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|September 17, 2001: This message was distributed by Papyrus News. Feel free to forward this message to others, preferably with this introduction. For info on Papyrus News, including how to (un)subscribe or access archives, see <http://www.gse.uci.edu/markw/papyrus-news.html>.|
I mentioned earlier that I had received a message accusing me of being anti-Eastern. I have now received a message accusing me of being anti-Western (for including links to articles critical of Israel and of US support for Israel), and also of giving an academic newsletter a "political bent." I thought I would take the opportunity to tell PN readers a little bit about me and about Papyrus News.
I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Education at UC Irvine and a faculty associate at the campus's Center for Research on Information Technology and Organizations. (It goes without saying that neither the Education Dept., nor CRITO, nor UCI are in any way responsible for the content of Papyrus News).
As I explain on the Papyrus News Webpage (http://www.gse.uci.edu/markw/papyrus-news.html), the newsletter includes whatever information I happen to find of interest. Often that includes topics related to information and communication technologies (and their relationship to education/language/social development, etc.), but not exclusively.
Why do I take on more "political" topics? First of all, political contexts are not separated from everyday life, and, they are indeed an important part of my own research. Those of you who read some of the articles on my Website (under "recent papers" at http://www.gse.uci.edu/markw/) , for example, "Does the Internet bring freedom," "Singapore's Dilemma," "Technology and School Reform: A View from Both Sides of the Track(ing)" or "Technology and Indigenous Language Revitalization," will recognize that political contexts are woven into my research and writing.
The intersection of ICT to current political events is something I sometimes address on Papyrus News, for example, my writings on a critical theory of voting technology last year, or my message last week on IT and terrorism.
Of course I also go beyond that, to share my own views and those of others (both through texts and through links) on important social or political issues. I do that because I'm interested in the issues and I have learned that many PN readers are too. I guess that's my prerogative for having taken the time to start and run this list (a list that now has some 1400 subscribers around the world). Those of you who have a different perspective are welcome to pass texts or links to me, which I will sometimes (but not always) forward to the list, or, if you prefer, you can start your own list and ask me to announce it.
Now, back to the original question -- if I am an unlikely candidate to be "anti-Eastern" I am an even unlikelier candidate to be anti-Western, and if anyone thinks that my inclusion of a link to Edward Said's opinion piece signals my own political views, they might also want to read the New Republic editorials I sent out links for on the same day. I do think this is an important time to be exposed to the arguments coming out on all sides of issues related to terrorism and the Middle East, and I'm glad to have the opportunity to pass on interesting comments from a range of viewpoints.
As usual, Papyrus News will undoubtedly return back to its "traditional" format soon, whatever that is. One of the things that makes PN enjoyable for me is the flexibility to discuss and share information on a variety of topics, whether they be my own recent papers, reports from my research trips, discussion of topical issues, or simply more mundane links to articles about information technology and society. I hope that this mix is satisfactory to readers. But I also hope you'll understand that it is not possible for me, nor is it my goal, to please all the people all the time.
Finally, to my Jewish friends and colleagues around the world, Shana Tova! -- Happy New Year! May we all reflect on the tragedies of this past week and year, and, in the coming year, work together to make the world a better place.
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