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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Latest update: June 30, 1999
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Forum Access, Forum Control

  • It matters not if I agree or disagree . . . Link added January 14, 2002.

  • An interactive project in forums for non-violent ways to deal with structural violence.
    Link added February 18, 2000.

    New Links in June 1999

    The Concept of Forums

    Free Access to Scholarly Journals

    Designing Effective Action Alerts for the Internet
    Found link on National Women's Justice Coalition.
    recent Silencing as NOT Good Faith
    Essays on and references to Codes of Silence, Hockenberry,
    Freire, Kennedy, and many more.
    Some entire articles llinked online.
    recent Color, Gender, Class, and Age as Barriers to Forums
    Privilege, and how it plays in race. References to Images of Color.
    recent The Price of No Forum
    Story of Ayesha Jalal, a Pakistani scholar, to whom forums have been denied.
    recent Co-optation of Forums and Agencies and Other Bases
    Presently just defines the issues of co-optation. More to come.
    recent Technology as Access to Forums
    Brief definitions of technology issues as access. "Techno speak" and the E-rate.
    recent Race and Racism in American Law
    recentWeb Site designed to provide a forum for the voices silenced by racism.
    Entire articles on this topic available here online.
    Vernellia Randall's Home Page
    The Professor of Law at The Law School of the University of Dayton.
    most recent A Forum for Texts as Discourse Is Shaped

    most recent Graphic Artists Seek Forum on Web
    Icon from Widow's Web
    A Plea from Widow's Web Not to Link to Server

    Grass Roots and Public Discourse: Privacy on the Net
    European Concern Over Privacy in Data Collection
    Privacy Statement for Dear Habermas

  • forums

    The co-optation of forums is so common that we have learned not to see it. "You may not speak. You are not a member of this body." What powerful words! And where, then, may I speak and be heard by these people who are making the decisions that govern my life?

    It is often more subtle than that. A woman speaks. The dialog seems to skip right over her voice. Then, minutes later, a man speaks - the same idea. The dialog turns with praise for his ideas. What does the woman do? Carp, and be considered jealous? Go in silence, and be not heard? These are terrible dilemmas.

    A forum is co-opted when permission to be heard in good faith is controlled by a given interest group. Where may you speak? Where may you publish? And what controls access to that forum and to that forum's ability to reach the community?

    Other references on forums:

    Free Access to Scholarly Journals

    Science Times of NY Times from Tuesday, June 29, Robert Pear "NIH Plan for Journal on the Web Draws Fire". "Dr. Jerome P. Kassirer, editor in chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, (see "dumping drugs" in our site index), which has 240,00 paid subscribers, said, "E-biomed could have a disastrous effect on clinical journals." He worried that "subscribers would have no reason for subscribing" if they could get the contents of journals free on the Internet."

    One thing that was not discussed in the article was the extent to which the average citizen would use such information, if it were available. In discussing the social and economic consequences to global issues in "drug dumping" in Kosovo, I found an article referred to briefly by Abelson's Times article useful. My students will find it useful. We need access. We do not comprise their usual subscribers. But it behooves both us and them to stay abreast of such topics.

    Another concern for me as a scholar who desperately seeks at least superficial access to many journals across many disciplines, is the continuing argument over peer review. Peer review can take place as readily with an electronic journal as with any other. The real issue here is the control of forums and the denying of forum access to those who disagree with the prevailing views. The NIH planned journal offers one example. Another is far closer to home, with two sociology journals.

    Sociological Research Online and Electronic Journal of Sociology have been battling this one out. For a summary of the arguments, see EDITORIAL: A Response To Sociological Research Online. The Rigour of Peer Review and Other Myths of Science.

    The Price of No Forum

    Review by jeanne

    On December 26, 1998, N.Y. Times article, "Taking on Pakistani's Hero, Then Taking the Heat," by Jonathan Mahler, p. A23. Mahler tells the story of Ayesha Jalal, a Pakistani scholar considered "one of the most innovative scholars in the history of" the South Asia Region. Unfortunately, Dr. Jalal's interpretation of Pakistani independence and the role of its leader, Mohammed Ali Jinnah. But her work was provocative, and angered many. She was denied tenure at Columbia, won the prestigious "MacArthur Fellowship (commonly called the genius grant) this year, worth $265,000, no strings attached," is teaching at Harvard this year, but has been denied an appointment as "new chair in South Asian History" by the administration of Brown University.

    Is she "right," in her perception of the independence of Pakistan? Here is another situation in which scholars disagree, but hardly rationally. The response of the scholars in a position of power is to suppress her claim, to deny it a forum, to deny her a teaching forum, even in the face of her major accomplishments. How devastating can such denial be to her career? What is our role as members of the academic community in such a refusal to permit "wrong" claims to be voiced? Barbara Christian says a writer dies without an audience. What about a teacher? What about a scholar? And what of those who see the complexity behind the choice of the "right" position in argument? Ms. Jalal herself commented: "Either you're giving a Pakistani line or you're giving an Indian line, which I think is very problematic in an academic environment."

    Will you know which side of this argument your teacher has taken? Or will you just rely on the fact that it's in "the text," so "right"? Bear in mind that Ms. Falal has been called "the foremost historian of modern Pakistan," by other historians, and has published her work in The Sole Spokesman. Which "text," which "historian" will you accept as authority? Or can you tolerate a postmodern world in which none of us have the definitive answer, and in wich the price of peace and maybe legitimacy, if you believe in legitimacy, is rooted in a forum that permits of "not knowing," but tentatively commiting, until more is known?


    Jalal on South Asia:

    Visit for more information on Ayesha Jalal's
    History of South Asia.

    Wolpert on South Asia

    Stanley Wolpert on South Asia presents a different interpretation of Mohammed Ali Jinnah and Pakistani independence:

    Visit for more information on Stanley Wolpert's
    A New History of India.