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Global Knowledge and Transnational Crime

posted by Thaddeus B. Herman

On Tuesday, Oct. 16th, the Center for Global Studies held its second event in a year-long series dedicated to the globalization of knowledge. Around 20 individuals attended to hear Dr. Yulia Zabyelina, Assistant Professor at John Jay college of Criminal Justice at City University of New York, speak about Transnational Organized Crime. Zabyelina’s scholarship relates to ‘crimes of the powerful’ – defined as crimes committed at the upper levels of government where it is difficult for individuals to be prosecuted or held responsible.

Zabyelina opened the event by asking the question “How does legal immunity provide an opportunity for serious misconduct to its holders?” This question relates to the topic of research she is currently undertaking in preparation for a new book. In her research, Zabyelina focuses on misconduct by representatives of the state, specifically diplomatic representatives.

Transnational Organized Crime (TOC) is different than organized crime. Organized crime elicits services that are in response to public demand, are often associated with the desire to have monopoly control in a particular area, and use a pattern of violence and/or corruption through methods of extortion, loan sharking, gambling, bootlegging, or prostitution, among others. TOC, on the other hand, is defined by the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organized Crime (UNCTOC) as an offence that has been:

  • Committed in more than one State;
  • Committed in one State but a substantial part of its preparation, planning, direction or control takes place in another State;
  • Committed in one State but involves an organized criminal group that engages in criminal activities in more than one State; or
  • Committed in one State but has substantial effects in another State.

Conventional forms of TOC have included drug or human trafficking, migrant smuggling, or firearms trafficking. Whereas new and emerging forms include natural resource trafficking, counterfeit goods trafficking, cultural property trafficking, and cybercrime.

In her presentation, Zabyelina pointed out that typical theories dealing with crimes focus on causes such as poverty or lack of general opportunity because of life’s circumstances. TOC, on the other hand, is committed by smart, capable individuals who engage in sophisticated operations. This “elite deviance” is perpetrated by those who commit crimes despite having high educational and financial means. While Zabyelina pointed out there is literature on corporate crime and corruption, she intends for her research to fill an important gap in knowledge on elite deviance through TOC. Elite deviants are those who, according to the Criminaloid theory posited by Cesare Lombroso in 1876, project a respectable, upright façade in an attempt to conceal a criminal personality, enjoy the respect of society, and – because of their established connections with the government – are less likely to meet with opposition.

Zabyelina’s research is focusing on those individuals who have legal immunity that exempts them from search, arrest, and civil or criminal prosecution. Often, legal immunity also includes privileges such as exception from fiscal obligations. Individuals who may receive immunity are usually Heads of State, diplomatic corps, international civil servants, peacekeepers, MPs, or judges. The legal sources for diplomatic immunity vary from international conventions, such as the Vienna Convention of 1961 or the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the Specialized Agencies of 1947, to local domestic laws and constitutions of various States. Diplomatic agents are of particular interest to Zabyelina and were defined by her as “a public official who acts as an intermediary between a foreign nation (the receiving state) and the nation which employed and accredited the diplomat agent (the sending State)”. Diplomatic agents of various types make up a diplomatic corps and may hold titles as ambassadors, envoys, ministers plenipotentiary, chargé d’affaires, consuls and vice-consuls, or administrative and technical staff of diplomatic missions.

A typology of offenses by a diplomatic corps was offered by Zabyelina as one fruit of her research. This typology included four types of abuse:

  1. State-authority crime: crime committed on behalf of state institutions
  2. Diplomats as victims: crime without the diplomatic agent’s conscious involvement or knowledge
  3. Diplomats as co-conspirators: diplomats who have deliberately exploited legal immunity to profit from criminal activity
  4. Diplomats as principle offenders: diplomats who have abused diplomatic entitlements for profit as the principal perpetrator of a criminal act.

She provided several case studies to illustrate this abuse. Zabyelina pointed out that the North Korean government has been involved in state-sponsored criminal activity in order to help fund the regime, which is an example of the first type of abuse. As an example of the second type of abuse, Zabyelina highlighted an event that took place in 2012 which saw a shipment of drugs to the United Nations headquarters from Mexico in what appeared to be an imitation of a diplomatic pouch – which traditionally have not been subject to search. As no diplomat was found to be responsible for the crime, this act was perceived as an example of diplomats as victims of crimes. An example of the last type of crime comes from an event where an Ethiopian diplomat was arrested at Heathrow Airport for attempting to smuggle 123 pounds of cannabis through security. When detained, she attempted to use diplomatic immunity as a way to escape consequences of her actions. Her activity resulted in a prison sentence of 33 months.

The presentation ended with an open question followed by discussion with a lively interaction between the audience and presenter. An attendee asked how Zabyelina finds source material from states – especially when it is related to deviant behavior committed by their own diplomats. Zabyelina identified five areas from where she gathers her information:

  1. Mass media and journalism
  2. Court files
  3. Her colleague’s connection to the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services – where her college has interns working to help collect information
  4. Reports or investigations undertaken by international organizations
  5. Interviews with diplomats, members of the chambers of commerce, employees of the New York Police Department, and members of the US State Department

Overall it was an event which elaborated upon a very interesting aspect of global knowledge production.  For more information on the topic,  please look at the library guide – Global Knowledge and Transnational Crime.

 

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The Meaning of Global/Globalizing Knowledge

Thaddeus B. Herman – Rapporteur

On Wednesday, September 26, over 30 individuals came together to participate in a discussion on global knowledge and its production. This event was hosted by the Center for Global Studies and was the first in a series of events exploring different aspects of globalization and knowledge. The discussion was led by a panel of four prominent Illinois scholars including Nicholas Burbules – Gutgsell Professor of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership; Andrew Orta – Professor of Anthropology; Assata Zerai – Professor of Sociology and Associate Chancellor for Diversity; and Steve Witt – Director of the Center for Global Studies and the Head of the International and Area Studies Library.

Witt opened up the discussion with a speech on access to academic knowledge and how it is being generated. He showed data that supported his claim that many “global” collections of knowledge really only include a very small portion of the globe and are not representative of truly global knowledge bases. Knowledge production – or at least the knowledge generated that has impact in academic organizations – largely takes place in a few countries, the majority of which are located in regions commonly referred to as the “west”.

 

Figure 1: Source: US Congressional Research Service. (2018, June 27). Global Research and Development Expenditures: Fact Sheet. Note the definition of “rest of the world”.

Burbules spoke second with a presentation titled “An epistemic crisis”, focusing on many issues around journal publishing. He indicated it is simply not possible to read every new article published in one’s field of study. In fact, more than 80% of all published papers are never cited and those that are cited are often not actually read. He also spoke of the influence of impact factors – the frequency with which articles in a journal have been cited in a particular year – and how this can lead to discrimination against local journals – which may be more relevant to a local population. Research institutions also pressure academics to publish in journals considered to have high impact factors. Of course, this system can be gamed and Burbules included examples of editors of journals who encourage those who submit to cite authors from their own journal in order to increase their impact factor.

Another issue highlighted was the lack of incentive to publish studies which reproduce and reinforce previous studies. Replicability is a cornerstone of the scientific method since a study performed under the same conditions should produce the same results. In fact, when meta-studies have attempted to reproduce results in many areas, a surprising number of results cannot be reproduced – even after increasing sample sizes. So we must ask ourselves the question, how much work of low quality is slipping through and being published?

Andrew Orta spoke on the globalized nature of Catholicism and Capitalism and how they have both been buffeted by local cultural forces. He briefly explored the concept that Catholicism responded to local practices of worship, and adapted to appear more palatable to a local audience. Interesting parallels were drawn between this process, and the process of incorporating global cultural trends into MBA programs around the world. The educational context of the MBA has changed from a “flat” model which saw a fairly standard set of curriculum taught throughout the world to models which are based on various cultural practices found throughout the regions in which the MBA program is established.

The final speaker of the day was Assata Zerai whose talk centered on access and digital inequality. Zerai pointed out that there are excluded voices from multiple fields of study and African research – particularly African research undertaken by women – is not included in western databases that collect research and provide access through search mechanisms. Scholarship that is readily available about Africa is largely generated by western scholars who are often disconnected from actual African perspectives. She argued that there is a direct correlation between the success of people-centered governance structures and women’s access to information and communication technologies (ICT). By not incorporating scholarship undertaken by women on the African continent, we are hindering the promotion of intellectual diversity.

Zerai is undertaking a project to build a database of the works of female African scholars to help make this body of research available to a wider audience and disrupt the conventional division of labor in the social sciences in which African scholars provide the empirical evidence while the heavy lifting of theorizing is left to their western counterparts. The hope is that this effort will amplify the voices of women scholars in African countries.

Following the presentations there was a rich dialogue between members of the audience and the panel members which ended with a dilemma. Can we create systems of knowledge to highlight voices that have been traditionally excluded from processes of knowledge generation and distribution? The speakers acknowledged that there is hope that a way may be found and we can move forward.

 

For more background information and reading please visit the library guide found at https://guides.library.illinois.edu/cgsbrownbag92618 .

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International Right to Know Day – September 28

FOIA

In 2002 a group of organizations working in the area of free access to information met in Sofia, Bulgaria at the Freedom of Information litigation conference.  As a result of this meeting the International Freedom of Information Advocates Network was formed to promote the right of access to information for all people and underline the importance of transparency and openness on the part of governments.  The 28th of September is set aside each year to mark the progress made in promoting this “right to know”.

What constitutes transparency and openness in government?  This is an issue that affects all countries.  It includes the ability freely access and understand the publications and records of activities of government entities.  The U.S. Government Information Transparency Act of 2009 provides some additional background on the topic.  It states:

“Openness and accountability are deeply rooted in the U.S. Government, so much so that it is written into the Constitution that the Congress keep a record of its activities and make it available to the general public. To this end, the Congress has, over the years, enacted a number of laws requiring a variety of federal information to be made available to the public. Since its passage in 1966, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has been a cornerstone of these efforts. Additionally, there are numerous federal laws requiring the public disclosure of an array of federal information including, but not limited to, the Ethics in Government Act, the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act, and the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act.

While all of these open government laws improve transparency and accountability, the information and data they produce, whether it be because of format, venue, or sheer volume, is not always useful. As it currently stands, a variety of federal business and financial information is available to the public in a number of different formats and places. Although the Internet has greatly improved the accessibility of this information, accessibility alone does not promote accountability. In order to be an efficient and effective resource for both the general public and the federal government itself, federal business and financial information must be made available in a standard and useful way so that data is more easily manipulated, searched, and shared.  The Government Information Transparency Act directs OMB to adopt single data standards for the collection, analysis, and dissemination of federal business and financial information. H.R. 2392 is intended to improve the transparency, consistency, and usability of federal business and financial information.”

The United States government has a long standing Freedom of Information Act that provides a process for retrieving information that is not readily available for a variety of reasons.  Passed in 1966, the Act was one of the first to address the challenges of government transparency.  The FOIA website provides excellent information on how to make a request, statistics on the number of requests received and processed and more.  Mendel provides an excellent overview of the Act and how it is currently measuring up in comparison to other nations’ laws.  The challenges to federal employees in accommodating the law is discussed briefly by Rodgers and helps us understand some of the difficulties endemic to completing FOIA requests.  The University Library subscribes to the Digital National Security Archive, a database that provides access to many collections of previously classified documents.

In a related area today is also the first celebration of the International Day for the Universal Access to Information which underlines the importance of easy access to information for sustainable development.  You can read more about this celebration at the UNESCO site as well as the site for the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions.

For more information on this topic you might read –

Books:

Adshead, M. & Felle, T. (Eds.) (2015) Ireland and the Freedom of Information Act. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Hammitt, H. A. & Susman, T. M. (2004) Business uses of the Freedom of Information Act. Arlington, VA: Bureau of National Affairs.

Martin, G. Bray, R.S. & Kumar, M. (Eds.) (2015) Secrecy, law, and society. New York: Routledge.

Schudson, M. (2015) The rise of the right to know: politics and the culture of transparency, 1945-1975.  Cambridge:  Belknap Press.

Scholarly Articles:

Doshi, P., & Jefferson, T. (2016). Open data 5 years on: A case series of 12 freedom of information requests for regulatory data to the european medicines agency. Trials, 17(1) doi:10.1186/s13063-016-1194-7

Gunnlaugsdottir, J. (2016). Reasons for the poor provision of information by the government: Public opinion. Records Management Journal, 26(2), 185-205. doi:10.1108/RMJ-03-2015-0013

Liu, A. C. (2016). Two faces of transparency: The regulations of People’s republic of china on open government information. International Journal of Public Administration, 39(6), 492-503. doi:10.1080/01900692.2015.1018426

Mendel, T. (2016). The Fiftieth Anniversary of the Freedom of Information Act: How it Measures up Against International Standards and Other Laws. Communication Law & Policy21(4), 465-491. doi:10.1080/10811680.2016.1216685

Mohapatra, S. (2016). Right to information act, 2005 and privacy in public mental health sector in india. Asian Journal of Psychiatry, 19, 23. doi:10.1016/j.ajp.2015.11.011

Rodgers, M. A. (2016). Freedom of Information Act Requests Six Keys to Handling Them. Defense AT&L, 45(1), 50-52.

Vadlamannati, K. C., & Cooray, A. (2016). Transparency pays? evaluating the effects of the freedom of information laws on perceived government corruption. Journal of Development Studies, , 1-22. doi:10.1080/00220388.2016.1178385

Websites:

Ethics in Government Act

Digital National Security Archive

Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act

FOIA Improvement Act of 2016

United States FOIA Resources

Honest Leadership and Open Government Act

IFLA

UNESCO 

 

 

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International Literacy Day!


UNESCO Poster

 

“The world has changed since 1966 – but our determination to provide every woman and man with the skills, capacities, and opportunities to become everything they wish, in dignity and respect, remains as firm as ever. Literacy is a foundation to build a more sustainable future for all.”

-UNESCO Director-General

September 8th, 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of International Literacy Day.  Established by UNESCO in 1966, International Literacy Day reflects the desire to increase global literacy rates, promote literacy as a tool for peace and positive change, and empower individuals to achieve their dreams. This year, UNESCO celebrates under the theme “Reading the Past, Writing the Future”, honoring the progress made toward global literacy, acknowledging current challenges, and discussing solutions that can be enacted across cultures and regions.

Global literacy is incorporated into many national and intergovernmental peace-building programs, including UNESCO’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. With the key goal of wiping out poverty, the international community identified education and literacy as valuable tools in the fight against economic inequality.  The Agenda specifically states, “ensur[ing] inclusive and equitable quality education and promot[ing] lifelong learning opportunities for all” is essential for true sustainable development.  2016 is the first year for 2030 Agenda implementation.

Literacy in a Technological Age

What role does technology play in literacy? Even though they increase our access to information, technological advances both help and hinder global literacy. With increased access, knowledge is always at our fingertips. This shift from print to digital eliminates geographic boundaries when attempting to access educational resources– that is, if we own the types of technology that can access it (phones, computers, tablets, etc.). Due to the increase in demand for digital materials, some basic literacy tools are only accessible electronically – thereby only accessible to those with enough monetary resources to purchase the technology that can access these digitized materials. The International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) identifies this trend in the information services realm – a trend that no doubt favors more economically developed regions. IFLA acknowledges that access to information has and will continue to have profound impact on developments in the information economy.  According to the IFLA Trend Report,  “An ever-expanding digital universe will bring a higher value to information literacy skills like basic reading and competence with digital tools. People who lack these skills will face barriers to inclusion in a growing range of areas. The nature of new online business models will heavily influence who can successfully own, profit from, share, or access information in the future.”  Working with other interested organizations and individuals, this organization moved for the inclusion of these concepts in UNESCO’s Agenda.

For more information on the topic of literacy:

Scholarly Articles

Boughton, B. & Durnan, D. 2014. “Cuba’s ‘Yes, I Can’ mass adult literacy campaign model in Timor-Leste and Aboriginal Australia: A comparative study.” International Review of Education 60, no. 4: 559-580.

Duncan, Lynne G., Sarah P. McGeown, Yvonne M. Griffiths, Susan E. Stothard, and Anna Dobai. 2016. “Adolescent reading skill and engagement with digital and traditional literacies as predictors of reading comprehension.” British Journal Of Psychology 107, no. 2: 209-238.

Hanemann, Ulrike. 2015. “Lifelong literacy: Some trends and issues in conceptualising and operationalising literacy from a lifelong learning perspective.” International Review Of Education / Internationale Zeitschrift Für Erziehungswissenschaft 61, no. 3: 295-326.

Sharma, Ravi, Arul-Raj Fantin, Navin Prabhu, Chong Guan, and Ambica Dattakumar. 2016. “Digital literacy and knowledge societies: A grounded theory investigation of sustainable development.” Telecommunications Policy 40, no. 7: 628-643.

Sharp, Laurie A. 2014. “Literacy in the Digital Age.” Language And Literacy Spectrum 24, 74-85.

Books:

De Abreu, Belinha S. & Yildiz, Melda N. (eds.). 2016. Global media literacy in a digital age: teaching beyond borders. New York, NY: Peter Lang.

Erstad, Ola & Sefton-Green, Julian (eds.). 2013. Identity, community, and learning lives in the digital age. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Rowsell, Jennifer. 2013. Working with multimodality: rethinking literacy in a digital age. London: Routledge.

Tyner, Kathleen R. 1998. Literacy in a digital world: teaching and learning in the age of information. Mahwah, NJ: L. Erlbaum Associates.

Welsh, Teresa S. & Wright, Melissa S. 2010. Information literacy in the digital age: an evidence-based approach.  Oxford, U.K: Chandos.

Web:

UNESCO’s Sustainable Development Agenda: http://en.unesco.org/education2030-sdg4

The First Stop for Education Data: http://www.uis.unesco.org/Education/Pages/default.aspx

Incheon Declaration Education 2030: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0023/002338/233813M.pdf

Riding the Waves or Caught in the Tide: Insights from the IFLA Trend Report: http://trends.ifla.org/insights-document

IFLA Trend Report 2016 Update: http://trends.ifla.org/files/trends/assets/trend-report-2016-update.pdf

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Net Neutrality: What’s New in 2015?

netneutrality

Last year, Global Currents reported on the history and current rulings relating to net neutrality. In light of recent decisions from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on this issue, this post will bring you up to speed on what’s happening now.

Net neutrality is the idea that all content on the Internet be treated equally. In other words, under net neutrality legislation, Internet service providers (ISPs) will not be able to give preference to certain websites, or allow for Internet “fast lanes” to companies who pay more.

We left off our last post on the issue when the FCC was opening a four-month window for public input before passing further legislation. At this time, the United States Court of Appeals ruling on Verizon vs. FCC held that previous rules pertaining to net neutrality produced by the FCC were not valid, because ISPs were not common carriers. This meant that ISPs fell outside of the realm of authority for the FCC, under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C.).  This is one of the important things that has changed in the past year.

In November of 2014, President Obama released a statement on net neutrality. Obama urged the FCC to reclassify the Internet as a utility, which would make it a common carrier and allow the commission to regulate ISPs.  He stated, “For almost a century, our law has recognized that companies who connect you to the world have special obligations not to exploit the monopoly they enjoy over access into and out of your home or business. It is common sense that the same philosophy should guide any service that is based on the transmission of information — whether a phone call or a packet of data.”

On February 26th, 2015, the FCC followed this advice and voted to reclassify the Internet as a common carrier. Along with this decision came the FCC’s new Open Internet Rules, which were released to the public on March 12th. The three rules are:

  • No blocking – ISPs cannot block any lawful content from consumers.
  • No throttling – ISPs cannot control the Internet speed for any content or services, regardless of the applications or devices being used.
  • No paid prioritization – ISPs cannot provide faster Internet service in exchange for payment. This means there cannot be any “fast lanes” of Internet content.

But, the FCC’s latest decision is not the end-all solution for net neutrality. The debate rages on as ISPs like Verizon and AT&T, and many (mostly Republican) lawmakers argue that the ruling places too much regulation on Internet service and will stifle innovation. FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has been called to several meetings with lawmakers since the ruling, being forced to explain and defend the commission’s position.  The conversation on this issue is definitely not over, and it remains to be seen what will become of the FCC’s latest ruling.

The sources below will help you brush up on the net neutrality issue!

Web Resources

FCC.gov – Open Internet

What is net neutrality and what does it mean for me? – USA Today

How Net Neutrality Works (Video) – New York Times

The Open Internet: A Case for Net Neutrality

Government Docs

The FCC Rulings:

The Communications Act of 1934:

Verizon vs. FCC

Additional places to search for U.S. legislation:

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World Literature: Theories in the Context of Globalization

Photo by Greg Gershman via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Image credit: Greg Gershman via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

When we think of globalization and forms of entertainment, we immediately think of the Internet, social media, movies, or television shows.  But, contrary to popular belief, literature also holds an important place in the flow of entertainment media that is coursing through the veins of public consumption in our globalized world.  The technological advances that are connecting people worldwide through shared information are also serving as a medium to disseminate books across national and cultural boundaries.

The term “world literature” was first used by the German writer and statesman Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, referring to the dissemination of literature from and to countries across the globe.  Goethe famously stated in letters to Johann Eckermann in 1827, “National literature is now a rather unmeaning term; the epoch of world literature is at hand, and everyone must strive to hasten its approach.”  World Literature, in the modern sense, refers to literary works that are translated into multiple languages and circulated to an audience outside their country of origin.

World literature is not a new concept, but as new media technologies explode, so do new ways of disseminating books across national boundaries.  And as new ways emerge of delivering world literature to readers worldwide, many scholars are examining the implications of translations on literature, the impact that literature has on culture, and the ways that cultures can transform books.  World literature can be an amazing tool for analyzing globalization because it provides a wonderful example of the ways that information is shared across languages and cultures.

Valerie Henitiuk, a professor of Literature and Translation at the University of East Anglia, in a compelling 2012 essay, explored the process of translation and the meanings that it holds.  She posits that “texts become successfully worlded only through interpretive acts of mediation profoundly bound up in aspects of culture.”  In other words, a text can never truly be independent of its translation.  As literature moves across boundaries of culture and language, it is, in a way, transformed into a unique cultural artifact.

While some believe that world literature gains value in translation, some scholars, such as Gayatri Chakrovorty Spivak, hold the alternate view that the study of world literature often ignores the power of a work in its own language.  Spivak believes that scholars must take care to avoid homogenizing cultures and languages when undertaking the study of translated texts, and that consideration must be given to protecting the diversity of languages and cultures present in literary works.

Image credit: John Blyberg via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Image credit: John Blyberg via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Venkat Mani, in an essay published in 2014, submits that world literature is best understood in the larger context of global media dissemination.  Mani points out that in the globalized world that exists today, the place of origin of a literary work does not necessarily define the cultural or national context of the work.  He believes that modern world literature is being created and disseminated in a public sphere, aided by new media technologies and the interconnected nature of the Internet and social media. Mani’s viewpoint mirrors Goethe’s statement that “national literature is now a rather unmeaning term,” but takes on new meaning as, almost 200 years later, the world is more connected than ever before through modern technology.

The study of world literature is a powerful tool for global studies because it encompasses so many themes that are important to understanding globalization.  World literature can show us how information is shared between cultures and nations. It provides insight into how cultural artifacts are transformed as they traverse languages and boundaries. It also can help us to understand the ways that new media technologies could be facilitating globalization by creating a public space for the transmission of literature and other information across the globe.

Want to delve deeper into this topic? Check out the sources below!

Web Resources

Top 100 Works in World Literature – InfoPlease

Into to World Literature – Penn State

Words Without Borders

Books Set In… – This service lets you search geographically for books set in particular regions, countries, and cities.  It even has a Google Maps feature that lets you browse the map for books from a particular area.

Articles (Available through UIUC Online Journals and Databases)

Hamilton, Grant. (2014). On world literature: when Goethe met Boltzmann. Textual Practice, 28:6, 1015-1033

Henitiuk, Valerie. (2012). The Single, Shared Text? Translation and World Literature. World Literature Today, (86)1, 30-34.

Mani, Venkat. (2014). A Pact With Books: The Public Life of World Literature.  Global E-Journal. 8(1). 

Books (Available through UIUC Libraries)

Apter, Emily. (2011). The Translation Zone: A New Comparative Literature. Princeton : Princeton University Press.

Damrosch, David. (2003). What is world literature? Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press.

Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von, Soret, Frédéric Jacob, Oxenford, John,Eckermann, Johann Peter. (1901). Conversations with Eckermann: being appreciations and criticisms on many subjects. Washington, M.W. Dunne.

Haen, Theo d’. (2012). The Routledge concise history of world literature. London : Routledge.

Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. (2003) Death of a discipline. New York : Columbia University Press.

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The Lyon Declaration and the Role of Libraries in Development

banner_lyon-declaration

On August 18th, at the 80th IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) General Conference and Assembly, IFLA released the Lyon Declaration on Access to Information and Development.

The UN post-2015 Development Agenda is the plan currently under construction to succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as a framework for global development. The MDGs consist of eight specific goals, from eradicating poverty to promoting gender equality to reducing child mortality, and have been the impetus for a wide range of programs since their implementation in 2000. The 2010 High-level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly on the MDGs called upon UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to begin the process of constructing a post-2015 development plan.  As a result, the UN System Task Team on the Post-2015 UN Development Agenda was created, as well as a High-level Panel of Eminent Persons to advise on the post-2015 developmental framework.

Part of the post-2015 development planning process is the call for an “inclusive dialogue” in the creation of the goals.  In order to open up the dialogue and utilize the input of people and organizations worldwide, the UN launched “The World We Want 2015,” an interactive survey that allows people to voice their opinions on what should be included in the post-2015 developmental agenda.  This website also provides visualizations of the data that has been collected so far.

In this spirit of “inclusive dialogue,” The Lyon Declaration is an advocacy document that aims to influence the UN’s post-2015 Development Agenda.  It outlines the importance of access to information and knowledge in development and individual empowerment.

Freedom of information has long been considered a human rights issue.  In the first session of the United Nations in 1946, Resolution 59(I), adopted by the General Assembly, stated, “Freedom of information is a fundamental human right and … the touchstone of all the freedoms to which the United Nations is consecrated.”

The rise of the Internet has transformed the ways in which people access information and has opened up possibilities for information dissemination that the delegates of that first UN session in 1946 could never have imagined.  The Internet provides the unprecedented opportunity to support development by empowering individuals with information that facilitates education, increases job opportunities, provides connections to cultural heritage, and allows for civil participation in governmental processes.  The Lyon Declaration asserts that the equitable access to this information should be part of a human-rights based framework for development.

Another important aspect of the Lyon Declaration is its emphasis on the role of libraries, archives, and civil service organizations as facilitators of information dissemination.  By outlining the role that these organizations can play in providing information access to individuals and communities, the declaration urges the UN and the world to recognize them as human rights institutions.  While it is important to have the Information Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure to disseminate information to people, it is just as important to have institutions present that can bridge the gap between the technology and the people that it serves.  As Kay Mathiesen states in a recent article on information access and human rights, “libraries provide a centralized access point so that people know where to get information and they organize information so that people can find what they need and explore further.” The Lyon Declaration points out to the world the importance of libraries in development and places libraries at the cornerstone of the effort to empower individuals through knowledge and information fluency.

As of October 2nd, 2014, the Lyon Declaration had over 350 signatories, made up of libraries, institutions, and organizations all over the world.  IFLA plans to continue to the campaign to include information access in the final Post-2015 Development Agenda.  On October 6th, IFLA released a toolkit to assist library professionals who are interacting with government policymakers in successfully arguing for the role of libraries in development.  The UN expects to release the final Post-2015 Development Agenda by December of 2015, and undoubtedly IFLA will continue to push for the recognition of the Lyon Declaration until this final release.

Check out the resources below to learn more!

Web Resources

The Lyon Declaration – One Month On – IFLA

The Lyon Declaration Tackles Information Access and Sustainable Development – Information Today

Millennium Development Goals and the Post-2015 Agenda – UN

Africa: Fight Poverty – With Data –All Africa

The World We Want 2015

How Libraries can Support Development – The Guardian

IFLA/UNESCO Public Library Manifesto – 1994

Beyond Access – Library Partnerships

U.N. report: Internet access is a human right

 

Scholarly Articles (Available through UIUC Online Journals and Databases)

Rad, S. T., Kurt, Ş. Ş., & Polatöz, S. S. (2013). Use of Information and Communication Technologies in Rural Mersın (Turkey); Prospects For Rural Development. Journal Of Tekirdag Agricultural Faculty10(3), 97-106.

Gelb, E., A. Maru, J. Brodgen, E. Dodsworth, R. Samii, V. Pesee, 2008. Adoption of ICT Enabled Information Systems for Agricultural Development and Rural Viability

Ceeehini, S. and C. Scott, 2003. Can Information and Communications Technology Applications Contributeto Poverty Reduction? Lessons From Rural India. Information Technology for Development 10(2003)73-84.

Mendel, Tony. Freedom of Information as an Internationally Protected Human Right.

Mathiesen, Kay. 2009 Access to Information as a Human Right. Conference Paper.

 

Books Available at UIUC Libraries

Al-Suqri, Mohammed Nasser, Lillard, Linda L., Al-Saleem, Naifa Eid. (Eds.) (2014). Information access and library user needs in developing countries. Hershey, PA : Information Science Reference.

Browne, Stephen, Weiss, Thomas George. (Eds.) (2014). Post-2015 UN development: making change happen. Abingdon, Oxon ; New York, NY.

Gready, Paul, Vandenhole, Wouter. (Eds.) (2014). Human rights and development in the new millennium: towards a theory of change. Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon : Routledge.

Njobvu, Benson, Koopman, Sjoerd M. J.. (Eds.) (2008). Libraries and information services towards the attainment of the UN millennium development goals. München : K. G. Saur.

Steyn, Jacques., Van Belle, Jean-Paul, Villanueva, Mansilla, Eduardo. (Eds.) (2011). ICTs for global development and sustainability practice and applications. Hershey, Pa. : IGI Global.

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NSA Leaks Bring Surveillance, Privacy, Digital Security to the Forefront

The recent public discovery of massive NSA surveillance of U.S. citizens as well as foreign citizens and even foreign leaders has opened up a conversation about human rights, the “surveillance industrial complex,” (Gates, 2012) and the implications of the new age of surveillance on international relations.  In late October, the news that the NSA had been monitoring the personal cell phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel since 2002 sent shockwaves through the international community and prompted many governments to demand new rules for international intelligence gathering.  But the latest leaks from NSA documents released by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden show that the U.S. is not the only government with large-scale surveillance programs.  Reuters reported on November 2nd that “[s]py agencies across Western Europe are working together on mass surveillance of Internet and phone traffic comparable to programmes run by their U.S. counterpart” (Shirbon, 2013).

Clearly, international political leaders have much to discuss about how digital security and surveillance will be governed in the future. A new study by the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs concludes that the surveillance activities that have been undertaken by the NSA, GCHQ, and other European intelligence agencies violate several European Union laws. The study recommends that the full nature of these intelligence programs be exposed for analysis and asserts that “A ‘professional code for the transnational management of data’ within the EU should be set up, including guidelines on how this code would apply to EU partners” The study also argues that “[l]arge-scale EU surveillance programmes also compromise the security and fundamental human rights of citizens and residents in the Union, in particular those related to privacy and effective legal protection” (Bigo et al, 2013).  Undoubtedly, European and U.S. policymakers will be discussing and debating these surveillance activities in the months and years to come, and the stakes will only rise as technology advances and as more of our lives take place and become documented in the digital realm.

Want to learn more about this topic? The sources below will get your started!

Scholarly Articles

Bigo, Didier, Carrera, Sergio, Hernanz, Nicholas, Jeandesboz, Julien, Parkin,Joanna, Ragazzi, Francesco, and Scherrer,   Amandine. (2013). Mass Surveillance of Personal Data by EU Member States and its Compatibility with EU Law. (Report No. 61) Brussels : The Centre for European Policy Studies.

Ball, K.S and D. Murakami Wood. (2013). Editorial. Political Economies of Surveillance. Surveillance & Society 11(1/2): 1-3.

Richards, N. M. (2013). THE DANGERS OF SURVEILLANCE. Harvard Law Review, 126(7), 1934-1965.

Books from the UIUC Library

Assange, Julian., Appelbaum, Jacob, Müller-Maguhn, AndyZimmermann, Jérémi. (2012). Cypherpunks: freedom and the future of the internet. New York : OR Books.

Ball, K.S. and Snider, L. (eds). (2013). The Surveillance Industrial Complex: Towards a Political Economy of Surveillance. London, New York: Routledge.

Gates, K. 2012. The Globalization of Homeland Security, in K.S. Ball, D.H. Haggerty and D. Lyon (eds.) The Routledge Handbook of Surveillance Studies. London / New York: Routledge, 292-300.

Johnson, Emily M.Rodriguez, Michael J. (Eds.) (2012). Legalities of GPS and cell phone surveillance. New York : Novinka.

Luppicini, Rocci. (Eds.) (2013) Moral, ethical, and social dilemmas in the age of technology theories and practice. Hershey, Pa. : IGI Global.

Pimple, Kenneth D.. (Eds.) (2013). Emerging pervasive information and communication technologies (PICT) :ethical challenges, opportunities and safeguard. Dordrecht : Springer.

Rosen, David,Santesso, Aaron. (2013). The watchman in pieces: surveillance, literature, and liberal personhood. New Haven : Yale University Press.

Trottier, Daniel. (2012). Social media as surveillance: rethinking visibility in a converging world. Surrey,  England:  Ashgate.

News Coverage of NSA Leaks

Reuters

The Guardian

The Huffington Post

Al Jazeera

 

 

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