In Common this Week: Activism

Here we are with our first weekly round of interesting sites from across the Commons. It’s not surprising that U.S. presidential politics and activism in general are common themes among a lot of the posts going out into the digital world this week and especially so at CUNY.

  • Activism in Academia, an interdisciplinary project and symposium (scheduled for April 7) went live on the Commons this week. Asking the vital questions “How do we incorporate activism in our classrooms, on our campuses, and in our scholarship?” The site promises debate on religion and secularism in the classroom, syllabuses and canon construction, training students for careers in social justice, as well as the growing role of ethnic studies and disabilities studies in the curriculum. As someone who helps organizations create websites all the time as part of work here with the Commons, I have to say, the site looks pretty snazzy with eye-catching graphics, photo galleries, and use of Twitter. It’s a good inspiration for conference sites that will become important archives for material after a conference is complete (something for which the Commons is a particularly good tool!).
  • The Murphy Institute, part of the CUNY school of Professional Studies hosts a journal on the Commons called the New Labor Forum. Their recent post on the protests yesterday in Washington DC draws attention to a video of the protests. It’s a good example of one of the benefits of an online journal–the ability to use rich media (photos, videos, sounds, games, etc).
  • A reminder of some of the unique prospectives people on the Commons have to offer, Life Long Learner (“65 and back in school; observations and perceptions” his blog promises) started his blog this week with a post on Political Correctness.
  • In perhaps the most traditional example of public scholarship this week, John Jay Office for the Advancement of Research published the third part in a series of “local law enforcement agencies in immigration enforcement under the Trump Administration’s January 25th executive orders.” The post breaks down language used in public statements by law enforcement officials and then presents specific cases of jurisdictions and how these orders were interpreted (identified as “templates”).
  • Rounding out the in-common list today is what I see as a good example of a public archive where people are collaborating to aggregate materials on a single subject: in this around Sanctuary campuses. The site is updated as folks find relevant material to what CUNY campuses are doing to protect undocumented students, what other campuses across the country are doing, helpful information from across the web and more. It was a posting of an article on from Truthout that helped the site pop-up on my radar screen this week. Again, looking at the site as someone who works with organizations frequently, I think it’s a good model for a site that does good by simply existing. There’s no need for frequent updates and the work can be done by many people (“many hands make light work,” as they say). Sometimes just getting information together is important.

That’s it for this week. Until next time…

All the best,

Hello World!

Welcome folks–

I’ve never used the default WordPress title on a blog before and its exciting to be starting a project for which it seems appropriate. After five years as a PhD student in the English program here at the CUNY Graduate Center, this is my first blog!

First a little about myself and what I expect this blog to be about. The usual questions PhD students have to answer are about their research. I’m currently writing my dissertation on trans-Atlantic nineteenth century maritime literature (think Moby-Dick or The Pilot, or Lord Jim). I teach American literature and literary theory at Queens College, CUNY. In addition to my academic work, I’m involved in numerous digital communities here at the GC. In addition to the Commons, I work the Program Social Media Fellows and OpenCUNY. The general idea behind all of these projects is that scholarly and student-run communities at public colleges and universities have a responsibility to share their scholarship and work with the public and to engage the public in discussions of their work. In the real world, we achieve this by inviting the public to our programs and conferences and in the digital world we achieve this through platforms like the Commons.

The idea driving this particular blog is that Commons is filled with interesting things if you only knew where to look. So each week I’ll be sifting through the the recently published posts and pages from all corners of the Commons and coming up with a short, curated list of links to examples of interesting ideas, tools, projects, posts, artwork, whatever is catches my eye. I’ll be trying to see if I can come up with a theme that brings these interesting tidbits from the Commons and that’s why this blog is title “In Common”–these sites will all be from the Commons but they’ll all have something in common. That’s the plan anyway. We’ll see how it works. But the spirit behind the project is really to draw attention to the innovative work being done on the commons and to help us make connections in this little community. You know, find something in common.

The first round-up will be next week, so look out!