Follow this link to see the question key and results of the THATCamp 2012 Zen Scavenger Hunt. Assembly and presentations took place at 3:30 today. The slide show is rough but the images are cool, and we had a blast doing it.
[NOTE: I proposed this session for THATCamp Prime last summer and it didn’t fly. If at first you don’t succeed…]
A phrase coined by the Quakers during in the mid-1950s. It was a call for the United States to stand firm against fascism and other forms of totalitarianism; it is a phrase that seems to unnerve political right, with reason.
A vacuous phrase used by some on the political Left, especially the denizens of the Democratic Underground website. Ostensibly, it means to verbally confront or challenge conservative politicians and conservative ideals using the overwhelmingly logical and moral arguments of liberalism. Doing so would, naturally of course, devastate the target individual, leaving them a stuttering, stammering bowl of defeated jelly. That or cause them to experience an epiphany that would have such a profound, worldview-changing effect that they would immediately go out and buy a Che t-shirt and start reading Noam Chomsky. Unfortunately, the individuals who would use this phrase have little or no understanding of either liberalism or conservatism, and the “truth” that they speak consists mainly of epithets and talking points, memorized by rote, which they learned from other, equally vapid liberals. As such “speak truth to power” joins other feel-good but ultimately meaningless gems from Leftist history such as “right on”, “up against the wall”. “question everything” and the ever-popular “fuck you, pig”.
(Well, OK, then…)
Seeking out slightly more credible sources for the origin of the phrase leads one to a Quaker pamphlet from the 1950s. As a “trained” political scientist, I think of Aaron Wildavsky’s book and, more recently, a book by Manning Marable. Across these sources, I believe the phrase is about questioning reasoning of “the state;” it’s about bringing information (maybe evidence?) to the table with those who are in formal positions of power who may not want to “hear” it.
I suspect other THATCamp attendees find themselves in positions like those that I find myself in where I have opportunities to “speak truth to power.” I get coded as “the technology guy” and “volunteered” onto any/all task forces and/or committees (let’s call them task committees) that have any connection at all to technology. Often, those task committees are led by someone with formal decision-making authority who may or may not *really* want to hear what you say.
We all know the perils of committee work, but there are obvious advocacy opportunities presented by this work as well. So, I’m proposing a session where we share advocacy strategies. We might discuss our “tactics” within the realm of formal committee work, but even outside of it. There, the overlap with Mark Sample’s ideas around “tactical collaboration” are obvious, so perhaps we can convince Mark to grace us with his presence (and his ideas) as part of the session.
Now that I’m out of the application woods, I’d love to have a conversation about the more difficult DH task I’ve been working on: how to form, organize, and motivate distributed scholarly platforms, like the one I’m contemplating under the “Modernist Letters Project.” I think building the infrastructure for quicker, more transparent, open-source scholarly knowledge creation and review will be one of the major projects for the next decade, as it has already been in the case of NINES. And I tend to think that the new platforms that are successful will be both field and object-specific (thus, in my field, the Modernist Journals Project, now Modernist Versions Project, etc.).
I’ll work through today referencing and organizing this problem, but it seems to me that first of all this should be approached by examining the following questions: I’d appreciate others’ thoughts about this, or sources to look at.
A. What has worked (NINES, Whitman Archive) and why?
B. What hasn’t been successful?
C. What sorts of contracts for collaboration are most succesful? What organizational structures, forms? (I know Lynn Siemens has written a good deal on this.)
D. How does the work get incentivized? How credited? What are good models for developing pedagogical units, etc (an interest of one of my collaborators)?
E. How do we include the non-digital (native) scholars in the field? What sorts of ongoing mechanisms for peer-review could be included?
I’ll come back and reference this a bit later, as well, once I’ve gone through some of the available material. Folks interested in participating in the Modernist Letters Project are particularly welcome to get involved here, of course.
We are attending with our 13-year-old, who loves writing and digital photography. I’d like to know who else is bringing kids this year, and how we might engage them? Because of Mona’s schedule, we will be late or no-show (sadly) at the Friday sessions. Maybe we can meet up with other families w/kids at the dinner that evening?
I am a writer and writing teacher, and would be happy to host a creative writing workshop in the afternoon for any kids who want to get together to write. In particular (or instead), I am really intrigued by the possibilities for the Zen Scavenger Hunt described here. That seems like it’d be great for any age participant. I don’t know the UVa campus all that well, so I’d like to run it with someone who is more familiar with the surroundings. It is the kind of thing the kids and other participants can engage in all day (since there is no list until later), then gather in the afternoon or early evening before dinner to compare notes.
We could run this as a regular scavenger hunt instead, with a fairly general list that stimulates creativity (“an object that fits in your hand,” “something red,” “something that was once alive,”) and/or have kids document with cameras, pen & paper, maps, and phones in case there is concern about collecting actual things (might get out of hand :-)…Would love to hear thoughts about how to put something together that is fun and flexible for families and younger participants to do.