Benign colonialism for dummies: how to impress OECD while Canada’s First People live in Brazil-like favela. Canadian Public Policy research has been usefully challenged by seasoned journalist Atkinson Fellow Marie Wadden’s recent series which continues her research begun in 1978 in response to the hidden horrors of Canada’s Innu town, Davis Inlet. The True North strong and free has been limping for a long time.

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Neither Left nor Right, just wrong

Decades later, Wadden concerned about the elusive solutions for problems of addiction in Canadian Aboriginal continues her research by visiting remote communities to find stories that will unsettle Canadian complacent apathy, compassion fatigue and worldly-wise jaded perspectives. We just do not want to give up the adventure stories that inspired our youth of Arctic explorers in frozen, isolated, hinterland Hudson Bay posts. Perhaps her shocking series will shake our stubborn pryde in our grandfathers’ mythologies while shamefully neglecting tragic tales from our Other grandparents.
Her passion for the subject earned her the 2005 Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy and led her to a year-long, cross-country trek to look at the causes, effects and potential solutions to the addiction crisis among Aboriginals. Her series of stories — Tragedy or Triumph; Canadian Public Policy and Aboriginal Addictions — is appearing in the Star and online at thestar.com/atkinson. Wadden began her career at CBC television in Newfoundland 27 years ago and has won numerous journalism awards. The St. John’s resident is the 17th winner of the Atkinson Fellowship and the first from east of Montreal. The fellowship, sponsored by The Atkinson Charitable Foundation, the Toronto Star and the Beland Honderich family, aims to further liberal journalism in the tradition of Joseph E. Atkinson, the Star’s founder. The Atkinson Series, Tragedy or Triumph, Canadian Public Policy and Aboriginal Addictions

Seven years in a Third World military dictatorship did not prepare me for the harsh reality of the everyday lives of Canadian Inuit and First Nations. I felt shame, powerlessness and confusion stemming from years of work as insider in cultural institutions devoted to Inuit studies. It took me ten years to build heightened levels of trust so all the stories pored out. The more I learned and accepted without offering bandaid solutions, patent excuses, weak explanations or high-haded social theories, the more stories seemed to come to me. It was as if I had a pair of antennas, an open channel to a stream of unending stories each one corraborating the other. The more I learned the more I questioned so I paralleled the kitchen table accounts with deep research into footnotes of published materials, Hansards, and cross-disciplinary work. I asked more specific questions of Inuit elders and the knowers in communities. (The knowers were often Inuit women of any age who had been chosen to learn more because of their superior abilities to learn languages. Their emotional maturity, discretion and wisdom was daunting. Often stories were shared in whispers. I would never get permission to share them. Potent stories of individual personal strength, survival could not be shared because the surviving members of the perpetrators of violence and injustice were still alive. In small isolated hamlets there are systems of power in everyday life that are as imposing as those on parliament hill. This explains why a convicted sex offender can be chosen to represent a community (where family violence is extremely high — off the charts in terms of the Canadian average) in the political arena. In Third World countries there is always the hope that education and maturity, in civil society and democracy, might provide improved access to human rights for citizens. My despair, my overwhelming sense of hopelessness, became consuming as I realized that this tragedy was taking place in one of the more advanced democracies with a relatively informed civil society. I began to meticulously develop a detailed timeline of the social histories of First Nations, Inuit (and African-Canadians). I would take the stories shared by friends and students and cross-reference them with dates provided by classical ethnographers, anthropologists, art historians, museologists, geographers, geologists, administrators and Hudson Bay Company reports. I reread the entire series of Inuit Studies, Inuit Art Quarterly and realized that it was not bad research on my part that made me so shamefully unaware. The very cultural institutions on whom we depend for insight into our shared communal memories, these institutions have failed us miserably. They continue to perpetrate distorted histories insisting covertly on presenting a benign colonialism. Examine the brilliant RCAP, the most in-depth (and expensive) report, undertaken using a progressive research methodology called Participatory Action Research (PAR). It’s on-line and available for anyone! Read the section on how our institutions of public curricula were specifically called upon to reexamine distorted histories in collaboration with Inuit and First Nations communties. The do as I did and examine what these institutions have done since then. A tourist visiting Canada’s cultural institutions, either virtually or in glass, steel and stone buildings, such as the National Gallery of Canada or the Museum of Civilization, or exploring Cybermuse, will not learn of the depth of despair of First Nations and Inuit communties. They will leave perhaps learning something of the heroic status of the Hudson’s Bay Company, Inuit art cooperatives, the benefits to Inuit of entering the international art market, the exquisite aesthetics of Inuit clothing from the pre-1950s, Inuit legends shortened and deformed for consumer tastes. They will learn about the dynamic Inuit culture as if the best of the culture sank with the Nascopie. Explorers and Hudson Bay Company employees are heroized when their work should now be reviewed through the lens of the informed, intelligent generation born in the 1930s and 1940s. Remove the overt desire to portray colonialism in Canada’s north as benign, to continue to cherish histories of post WWII heroism of southerners who conquered the hinterland to benefit all Canadians. Challenge the assumptions that learning English, the market system and the northern form of Canadian democracy was beneficial in the long-run. Unsettle the assumption that the errors were in the past and we should all move on. The litany of mistakes outlined in this brilliant, moving, informed series can be complemented by a thorough reading of one of Canads’ most-difficult-to-read stories, Mistakes. Let’s ask the communal archives of memory for the answers to the questions about what really happened to Inuit-Scottish, Inuit-Danish and Inuit-Icelandic children abandoned in the 1930s, 1940, 1950s, 1960s by their fathers who returned south and built profitable careers on their heroism, adventures in Canada’s north while ignoring pleas from their former partners, and even own children abandoned to the care of small vulnerable hamlets. We no longer accept that the genetic pool of the Scottish, British, American, Danish and Icelandic improved Inuit and First Nations do we? How can we continue in 2006 to lionize those who felt pryde in their improvement of the gene pool? Is there no way that we can honour our blue eyed grandfathers without simply forgetting. We need serious, committed memory work on the level of what has been done in Post WWII Europe. The situations are in no way the same. But the revamping of our institutions of communal memory is just taking too long. In Post WWII Europe it became evident over the decades that it could not be ignored by national cultural institutions. In Canada it has been politically shrewd to use delaying tactics in our museums just as we have in land claims issues, and the dozens of other recommendations of the RCAP. Read the most recent articles by Canada’s anthropologist and you will find apologies for these institions arguing that great progress has been made. After al we do have an Algonquin canoe floating silently in the Group of Seven section of the National Gallery of Canada. Silently is the word. Speak to renowned Algonquin elder William Commanda and put his voice through a loud speaker in those galleries. Listen to him describe the starvation when tourism trade grew as southerners flocked north to enjoy the Canadian Shield. Hear his gentle, firm voice as he describes in elaborate detail how he built canoes to stave off starvation as the First Nations communities were denied access to their fishing camps which had become the land of the tourists. He speaks without rage. His voice is still powerfully spiritual. He calls for a freeing of the rivers from the damage of the dams. In the room devoted to Canadian art of the 1950s install a Stan Douglas type piece where the voices of Inuit and First Nations whose lives were irrevocably changed by the one of the worst incidence of TB on the planet speak of their grandfathers, camp leaders, fathers, the hunters, trappers and fishers buried in unmarked graves near Moose Factory’s sanitorium.

In the National Gallery of Canada’s Inuit Art section (in the basement) remind visitors that the artists whose works continue to be revered, have suffered starvation in Canada in the 1940s and 1950s, have succumbed to alcoholism, and drugs, that they have met violent deaths through suicides, murders, or in preventable house fires. How many Canadians know the other stories connected to Inuit women artists who made history when they were honoured with the Order of Canada, Canada’s highest award or the Royal Canadian Academy? One died alone in a hospital near Montreal in the 1980s, so depressed because of her linguistic isolation (she could only speak Inuktitut) that she gave away her ulu, the woman’s knife so affectionately mentioned in articles about Inuit art. Another was confused at one time when nortern officials refused food to her family during the peoriod of starvation in the 1950s. What about Canada’s most widely admired Inuit artist whose works are honoured internationally who was now ill, forced to live on city streets and was so badly beaten by police he carried a lump on his forehead for weeks. They and/or their families still live in houses where the entire contents of their fridges are a plastic bottle of ketchup and mustard. The have developed diabetes. A few have become violent and abusive. So many Inuit artists are in the Baffin Correction Centre at any given time that local people suggest a visit as part of the itinerary for Iqaluit, Nunavut’s art scene. Then let’s see some footage of the renowned Inuit elder and activist, as he describes through his son, artist and interpretor, his trip to New York or his interpretation of one of his carvings. Let’s hear him sing with tears in his eyes, the song he wrote for the homeless man on the streets of New York. Where is the strong articulate voice of Sheila Watt-Cloutier in any contemporary site claiming to represent to Inuit culture? If you do not know this name you should. She has made history. What about Paul Okalik, Peter Erniq. These are names all Canadians should know. Let’s begin with something simple: honest, inclusive timelines. Let’s contextualize stories about Inuit culture. Stop funding Inuit studies unless there is a critical component that examines issues, not as tidy sanitized disciplines that claim to be protecting Inuit art and culture from the sordid truths of everyday life. Inuit art and culture are dynamic, alive, robust. The Inuit art and culture market will survive but perhaps not by continuing to enrich southerers or those who live decades in the north, return to the south and continue to become enriched on their insider knowledge. If Inuit benefited fully from their own art production in a sustainable, equitable fashion there would be far less need of so much government intervention. There is more percapita talent in the tiny hamlet of Clyde River waiting for a venue than there is many southern cities. There is also far more youth suicide, violence against women and despair.

Footnotes:

The private Atkinson Foundation, founded in 1942 by former publisher of The Toronto Star, promotes social and economic justice in the tradition Joseph E. Atkinson. This includes the work of Armine Yalnizyan, (2000), “Inequality Rises As More Families Slide To The Bottom Of The Income Scale: Tax cuts don’t address economic reality says new report,” Centre of Social Justice, January 27, 2000 http://www.atkinsonfoundation.ca/publications/The_Great_Divide_Armine_
Yallnizyan.htm

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Brazzaville’s, (la republique populaire du Congo) namesake is honoured with a marble statue. His relationship with the Congolese was unlike that of the empire builders who had carved up the African continent in the late 1800s, established concessionaires (similar to the Britain‘s HBC in Canada) plundering resources and manpower while enriching Europe.

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In Loango, R. P. Congo (also known as Congo-Brazzaville) not far from the Catholic mission, where you could still buy fresh eggs in the 1980s, is a post which is a reminder of the millions of Africans who passed by this spot. This is where they were attached before being shipped as human cargo. From the post you can see the hills with rows of trees like endless lines of people remembering, not forgetting.

A selected timeline of social history of Congo-Brazzaville

1954 The last king of the Congo built his castle at Diosso, near Pointe-Noire, now in the R. P. Congo. King Mwe Pwati III died in 1975.

1956 Césaire wrote “La Lettre à Maurice Thorez” (Letter to the Secretary General of the Communist Party) in which he broke with the Communist Party. Césaire believed he could develop a distinctly African socialism.

relationship with the Congolese was unlike that of the empire builders who had carved up the African continent in the late 1800s, established concessionaires (similar to the Britain’s HBC in Canada) plundering resources and manpower while enriching Europe.

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In Loango, R. P. Congo (also known as Congo-Brazzaville) not far from the Catholic mission, where you could still buy fresh eggs in the 1980s, is a post which is a reminder of the millions of Africans who passed by this spot. This is where they were attached before being shipped as human cargo. From the post you can see the hills with rows of trees like endless lines of people remembering, not forgetting.
A selected timeline of social history of Congo-Brazzaville

First inhabited by pygmies, the Congo was later settled by Bantu groups who also occupied parts of present-day Angola, Gabon, and the DRC. Several Bantu kingdoms, notably those of the Kongo, the Loango, and the Teke, built trade links along the Congo River basin. The first European contacts came in the late 15th century, and commercial relationships were quickly established with the kingdoms, trading for slaves captured in the interior. The coastal area was a major source for the transatlantic slave trade, and when that commerce ended in the early 19th century, the power of the Bantu kingdoms eroded. (ediplomat 2005)

A selected timeline of social history of Congo-Brazzaville

First inhabited by pygmies, the Congo was later settled by Bantu groups who also occupied parts of present-day Angola, Gabon, and the DRC. Several Bantu kingdoms, notably those of the Kongo, the Loango, and the Teke, built trade links along the Congo River basin. The first European contacts came in the late 15th century, and commercial relationships were quickly established with the kingdoms, trading for slaves captured in the interior. The coastal area was a major source for the transatlantic slave trade, and when that commerce ended in the early 19th century, the power of the Bantu kingdoms eroded. (ediplomat 2005)

1880s The area now known as Congo-Brazzaville came under French sovereignty .

Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza, an empire builder for France, competed with agents of Belgian King Leopold’s International Congo Association (later Zaire) for control of the Congo River basin (ediplomat 2005).

1882 – 1891 France secured treaties were secured with all the main local rulers on the Congo river’s right bank. This laid the path for France to control the natural and human resources of the Congo.

1898-1930 France allowed private companies (Grandes Companies Concessionaires) to extract natural resources from Congo-Brazzaville in this period of private companies similar to the Hudson’s Bay Company in Canada. Due to public protests over the loss of tens of thousands of Congolese working for The Société de construction des Batignolles French artists including Andre Gide were influential in ending the monopoly of these private companies.

1908 France organized French Equatorial African (AEF), which comprised the colonies of Middle Congo (modern Congo), Gabon, Chad, and Oubangui-Chari (modern Central African Republic). Brazzaville was selected as the Federal capital.

1924–34 A private company under the protection of France, The Société de construction des Batignolles, built the Chemin de Fer Congo Ocean (CFCO) at a considerable human cost (over 20, 000 lives).

1927 Andre Gide published Voyage au Congo in which he criticised the French colonial administration for the loss of human lives during the construction of the Chemin de Fer Congo Ocean (1921-1934). Andre Gide described the CFCO as a “fearsome devourer of human lives.”

1928 French forces had to intervene to suppress a workers’ uprising. Up to 20,000 Africans died during the construction of the CFCO .

1940-3 French Equatorial African (AEF), (Congo-Brazzaville, Gabon, Chad, Central African Republic) supported General Charles de Gaulle and provided a safe haven of him during the period when France was occupied by the Germans. Brazzaville was the capital of la France libre. The international process of decolonization traces its roots to de Gaulle’s debt to Brazzaville. Colonial empires saw their constituent nations demanding independence.

1944 The Brazzaville Conference of 1944 heralded a period of major reform in French colonial policy, including the abolition of forced labor, granting of French citizenship to colonial subjects, decentralization of certain powers, and election of local advisory assemblies.

1950 postcolonial movement. See De Gaulle in Brazzaville, capital of the France libre.

1880s The area now known as Congo-Brazzaville came under French sovereignty .

Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza, an empire builder for France, competed with agents of Belgian King Leopold’s International Congo Association (later Zaire) for control of the Congo River basin (ediplomat 2005).

1882 – 1891 France secured treaties were secured with all the main local rulers on the Congo river’s right bank. This laid the path for France to control the natural and human resources of the Congo.

1898-1930 France allowed private companies (Grandes Companies Concessionaires) to extract natural resources from Congo-Brazzaville in this period of private companies similar to the Hudson’s Bay Company in Canada. Due to public protests over the loss of tens of thousands of Congolese working for The Société de construction des Batignolles French artists including Andre Gide were influential in ending the monopoly of these private companies.

1908 France organized French Equatorial African (AEF), which comprised the colonies of Middle Congo (modern Congo), Gabon, Chad, and Oubangui-Chari (modern Central African Republic). Brazzaville was selected as the Federal capital.

1924–34 A private company under the protection of France, The Société de construction des Batignolles, built the Chemin de Fer Congo Ocean (CFCO) at a considerable human cost (over 20, 000 lives).

1927 Andre Gide published Voyage au Congo in which he criticised the French colonial administration for the loss of human lives during the construction of the Chemin de Fer Congo Ocean (1921-1934). Andre Gide described the CFCO as a “fearsome devourer of human lives.”

1928 French forces had to intervene to suppress a workers’ uprising. Up to 20,000 Africans died during the construction of the CFCO .

1940-3 French Equatorial African (AEF), (Congo-Brazzaville, Gabon, Chad, Central African Republic) supported General Charles de Gaulle and provided a safe haven of him during the period when France was occupied by the Germans. Brazzaville was the capital of la France libre. The international process of decolonization traces its roots to de Gaulle’s debt to Brazzaville. Colonial empires saw their constituent nations demanding independence.

1944 The Brazzaville Conference of 1944 heralded a period of major reform in French colonial policy, including the abolition of forced labor, granting of French citizenship to colonial subjects, decentralization of certain powers, and election of local advisory assemblies.

1950 postcolonial movement. See De Gaulle in Brazzaville, capital of the France libre.

1951 The Ecole de Peinture de Poto-Poto emerged in Brazzaville, Congo where artists began to produce paintings described by critics with the unflattering term the ‘Mickeys.’ The black figures they painted resembled the characters in Walt Disney movies.

1956 The Loi Cadre (Framework Law) of 1956 ended dual voting roles and provided for partial self-government for the individual overseas territories. Colonial administration expanded particularly in Congo-Brazzaville, the capital of the French Equatorial African (AEF). Administrative buildings were constructed and French colonial infrastructure grew.

1958 French President de Gaulle returned to Africa and declared, “L’independence, quiconque la voudra pourra la prendre aussitot.”

1960 Decolonisation of Africa began and the criticism of la Négritude began. Congo-Brazzaville was the first African country to gain independence. Political leaders of newly liberated African countries during the postcolonial period accepted modernist development policies that stressed economic growth.

1960 The first President of the newly independent Congo Republic was a former Catholic priest, Fulbert Youlou. The AEF was dissolved in 1958 and its four territories became autonomous members of the French community, and Middle Congo was renamed the Congo Republic. Formal independence was granted to the new country in August 1960. With the exception of Senegal, no country in Africa had a more developed educational system at the time of independence than the Congo.

1963 President Fulbert Youlou was overthrown in a 3-day popular uprising (Les Trois Glorieuses) led by labor elements and joined by rival political parties.

1967-1977 Marion Ngouabi was the President of the R. P. Congo the first African country to adhere to communism. He advocated a scientific socialism. He was assassinated in 1977 and is considered to be a martyr by many Congolese.

1968 Aimé Césaire began to focus on theatre in the 1960s in an effort to reach more people. His plays such as La Tragédie du Roi Christophe (1963), Une Saison au Congo and Une Tempête (1968 ) were more political than his earlier work. He argued that words used creatively could change the world Une Tempête was an original adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

1968 Major Ngouabi assumed the presidency on December 31, 1968 after he and other army officers toppled the government in a coup. One year later President Ngouabi proclaimed the Congo to be Africa’s first “people’s republic” and announced the decision of the National Revolutionary Movement to change its name to the Congolese Labor Party (PCT).

1967-1977 Marion Ngouabi, President of the R. P. Congo the first African country to adhere to communism, a scientific socialism. He was assassinated and is is considered to be a martyr by many Congolese.

1976 The number of refugees in the world was 2.7 million (Doctors Without Borders (MSF) .

1979 Colonel Denis Sassou-Nguesso first became interim President after the assassination of both President Ngouabi and Archbishop Biayenda. Both murders have never been solved. Denis Sassou-Nguesso continued as President until 1991.

1980s United States raised interest rates on national and foreign debt to protect its own economy. The US economy had supposedly suffered because of instabilities in the price of oil. Countries — like Congo-Brazzaville, one of the most heavily indebted countries per capita in the world, found themselves constrained by unmanageable payments of raised interest rates. With its economy paralyzed by the debt burden, Congo like Brazil and many other developing nations were forced to go to the International Monetary Fund for emergency funds. The government has negotiated an Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF) with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The IMF insisted on deep, drastic cuts into basic social services, such as health and education, as a condition of the emergency loans. Structural reform conditions also include civil service downsizing, customs and tax reforms, and measures to promote private sector development. Currently the Congo is working hard to meet its obligations to the IMF concerning transparency in the oil sector. Congo-Brazzaville still struggles to qualify for Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) status. French oil company Elf Congo, the Italian oil company AGIP along with Americans made enormous profits during the petroleum boom years in the Congo.

1989 The fall of the Berlin Wall.

1991 Congo’s National Conference called for a multiparty democracy ending the one-party Marxist rule.

1992 Sassou-Nguesso conceded defeat to Professor Pascal Lissouba after multiparty presidential elections.

1993 Nearly a million acres of land in the north of the Republic of Congo became Nouabale-Ndoki National Park—one of the most significant tropical forest preserves in the world.

Structural reform efforts include civil service downsizing, customs and tax reforms, and measures to promote private sector development. The government has negotiated an Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF) with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Currently the Congo is working hard to meet its obligations to the IMF concerning transparency in the oil sector. It is also working to qualify for HIPC status.

1996 The number of refugees in the world was 2.7 million Doctors Without Borders (MSF)

1997 President Lissouba used private militia to attack the private militia of former President Sassou in a pre-emptive strike setting off a a highly destructive Civil War. With the support of the Angolan army Sassou was victorious.

1998 In Brazzaville, La republique populaire du Congo rebel fighting between rebel forces and the military-style government army has generated massive and blind atrocities against civilian populations. The resulting widespread violence perpetrated by the parties at war affects the entire civilian population. Arbitrary executions, mutilations, rapes, and disappearances illustrate the arbitrary character of the violence perpetrated against the civilians. In December 1998, more than 250,000 people fled to Brazzzaville because of the fighting, to seek refuge in the tropical forests of the “Pool,” a region south of the city. However, they found themselves caught up in the middle of the fighting, de facto hostages of the “Ninjas” ( the rebel militias). Victims of indiscriminate violence, they have had no access to food or medical care, and could not benefit from any exterior help. Furthermore, the ones who survived and managed to come back to Brazzaville are now the victims of indiscriminate attacks from the government army and militias (the “Cobras”). Doctors Without Borders (MSF), (1999), “Congo Brazzaville: Chronicle of a Forgotten War,” A Special Doctors Without Borders Report, October.

1999 Doctors Without Borders (MSF) witnessed tens of thousands of starving civilians returning to the Brazzaville, La republique populaire du Congo, exhausted after several months spent wandering in the forest. Refugees in Congo-Brazzaville were facing an unprecedented nutritional and medical crisis. No party in the conflict had taken significant steps to prevent the violence against civilians. This lack of action clearly shows their indifference to the fate of the civilian population. Given the gravity of the situation, the silence and indifference of the international community is unbearable. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) volunteers have been present in Brazzaville since April 1999, implementing medical and nutritional programs. Doctors Without Borders (MSF), (1999), “Congo Brazzaville: Chronicle of a Forgotten War” A Special Doctors Without Borders Report, October.

2001 Embassy operations were resumed in 2001, though American staff continue to be assigned officially to Kinshasa and travel to Brazzaville on temporary duty (TDY).

2003 A peace accord was signed with rebel armed forces, called the “Ninjas” based in the Pool region, just west of Brazzaville, and the situation was described by the diplomatic community as calm.

2004 David Morley of Médecins Sans Frontières, Canada wrote this disturbing description of the forgotten Congolese in his “Letters from the field”. Contrast this with the diplomatic report

2005 This report intended for US diplomats planning on work in Brazzaville, Congo was posted as an ediplomat Report.

2006 The World Bank Group posted this press release on August 22, 2006 Congo-Brazzaville: A sensitization campaign brings together parliamentarians and local communities

In the Republic of Congo, the first phase of the sensitization campaign for the upcoming National Program for Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (PNDDR) will soon be complete. Conducted through a series of conferences and debates, the campaign has aimed to increase the knowledge of the program among the government, civil society and the people of Congo. The PNDDR, once it starts, will aim to reintegrate an estimated 30,000 ex-combatants with the support of the Multi-Country Demobilization and Reintegration Program (MDRP).

Selected Bibliography

Brown, ‘Testing the Boundaries’ pp. 62-4 39

Coquerie-Vidrovitch, C., 1972. Le Congo au Temps des Grandes Companies Concessionaires 1898-1930, Mouton, Paris.

ediplomat. 2005 “Congo – Brazzaville The Host Country,” Post Reports ediplomat Report, http://www.ediplomat.com/np/post_reports/pr_cg.htm

Gide, Andre. 1927 Voyage au Congo

Gide, Andre. 1962. Travels in the Congo, University of California Press. Berkeley.

Hochschild, Adam. 1999. King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa, Houghton and Mifflin: Boston.

Morley, David. 2004. “Letters from the field,” International Herald Tribune, February 13, 2004.

NB )( ) ( = technical error in wordpress.com which automatically generates a smiley icon, called firing an icon)

8 ) or (1968) or 8)

Habermas’ (2004) in “Time of Transition” declared that Judaeo-Christian-centred liberty, conscience, human rights, and democracy, civilisation are exclusively essential to civil society. What about Islamic, Buddhist or indigenous philosophies? Quebec, Canada’ most multiethnic high school political philosophy class answer back.

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Abstract: Habemas’ Judaeo-Christian-centred communicative theories meet saavy, enlightened, extremely multiethnic Quebec students: Habermas’ (2004) declaration that Judaeo-Christian-centred liberty, conscience, human rights, and democracy, civilisation make intercultural understanding, it is what makes it possible What happens to 18th century Enlightenment concepts of civil society in a postnational public sphere, where Habermas’ concepts and theories, developed in the 1960s and popularized in the 1980s meet a saavy, enlightened, extremely multiethnic highschool political philosophy class in a fractured nation-state (Quebec) within a fractured nation-state (Canada) in a knowledge-risk society?

This is a stub of a discussion which I will develop over the next few months instigated by this article in Le Devoir. Google now offers a service whereby anything on the web can be instantly translated. So this is Google’s English translation of Dubreuil’s original  article in the French-language newspaper Le Devoir. Nothing compares to reading an author in their own languages of preference. While this Google service is probably not a perfect solution for discussions on political philosophy where one word can be the topic of an entire body of work, it is at least a way into this fascinating and timely debate. Maureen Flynn-Burhoe, November 19, 2006. To be continued . . .

Dubreuil, Benoît. 2006. “Le Devoir de Philo – Habermas et la classe de Mme. Lise,” Le Devoir, Quebec, Canada. November 19, 2006. http://www.ledevoir.com/2006/11/18/123119.html . Accessed 2006/11/19.

Habermas, Jürgen. (2004) Time of Transition.

 

 

I am convinced that Derrida’s more inclusive theories on political philosophy as revealed in his writings particularly in the 1990s onwards, are more useful in a philosophy from a cosmopolitical point of view. It is evident that any dialogues on human rights, democracy, hospitality, friendship, civil society need to be inclusive. Habermas’ contributions as public intellectual, political philosopher who brought difficult topics to the public through mass media will continue to be topical, relevant and useful. But truly useful additions to the urgent conversations about social inclusion, social justice, economic efficiency, globalization need to be undertaken with a level of hospitality and friendship that Jacques Derrida (who acknowledged his own status as marano, a French-Jewish-Algerian)  exemplified in his discussions with Arabo-Islamic scholars. There is indeed an urgency for inclusive conversations hospitable to Bhuddism, Arabo-Islamic, Baha’i, First Nations, Inuit, indigenous points of view. 

A partial chronology of a debate on political philosophy 

The following is a draft of a Chronology I am developing as background for Habermas-Derrida debates in political philosophy.  

18th century coffee houses: “Jürgen Habermas wrote extensively on the concept of the public sphere, using accounts of dialogue that took place in coffee houses in 18th century England. It was this public sphere of rational debate on matters of political importance, made possible by the development of the bourgeois culture centered around coffeehouses, intellectual and literary salons, and the print media that helped to make parliamentary democracy possible and which promoted Enlightenment ideals of equality, human rights and justice. The public sphere was guided by a norm of rational argumentation and critical discussion in which the strength of one’s argument was more important than one’s identity.” Wiki

Habermas built the framework out of the speech-act philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein, J. L. Austin, and John Searle, the sociological theory of the interactional constitution of mind and self of George Herbert Mead, the theories of moral development of Jean Piaget and Lawrence Kohlberg, and the discourse ethics of his Heidelberg colleague Karl-Otto Apel. Jürgen Habermas considers his own major achievement the development of the concept and theory of communicative reason or communicative rationality, which distinguishes itself from the rationalist tradition by locating rationality in structures of interpersonal linguistic communication rather than in the structure of either the cosmos or the knowing subject. This social theory advances the goals of human emancipation, while maintaining an inclusive universalist moral framework. This framework rests on the argument called universal pragmatics – that all speech acts have an inherent telos (the Greek word for “purpose” or “goal”) — the goal of mutual understanding, and that human beings possess the communicative competence to bring about such understanding.

Xxxx Kant the Enlightenment and of democratic socialism Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) carried forward the traditions of Kant through his emphasis on the potential for transforming the world and arriving at a more humane, just, and egalitarian society through the realization of the human potential for reason, in part through discourse ethics. While Habermas concedes that the Enlightenment is an “unfinished project,” he argues it should be corrected and complemented, not discarded.

19xx Ludwig Wittgenstein developed his speech-act philosophy which partially informed the development of Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) concepts and theories of communicative reason or communicative rationality.

19xx J. L. Austin developed his speech-act philosophy which partially informed the development of Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) concepts and theories of communicative reason or communicative rationality.

19xx John Searle developed his speech-act philosophy which partially informed the development of Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) concepts and theories of communicative reason or communicative rationality.

19xx George Herbert Mead developed his theory of sociological theory of the interactional constitution of mind and self which partially informed the development of Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) concepts and theories of communicative reason or communicative rationality

19xx Jean Piaget developed his theories of moral development which partially informed the development of Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) concepts and theories of communicative reason or communicative rationality

19xx Lawrence Kohlberg developed his theories of moral development which partially informed the development of Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) concepts and theories of communicative reason or communicative rationality.

1929 Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) was born June 18, 1929 in Düsseldorf. wiki

1956 Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) burst onto the German intellectual scene in the 1950s with an influential critique of the philosophy of Martin Heidegger. He had been studying philosophy and sociology under the critical theorists Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno at the Institute for Social Research at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt am Main since 1956, but because of a rift over his dissertation between the two – Horkheimer had made unacceptable demands for revision – as well as his own belief that the Frankfurt School had become paralyzed with political skepticism and disdain for modern culture – he took his Habilitation in political science at the University of Marburg under the Marxist Wolfgang Abendroth. Wiki

1961 Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) became a privatdozent in Marburg, and very unusual in the German academic scene at that time, he was called to an “extraordinary professorship” (professor without chair) of philosophy at the University of Heidelberg (at the instigation of Hans-Georg Gadamer and Karl Löwith) in 1962.

1964, Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) returned to Frankfurt to take over Horkheimer’s chair in philosophy and sociology, strongly supported by Adorno. wiki

1971-1983 Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) was Director of the Max Planck Institute in Starnberg (near Munich). wiki

1981 ??? Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) published his magnum opus, The Theory of Communicative Action. Habermas then returned to his chair at Frankfurt and the directorship of the Institute for Social Research. In his magnum opus Theory of Communicative Action (1984) he criticized the one-sided process of modernization led by forces of economic and administrative rationalization. Habermas traced the growing intervention of formal systems in our everyday lives as parallel to development of the welfare state, corporate capitalism and the culture of mass consumption. These reinforcing trends rationalize widening areas of public life, submitting them to a generalizing logic of efficiency and control. As routinized political parties and interest groups substitute for participatory democracy, society is increasingly administered at a level remote from input of citizens. As a result, boundaries between public and private, the individual and society, the system and the lifeworld are deteriorating. Democratic public life only thrives where institutions enable citizens to debate matters of public importance. He describes an ideal type of “ideal speech situation[1], where actors are equally endowed with the capacities of discourse, recognize each other’s basic social equality and speech is undistorted by ideology or misrecognition. wiki

1980s??? Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) distanced himself from the Frankfurt School. Habermas argued that the Frankfurt School theorists, and others he lumped together as much of postmodernistists, who critiqued Kant, the Enlightenment, the concept of progress and of democratic socialism, were misdirected, excessively pessimism, radical and prone to exaggerations.

1980s Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) became a renowned public intellectual as well as a scholar.

1980s Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) used the popular press to attack historians (i.e., Ernst Nolte, Michael Stürmer and Andreas Hillgruber) who, arguably, had tried to demarcate Nazi rule and the Holocaust from the mainstream of German history, explain away Nazism as a reaction to Bolshevism, and partially rehabilitate the reputation of the Wehrmacht (German Army) during World War II. The so-called Historikerstreit (“Historians’ Quarrel”) was not at all one-sided, because Habermas was himself attacked by scholars like Joachim Fest and Klaus Hildebrand.

1980s Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) and Jacques Derrida engaged in somewhat acrimonious disputes beginning in the 1980s and culminated in a refusal of extended debate and talking past one another. Following Habermas’ publication of “Beyond a Temporalized Philosophy of Origins: Derrida” (in The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity), Derrida, citing Habermas as an example, remarked that, “those who have accused me of reducing philosophy to literature or logic to rhetoric … have visibly and carefully avoided reading me”

1986 Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) received the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, which is the highest honour awarded in German research.

1988 Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) was elected as a member of Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts.

1993 Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) retired from Frankfurt and continued to publish extensively. He is also a Permanent Visiting Professor at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

1997 Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) photo on the cover of William Outhwaite’s (1997) Habermas, – en kritisk introduktion. Bogen gennemgår alle væsentlige titler i forfatterskabet, fra de tidlige bøger om videnskab, politik og offentlig meningsdannelse i det kapitalistiske samfund til de seneste arbejder om retssystemets rolle i den demokratiske stat. photos

2001 Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) visited the People’s Republic of China in April 2001 and received a big welcome. He gave numerous speeches under titles such as “Nation-States under the Pressure of Globalisation.”

2004 Jürgen Habermas’(1929-), wrote in regards to his views on secularism and religion in the European public sphere, in his essay (2004) Time of Transition, “Christianity, and nothing else, is the ultimate foundation of liberty, conscience, human rights, and democracy, the benchmarks of Western civilisation.” He also maintains that “recognising our Judaeo-Christian roots more clearly not only does not impair intercultural understanding, it is what makes it possible.” [2] Jürgen Habermas had his photo taken with with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI.

2005 Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) traveled to San Diego and on March 5, 2005, as part of the University of San Diego‘s Kyoto Symposium, gave a speech entitled The Public Role of Religion in Secular Context, regarding the evolution of separation of Church and State from neutrality to intense secularism. He received the 2005 Holberg International Memorial Prize (about € 520 000).

XXXX Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) More recently, Habermas has been outspoken in his opposition to the American invasion of Iraq.

2006 wiki photo taken

2006 “The reflexion of Habermas joined the remarks of Jacques Godbout, who worried recently (Topicality, September 1, 2006) about the multiplication of the parabolic aerials allowing the immigrants to remain connected permanently on the television of their country of origin and never to be integrated into Québécois public space. Some, like the playwright Olivier Khemed (the Duty, September 12, 2006), saw in this comment a form of arabophobie. However, the question deserves to be put! Can there really be a public space when the citizens adopt profiles radically different in their consumption from cultural goods? The diagnosis drawn up by Godbout is undoubtedly partial, but he recalls us that we do not know anything in Quebec mode consumption cultural goods by the immigrant populations. Are their principal channels of integration to the Québécois democracy TQS, VAT and Radio-Canada or rather CTV, CNN and Al-Jazira? We do not know anything of it since there is not any serious study on this question. (Dubreuil 2006)” (Dubreuil, Benoît (2006), “Le Devoir de Philo – Habermas et la classe de Madame Lise,” Le Devoir, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. November 19, 2006. http://www.ledevoir.com/2006/11/18/123119.html , Édition du samedi 18 et du dimanche 19 novembre 2006

xxxx Noted academic John Thompson, a Professor of Sociology at the University of Cambridge, has pointed out that Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) notion of the public sphere is antiquated due to the proliferation of mass-media communications. wiki

Xxxx Noted academic Michael Schudson from the University of California, San Diego critiques the work of Jürgen Habermas’(1929-) arguing more generally that a public sphere as a place of purely rational independent debate never existed. wiki

Xxxx “Quite distinct from this, Geoffrey Bennington, a close associate of Derrida’s, has in a further conciliatory gesture offered an account of deconstruction intended to provide some mutual intelligibility. Derrida was already extremely ill by the time the two had begun their new exchange, and the two were not able to develop this such that they could substantially revisit previous disagreements or find more profound terms of discussion before Derrida’s death. Nevertheless, this late collaboration has encouraged some scholars to revisit the positions, recent and past, of both thinkers, vis-a-vis the other.” wiki

Xxxx “What would say Jürgen Habermas of the Class of Mrs Lise? In her superb documentary, the director Sylvie Groulx follows during one year a class of first year to the school Barthelemy-Vimont, in the district Park-Extension, in Montreal. This school, attended with 95% by children of immigrant origin, is most multiethnic in Quebec. The documentary one testifies to the difficulties to which facefaces Quebec as regards integration of the immigrants and famous with wonder what it is advisable to call our “school apartheid”. By looking at the Class of Mrs Lise, it is difficult not to wonder which Quebec are integrated these children. Do we divide with them a common world? Do we take part in the same public space?” (Dubreuil 2006)” (Dubreuil, Benoît (2006), “Le Devoir de Philo – Habermas et la classe de Madame Lise,” Le Devoir, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. November 19, 2006.http://www.ledevoir.com/2006/11/18/123119.html, Édition du samedi 18 et du dimanche 19 novembre 2006

 

Aquarium Gaze

November 4, 2006

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This layered Adobe Photoshop image was inspired by a paragraph in Michael Ignatieff’s book entitled Human Rights as Politics and Idolatry. This was the book preferred by the adult students in the Human Rights course I taught at Nunavut Arctic College, Iqaluit, NU in 2002-3. Aquarium Gaze

“Here was a scientist, trained in the traditions of European rational inquiry, turning a meeting between two human beings into an encounter between different species. Progress may be a contested concept, but we make progress to the degree that we act upon the moral intuition that Dr. Pannwitz was wrong: our species is one, and each of the individuals who compose it is entitled to equal moral consideration. Human rights is the language that systematically embodies this intuition, and to the degree that this intuition gains influence over the conduct of individuals and states, we can say that are making moral progress.[…] Human rights was a response to Dr. Pannwitz, to the discovery of the abomination that could occur when the Westphalian state was accorded unlimited sovereignity, when citizens of that state lacked normative grounds to disobey legal but immoral orders. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights represented a return by the European tradition to its natural law heritage, a return intended to restore agency, to give individuals the civic courage to stand up when the state ordered them to do wrong.”(Ignatieff 2001)

My emerging folksonomy:

This linear page entitled Memory Work will be a site of collecting and sharing focused research on the urgently needed on the concept of memory work. This concept was developed by Ricoeur, Derrida, Cixous, Nora. It is urgently need in a postnational, post-WW II, post-apartheid, post-RCAP world where citizens move closer to reconciliation, towards forgiveness or apologies, while revisiting distorted histories with an attitude of mutual respect for Self and the Other-I.

Memory Work: Wikipedia

November 3, 2006

Memory work

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Memory work is a process of engaging with the past which has both an ethical and historical dimension (Gabriel 2004). The premise for memory work or travail de memoire is that history is not memory. We try to represent the past in the present through memory, history and the archives. As Ricoeur (1955 [1965], 2000) argued, memory alone is fallible. Historical accounts are always partial and potentially misrepresent since historians do not work with bare, uninterpreted facts. Historians construct and use archives that contain traces of the past. However, historians and librarians determine which traces are preserved and stored. This is an interpretive activity. Historians pose questions to which the archives responds leading them to “facts that can be asserted in singular, discrete propositions that usually include dates, places, proper names, and verbs of action or condition” (Ricoeur 2000:226). Individuals remember events and experiences some of which they share with a collective. Through mutual reconstruction and recounting collective memory is reconstructed. Individuals are born into familial discourse which already provides a backdrop of communal memories against which individual memories are shaped. A group’s communal memory becomes its common knowledge which creates a social bond, a sense of belonging and identity. Professional historians attempt to corroborate, correct, or refute collective memory. Memory work then entails adding an ethical component which acknowledges the responsibility towards revisiting distorted histories thereby decreasing the risk of social exclusion and increasing the possibility of social cohesion of at-risk groups.

The concept of memory-work as distinguished from history-as-memory finds a textbook case in the Vichy Syndrome as described by Russo (1991). His title uses medical lexicon to refer to history-memory as dependent on working consciously with unconscious memories to revise accounts of history. This calls for an expanded archive that includes the “oral and popular tradition” (Gabriel 2004:11) as well as the written traditions normally associated with the archives.

Nora (2002) traced the surge in memory work at the level of the nation-state to the revisiting of distorted histories of the anti-Semitic Vichy regime (1940-1944) following the death of de Gaulle in 1970. Structural changes resulted from the end of the peasantry and the dramatic economic slump as oil prices worldwide rose in 1974. Added to this was the intellectual collapse of Marxism precipitated in part by Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago which forced the French to rethink attitudes towards the past.

Gabriel (2004) provided a model for reading the complexities of memory and forgetting by situating unheimlich within the heimlich, in a Freudian ‘one within the other structure’. As point of departure Gabriel examined Edgar Reitz’s eleven-part West German television series entitled Heimat. Reitz’ work was in response to a larger movement in Germany national memory work provoked in part by an American television series entitled the Holocaust followed viewed by millions. As European art in general and German art in particular resurged in the 1960s, artists like Gunther Grass and Edgar Reitz captured international attention as they grappled with issues of identity in a divided, post-Holocaust Germany. Gabriel developed the concept of an impulse towards national memory work in Germany that stemmed from a haunted subject yearning for a lost, far away, nostalgic place, a utopic homeland. “How do we confront that which we have excluded in order to be, whether it is the return of the repressed or the return of the strangers?” (Kristeva 1982). In other words, that which we fear as ‘other’ is within ourselves through our shared humanity. Repressed memories haunt all of us.

The concept of memory work is part of a sociological imagination from a post-national point of view. Expanding on Norbert Loeffler: The idea of one national history is only acceptable as a question, not as an answer.

Memory work is related to identity work often associated with displaced persons. Some of the most provocative research on memory work (Derrida, Cixous, Kristeva) has been authored by French ex-patriots who returned to France following the Algerian war of independence.
Oceanflynn 06:39, 1 November 2006 (UTC)
References:

Cixous, Hélene. 1997. Rootprints: Memory and Life Writing: Routledge

Derrida, Jacques. 1996. Archive Fever. Translated by E. Prenowitz. Chicago: University of Chicago Press

Derrida, Jacques. (1986) Memoires for Paul de Man, Columbia University Press.

Gabriel, Barbara. 2004. “The Unbearable Strangeness of Being; Edgar Reitz’s Heimat and the Ethics of the Unheimlich” in Postmodernism and the Ethical Subject, edited by B. Gabriel and S. Ilcan. Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Kristeva, Julia. 1982. Powers of Horror. New York: University Press.

Kristeva, Julie (1993) Nations without Nationalism, trans. L. S. Roudiez (Yale University Press, 1993)

Nora, Pierre. 2002. “The Reasons for the Current Upsurge in Memory.” Tr@nsit-Virtuelles Forum.22 Retrieved Access 2002. http://www.eurozine.com/articles/2002-04-19-nora-en.html

Ricoeur, Paul. 1955 [1965]. History and Truth. Translated by C. A. Kelbley. Evanston: Northwestern University press.

Ricoeur, Paul. 2000. La Mémoire, l’Historie, l’Oubli: l’ordre philosophique: Éditions du Seuil. http://www.theology.ie/thinkers/RicoeurMem.htm

Russo, Henry. 1991. The Vichy Syndrome: History and Memory in France since 1944. Translated by A. Goldhammer. Cambridge/London: Harvard University Press.

I write using EndNote so this was the original entry I had added for Barbara Gabriel whose article opened so many doors for me:

In her brilliant article entitled “The Unbearable Strangeness of Being; Edgar Reitz’s Heimat and the Ethics of the Unheimlich” Barbara Gabriel provides a model for reading the complexities of memory and forgetting. As point of departure Gabriel examined Edgar Reitz’s eleven-part West German television series entitled Heimat. Reitz’ work was in response to a larger movement in Germany national memory-work provoked in part by an American television series entitled the Holocaust followed viewed by millions.

In the section entitled “Tropes of Purity and Danger”Barbara Gabriel (2004:165, 197) illustrated how a model of homogeneity depends on a constituent outside. In this essay Gabriel revealed how the concept of heimat resists interpretation. Freud situated the unheimlich within the heimlich, one within the other structure. Freud argued that the heimlich and unheimlich are doubles, not antimonies or opposites which slip and slide inside one another through different shades of meanings explored through Freudian recurrence and return, the haunted house, the double, death and the death drive, enucleation as castration, the prostitute and the primordial uncanny as maternal womb. which a closed meaning so that the haunted subject can continue to yearn for the lost, far away, nostalgic place keep the potential of a utopic homeland footnotes the way in which Kristeva (1982) introduced a diachronic register by mapping theory onto historical subjects. Kristeva created a synthesis between the work of Bataille and Mary Douglas. Douglas’s symbolic anthropological approach resisted the diachronic. Models of homogeneity depend on a constituent outside.

“Recent cultural theory around abjection moves deconstruction as well as psychoanalytic readings around the relationship between insides and outsides onto the category of social subjects (see Butler [1990, 1993]). Kristeva’s (1982) own analyses bring together the work of Mary Douglas and Bataille; what is new here, arguably, is the mapping of the theory onto the domain of historical subjects, shifting the synchronic work of anthropology into a diachronic register in ways ignored by Douglas’s pioneering work. I am indebted to Matti Bunzi for the insight that symbolic anthropology was long resistant to historical frameworks.”
“How do we confront that which we have excluded in order to be, whether it is the return of the repressed or the return of the stangers?” Cited in Gabriel, Barbara 2004

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Creative Commons

Creative Commons from my online Flickr album is composed of multiple layers. They include a .jpg of the Google Earth generated globe which is inverted, stretched and manipulated in 3 other layers, ripples from an M. C. Escher print and a stunning photo by a Professor Andrew Davidhazy from Rochester, NY. described on a few of the 80, 000+ references to him on Google as modest, talented, a great teacher and a ghost expert for photography. I have just licensed my work on line with the Creative Commons. Their icon lets people know that they can use your work for non-commercial reasons if they attribute it to you; they can make derivatives but they have to share-alike. Of course the challenge with Goggle Images is some of the most stellar images available are difficult to track down in terms of authorship because there are already so many derivatives. This was the case with this drop of water by this well-known professor who continues to do astounding work. I left a comment on his web blog but I re-entered it three times before I realized he had wisely included an administrator’s block for unedited entries. It may take him ages to even check his comments. When he does he will find to his annoyance in his busy life, that I’ve inadvertently left three. More than that I just emailed him instead of Flckr’s team re: emailing our Flickr photos to WordPress. He is going to put me on his ‘block permanently list.’

An Inuit friend reminded me that many Inuit of Canada view the world from a circumpolar point of view. In honour of my Inuit friends and students from time to time I view the earth through their lens. I positioned then froze the globe from a circumpolar point of view using a Google save screen option. So I have geotagged this to the north east of Baffin Island, perhaps somewhere near Pond Inlet. Hello to the family of Julia and Ernie! Their family photo in their traditional clothing taken when they visited you in Pond Inlet in 2005, is framed and hanging in our home on Vancouver Island.

Del.icio.us Topographies and Tag Clouds An Adobe Photshop image consisting of 5 layered images: my Del.icio.us cloud tag, title layer, google generated 3-D virtual space with branching rivers as metaphors for organically emerging rhizomic pathways,

a miniaturized image of Vancouver, BC’s skyline, the del.icio.us tag cloud image (my first since I began to use this free social bookmarking tech tool) and an altered topographical map of a site where a meteor landed. This final layer was inverted so the meteoric collision with the planet became the sun in this delicious cloud.

‘Folksonomies’ is an organic emerging term in an organic emerging system. Is it perhaps an example of autopoiesis constituting and nurturing its own rhizomic organization? There are economic, political, social as well as ontological and axiological dimensions to the unfolding taxonomy of cyberspace. Tag clouds leave visible trails of a blogger’s inner life. Unlike solitary browsing through library stacks or flipping through pages of a book, internet searching and browsing leaves digital imprints that allow us to retrace where we were yesterday in terms of our understanding of a topic. Theoretically how well we understand a debate or discussion informs how discerning we are in our judgments. Our ethical topography changes as we travel and encounter Others whose ideas and/or values resonate or are in dissonance with our own. Encounters with the stranger, one whose experience differs greatly from our own in some way, provides us with an opportunity to re-evaluate previously held beliefs or assumptions. In welcoming the Stranger in friendship with a heightened degree of hospitality that includes a willingness to tolerate ambiguity temporarily, to briefly at least set aside prejudices, we open ourselves to the possibility of fresh insight that expands for both of us. It is only through the invention of unique terms such as folksonomies, or ethnoclassification or perhaps tag.clouds that I might filter through infinite numbers of blogs on taxonomy and find the like-minded individual who is concerned about the potential emergence of an inclusive taxonomy that somehow includes the more socially vulnerable not as objects of charity but as fully participating members in civil society.