Last week, Kazys Varnelis, wrote on his Facebook wall, “If you want to understand the mess we are in, read this important article from our Networked Publics book” and posted a link to an essay I published with my co-author Mark E. Kann. In the comment, he also made a remark on how prophetic the essay was, especially with regards to the role of social media in the 2016 US Election.
Kazys’ post forced me to look back and read what we wrote. Eight years ago, in 2008, when writings and scholarship on the internet were still predominantly utopian, we published a chapter with a different tone. We argued that digital media — network technologies — have made political mobilization easy (click like/share/love/ retweet to agree with your friends on Facebook/Twitter, to get access to/share fakenews that justifies/amplifies your belief, to sign petition on change.org, etc.) but they have not been able to promote democratic deliberation. In this environment, simplified/extreme views are easily promoted, making issues such as Brexit a perfect issue and candidates such as Trump a perfect candidate.
“[…] it is misleading to claim that online deliberation and online mobilization practices have really deepened democracy.”
note: During the month of Ramadan, I posted sketches of mosques on Facebook once a day for my Muslim friends; each was accompanied by a short story. This is a compilation of those sketches with music by my better half.
“You can be anything you want to be” — we hear and read this a lot: in the media, in the (Hollywood) movies, in “successful” people’s biographies. This phrase has become a motivational mantra for success.
Is your dissertating student, co-author, book contributor, researcher, writer missing in action? This is a song for them. Or, this song is probably for yourself 😀
I think I just ruined my graduate students’ break by sending them this song last week (with a note: I created this with you in mind ;D). PhD students, imagine your PhD advisor singing this song to you. Is it a blessing or a curse?
Note on the production:
During the super wintery cold Canadian break a couple weeks ago, I stayed home too long that I lost my marbles. I woke up in the middle of the night and did some silly things. This is a result of one of those nights. Yeah, I spent a couple hours recording and making this video.
I met Ed Soja thirteen years ago, on 6 February 2002, during my first visit to the United States. He generously allocated forty-five minutes of his busy schedule to meet me in his office at UCLA. At that moment, I was just a random, uncertain young aspiring scholar who did not even know what she’d do in the next couple months. I was excited to have had this opportunity, and, yet, felt so nervous about it. Prior to the meeting, I had already rehearsed so many topics and issues I wanted to talk with him in my head. However, as the nerves kicked in, I found myself mute and petrified. I am not sure whether it was his look, his stature, or his commanding voice that made me feel apprehensive. It was probably the combination of all three and a simple fact that he was Edward Soja.
This article is part of the newest issue of New Geographies. It scrutinizes the complex entanglement of cyberurban spaces in the making and development of contemporary social movement by analyzing its imaginaries, practices, and trajectories.
It was around this time thirty one year ago, in 1984. That day was one of the most historical days of my childhood. It was a cinema day! And it made me nervous, scared, and excited at the same time. The reason for the mixed feelings was two folds. First, I never went to the cinema before because my religiously conservative parents forbade us, my siblings and I, from watching movies in the cinema. Second, this was a movie about what one social science teacher called ‘the darkest chapter’ in the history of the nation. Even though my parents didn’t like the fact that their kids would be in a ‘sinful’ cinema and to pay for it, , they let my two little siblings and I go. They had no choice as it was mandatory for all kids. The government had forced schools to make students see the film during school hours.
As of today, approximately 12 million Syrians have been displaced by the conflict. More than half of these are under the age of 18.
It’s too late to help Alan Kurdi (initially reported as Aylan Kurdi), but together we can prevent the same fate from happening to other children like him. One of some ways to do it is by supporting these charities below.
I try my best to summarize what these charities are doing — they differ in their focuses, priorities, scopes and geographic reach — and provide direct links to their donation pages to help you in your consideration. Continue reading Syrian Crisis – How to help→