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Home :: Archive :: 1996 :: March ::
Re: About This List
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 7, No. 0223.  Sunday, 17 March 1996.

(1)     From:   Michael Saenger <
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        Date:   Saturday, 16 Mar 1996 17:52:33 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0220 Re: About This List

(2)     From:   Gabriel Egan <
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        Date:   Sunday, 17 Mar 1996 15:23:55 GMT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0220 Re: About This List

(3)     From:   James Schaefer <
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        Date:   Sunday, 17 Mar 1996 13:22:13 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   About this list


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Saenger <
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Date:           Saturday, 16 Mar 1996 17:52:33 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 7.0220 Re: About This List
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0220 Re: About This List

It makes sense, I suppose, that I received a flood of private messages
expressing support for my position and consistent public messages against it.
Some who rant against my position are more eloquent supporters than I could
ever be.  I have taken pains to clarify that no one would be excluded from my
list.  I particularly feel that a posting calling me "sick" and "mutinous" is
precisely the sort of thing that should not be sent out by the editor.  By the
way, I am not a member of "the elite"; I am a graduate student.  I wish to
pursue my education, which is not helped by reading comments such as "Didn't
Bacon write somthing like that?"  I don't see how that educates anybody.

Several of the people who wrote to me privately said that they were
geographically cut off from many resources, and depended on email as a key
resource.  These are rational, hard-working people on the ladder of scholarship
in far-flung places who deserve a good product in their in-box.  So much for
elitism.

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <
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Date:           Sunday, 17 Mar 1996 15:23:55 GMT
Subject: 7.0220 Re: About This List
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0220 Re: About This List

The discussion about the splitting of SHAKSPER raises some important questions
about Internet access. The Internet has its origins in military and academic
(esp. science) networks and internetworks, and these communities are still
over-represented on the Internet because individuals in these areas get their
access for free at work. Commercial presence on the Internet is relatively new,
and public access (in the sense of being able to buy an account) is also new.

The origins of the Internet have had a powerful influence on the content of
discussions in Usenet groups and email lists. I suspect that SHAKSPER owes it
origins to working academics who wanted a forum for discussion.

But do they still 'own' SHAKSPER?

Those who dislike Michael Saenger's suggestion for a new, elitist, list seem to
be offended by the notion that some people's comments and ideas are not worth
listening to. But how far should 'democratization' go? Is there nobody whose
opinions on Shakespeare you would like filtered out? Wouldn't a Citizens' Band
kind of openness destroy SHAKSPER?

Filtering has been applied to email lists since their beginnings, and primarily
it operates by pricing. Those who get Internet access free as part of their
work will necessarily be over-represented, and those who do not and cannot
afford the equipment and online time would be excluded entirely.

I have an elitist preference about whose views I want to hear: I want to engage
with the academic community, including theatre practitioners who work in
education (and maybe professionals of the theatre too - maybe!). I do not want
to discuss my area of interest with those for whom it is a hobby. So far
SHAKSPER has been pretty interesting, but I share Saenger's concern that
improved access for non-academic users reduces the quality of the discussions.

Does my idea of the academic community include undergraduates? graduate
students? I don't know. Probably just the latter. Does anybody have a
definition of a community with which they would like to share their opinions
which is not elitist?

That last is not a rhetorical question. I'd like to hear responses from
undergraduate subscribers to SHAKSPER (one of the groups I would exclude) who
wouldn't mind if school children joined in our discussions.

Gabriel Egan

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           James Schaefer <
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Date:           Sunday, 17 Mar 1996 13:22:13 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        About this list

In appreciation of Ken Steele's comments:  Your admonition that we list-users
not be afraid to think for ourselves, in this context, is a reminder that the
goal of all our educational efforts is precisely intellectual independence.
But also intellectual (dare I use the word?) modesty.  As my own doctoral
adviser, coming from the theatrical point of view, always reminded me, every
performance _is_ a performance -- and yet it is also and _always_ a rehearsal,
an "essay," a search, an approximation.

Jim Schaefer
Georgetown University
 

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