Postcolonial Studies – e-tivity 05

On entering the  Emory University Postcolonial site I was immediately struck by its uncanny resemblance to the ‘Encarta encyclopedia’  software that seemed to be used by everyone prior to the internet’s arrival. No doubt it was the basis for the aesthetics and design of this site when it began in 1996.

However, I did not find the information; of which there is alot, to be as sparse as the general backdrop of the site itself. The site is very thorough in covering all the bases of the subject, including all recognised authors of the time etc. However, it feels much like the old Encarta format; an encyclopedia, full of dry and ‘factual’ information. This in turn led me to boredom and scan reading. True, the University of Chicago site still operates in a similar manner, filling the page with textual information. Yet it remains more discursive throughout, which engages the viewer when reading.

 I find that both sites reference texts etc. very throughly, but still favour the more modern University of Chicago approach; placed alongside the text, as they are instantly attainable at a glance. Thus the flow of reading is undisturbed. A strong point of both sites are the links on words of importance, or that are referenced elsewhere in on the site. This allows the reader to jump back and forth easily between links in theory and opinion. This is a tactic that I feel we could utilise on our site, and is something I wish to do with my own writing on the tiip site.

 As regards the collaborative nature of both sites I am still undecided of the implications upon the researcher. I feel this is mainly because I did not distinguish between 1 writer to the next, particularly on the Postcolonial site. They are overly formulaic in my opinion. To dry and factual, and with it authoritive. I do not feel this is how we should be working on our site: We are researchers, not encyclopedia writers. I feel we should set about pulling things apart, picking at them and then making connections and working them in as links between our pages.

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One Response to Postcolonial Studies – e-tivity 05

  1. Hi Jim

    I agree with you that the resource offered by the University of Chicago is superior in its design and fluidiity of functionality compared to Emory. Like you I am inclined to think that the information presented on both sites can be very dry and at times perhaps ‘overly intellectualised’. Something that does come across on our blog is the subjectivity of experience – the personal element which makes life more interesting. There is vast areas of research to prove that we learn best when knowledge is framed in storytelling, producing emotional content and response. so how can we make our blog here at Westminster juicy?

    Already I find the idea of how different each student’s response to the e-tivity interesting. In some way it reminds me of when I used to do guided visualisation journeys as part of my kabbalah group and how amazingly different and unique each person’s experience was. This is one of the potential fruits of collaborative process and the thinking practices blog. I also think that the blog would be enhanced by the weaving of text and image, especially given that we are all fine artists. The visual response to topics and ideas must play its symbolic role. It would also give each of us a clearer idea about the aesthetic choices, values and reasoning of other students.

    I am aware that cross-referencing is very time consuming – for me at least because it is a new area of study, but perhaps having become more acquainted with such procedures by the end of the module we could introduce many more links to each other’s work and sources outside. I chose to study an MA in Fine Art to create, explore and discuss art rather than become a writer and methodically detailed researcher. However I do appreciate that these are skills that could prove useful in a creative career per se.

    I suppose as ever it all comes down to time, focus, and creative competency to build a resource that we are all very proud of.

    blessings esther

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