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Serendip. open-ended public conversation, blogging?

Paul Grobstein's picture

Serendip as Facilitator of Open-ended Public Conversation
and its relevance for
Thinking About Blogging, Literature, and Human Well-Being

Paul Grobstein
Prepared for discussion in Emerging Genres, 24 April 2005

Aspirations, successes, challenges (1994-2005), and update

Lessons re open-ended public conversation

  • Need on multiple topics multiple voices offering openings to new understandings rather than authoritative perspectives
  • Needs voices that are able to articulate particular perspectives in terms that are significant for a variety of other interests
  • Need voices that are committed to speaking in widely accessible language
  • Need voices that seek to learn from responses
  • Need voices that are able to promote further conversation rather than to end it
  • Need readership that is interested in changing their own perspectives rather than either finding authoritative perspectives or persuading others of their own particular perspectives
  • Need readership that believes it its own capability to bring useful perspectives to the conversation
  • Need voices and readership that is committed to, believes in value of ongoing social and intellectual change
  • Needs voices and readership that has the patience to be committed to ongoing social and intellectual change

Relevance to literature/genre/blogging

  • Commitment to emergence stories, as opposed to non-narrative foundational, narrative foundational, or emergence stories
  • Commitment to collectively significant as opposed to purely individual, idiosyncratic stories
  • Absence of commitment to/valorization of the completed written word, idiosyncratic or otherwise
"According to Derrida, Plato, Rousseau, Saussure, and Levi-Strauss, have all denigrated the written word and valorised speech, by contrast, as some type of pure conduit of meaning. Their argument is that while spoken words are the symbols of mental experience, written words are the symbols of that already existing symbol. As representations of speech, they are doubly derivative and doubly far from a unity with one's own thought" ... Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy


Serendip is committed to creating materials that facilitate ongoing, open-ended public conversation on subjects of concern to a wide array of human beings

Serendip is not a "blog" as that is generally understood

Serendip is a "blog" in its commitment to the principles that

  • everyone should have access to/contribute to public conversation
  • important topics are accessible, meaningful and able to be contributed to by people of a wide array of interests and backgrounds

Serendip is neither "blog" nor "literature" in the traditional sense but something new that

Your thoughts welcome below, or in the class forum