This afternoon I wrote to all Fordham American Studies faculty asking if anyone was interested in joining a conversation, on this blog, about the Occupy Wall Street phenomenon and its national and international repercussions. The response has been great: in just the first couple of hours, six faculty members have volunteered to participate: Robin Andersen (Communications and Media Studies) Doron Ben-Atar (History), Leonard Cassuto (English), Heather Gautney (Sociology), Micki McGee (Sociology), and Mark Naison (African and African American Studies). Other faculty may join the conversation over the coming days and weeks.
Some may post once; others may have a series of postings. Some may primarily post links to things they think would be useful for others to read; others may emphasize their own writings. Anything is fair game if bloggers think it will help students and others gain a historical, analytic, political, sociological, or other perspective on the phenomenon. All political perspectives on the events are welcome: left, right, and other. A robust and diverse discussion is the goal, though of course it will only be as diverse as the people who volunteer to contribute.
My other request to contributors is that I would prefer that the postings not be merely polemical, either cheerleading or denunciation. That's not to say they can't come from a recognizable and passionate political perspective, but my view is that one important thing an American Studies program blog can do is model for its readers--students and others--ways of talking about controversial events and issues that are analytic and civil, but at the same time don't pretend to be purely objective. However, the bloggers themselves will be the judge of what meets these standards; the only things that will be taken down are postings that violate widely recognized online ethical standards and practices--for instance, personal attacks. But I certainly don't expect anything of that sort to happen.
I'm excited to see where this conversation goes. Subscribe to/follow/bookmark/favorite this blog, and check back often--the discussion is bound to be lively! And most importantly, feel free to reply to anything you read here in the comments section!