Note: This past weekend (April 6-7, 2012), I participated in Black Thought 2.0: New Media and the Future of Black Studies. The event was the brainchild of Duke University African American Studies professor Mark Anthony Neal and was held at the John Hope Franklin Center at Duke University.
The program consisted of a Friday evening keynote address in which sociologist S. Craig Watkins shared his research on young people’s engagement with media technologies and the effort to deploy those technologies to create more effective, culturally responsive learning environments inside and outside of school. He called upon Black Studies departments to do more to make the physical and intellectual resources of the Academy available to those stuck on the wrong side of the digital divide. This was followed by four Saturday panels that contemplated, the history of African American engagement with the Internet, teaching and research in the digital age, internet activism, and the role of the black public intellectual in social media. The event was a dynamic interplay between face-to-face and virtual participants since it was live-streamed and live-tweeted.
Videos of the conference are being edited and will be archived for public viewing at the Franklin Center’s YouTube channel.
This is the first of what I suspect will be several personal ruminations on this event.
Leap-frogging the Matrix
Sojourner Truth sold the “shadow to support the substance.”
What is the essence that we download?
I am not being plain. Let me tell you what I mean.
Long ago I learned to seek truth like Diogenes
Holding the tales of my griots aloft
I headed for the agora that had not imagined me.
Straining ears and eyes for places to connect
And Terry said , “Try to remember, my dear, we’re only pilgrims here…”