Archive | December, 2018

Global Knowledge and Governance

Rapporteur: Thaddeus B. Herman

On 4 December 2018, nearly forty people joined a panel to discuss the intersections between global knowledge and governance. After an introduction of the panelists by Steve Witt, the director of the Center for Global Studies, Brian Dill, Department Head and Associate Professor of Sociology, began the day’s proceedings with a look at international tax governance. Dill identified Amazon, Google, Starbucks and Apple as tax evaders  — meaning they look for legal loopholes in order to find ways to avoid taxes. There has been a recent outcry by governments and a big push on how to capture the big corporate transactions that take place; prompting legislation. Dill explored ways in which international taxation is being governed and identified currents systems as those that exacerbate inequality and advance the interests of those who write the rules.

Global Tax Governing Schemes

In his presentation, Dill talked about the movement to regulate global taxation known as Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS). This was initiated by the G20 countries in 2014. Overall, there has been a rising capacity within corporations to find loopholes to shift profits from one entity to another, eroding traditional tax bases. Set to take effect in January of 2019, BEPS is a multi-governmental policy.

However, as Dill pointed out, the BEPS process has largely disadvantaged poor countries. Although the consultation process began to discuss how to implement new tax policy in 2014, countries from the global south were not invited to join the conversation until 2016.

Dill asked the audience to reflect on how many countries around the world have been denied development opportunities because of the deprivation of these resources?

The next speaker of the event was Zsuzsa Gille, Professor of Sociology and Director of the LAS Global Studies program. Her talk centered around global rules and rulemaking.  She began by identifying the effect that an increasing globalized world has had on the strength of the state, suggesting it has generally been weakening over time. But at the same time, Dr. Gille notes there are more regulations and rules being generated to govern the behavior of the state. States may no longer be the primary actors in regulations Gille suggests, since the nature of regulations has changed.

Dr. Gille made the distinction between governance and government, where the former dictates regulation that bears on the actions of the latter. Actors which have influence over governance are identified as Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs), Supranational Organizations (such as the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, or the IMF), and private entities such as corporations. Global governance, Gille stated, is almost never influenced by a single actor, but rather through a regime of many different actors.

Tangible consequences to political outcomes.

She drew an interesting conclusion between political outcomes and how we treat the regulation of both big and small things within the EU. The regulation of big things could be over human rights for example, while regulation of small things could be over what shape of fruit may be sold within the EU.

Dr. Gille made the claim that there is a connection between increased time spent on discussion over the little things, such as regulation of the shape of fruit which is ok to sell within Europe, and the recent rise of the populist movements of the right.

Transitional Justice

Colleen Murphy, Professor of Law, Philosophy and Political Science at the University of Illinois, was the next to address the enraptured audience. Murphy opened by stating that when we are dealing with the question of an increasingly interdependent world, we need to look at the theory of transitional justice —that is the idea that societies which are emerging from extended conflicts deal with the wrong-doing of millions of people.

Murphy outlined many different examples in the world where societies have had to deal with the transition from an extended conflict to a more orderly society. Countries in South America and Africa, including Sierra Leone, South Africa and Egypt; Asia with the Kmher Rouge of Cambodia and the Sri Lankan Civil War; and Columbia with the recent end of 52 years of conflict between the government and the rebel group FARC.

Within societies who are transitioning, there are a range of responses that deal with past wrongs. These include:

  1. Criminal Trials on both a domestic and international level.
  2. Truth commissions
  3. Reparations of victims
  4. Memorials
  5. The barring of groups from serving in particular public capacities.

Scholarship on Transitional Justice

The body of scholarship on transitional justice tries to understand why particular societies make specific choices in how to deal with past wrongs and which wrongs they will focus on. Why are choices made?  Scholarship is disseminated in academic journals, but also reflected in the practice of NGOs that act in many places around the world, for example the International Center for Transitional Justice.  Lawyers are often heavily involved with these NGOs and work closely designing implementation of responses.

Murphy identified three worries about how scholarship is currently practiced, and suggested it may not be as global as it needs to be.  Firstly, there is a disproportionate exclusion of practitioners from the global south. The global body of scholarship is largely composed of scholars from the global north who go to the global south and advise them on what should happen. This may be erasing agency and expertise of actors in the global south. Secondly, the way in which the knowledge is generated may be limited because it fails to capture the characteristics of different groups who are in transition. This could include, for example, the gender dimensions of wrong-doing, but also needs to be further complicated to see how caste and gender interact. Thirdly, there is a worry that the aspiration to globalize knowledge and practice transitional justice is often defined as the “tool kit”, a prescription to be applied anywhere without taking into account the local context. In these situations, there is a danger of overlooking local viewpoints.

Conspiracy and Lizard People

The final speaker of the day was Timothy Wedig, professor and Associate Director of LAS global studies. His talk focused on the impact on governance of knowledge that may not be accurate. He began by pointing out that conspiracy theories are corrosive to democracy and that paranoia is no basis for a system of government, since often paranoia produces toxic outcomes. While paranoia may be effective at gaining support, it produces poor policy decisions.

Governance requires good input. Wedig noted that recent polling data shows that 67% of Egyptians believe the U.S. controls ISIS in order to take over Syria; 55% of French citizens believe vaccine dangers are being hidden by the government; and 4% of Americans believe in lizard people.

Wedig pointed to research that shows belief in one conspiracy theory is highly correlated with belief in others. Sometimes this leads to individuals believing in two or more highly contradictory theories. Individuals may simultaneously believe that we have never gone to the moon and that there are secret moon-bases controlled by Radioshack. Research also shows that social isolation increases as individuals subscribe to conspiracy theories.

Wedig outlined two results of a large belief in conspiracy theories. Firstly, there is an erosion of trust in governance, institutions, and norms, which leads to a perceived, or actual, loss of legitimacy. Secondly, there is an increased penchant to assign blame to specific groups, increasing hostility and violence against the government or the “other”.

Conspiracy’s Impact on Policy

In terms of conspiracy’s impact on policy, Wedig identified several ways in which policy can be affected. Using climate change as an example, he identified that climate change is a conspiracy created by one of many actors. Conspiracy can lead to confusion about what scientific consensus and data mean. It allows for an easy manipulation of ignorance. Conspiracy encourages movement toward ready-made escapes from scary realities which enables individuals who do not want to think about the impact of climate change to look the other way.

Wedig ended by suggesting the best ways in which we can resist conspiranoia. He said first of all, those that are lost have to find their own way back. We need to stop debating those who engage in conspiracy theories, it only legitimizes their own position. We need to decipher how knowledge is created and advanced, and include discussion of methods, peer review, process of research, and the difference between fact and opinion. And as scholars, we need to make our own work accessible and transparent. This includes outreach in order to have conversations with non-academic audiences. If we publish an article, we should write a version for the general audience and publish it in spaces where the public can interact with it.

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Figure 1: BEPS is an initiative by the G20 countries to decrease tax evasion by large international corporations.

Figure 2: In 2008 the European Union chose to allow the sale of ‘odd’ shaped fruit and vegetables.

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For more information on the event, a supplemental libguide of the same name can be found here http://guides.library.illinois.edu/cgsbrownbag12418

 

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The Mortenson Center, Dr. Valeda Dent, and the Importance of Rural Village Libraries in Uganda

Photo courtesy of St. John’s University

On Monday November 26th, the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs held their 28th Annual Mortenson Distinguished Lecture. The speaker was Valeda F. Dent, Dean and Professor of the University Libraries at St. John’s University in New York.

In her presentation titled “Evaluating the Impact of Rural Village Libraries in Uganda: A Mixed-Methods Narrative”, Dr. Dent went into detail about her research on Rural Village Libraries (RVLs) and their impact on people in Uganda. Dr. Dent’s journey began when a librarian from Uganda enlisted her expertise to gage how a rural village library was being received and utilized by local patrons. Twelve years later, Dr. Dent is still conducting research on how RVLs are being used to bridge gender gaps, encourage literacy, empower democracy, and catalyze economic change.

Dr. Dent spoke at length about an idea she calls the “humanitarian effort”. She explained that we, as humans, feel an urgency to help others less fortunate than us. But as westerners, often we neglect to take issues of sustainability into consideration. Often we assume problems in the developing world have simple solutions and we believe these problems can be solved simply by hosting a fundraiser or collecting materials. But in response to this, Dr. Dent implores us to remember that many problems developing countries face are deep-rooted in complex social, cultural, and/or political constructs that often take years to understand and uproot.

Dr. Dent mostly discussed how her research has evolved over time. Initially, she believed her question revolved around how RVLs were being used to add literacy, and she looked into how RVLs help to prepare young children for school. But unexpectedly, she discovered there were underlying trends overlapping the following eight categories:

Women & Girls                                   Secondary School Children

Primary Caregivers                            Preschool Children

Gender & Stereotypes                        School Readiness

Literacy                                            Economic Development

While an analysis of any one of these categories could easily stand on its own, Dr. Dent believes they all come together under the umbrella of RVLs. While RVLs have had a longer time to come to fruition in West Africa, examples from East Africa can still be found. RVLs in Uganda are typically used to hold supplemental materials for secondary school children. This provides a unique dynamic, because most of the books are in English. But Dr. Dent’s research shows that despite the lack of materials in local languages, numerous individuals from the community will come and use the library. Many children venture to Kitengesa (one of the libraries observed by Dr. Dent) with older family members, and even though they cannot read yet, they see their parents, grandparents, or siblings reading, and they mimic the action. This frequent visiting and mimicking leads young children to develop an appreciation for the library and reading, to develop reading skills more efficiently, and to increase school readiness. Also in her research, Dr. Dent has discovered that in many communities, libraries are the only safe space for girls; libraries provide a place for girls to exist free from harassment and abuse, and when given a place where they can be themselves, young girls are free to learn and dream. Especially in rural areas where girls are exposed to more traditional gender roles and expectations, RVLs are being utilized as a space where women can feel empowered and girls can seek to learn what and how they want.

On a more general note, Dr. Dent referenced Nancy Kranich’s book Libraries and Democracy: The Cornerstones of Liberty within this discussion, suggesting that libraries can lead to democracy. Little research has been done in East Africa relating to these assumptions. But the overall increase of literacy, as seen through the introduction and sustainability of RVLs, suggests that if people are literate, they are more likely to involve themselves in the democratic process. If people are illiterate, they often assume they have no power, or that they can have no influence on policy or politics. Overall, RVLs around the world are largely overlooked because of their size or their contents. But as seen through the extensive research Dr. Dent has been involved with in the last decade, RVLs are doing a lot more than they are given credit for. RVLs provide an environment for children and adults to learn. But even more than that, RVLs provide a space where secondary students can feel encouraged, women and girls can feel free, and everyone can feel as though they can have a hand in politics, economics, or education.

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If you missed the event, and would like to listen to the lecture, you can find a recording of Dr. Dent’s presentation on the Mortenson Center website. Just go to the Event Page using the link below, and click “Watch The Recorded Lecture”.

Mortenson Center Event Page for Dr. Dent’s Presentation 

Mortenson Center Event Page 
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If you are interested in learning more about how RVL projects are being utilized on the continent of Africa, you can visit the “Friends of African Village Libraries” (FAVL) website that focuses on libraries in Ghana, or the East African branch of FAVL called “Uganda Community Libraries Association” (UgCLA) that focuses on Uganda.

FAVL   https://favl.org/

UgCLA https://espensj.wordpress.com/

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If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Dent or her research, you can visit her faculty page at St. John’s University or her Academia page.

St. John’s University https://www.stjohns.edu/about/leadership/university-administration/valeda-dent-phd

Academia http://stjohns.academia.edu/ValedaFrancesDent

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Published Works by Valeda F. Dent

Dent, Valeda F. “Multiple Research Methods as a Way to Explore the Longitudinal Impact of the Rural Village Library in Africa.” Qualitative & Quantitative Methods in Libraries, 2015, pp. 17-28.

______________. “Observations of School Library Impact at Two Rural Ugandan Schools.” New World Library, vol. 107, no. 9/10, 2006, pp. 403-421.

______________. Rural Community Libraries in Africa: Challenges and Impacts. Hershey, Information Science Reference, 2014.

Dent, Valeda Frances. “An Exploratory Study of the Impact of the Rural Village Library and Other Factors on the Academic Achievement of Secondary School Students.” ProQuest LLC, 2012, pp. 1-210.

________________. “A Rural Community Library in Africa: A Study of Its Use and Users.” Libri: International Journal of Libraries and Information Sciences, vol. 55, no. 1, 2018, pp. 39-55.

________________. Keeping the User in Mind: Instructional Design and the Modern Library. Oxford, Chandos, 2009.

________________. “Modelling the Rural Community Library.” New Library World, vol. 107, no. 1/2, 2006, pp. 16-30.

_________________. Qualitative Research and the Modern Library. Oxford, Chandos Pub., 2011.

Dent, Valeda Frances, and Geoff Goodman. “The Beast had to marry Balinda: Using Story Examples to Explore Socializing Concepts in Ugandan Caregivers’ Oral Stories.” Oral Tradition, vol. 28, no. 1, 2018, pp. 55-76.

_______________. “The Intergenerational Impact of a Rural Community Library on Young Childrens Learning Readiness in a Ugandan Village.”

________________. “The Rural Library’s Role in Ugandan Secondary Students’ Reading Habits.” International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, vol. 4, no.1, 2015, pp. 53-62.

Dent, Valeda F., and Geoff Goodman. “Rural Library Services: Historical Development and Modern-day Examples from West Africa.” New Library World, vol. 109, no. 11/12, 2008, pp. 1-21.

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Universal Declaration of Human Rights – 70th Anniversary

This year, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) celebrates its 70th anniversary.

“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home–so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world.” — Eleanor Roosevelt (chair  of the UDHR drafting committee)

On December 10, 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted by the United Nations. The first document to outline the need for universal protection of fundamental human rights, the declaration consists of thirty articles that paved the way for numerous international treaties, human rights movements, and national laws. The precursor to the International Bill of Human Rights, the UDHR provided more clarification to the United Nations Charter, a foundational treaty adopted in 1945 in the aftermath of World War II.

The structure and content of the declaration was compiled over time with contributions by John Peters Humphrey, René Cassin, and Code Napoléon, and was finalized to include a preamble and thirty articles outlined as follows:

Article 1 All human beings are born free and equal.

 Article 2 Everyone is entitled to the same human rights without discrimination of any kind.

 Article 3 Everyone has the human right to life, liberty, and security.

 Article 4 No one shall be held in slavery or servitude.

 Article 5 No one shall be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

 Article 6 Everyone has the human right to be recognized everywhere as a person before the law.

 Article 7 Everyone is equal before the law and has the human right to equal protection of the law.

 Article 8 Everyone has the human right to a remedy if their human rights are violated.

 Article 9 No one shall be arrested, detained, or exiled arbitrarily.

 Article 10 Everyone has the human right to a fair trial.

 Article 11 Everyone has the human right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

 Article 12 Everyone has the human right to privacy and family life.

 Article 13 Everyone has the human right to freedom of movement and residence within the state, to leave any country and to return to one’s country.

Article 14 Everyone has the human right to seek asylum from persecution.

 Article 15 Everyone has the human right to a nationality.

Article 16 All adults have the human right to marry and found a family. Women and men have equal human rights to marry, within marriage, and at its dissolution.

 Article 17 Everyone has the human right to own property.

 Article 18 Everyone has the human right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

 Article 19 Everyone has the human right to freedom of opinion and expression.

 Article 20 Everyone has the human right to peaceful assembly and association.

 Article 21 Everyone has the human right to take part in government of one’s country directly or through free and fair elections and access to the public service

Article 22 Everyone has the human right to social security and to the realization of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for dignity.

 Article 23 Everyone has the human right to work, to just conditions of work, to protection against unemployment, to equal pay for equal work, to sufficient pay to ensure a dignified existence for one’s self and one’s family, and the human right to join a trade union.

Article 24 Everyone has the human right to rest and leisure.

Article 25 Everyone has the human right to a standard of living adequate for health and well-being, including food, clothing, housing, medical care and necessary social services.

 Article 26 Everyone has the human right to education including free and compulsory elementary education and human rights education.

Article 27 Everyone has the human right to participate freely in the cultural life and to share in scientific progress, as well as to protection of their artistic, literary or scientific creations.

Article 28 Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which these rights can be realized fully.

 Article 29 Everyone has duties to the community.

 Article 30 None of the human rights in this Declaration can be used to justify violating another human right.” [1]

The UDHR is responsible for influencing over eighty international declarations and treaties for human rights and in 1999, the UDHR broke the record for most translated document in the world. To date, it has been translated into more than 500 languages. [2]

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Visit the “United Nations Association of the United States of America” for more information on what resources are available for educational purposes, and which events are being held in your area.

http://www.unausa.org/programs/human-rights

Visit the International Federation of Libraries Association (IFLA) website to see what is happening on Human Rights Day 2018 (December 10). You can also follow their blog and even download a free “Libraries for Human Rights” poster.

https://www.ifla.org/node/91728

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References

[1] “Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Summary)”, People’s Movement for Human Rights Learning (PMHR), 2018, http://www.etc-graz.at/typo3/fileadmin/user_upload/ETC-Hauptseite/Menschenrechte_lernen/POOL/UDHR_Short_version.pdf.

[2] Lee, Jenni. “About the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”, United Nations Foundation, 8 December 2017, https://unfoundation.org/blog/post/universal-declaration-human-rights/.

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Resources on Human Rights

Bellamy, Alex J. The Oxford Handbook of the Responsibility to Protect. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2016.

Cahill, Suzanne. Dementia and Human Rights. Bristol, Policy Press, 2018.

Devere, Heather. Peacebuilding and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Experiences and Strategies for the 21st Century. Cham, Springer, 2017.

Holcombe, Sarah E. Remote Freedoms: Politics, Personhood, and Human Rights in Aboriginal Central Australia. Stanford, Stanford University Press, 2018.

Lindkvist, Linde. Religious Freedom and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2017.

Loeffler, James Benjamin. Rooted Cosmopolitans: Jews and Human Rights in the Twentieth Century. New Haven, Yale University Press, 2018.

Mayer, Ann Elizabeth. Islam and Human Rights: Tradition and Politics. Boulder, Westview Press, 2012.

Plesch, Daniel. Human Rights after Hitler: the Lost History of Prosecuting Axis War Crimes. Washington, D.C., Georgetown University Press, 2017.

Ten Years of the Implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Good Practices and Lessons Learned — 2007 – 2017: Report of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Geneva, United Nations General Assembly 2017.  Continue Reading →

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MillerComm2019: “Facts, Objects, and Visions in the Design of Globalizing Knowledge”

Rapporteur: Thaddeus B. Herman

On October 24th approximately 100 individuals came to see Dr. Michael Kennedy, Professor of Sociology and International and Public Affairs at Brown University, deliver his keynote address at the Center for Advanced Study’s MillerComm 2019 event. In a speech titled “Facts, Objects, and Visons in the Design of Globalizing Knowledge” Kennedy outlined the nature of various global conversations he has been involved in since the 2015 publication of his book Globalizing Knowledge. The conversation consisted of radically different scopes of imagination, principles of design, and visions of consequence in the articulation of transformative knowledge cultures. The three different visions that were explored in his presentation related to:

  • A technocratic approach to governing the future, associated with the Oxford Martin Commission and Pascal Lamy.
  • The pragmatic imagination of ecosystemic design associated with the work of Ann Pendleton-Jullian and John Seely Brown.
  • An AfroFuturism made popular by the cinematic debut of Black Panther and the more transgressive works of John Jennings, Stacey Robinson and others.

Kennedy opened by acknowledging that access to knowledge and knowledge generation directly leads to representation of ideas and research questions, and he prefaced that his talk would bring many issues together through his expertise and experience as a scholar and an administrator. Kennedy was the University of Michigan’s first vice provost for international affairs, he has been the director of an institute and five centers and programs at Michigan, and he has served as the Howard R. Swearer Director of Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies.  Kennedy concluded nine years of service on the Executive Committee and Board of Directors at the Social Science Research Council in 2015, and now serves on the Governing Board of European Humanities University and as chair of the Advisory Board of the Open Society Foundations’ Higher Education Support Program.

After Kennedy read the Land Acknowledgment Statement (https://chancellor.illinois.edu/land_acknowledgement.html), he noted it was difficult to summarize what his book Globalizing Knowledge had been about, despite having talked about it in many locales. He said that his book had been an attempt, in part, to think about how we, as scholars, interpret intellectual responsibility, as well as how we perceive the institutional responsibility of the homes of which we are a part. Kennedy suggested we should think about what those intellectual responsibilities should be. Most discussions of globalization have a flat meaning, or a post-colonial flavor, but perhaps one question that can be asked in order to guide our understanding of the term is, “If you are suffering as an administrator, how can you make your life sufferable?”

Another question set the tone of the day’s talk: How does work in different sites inform one another? Kennedy began to answer this question by stating “we have no problem with our ability to rationalize, we have a problem with imagination”– referring to imagining the world that we want to inhabit.

Oxford Martin Commission for Future Generations

The first imagination of a different world which Kennedy engaged with was the Oxford Martin Commission for Future Generations, a “group of 19 international leaders from government, business, academia, media and civil society who came together to address the growing short-term preoccupations of modern politics and business and identify ways of overcoming gridlock in key international negotiations” (https://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/policy/commission/).  Since the publication of his book, Kennedy has been engaging in discussions with this group of individuals. This commission was chaired by Mr. Pascal Lamy, the former Director-General of the World Trade Organization.

The Oxford Commission in part was a process initiated to establish a common platform of understanding, as it was understood that the ability to address today’s global challenges is undermined by the absence of a collective vision for society. To remedy this, the commission urged a renewal  of dialogue based on an updated set of shared global values around which a unified and enduring pathway for society can be built. Kennedy mentioned that, within this framework, it is just a matter of who leads and to which networks, organizations, social groups and accompanying values they are tied, not in what method is used by that leadership to interpret the complexity of a rapidly changing world. Leadership is a matter of understanding global complexity and the meaning of progress.

Kennedy mentioned that after exploring the imagination of global trends with this group, he feared that they had missed an opportunity to get creative. Kennedy mentioned that all futures are part of a trend of which we already know and are familiar.

John Seely Brown and Ann Pendleton-Jullian

Kennedy laid out a conceptual map of John Seely Brown and Ann Pendleton-Jullian’s work on a “Whitewater World” that states because of the rapid pace at which knowledge is being generated in today’s age, we require a different method of navigation — the metaphor employed being that of whitewater kayaking.

Figure 1: The Future of Knowledge Sharing. Source: http://www.johnseelybrown.com/

Invoking the use of kayaking as metaphor implies that we are ever-pragmatic in our decisions, meaning we are rapidly reacting to new sets of information that we are confronted with. Thus, Kennedy noted that universities need to think, not only about how to invest in the production of knowledge, but also how to elevate truthfulness to a higher status in our public life. This applies even more in relation to the new information ecosystem being created by the ever-increasing use of social media – especially twitter – by those who occupy elevated stations within political administrations.

AfroFuturism

Tegan (2012) notes that “AfroFuturism, like cyberfeminism, uses science fiction and cyberculture in a speculative manner, in the case of Afrofuturism to escape a definition of what it means to be black (or exotically African) in western culture” and is a way to “critique…both western culture and techno-culture” (p. 26). Most people are familiar with AfroFuturism through the example given to us by Marvel’s extremely successful Black Panther film released in early 2018. Kennedy noted that AfroFuturism is cutting edge and we need to engage with it, not only because of pop culture, but also so we can encourage our imaginations to wander towards something different than what already exists. Kennedy emphatically claimed “AfroFuturism is more profound than many world-building exercises”.

Figure 2: Black Panther may be the most popular example of AfroFuturism. Source: https://www.deviantart.com/tracedesign/art/Black-Panther-Cover-Art-500177251

Kennedy warmly called this part of his talk “comic-book sociology” but spoke in all seriousness when he reflected on his 2015 publication Globalizing Knowledge, and wondered if he had written the book on a “white canvas”. He speculated on how the book could have been different if conceived in more “Du Boisian terms” referencing, of course, well-known sociologist, historian, and civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois. Kennedy pondered, what if he had conceived the context of Globalizing Knowledge not as a globalizing university, but as white privilege composed on a white canvas much like the Incredible Hulk or even the Black Panther. What if blackness had been the guiding light? “What might I have seen beyond diversity?” Kennedy asked of himself.

Kennedy ended his talk by wondering what his project would have looked like if his most recent book had been conceived of with an AfroFuturist sensibility, not only influenced by Du Bois, Fanon, Cabra and Césaire, but also with Sun Ra, Octavia Butler, George Clinton and Audre Lorde.

Kennedy left the audience with this question about the future: “Is the Black Panther the beginning of a popular movement around AfroFuturist alternatives”?

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