Monday, February 28, 2011

No excuse

I simply don’t understand why anyone engaged in intellectual work should choose to restrict access to their ideas to a privileged audience. Perhaps I feel so strongly about this because I am myself situated outside the academy. I’m not naive — of course I understand that intellectual and indeed creative economies depend in part on people paying for books, journal subscriptions, and so on. But I believe that any scholar whose work is directly or indirectly supported by public funding should feel an ethical obligation to make the products of that work broadly accessible. The obligation is particularly acute in the Caribbean, where excellent libraries and bookshops are few. In the year 2011, anyone who can use a basic word processor can set up a simple website. There’s no excuse for not using the medium to advance the democracy of ideas.

— That’s me, singing an old song, in a conversation with Kelly Baker Josephs (“The Democracy of Ideas”) published in the February 2011 sx salon.

It appears in a special discussion section on “Caribbean Arts and Culture Online”, which also includes contributions by Geoffrey Philp, Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert and Ivette Romero-Cesareo, Frederic Marc, and Edwin STATS Houghton and Rishi Bonneville.

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