Below are some updates regarding the format of the group and our discussions:
1) While we are maintaining the discussion forum on Google Groups, a network that allows us greater flexibility and organizational freedom than many listserv support systems, we will modify the group's participation format so as to encourage the type of dynamic and dialogical flow of research and ideas enabled by the format of academic listservs. Thus, instead of organizing periodic discussions constituting a subgroup of consortium members, our internet discussions will be ongoing and flexible, with no time limits.
2) All members of the consortium will be included in the discussions, and will no longer need to sign up to participate in a scheduled discussion. You will receive all messages that your colleagues send to the group, and you in turn can post freely to the entire group. (Incidentally, if you no longer wish to receive messages from the consortium, this would be a good time to withdraw from the list - just email me to let me know you would like to be removed.) Thus, the scope of participation has been widened, as you will now be able (and are encouraged) to initiate discussions, propose topics, share research materials, academic and news articles, links, and other resources with your fellow members, outside of the boundaries of a scheduled discussion. In this way, we have loosened the formality of previous discussions, allowing for more spontaneous and informal participation. Yet in doing so, we have also called for more rigorous participation from all members, who are expected to regularly contribute to our online discussion network. The group will thus thrive on each individual's thoughtful and informed contributions to the consortium's direction. Thus, the task of "directing" the consortium will now be diffused throughout the group, and rather than acting as the "director," I will be more of a moderator, respondent, and editor.
3) As a reflection of this organizational and methodological change, we will be changing the name of the group to Critical Studies in Expressive Culture, in order to better express our purpose and methods. Thus, we emphasize that it is a study group, in which we critically engage with relevant themes and problems in scholarship on human rights and expressive culture. Please not that the URL for the blog, www.chreculture.blogspot.com, will not change for the time being.
4) We are currently in the early stages of planning a conference to be held at CUNY Hunter College in New York - the proceedings of which we hope to publish for a wider audience. If you would like to be involved in planning the focus of the conference, please contact me to discuss this further.
I hope you are all enjoying the summer, and I look forward to hearing from you via our Google Groups discussion page.