<CPOV> Kick-starting new conversations : The next phase of CPOV

Nishant Shah nishant at cis-india.org
Wed May 9 22:32:58 CEST 2012

Dear All,

It has been almost a year since the Critical Point of View (CPOV) reader 
came out and it has been such an exciting one. The Reader, edited by 
Geert Lovink and Nathaniel Tkacz, and produced by the Institute of 
Network Cultures (Amsterdam ) and the Centre for Internet and Society 
(Bangalore), has received great reception and has emerged as one of the 
key resources to understand the politics of open knowledge vis-a-vis 
Wikipedia. However, as the editors mention in the introduction, the 
ambition of setting up this group was not to only talk about Wikipedia. 
Instead, the idea was to look at Wikipedia as a symptomatic site by 
which we build new frameworks and concepts to understand the ways in 
which connected and collaborative digital media are rapidly 
restructuring the older forms of knowledge production, consumption, 
distribution and dissemination.

The Reader has emerged as the first of its kind critical inquiry into 
various debates and discussions ranging from geo-politics to governance, 
and education to protocols of knowledge production online. While the 
Reader maps out the field and introduces the wide range of concerns 
around these areas, the editorial and organizing team, along with many 
of the participants had felt a growing need for specialised inquiries 
into some of the areas that the Reader opens up.

I am writing this email, on behalf of the organizing teams to give a 
brief update of how we are planning to take some of the ideas further, 
building upon the conversations that started at the workshops but did 
not always translate into contributions into the Reader. I am also 
writing to elicit responses from other interlocutors, about their own 
future plans and also the possible directions that our collective 
research can take. The idea is to start a momentum around ideas that we 
are invested in and see if new and novel collaborations can happen 
between different institutions and locations towards more specialised 
research that invokes Wikipedia in its unravelling of practices on the net.

A small and modest project that we, at the Centre for Internet and 
Society have initiated, with the University of California, Humanities 
Research Institute is titled 'The digital classroom in the time of 
Wikipedia'. The project invites various scholars and practitioners to 
produce academic essays, practice based case-studies, and regional 
snapshots of the growing intersections of technology, pedagogy and 
learning in spaces of formal learning within academic institutions. We 
are hoping to bring together people from different disciplines and build 
upon some of the ideas around education and digital natives, that we 
have been working through CPOV and other related topics. If any of you 
are interested in looking at the detailed concept note, and think that 
you would like to contribute to a special issue for an MIT Press 
journal, aimed at March 2013, please do write to me and I will be glad 
to share it with you.

Meanwhile, we are also interested, drawing from some of the other work 
that has happened at the INC, as well as with CIS' growing relationships 
with the Wikipedia community in India, in one area which found a lot of 
excitement at the CPOV workshopsand definitely needs more scholarship 
and academic attention : This is the question of Governance, Wikipedia 
and the changing face of web as we witness it in our contemporary times. 
As with the earlier Reader, the intention is to look at Wikipedia as a 
concrete site of inquiry, but producing knowledge which has to do with 
the much larger form and scope of the Internet. Especially in these 
'exciting' times, when we are moving into becoming information 
societies, the governance of Wikipedia and other User Generated Content 
spaces has become critical because it has direct implications on freedom 
of speech and expression, censorship, access to knowledge, open and 
collaborative forms of knowledge production, and the larger ideologies 
of neo-liberal nexuses which are shaping the internets today. An inquiry 
into modes, forms, practice, scale, scope and actors of governance 
within the complex and integrated world of Wikipedia, might lead us to 
not only unravelling the often mystified back-end of knowledge 
production on Wikipedia, but also, perhaps, suggest new manifestos and 
ideologies through which we need to revise our older concepts and ideas.

We hope that this area will resonate with many of your current projects 
and investment, and it would be great if we could find collaborators who 
would want to think through this process with us, form a core editorial 
and production team that will help out with fleshing of these ideas, 
devising methods for harnessing this knowledge and looking at forms of 
production and publication. It might also be fruitful for a handful of 
us to come together and form a larger concept note which might serve as 
grounds for discussions on this list, leading to knowledge sharing from 
different locations. As was the case with CPOV, we hope that our focus 
can be global, inviting different and critical perspectives from 
different locations in order to question the rhetoric of Universality 
that systems like Wikipedia (or Facebook) often produce.

We hope that this longish email shall jog us into conversations and we 
are very excited to see how you might shape these discussions.We are 
looking forward to finding new collaborators who will help us initiate a 
dialogue around these questions and move the project further.

Warm Regards

Nishant Shah

With Geert Lovink & Sunil Abraham

*Nishant Shah* Director - Research
Centre for Internet and Society #194, 2nd C Cross, Domlur 2nd Cross, 
Bangalore - 560071, India.
*Phone*: +91-9740074884
www.cis-india.org <http://www.cis-india.org>
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