the gap of informed publics (those who might become recursive publics) and targeted communities for whom such concepts might seem indigestible. What is the likelihood that our “recursive publics” will again divide a bourgeois educated elite and the voiceless (how exactly are we to interpret those “geeks” to whom Kelty frequently refers)? Where and how would such work need to begin to promote inclusivity? How do we ensure that folks are not left out this power reorganization?

A Few Resources:

Many in my community have expressed anxiety over accessing materials for finishing up coursework or teaching. The significance of open and free resources becomes unmistakable in such moments. As this week is dedicated to openness, I thought I’d share a concise but curated list of a few open and free resources that connect to our course:

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