Dear Habermas Logo and link to Site Index A Jeanne Site

About the
Dear Habermas Site

Contact Dear Habermas

California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
University Disclaimer
Latest update: January 25, 2000
E-Mail Faculty on the Site.

History and Development of the Site

This site offers a forum for the presentation of texts not usually given voice in the academy, texts created by teachers and students in the process of discourse. A discussion of the importance of intertextuality and the reclaiming of texts not generally found in the public sphere of the academy can be found in Available Papers on the Sitesuch as " Playing with Habermas".

The site grew from the work produced within classes in Sociology of Law and Sociological Theory at California State University, Dominguez Hills with Jeanne Curran and at the University of Wisconsin, Parkside with Susan Takata. Both Dr. Curran and Dr. Takata were chairing their respective departments when Dear Habermas came into being. The work of developing Dear Habermas has been shared over the last two years at both sociology and criminal justice conferences. We wish to thank our many colleagues for their support and encouragement.

Because Dear Habermas happened in a state university, notoriously under-budgeted and with minimal technological support for faculty development of distance learning, Volume 1 came first in hardcopy. We translated that hardcopy to the Web tentatively, with the generous help of a graduate student, Richard Moncure (who has since earned his M.A.), and the help of Dr. Larry Press from the School of Management. The present material constitutes Volume 3, and we are presently preparing Volume 2 from the Spring Semester of 1998, for archival access. Volume 2 will remain available on the present site until it is completely archived.

Volume 2, the first to use this Web site was up loaded on January 3, 1998 on Compuserve's Ourworld where faculty on the site had access over the Winter Break. In early January 1998, the site switched its URL to the CSUDH server. As of June 1998, the Department of Sociology at CSUDH has officially set up its server, at which Dear Habermas has a mirror site.

Most recently, in June 1998, we began a corollary site to Dear Habermas to include the children who are friends and relatives of those who share the Dear Habermas Site. The KIDS' Page is meant to offer questions, discussions, and activities to share with our children the issues of most concern to us in presenting and negotiating validity claims. The KIDS' Page, like all of Dear Habermas beckons openly to all who would learn, and is closed to no one, for the KIDS' Page, too, is about discourse, legitimacy, and justice.

We believe this is an ideal model for the development of distance learning. Faculty at distant institutions, sociology and legal professionals across both service areas, and students and alumni from all over, shared in the development of the site. When we could locate adequate workable hardware and software, we moved to the Web. When e-mail is all that would work, we went with e-mail. When none of our electronic technology permitted the exchange we needed, we used snail mail and the phone. Now, three years later, all faculty on the site have access to the site over distance, and are able to connect effectively. And we have a whole three year history to guide us.

Faculty and Staff on the Site

Faculty on the Site

Jeanne Curran's Page
Susan R. Takata's Page
Robert M. Christie Page

Consultants on the Site

Lois Lee, Director of Children of the Night
Children of the Night

Staff and Research Assistants on the Site

Patricia Acone's Page

Site Maintenance

Dear Habermas is trying to stretch and grow with the Web. But the Web is growing very fast. Faculty on the site read and shared Rosenfeld and Morville's Information Architecture for the World Wide Web. We also watched intently a class of 50 undergraduates tackle an introductory statistics course with interactive teaching on the Web. We learned in dismay that much of what we had digested was not intuitive. We fussed, we fumed, we were sure that if students would just come to class awake and make the slightest effort . . . well, you know. We apologize.

All those 50 students at whom I fussed and fumed will be delighted to know that over nine weeks of the summer I received e-mail from professional colleagues from all over this country that reflected to me precisely the same validity claim they had: it ain't intuitive, especially not when you're tired and hungry, and have been at work all day. Some day we will turn the e-mail from this experience into a text. I saved the e-mail. But the upshot is that we've tried to make the site intuitive.

That means that there is lots of repetition, lots of choices for going back and forth. But one of the things that we learned was that we were all too tired to type out a long and complex URL, let alone to remember it. So the site uses links back and forth. Lots more, probably, than you would need if you weren't tired, but most of us will be tired.

Jeanne tried in the beginning to use Microsoft Front Stage. But the site was already too complex to fit their set way laying out a page. The KIDS' site came into being as straight HTML, just like Dear Habermas. Somehow the information architecture seemed more important to us. But in desperation, Jeanne tried Brooknorth's BluePrint. They make our HTML editor. Now she almost crashed her harddisk in the process. She was tired, and she tried to uninstall what refused to be uninstalled. But just before it all crashed, BluePrint printed an abortive site map. Wow!

As soon as Jeanne switches to NT4 Dear Habermas is going up on BluePrint. But this poor little machine couldn't take it. The site map is what taught us how to handle the structure. Once we saw what they were doing, a site structure made sense. Now ours is all hand done, and it's going to take a while to get it up out there. But BluePrint is coming!

The site map led to the Active Files, in which we note all the links, of all kinds. But the index and the Site Additions had to come first, so Active Files is still lagging behind. Slowly we will get the whole site structured and turn the upkeep over to BluePrint. Visit Active Files to see what we're trying to do.

The templates are files we started work on because there are so many of us who contribute to and work on the site. But the templates designed in July already need to be updated. The structure grew so quickly! Now as we create backlinks, we are working on templates, so that those who wish to maintain the site will have the guidance they need. And BluePrint!

E-mail Faculty on the Site.

Our Logo and Our Art: The Free Graphics Issue

Dear Habermas is designed as a forum for texts that have rarely been afforded a forum. Our basic principle is that access is a fundamental right integral to discourse. You are welcome to use Jeanne's logo design or her paintings to put on your own personal home page, as art. (Permission is required for corporate or business us of the art.) You may not represent yourself as being a part of Dear Habermas, or the paintings as your own. But you may use the logo gif to link to Dear Habermas. Here is a logo 60 x 60 pixels, ideal for a link:

You may also use the paintings on your own personal web site. Just acknowledge that is the art of Jeanne Curran. A link back to Dear Habermas will be appreciated but is not required.

PLEASE, if you wish to use the art for your own persoanl web page, capture the image and upload it to your server. Like all other graphic artists, we are forced to recognize that people in blissful ignorance are linking to sites instead of capturing the graphics and uploading them. The best solution for graphic artists is to warn you that that will crash our servers with the excessive traffic, and then periodically to change the filename of our gifs. That means that if you LINK to our graphics and art instead of capturing and uploading them, you may find gibberish on your page one day when we change a filename.

  1. To capture the graphic, point to the graphic and click your right mouse button. A dailog box will ask you to confirm where on your server the file should be saved. Either accept what is offerred as the directory, or browse for the directory you want. Click SAVE. Voila. You have the graphic. ON YOUR SERVER.

  2. To embed the graphic on your web page type into your html page:

    [Open karat] img src="filename.gif"[close karat]

    [Instead of .gif the image may be .jpg or whatever]

  3. To use the graphic as a link, [Open karat]a href="filename.gif"[close karat>] [or jpg, or whatever] Then type the code to embed the image (see 2 above). [Open karat]/a[close karat>]

  4. If you want the graphic to be a hot link, but the rectangular frame around it not to show up, add to the code to embed the image: border="0", as [open karat]img src="filename.gif" border="0"[close karat]

  5. I suggest that you also add to that code alt="Some words to identify graphic for those whose browser is not reading graphics"

    The "alt" reading shows as a yellow "tip" explaining what is there when the mouse is pointed to the image spot, so that people can make sense of your page. Good idea to make it a habit to use the "alt" code.

  6. Both the logo and the paintings on the site are copyrighted works of art. Please give credit for them. A link back to the Dear Habermas site is welcome, but not required.

  7. There are some graphics on the site that do not identify the graphic artist responsible for them. They were taken from collections of free graphics when the web was young and there were many such sites. We are trying to acknowledge all graphics at this point. If you recognize one we do not acknowledge, please let us know, so that we can do so.


Should you wish to submit comments or share in the developmet of a text on the site, an e-mail to faculty on the site will alert us to make file transfer arrangements. One of the advantages of Process Texts is that those of us on small commuter campuses have little discretionary time. Somehow the papers and articles are left until we have a moment, and we never do. The shared writing that goes with teaching and learning is a wonderful way to use the few minutes we can free, participate in a threaded discussion, and watch the text grow. Not only does this give us a forum for some of our research material that falls between the well-polished cracks of traditional publication (as N.J. Fox suggests), it also provides a meaningful way to work in smaller increments of time, ones that we can eke out of a commuter existence.

E-mail Faculty on the Site.

Site Maintenance: Updates

After a dozen false starts in Spring of 1998, we have selected an update system we think is working. There are latest update notices on each page, and most of the time we remember to update them. There is also a Site Additions page which lists files by date of additions, alterations, and updates. So the system is: Check Site Additions for what is new within the last week or so. Then check the Site History file for pieces older than that.

What's New stayed with us. It's been neglected over the Winter Break 2000, but will be active in the Spring. We've also added What's New pages for each of the classes. The Concept Index started up in Fall 1999, and is now a regular section of the site. Many exercises from the last two years are still on the site. You are welcome to use them for any of your basic concept e-mails. But we started the 21st Century with the Concept Index and Pass? Prepared? Preparations, and a request for dialogs on the concepts.

Editors from our classes joined us in the production of the site in Fall 1999, and we look forward to seeing their role grow.

E-mail Faculty on the Site.


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