WHAT MAKES JEWISH PHILOSOPHY JEWISH?
UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT DALLAS
ACKERMAN CENTER FOR HOLOCAUST STUDIES
Prof. David Patterson
Ackerman Center for Holocaust Studies
University of Texas at Dallas.
What Makes Jewish Philosophy Jewish?
This paper examines the categories of thought, such as creation, revelation, and redemption, that impart a Jewish aspect to the thinking. It contrasts those categories with those that shape Western speculative thought, such as causation, reason, and personal autonomy.
What Makes Jewish Thought Jewish?
The University of Texas at Dallas Ackerman Center for Holocaust Studies
Much has been written about Jewish thought. Universities offer courses on Jewish thought and organizations offer awards for scholarship in Jewish thought. Seldom, however, is it asked: What makes Jewish thought Jewish? Surely the fact that a Jew has a thought does not make it a Jewish thought. If the Jewishness of Jewish thought were merely a matter of ethnic accident, then the designation would be meaningless. In that case every Jew who thinks, from Karl Marx to Menachem Mendel Schneerson, would be a Jewish thinker.
Still, in one way or another, Jewish thinkers have been engaged with the question of what makes Jewish thought Jewish since the Maccabees’ revolt against the Hellenization of Judea in 167 BCE. The reason for this engagement lies in the question of whether Greek speculative thought is compatible with Jewish thinking. Throughout the first millennium of rabbinic Judaism the attitude toward Greek philosophy was generally hostile. In the Talmud, for example, it is written, “When Ben Damah, the son of Rabbi Ishmael’s sister, asked when he may study the wisdom of the Greeks, the Rabbi answered, ‘Go find a time that is neither day nor night and then learn the Greek wisdom’” (Menachot 99b). And it is said of the talmudic sage who became an apostate, Elisha ben Avuya, that he had secretly studied Greek philosophy before he abandoned Torah (Chagigah 14b).
Why should Greek philosophy pose such a threat to a Jew’s embrace of Torah? Because the categories of thought most central to Torah are most alien to Greek thinking: creation and revelation. For creation and revelation imply the action and the entry of One who is more than all there is into the midst of all there is. And, from the standpoint of reason as understood by the Greeks, there cannot be more than all. Hence the Greek speculative thinkers had no concept of creation or revelation. Hellenistically speaking, all that is has always been, and within all that is lies all that is to be realized. Hellenistically speaking, creation and revelation simply do not stand to reason.
In this opposition of the categories of thought lies the tension between the Greek and Hebrew traditions. The context of the question before lies in the history of that tension.
Historical Background and Contexts
The first of the giants among Jewish thinkers who did not shy away from reason was Saadia Gaon (882 -942).1 Saadia, however, did not take reason alone to be the high court of truth. For along with reason, he maintained, tradition and revelation are two other sources of knowledge and wisdom.2 The Middle Ages saw other Jewish thinkers who incorporated some of the Greek thinking—particularly the thinking of Aristotle—into their own thinking; among them are Bachya ibn Paquda (ca. 1090 – 1156), Maimonides (1135 – 1204), and Gersonides (1288 -1344). Says Bachya, “Reflection is a lamp, which you bring into your mind.”3 “Through intellect,” Maimonides asserts, “man distinguishes between the true and the false.”4 And “if the literal sense of the Torah differs from reason,” writes Gersonides, “it is necessary to interpret those passages in accordance with the demands of reason.”5
These Jewish thinkers who extolled the importance of reason, however, have been misleadingly labeled “rationalists.” According to the Greek thinking that gave rise to the speculative tradition, the aim of wisdom is to “know thyself.” According to Jewish thinking, as stated by Bachya, the aim of wisdom is to “become cognizant of the Creator,” who is revealed, and not deduced.6 Those who would file Maimonides into the category of “rationalist” perhaps forget his insistence upon creation as a defining category of Jewish teaching7 and his opening statement in Part III of The Guide for the Perplexed, where he says, “We have stated several times that it is our primary object in this treatise to expound, as far as possible, the Biblical account of the Creation (Ma‘aseh bereshit) and the description of the Divine Chariot (Ma‘aseh mercabah) in a manner adapted to the training of those for whom this work is written.”8 Thus invoking the two concepts most central to Kabbalah, Maimonides can hardly be labeled simply as a rationalist, as speculative philosophy would define the term. As for Gersonides, he insists that in his philosophical reflection “we have not assented to the view that our reason has suggested without determining its compatibility with our Torah.”9 For all three, the revealed Torah, and not the Metaphysics of Aristotle, remains the measure of truth.
In the modern period the tension between Jewish thought and speculative philosophy truly comes to bear, in such a way that the question of what makes Jewish thought Jewish becomes all the more pressing. The first of the modern Jews to embrace the speculative tradition to the exclusion of Torah—that is, to the exclusion of the categories of creation and revelation as they unfold in Torah—is Benedict de Spinoza (1632 – 1677). Because we have reason, according to Spinoza, “we do not need any privileged revelation of God’s intentions.”10 In the Age of the Enlightenment Moses Mendelssohn (1729 – 1786) defended the rationalism that characterized Spinoza’s thinking. “Necessary truths,” he writes in Jerusalem, “are based upon reason, i.e., upon the unchangeable logical relationship and essential coherence of concepts,”11 and not upon revelation. “We have no doctrines that are contrary to reason,” he insists, in keeping with the philosophical trend of the Enlightenment. “The fundamental tenets of our religion rest on the foundation of reason.”12 This process of a Jewish accommodation of philosophy, particularly the Kantian philosophy of the Enlightenment, reached its culmination in Hermann Cohen’s (1842 – 1918) Religion of Reason out of the Sources of Judaism, published posthumously in 1919. Situating reason—and especially the ethics derived from reason—above revelation, the Kantian Cohen writes, “Ethics knows neither man nor God; it begets these concepts through its method.”13 Hence ethics born of reason, and not commanded by the Most High, is the highest. In the end, such a move makes Torah—the very thing that defines a Jew—irrelevant.
Inasmuch as it makes Torah irrelevant, such a view is not Jewish, and the major thinkers of the Enlightenment knew it. Hence their animosity toward Judaism. As Berel Lang has pointed out, “there are few figures of the Enlightenment in fact who in their common defense of toleration do not qualify that principle where the Jews are concerned. This fact alone would be significant for assessing the Enlightenment in relation to its ideals; it becomes still more significant in the light of evidence that this attitude toward the Jews was not accidental or simply the recrudescence of earlier prejudices, but was engendered by the doctrines of the Enlightenment itself.”14 In a word, Enlightenment thought, which is the outcome of centuries of the Western speculative tradition, is antithetical to Jewish thought.
What Lang refers to as “doctrines,” however, might be better understood as modes or categories of thought. For the animosity of Voltaire and Kant, of Fichte and Hegel, toward the Jews has more to do with a Jewish mode of thought than with ethnic or religious prejudice. Understanding freedom, for instance, in terms of self-legislating autonomy, Kant decried the Jews’ “heteronomous” view of freedom rooted in divine commandments and called for the “euthanasia” of Judaism.15 Equally hostile toward Judaism, which insists upon revelation and the absolute distinction between God and humanity, Hegel maintained that revealed religion is superseded by the absolute knowledge of reason16 and denied the otherness of the divinity; for Hegel, Emil Fackenheim (1916 – 2003) correctly explains, “divinity comes to dwell, as it were, in the same inner space as the human self.”17 To be sure, the idealist thinking with which we shall contrast Jewish thought “reduces the world to the perceiving self,”18 as Cohen’s student Franz Rosenzweig (1886 – 1929) pointed out. If the Cartesian cogito situates being within the thinking ego, the Kantian critique deduces everything from the thinking ego. Such a move, as Nietzsche understood, makes God as superfluous to thought as He is to life.19
Realizing that the speculative mode of thought is alien to a Jewish way of thinking, Rosenzweig was the first of the major twentieth-century Jewish thinkers to take up a renewed critique of the speculative tradition. In his most important work, The Star of Redemption, he situates the concrete life of Judaism over against the abstract reasoning of idealist philosophy. In contrast to the discourse of causality, rationality, and morality, Rosenzweig’s key terms are creation, revelation, and redemption. Further, whereas speculative thought would reduce God, world, and humanity to concepts and therefore to derivatives of one another, Rosenzweig insists upon the distinctive differences among these realities. In order to delineate these differences, he calls for a new method of thinking: in contrast to the abstraction and isolation of thought ruled by reason, Rosenzweig posits the concrete, time- bound interrelation of human beings through what he calls “new thinking” or “speaking thinking,” which is essentially Jewish thinking. In accordance with Jewish teaching,20 Rosenzweig sees the human being not so much as a thinking being as a speaking being.
While numerous Jewish thinkers who followed Rosenzweig took up a critique of speculative ontological thought,21 Emmanuel Levinas (1906 – 1995) was the most thorough and persistent, especially in his response to Martin Heidegger (1889 – 1976), the philosopher in whom the ontological tradition arguably finds its culmination. Levinas writes, “A philosophy of power, ontology is, as first philosophy which does not call into question the same, a philosophy of injustice… . Heideggerian ontology, which subordinates the relationship with the Other to the relation with Being in general, remains under obedience to the anonymous, and leads inevitably to another power, to imperialist domination, to tyranny.”22 And: “Heideggerian philosophy precisely marks the apogee of a thought in which the finite does not refer to the infinite (prolonging certain tendencies of Kantian philosophy: the separation between understanding and reason, diverse themes of transcendental dialectics), in which every deficiency is but weakness and every fault committed against oneself—the outcome of a long tradition of pride, heroism, domination, and cruelty. Heideggerian ontology subordinated the relation with the other to the relation with the neuter, Being, and it thus continues to exalt the will to power, whose legitimacy the other alone can unsettle, troubling good conscience.”23 Over against Heideggerian ontology Levinas posits ethics as first philosophy, and his understanding of ethics is rooted in Jewish teaching.
Levinas sees the ethics of Judaism as an “ethics of heteronomy that is not a servitude, but the service of God through responsibility for the neighbor, in which I am irreplaceable.”24 Contrasting the God of Torah with the god of the philosophers, Levinas maintains that ethics is not a moment in being or conceived by thought.25 Rather, it is otherwise or better than being: it is the divine ought that enters being as a commandment from beyond being [revelation], before being [creation].26 Similarly, God and humanity do not share a moral essence; rather, each is beyond essence, for each is irreplaceable. In a word, God the Creator and the one created in His image and likeness are holy. As an ethical being, therefore, the human being is a “breach of being,” manifest not in the thinking “I” but in the divinely commanded movement toward the other human being, for the sake of the other human being.
For Levinas, coming to a knowledge of God lies not in having engaged in a certain reflection but in having received a certain revelation, a revelation in the mode of commandment, a mitzvah. The mitzvah, Levinas insists, “is not a moral formalism” but is rather “the living presence of love,”27 which is manifest precisely in the commandment to love. God is not love, says Levinas; rather, God is the commandment to love.28 Whereas speculative thought derives God from, say, a moral principle,29 Levinas sees God as the source of the ethical commandment and manifest in the commandment.30 Whereas speculative thought emphasizes the autonomy of the self, Levinas focuses on the self’s heteronomous responsibility for the other person.31 Whereas speculative thought is interested in freedom, Levinas insists upon the pursuit of justice.32 In short, whereas speculative takes revelation to be the revelation of reason, Levinas views it as the revelation of love.
Like Rosenzweig and contrary to Kant, Levinas maintains that love can be commanded; like Rosenzweig and contrary to Cohen, Levinas embraces not a “reformed Judaism” but a Judaism grounded in Torah and Talmud. “The meaning of being, the meaning of creation,” he affirms in one of his studies of the Talmud, “is to realize the Torah” through a concrete action of loving kindness toward our fellow human being.33 Emphasizing the concreteness of Jewish tradition over the abstractions of “spiritual” religion-in-general, Levinas insists upon the primacy of the divine commandments that lie at the heart of Jewish life. The Holy One is the source of those commandments, which we receive not through ethereal reflection but through the flesh-and-blood encounter with the face of the other human being, through this person who is here before me now. “The face,” says Levinas, “is what forbids us to kill.”34 To encounter the face is to encounter Torah; it is through the face that Torah enters this world from beyond this world. Through the face, Torah commands us to be there for the sake of another. And the obligation precedes the situation: I do not enter into a situation and then derive my universal maxim; no, the “maxim” is already commanded by the Creator, prior to all context.
Levinas views the welcome or the greeting extended to the other person as the core of Judaism and Jewish thought.35 Because greeting the other person is incumbent upon me, I share no equality with the other human being; rather, he or she always comes first. Therefore I have one responsibility more than the other, namely the responsibility to die rather than inflict death upon the other: the death that concerns me, Levinas states it, is the death of my fellow human being—not my death.36 And I must attest to that concern even at the cost of my own life. Speculative thought grounded in reason cannot deduce this radical inequality. For reason, all equations must balance. For reason, everyone is the same—not equally holy, but merely the same, so that in the end, nothing really matters, because nothing is really holy. Which means: every life is replaceable. From the standpoint of Jewish thought, not only is every life unique and irreplaceable—every life is indispensable to all of creation.
The Categories That Define Jewish Thought as Jewish
From this discussion of the historical tension between Athens and Jerusalem there emerge certain polarities in the categories that shape the two modes of thought. Lining up those categories may provide some clarity to the question posed here: What makes Jewish though Jewish, and, at least up to our own time, not Hellenistic? The differences may be summarized like this:
These categories that define what is Jewish about Jewish thought are rooted in Torah, so that, in the words of Fackenheim, “nothing so powerfully makes a philosopher Jewish as ‘Torah.’”37 What, then, makes Jewish thought Jewish? It is Torah. And the fundamental categories that shape Jewish thought rooted in Torah can be derived from its opening line: Bereshit bara Elohim et ha-shamayim v’et ha-aretz, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
Bereshit, “in the beginning,” does not refer to the first in a sequence of things but to the first thing, the most important thing, namely that God created: Bereshit bara… . The movement of creation, moreover, is a movement into relation, as indicated by the word bara, meaning “created.” For bara, as Nachmanides (1194 – 1270) has noted,38 is a cognate of brit, which is “covenant.” Of the many names used to refer to God, the word for “God” in this verse is Elohim. The Zohar explains the significance of this term by saying, “When the most Mysterious wished to reveal Himself, He first produced a single point which was transmuted into a thought… . This is called Mi, or ‘Who,’ and was the beginning of the edifice, existent and non-existent, deeply buried, unknowable by name. It was only called Mi. It desired to become manifest and to be called by name. It therefore clothed itself in a refulgent and precious garment and created Eleh, or ‘These,’ and Eleh acquired a name. The letters of the two words intermingled, forming the complete name E-l-o-h-i-m” (Zohar I, 2a). While the teaching that God created is a first principle of Torah and Jewish thought, God Himself is not the First Principle or the First Cause. There is no entering into a covenant with a principle or a cause. Because creation entails a movement into a covenant, Jewish thought is concerned not with what caused all this to exist but with who created it. And this matter of concern is couched in the divine name Elohim.
This point is a crucial one. Contrary to Greek speculative thought, which views god as a principle, cause, concept, logos, and so on—that is, which views god as a what—Jewish thought view God as a who, as a living, commanding presence with whom the human being enters into a relation. As Creator, God is never the object of thought but rather is the thinking subject. This distinctively Jewish view is a theme that runs throughout the work of the distinctively Jewish thinker Abraham Joshua Heschel. He says, for example, that “God-awareness is not an act of God being known to man; it is an act of man’s being known by God. In thinking about Him we are thought by Him.”39 Thus “we approach Him, not by making Him the object of our thinking, but by discovering ourselves as the objects of His thinking.”40 Thinking, therefore, is relational. Jewishly understood, it unfolds not within the confines of the ego but in a breaking free from the ego; thinking takes place under a canopy of thought steeped in love and longing. The philosophers’ First Cause, by contrast, is utterly indifferent toward the human being and therefore utterly alien to Jewish thought. Understood as sheer perfection, such a god is in need of nothing: as Aristotle asserts, it neither loves nor is in need of love.41 Nor does it ask what God asks Adam: “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9). The question from the Holy One is not “What do you think?” or “How do you feel?” but “Where are you in relation to your neighbor and to Me?” For “it is not good for the human being to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). In Jewish thought, we are who we are in the midst of relation, not in the cave of isolation.
The Jewish thinker thinks in just such a context of being questioned, singled out by name to answer to the Name. That being singled out is the meaning of the word you. Thus, looking further at the opening line of Torah, we recall another teaching from the Zohar. Instead of reading Bereshit bara Elohim et ha-… as “In the beginning God created the…,” the Zohar reads it as “In the beginning God created the alef, tav, hey of atah: You.” Says the Zohar, “The word et consists of the letters alef and tav, which include between them all the letters, as being the first and last of the alphabet. Afterwards hey was added, so that all the letters should be attached to hey, and this gave the name atah (You)” (Zohar I, 15b). Only a who—only one who bears a name and not an essence, only a unique one—can say you and be addressed as you.
In just such a you-saying the Creator is revealed: creation is tied to revelation. The Creator who cries out to us, “Where are you?” reveals Himself as commanding Presence who longs for a relation with us. Revealing His longing, He reveals an intimate aspect of Himself; putting to us a question, He calls forth from us a response and announces our responsibility. In this way He reveals to us a certain “connection” to Him, a tzavta, as it is called in the Talmud, and tzavta is the root of mitzvah, the word for “commandment.” If, from the standpoint of Jewish thought, our thinking unfolds under the canopy of divine thought, it unfolds in the context of commandment and revelation. Revelation is the revelation of a connection to the Creator; it is the revelation of the responsibility which I alone can meet. “The attributes of God,” Levinas makes this point, “are given not in the indicative, but in the imperative. The knowledge of God comes to us like a commandment, like a Mitzvah. To know God is to know what must be done.”42 Such knowledge cannot be deduced—it comes only with being commanded, only by being summoned to answer, “Here I am,” to another. The voice of reason, by contrast, is nothing more than an echo of the ego: it is the voice of no one.
Who calls us by name, asking us where we stand in relation to our neighbor? The One who is Most High: thus God creates the heavens, et ha-shamayim, prior to creating the earth, opening up a dimension of height from which all that is below receives its meaning. Where do we encounter this dimension of height? Not in the isolation of our abstract ruminations but in the concrete encounter with this human being. In this encounter we are shaken from the sleep of our complacency. Realizing that I do not deduce what is needful, that I do not determine whether I am called, and that who I am lies in my capacity to answer, “Here I am, for you,” I realize that who I am lies not in my autonomous self-legislation but in the heteronomy of this disturbance by the concrete presence of the other human being. For Jewish thought—and contrary, for example, to Kantian idealism—my “freedom” (if one can still speak of freedom) lies in the heteronomous relation. It consists not in what I want to do or will to do but in the realization of what I must do, of what I am commanded to do, not from within myself but despite myself, in an abrogation of the ego. For Jewish thought, then, it is not freedom that we are commanded to pursue, at least not in the Kantian sense, where freedom is characterized by self-legislating autonomy. Instead of seeking freedom, we are summoned to seek “justice,” or tzedek, as it is written (Deuteronomy 16:20). Where do we seek justice? Not in the heights but here below, on this concrete earth, this aretz.
In the framework of Jewish thought, moreover, the pursuit of justice on this earth is not a matter of appropriate compensation, balancing scales, or being fair. For tzedek also means “righteousness,” so that the pursuit of justice entails both the human-to-human relation and the human-to-divine relation, both the ben adam lechevero and the ben adam leMakom, both the heavens and the earth. It is a righteousness that lives in tzedakah or “charity,” which is an unequal giving, a giving without expectation of reciprocity, a giving that is never enough. Thus the self is never equal to itself. In the transition from thought to word to deed—a transition that is a defining feature of Jewish thought—there is always something more that the human being must become but never is: the human being is a breach of being. That is what it means to have a name, and not an essence: it means being summoned to be more. Thus we have the commandment to love the Holy One with all out heart, all our soul, and all our more, b’kol meodekha (Deuteronomy 6:5). The more here is more than what we are: it is more than all there is, more than being, what Levinas calls “otherwise than being.” It is kadosh.
Because speculative thought grounded in reason cannot think in terms of more than all there is, it cannot think in terms of the holy but only of the good. In Jewish thought the category of the “holy,” of the kadosh, is the category of what is unlike anything else: ain kamokha, it is written in the Psalms (86:8), “there is nothing like You.” Meaning “separate” or “distinct” from all other things, kadosh does not refer to one special thing in the ontological landscape of things. Rather, it designates what lies outside of all ontological categories and therefore what imparts meaning to being. If the meaning of being is to realize Torah, the meaning of being is to draw holiness into this realm, which is to say: for Jewish thought, the meaning of being is to draw meaning into being from what is otherwise than being. Otherwise, being can have no meaning. For Jewish thought, the Holy One, who in the beginning—in a beginning antecedent to all beginnings—created the heavens and the earth, is not the “Supreme Being.” He is not the ultimate “Good,” “Perfection,” “Power,” or anything else that belongs to the categories of speculative thought. Beyond all categories, beyond all thought, He is the One who gives meaning to thought by commanding us to transform thought and word into deed.
Closing Thoughts on the Stake in the Question
“In order to understand ourselves and to illuminate our trackless way into the future,” writes Leo Strauss, “we must understand Jerusalem and Athens.”43 Part of understanding Jerusalem and Athens entails understanding something about their languages. From the foregoing one will note that Jewish thought is a mode of thinking informed by Hebrew, that is, by the Holy Tongue of Torah, Mishnah, Midrash, and the books of the sacred tradition. The fact that language informs and shapes thought should be self-evident. People who have studied languages other than their own have studied other ways of framing reality and viewing the world. Inasmuch as the context for raising the question of what makes Jewish thought Jewish is the Greek speculative tradition in which Jewish thinkers find themselves, the relation between language and thought is a critical one. In that relation there is more at stake than we may realize.
Martin Heidegger once asserted that, along with Greek (the language of Athens), German (the language of Auschwitz) “is at once the most powerful and the most spiritual of languages,” and therefore the most appropriate language for philosophy.44 But what sort of philosophy? It is the philosophy of power that Levinas describes above, a philosophy empty of the dimension of height, a philosophy for which power is the only reality and weakness is the only sin, a philosophy in which man is justified by will alone. Once speculative thought has silenced the commanding Voice of revelation, it can take us down a wayward path, as history has shown: the road that led to Auschwitz had its origins in Athens. Heidegger himself, one of the greatest philosophers of the twentieth century, is proof of this.
An unrepentant Nazi, Heidegger affirmed Nietzsche’s contention that value is determined by will, saying, “The expression ‘will to power’ designates the basic character of beings; any being which is, insofar as it is, is will to power.”45 Insisting upon the preeminence of decisiveness, he maintained that “Dasein is its own self in the original isolation of silent resolve.”46 Here, as Hans Jonas points out, “decision in itself is the greatest virtue. . . . [Heidegger] identified the decisiveness (of the Führer and the Party) with the principle of decisiveness and resoluteness as such… . I realized, appalled, this was not only Heidegger’s personal error but also somehow set up in his thinking.”47 In Heidegger’s thinking we have the culmination of centuries of the speculative tradition, a tradition hostile toward Jewish thought from the beginning. Hence his complaint about the “Jewification” of the German mind.48 An unrepentant Nazi, he formulated a philosophical underpinning for Volk and Führer, which insists, as Heidegger did, that “the Führer himself and he alone is the present and future German reality and its law.”49
On 10 March 1940 Chaim Kaplan wrote in his Warsaw Ghetto diary that after this evil, which had left the world covered with the ashes of the dead, “either humanity would be Judaic, or it would be idolatrous-German.”50 Which is to say: either humanity would curl up in the solipsistic cocoon of self-interest, or it would realize its calling in a concern for the other. And so we have an intimation of what is at stake in our engagement with the question of what makes Jewish thought Jewish. What had been a tension between Athens and Jerusalem has become a tension between Auschwitz and Jerusalem. Nor is the question merely a Jewish question. Going to the core of how we understand the dearness of a human being, it goes to the core of all humanity. It shapes what we make of commandments such as the prohibition against murder and the summons to love our neighbor, or whether, indeed we take these to be commandments at all.
Levinas has said that where ethics is first philosophy, the question is not “Why is there something rather than nothing” but rather “Do I not kill by being?”51 How we answer that question is what is at stake in our engagement with the matter of what makes Jewish thought Jewish. But there is just one more question decided in this engagement, and in this one everything is at stake: Does it matter whether I kill by being?
1 Some will immediately ask, “What about Philo of Alexandria (20 BCE – 50 CE), the Hellenized Jew? He did not shy away from reason.” But that’s just it: he was a Hellenized Jew. Philo certainly did not shy away from reason. Unlike Saadia Gaon, he shied away from Torah and the categories that shape its thinking.
2 Saadia Gaon, The Book of Beliefs and Opinions, trans. Samuel Rosenblatt (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1976), 336.
3 Bachya ibn Paquda, Duties of the Heart, Vol. 2, trans. Moses Hyamson (New York: Feldheim, 1970), 319.
4 Maimonides, The Guide for the Perplexed, trans. M. Friedlaender (New York: Dover, 1956), 15.
5 Gersonides, The Wars of the Lord, Vol. 1, trans. Seymour Feldman (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1984), 98.
6 Bachya ibn Paquda, Duties of the Heart, Vol. 1, trans. Moses Hyamson (New York: Feldheim, 1970), 151.
7 See Maimonides, 49, 149.
8 Ibid., 251.
9 Gersonides, 226.
10 Benedict de Spinoza, Ethics, trans. Edwin Curley (New York: Penguin, 2005), viii.
11 Moses Mendelssohn, Jerusalem and Other Religious Writings, trans. and ed. Alfred Jospe (New York: Schocken Books, 1969), 62.
12 Ibid., 137.
13 Hermann Cohen, Religion of Reason out of the Sources of Judaism, trans. Simon Kaplan (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1995), 237.
14 Berel Lang, Act and Idea in the Nazi Genocide (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2003), 185.
15 Immanuel Kant, Conflict of the Faculties, trans. Mary J. Gregor (New York: Abaris, 1979), 95.
16 For a good discussion of this point, see Edith Wyschogrod, Spirit in Ashes: Hegel, Heidegger, and Man-Made Death (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985), 69-72.
17 Emil L. Fackenheim, Encounters between Judaism and Modern Philosophy (New York: Basic Books, 1993), 190-91.
18 See Nahum Glatzer’s introduction to Franz Rosenzweig, Understanding the Sick and the Healthy, trans. Nahum Glatzer (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999), 24.
19 See Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, trans. Walter Kaufmann (New York: Vintage Books, 1974), Section 125.
20 See, for example, Rabbi Shalom Dov Ber Schneersohn, Yom Tov Shel Rosh Hashanah 5659: Discourse One, trans. Yosef B. Marcus and Moshe Miller (Brooklyn: Kehot, 2000), 36.
21 These thinkers, their significant differences notwithstanding, include Martin Buber (1978 – 1965), Joseph Soloveitchik (1903 – 1993), Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907 – 1972), Emil L. Fackenheim (1916 – 2003), and others.
22 Emmanuel Levinas, Totality and Infinity, trans. Alphonso Lingis (Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 1969), 46-47.
23 Emmanuel Levinas, Collected Philosophical Papers, trans. Alphonso Lingis (Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff, 1987), 52.
24 Emmanuel Levinas, Outside the Subject, trans. Michael B. Smith (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1994), 35.
25 Emmanuel Levinas, Of God Who Comes to Mind, trans. Bettina Bergo (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1998), 56.
26 See Emmanuel Levinas, Ethics and Infinity, trans. Richard A. Cohen (Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 1985), 109.
27 Levinas, Outside the Subject, 57.
28 See Emmanuel Levinas, “The Paradox of Morality,” in Robert Bernasconi and David Wood , eds., The Provocation of Levinas: Rethinking the Other (London: Routledge, 1988), 176-77.
29 See Immanuel Kant, Religion with the Limits of Reason Alone, trans. Theodore M. Greene (New York: HarperOne, 1960), 171.
30 See, for example, Levinas, Collected Philosophical Papers, 59.
31 See, for example, Levinas, Of God Who Comes to Mind, 71.
32 See, for example, Levinas, Ethics and Infinity, p. 99.
33 Emmanuel Levinas, Nine Talmudic Readings, trans. Annette Aronowicz (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990), 41.
34 Levinas, Ethics and Infinity, 86.
35 See Emmanuel Levinas, Difficult Freedom: Essays on Judaism, trans. Sean Hand (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990), 173.
36 See Emmanuel Levinas, “Bad Conscience and the Inexorable”, in Richard A. Cohen, ed., Face to face with Levinas (Albany: SUNY Press, 1986), 40.
37 Emil L. Fackenheim, Jewish Philosophers and Jewish Philosophy, ed. Michael L. Morgan (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996), 107-08.
38 See Nachmanides, Commentary on the Torah, Vol. 1, trans. Charles B. Chavel (New York: Shilo, 1971), 112.
39 Abraham Joshua Heschel, God in Search of Man (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1955), 160.
40 Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Prophets, Vol. 2 (New York: Harper & Row, 1975), p. 267.
41 See ibid., 12 ff.
42 Levinas, Difficult Freedom, 17.
43 Leo Strauss, Studies in Platonic Political Philosophy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985), 147.
44 Martin Heidegger, Introduction to Metaphysics, trans. Gregory Fried and Richard Polt (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2000), 60.
45 Martin Heidegger, “Will to Power as Art” In Nietzsche, Vol. 1, trans. D. Krell (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1979), 18.
46 Martin Heidegger, Sein und Zeit (Tübingen: Max Niemeyer, 1963), 322.
47 Hans Jonas, “Heidegger’s Resoluteness and Resolve,” in Guenther Neske and Emil Kettering, eds., Martin Heidegger and National Socialism, trans. Lisa Harries (New York: Paragon, 1990), 202 – 03.
48 Reported in Die Zeit, 29 December 1989; see Theodore Kisiel, “Heidegger’s Apology: Biography and Philosophy and Ideology,” in Tom Rockmore and Joseph Margolis, eds., The Heidegger Case: On Philosophy and Politics (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1992), 12.49 From the Freiburger Studentenzeitung, 3 November 1933; see Neske and Kettering, 45.
50 Chaim A. Kaplan, Scroll of Agony: The Warsaw Diary of Chaim A. Kaplan, trans. Abraham I. Katsh (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1999), 130.
51 Levinas, Ethics and Infinity, 120.
PRODUCING BIOETHICS RADIO – NEW MEDIA AND BIOETHICS PEDAGOGY
WAKE FOREST UNIVERSITY
DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNICATION
Prof. Richard Robeson
Department of Communication
Wake Forest University.
Producing Bioethics Radio — New Media and Bioethics Pedagogy
This paper details a strategy by which a class of undergraduate Communication majors learned audio production while in the process also learning critical and analytical skills in bioethics.
Producing Bioethics Radio — New Media and Bioethics Pedagogy
Adjunct Professor of Practice – Bioethics, Department of Communication
Bioethics Faculty, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
WFU Center for Bioethics, Health and Society
Wake Forest University
Winston-Salem, NC USA
HAWAII INIVERSITY INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCES ON ARTS, HUMANITIES, SOCIAL SCIENCES AND EDUCATION HONOLULU, HI 8-11 January 2016
The Spring 2015 semester, a new course in the Department of Communication at Wake Forest University (WFU) saw the introduction a highly innovative approach to bioethics pedagogy. Titled “Producing Bioethics Radio, “ the course, designed and taught by this author, brought bioethics and internet radio together for the first time at WFU, while also re-introducing radio production to the Department of Communications undergraduate curriculum for the first time in over twenty-five years.
The extraordinary capabilities of current digital technology combined with the exceptionally low cost of both hardware and software platforms make high-quality audio easily available to anyone with access to a computer or a smartphone. Even though video has garnered much of the attention devoted to what for lack of a better term might be called the “democratizing” influence of modern technology (from YouTube, to citizen activists recording instances of police misconduct, to the July 2015 film “Tangerine,” which was filmed entirely on the iPhone 5), audio has experienced a comparable trajectory, such that the term “radio” has acquired an entirely new definition. Whereas in the past, the reach of a radio signal was determined by a combination of signal strength, FCC licensure and atmospheric conditions (AM) or physical obstructions such as buildings of topographical features (FM), the internet now gives radio (i.e., “internet radio,” “podcasting”) a reach that has until very recently been unimaginable.
This paper details a strategy by which a class of undergraduate Communication majors learned audio production while in the process also learning critical and analytical skills in bioethics. As might be expected, the range of available topics and subject areas is almost without limit, from the historical and theoretical foundations of bioethics, to some of the signature cases that helped to define the field, to more contemporary issues such as the place of social media in bioethics inquiry.
The presentation of the paper will include some of the commentaries/analyses that students were required to write, record and edit, which will in turn facilitate discussion of the pedagogical imperatives of combining two fields, radio and bioethics, into a single discipline that is not so much journalistic as scholarly, including the demands of ’writing for the ear.” Of particular note is that the content in every instance — the case examples that will be a part of the paper as well as those which will not — is exclusively bioethics.
“Producing Bioethics Radio,” can thus be regarded as an adoptable and/or adaptable model for bioethics pedagogy at any given level of education, and also an innovative means of engaging our new and unprecedentedly accessible media.
OBSTACLES AND OPPORTUNITIES INIMPLEMENTING E-PORTFOLIOS
UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT GREENSBORO
COMMUNICATION STUDIES DEPARTMENT.
MOORE, CHANTEL L.
UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT GREENSBORO
COMMUNICATION STUDIES DEPARTMENT.
Dr. Roy Schwartzman
Communication Studies Department
University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Ms. Chantel L. Moore
Communication Studies Department
University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Obstacles and Opportunities in Implementing e-Portfolios
A pilot implementation of e-portfolios across several disciplines at two universities yields insights regarding how to address barriers in adopting, using, and assessing these collections of student work. Lessons from this project suggest the primary technical, instructor, student, institutional, and attitudinal factors that can impede or impel the successful use of e-portfolios in higher education.
Obstacles and Opportunities in Implementing e-Portfolios
Roy Schwartzman, Ph.D. and Chantel L. Moore
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Electronic portfolios have been embraced widely throughout higher education as a useful ancillary or alternative to standardized tests. Offering collections of authentic student work products alongside reflections on how and why they were produced, e-portfolios can provide concrete developmental feedback to improve performance. The electronic nature of e-portfolios enables sharing for peer review, revision, or submittal to prospective employers. The Pilot Rollout of e-Portfolios (PREP) Project was conducted over the course of a full academic year to fulfill the mandate of a state grant to test the institution-wide use of e-portfolios for qualitatively assessing undergraduate student competencies in written communication and critical thinking. This pilot implementation of e-portfolios across two mid-size urban universities (18,000 students each) in 13 course sections (8 traditional classroom, 5 fully online; n = 296 students), first year through senior level, representing five departments revealed many potential advantages as well as conceptual and practical challenges in embracing e-portfolio pedagogy.
Utilizing qualitative feedback gathered from biweekly instructor focus groups over the course of a full academic year, individual instructor exit interviews, interviews with e-portfolio pedagogy experts, and student responses to open-ended survey questions, this study identified the following issues as primary focal areas affecting the pedagogical value of e-portfolios:
1. Tensions between the development function of e-portfolios to gauge student progress versus their serving as showcases that highlight the student’s best work.
2. The labor intensiveness of constructing and evaluating e-portfolios.
3. Maximizing student, instructor, and institutional buy-in to e-portfolios as objects for assessment (documenting competencies), pedagogical tools (demonstrating and reflecting).
Overall, the PREP Project revealed that many advantages attributed to e-portfolios in the scholarly literature (a) relied on theoretical assumptions inconsistently supported in actual implementation, and (b) achieved pedagogical and professional benefits realizable only with significant restructuring of instructor workloads, student support infrastructure, and institutional commitment to the centrality of e-portfolios.
Developmental vs. Showcase e-Portfolios
According to Chang, Liang, Tseng, and Tseng (2013), e-portfolios are “digitalized tools for collecting and presenting students’ learning processes and outcomes systematically (p. 187).” While serving as tools for both pedagogical and professional assessment, they have been evaluated and implemented in classroom environments for both developmental and showcase purposes. For purposes of development, e-portfolios are utilized as a pedagogical tool for assessing progress of learning competencies. However, when they are not being used as an academic assessment tool to evaluate progress of competencies, they can also be used for showcase purposes. As a showcase, the e-portfolio functions more as a professional résumé for students transitioning from academic to professional areas. Participants in the PREP Project investigated the use of student e-portfolios from varying angles, including developmental and showcase purposes.
As a pedagogical tool, e-portfolios can serve as a reasonable means of assessment for demonstrable student competencies. As evidence for achievement of competencies, e-portfolios play a crucial role in practicing strategic knowledge management (Chang et al., 2013). Beyond serving simply as repositories of work products, e-portfolios can become sites of knowledge amassment, “a common name for knowledge storage and accumulation” so that “newly acquired knowledge is integrated with existing knowledge and then stored in a form that can be comprehended easily and retrieved in the future” (Chang et al., 2014, p.188). Chang et al. (2014) describe the e-portfolio creation process as related to “data collection, acquisition, revision, organization, presentation, storage, and accumulation” (p. 187).
Trevitt, Macduff, and Steed (2013) note the tensions between conceiving of e-portfolios developmentally and conceiving of them as showcases. Developmental e-portfolios chronicle the process of learning by showing the various stages of work in progress as well as the student’s commentary on strategic choices made along the way. Showcase e-portfolios provide evidence of completed achievement: finished, polished work products that render their process of development relatively invisible. Developmental e-portfolios can serve as reflective documents for the students (Oakley, Pegrum, & Johnston, 2014) as well as pedagogical tools for instructors to diagnose areas of need in the learning process. Showcase e-portfolios are directed at broader audiences, primarily broadcasting the student’s level of achieved competencies to attract the attention of prospective employers.
Given the drastic differences between the contents, purposes, and audiences of developmental versus showcase e-portfolios, any decision to implement e-portfolios throughout an institution must incorporate a way to reconcile these divergent types of e-portfolios. Developmental e-portfolios are generally unsuitable for display to prospective employers or other non-academic constituents. Even if students gain proficiency in constructing such e-portfolios, they may still require substantial mentoring in developing a polished showcase e-portfolio as a professional presentation. Institutions cannot assume that e-portfolios evaluated to fulfill academic assessment requirements will be transferable to the professional realm.
Labor and Workload Issues
The main alteration in the project’s design and execution was the high attrition rate (83%) from the cohort at one of the participating universities, leaving only one participating instructor from that institution. Semi-structured exit interviews were conducted with the participants who withdrew. To increase candor of responses, the interviews were conducted by the PREP Project assistant rather than the principal investigator who supervised the project. These exit interviews used the following protocol, with participants verbally encouraged to add comments and expand on answers.
1. What interested you about e-portfolios initially that made you consider them as part of your teaching?
2. What factors influenced your decision not to continue with the Pilot Rollout of E-Portfolios Project?
3. If you could implement e-portfolios for you current courses, what benefits would you hope to achieve? How might e-portfolios help you teach and/or help your students to learn?
4. What factors would enable you to fully participate in the implementation of e-portfolios in your courses?
5. What recommendations would you offer about recruiting and retaining instructors to use e-portfolios in their pedagogy?
Overall, the participants who withdrew expressed no reservations regarding the nature of the PREP Project or about e-portfolios per se. The non-participants unanimously endorsed the use of e-portfolios.
Every instructor who withdrew cited time constraints as the reason. Interestingly, the respondents expressed no concerns about the time required to learn about, implement, and evaluate e-portfolios. In every case, the respondents blamed their heavy course loads, other institutional commitments, and workloads from other jobs as the primary obstacles. Each of the instructors who could not complete the PREP Project was teaching at least five sections of courses during that semester and faced multiple preparations for teaching different subjects. Some non-completing instructors were teaching as many as seven sections with additional expectations of university service. One instructor taught the equivalent of a 125 percent load for a full-time faculty member while also a full-time doctoral student at another university and parenting young children. Another instructor held two other jobs in addition to a teaching load higher than most tenure-track faculty members at that university. Every section these instructors taught was fully enrolled, with at least 20-25 students per section.
E-Portfolio Platform Selection
Based on (1) ongoing discussions within the cohort’s learning community meetings during a three month timespan, (2) webinar and in-person presentations from Taskstream, Digication, and Acclaim commercial e-portfolio platform representatives, (3) orientations to Google Sites and WordPress from the Digital Media Commons technical consultants at one of the participating universities, and (4) presentations from instructors who use the e-portfolio tools embedded in the learning management systems, the project cohort assembled a preliminary list of 27 factors to consider when selecting an e-portfolio platform. This list was formulated prior to the actual implementation of e-portfolios in coursework but after the instructors themselves tested each of the prospective platforms. These considerations (listed in no particular order) consist of:
1. Technical learning curve, intuitive interface for instructors
2. Technical support for instructors
3. Learning Management System (LMS) compatibility and integration (Blackboard, Moodle, Canvas, etc.)
4. Peer-to-peer sharing and evaluation of content
5. Interface with evaluation rubrics
6. Handles multiple drafts of content
7. Data gathering, analytics, and filtering
8. Comparative and cumulative data across courses and institutions (for norming and benchmarking)
9. Technical learning curve, intuitive interface for students
10. Technical support for students
11. Student control of access to e-portfolio (private; share with class, instructor, peers)
12. Student control of content (formats, multiple e-portfolios, etc.)
13. Student can transfer content to different platform
14. Student can continue access and construction beyond graduation
15. Can embed work products in a variety of media (audio, video, etc.)
16. Mobile and tablet functionality
17. Maximum single file size upload
18. Total size of e-portfolio storage capacity
19. Product cost per student
20. Ancillary costs (e.g., domain name, web hosting, etc.)
21. Cost for multiple user subscriptions
22. Cost for institutional license
23. Cost to train faculty
24. Demands on IT and support staff
25. OS compatibility (PC/Mac; Android/iOS)
26. Host server reliability
27. Stability of company offering platform
Content analysis of qualitative instructor feedback from the surveys and interviews revealed three criteria most crucial in selecting suitable e-portfolio platforms: usability, cost, and level of availability.
Ease of Use
Throughout all input provided by instructor participants, concerns about the user friendliness of e-portfolios—for students and instructors—dominated the feedback. By far, observations about the learning curve involved in e-portfolio adoption constituted the most frequent theme. Instructor and student participants in the PREP Project reported few difficulties with using the e-portfolio platforms or with supportive technologies (such as the technological infrastructure at either university). This relatively seamless integration of e-portfolios into coursework may stem from availability of a wide array of support services unrepresentative of typical support services throughout the University of North Carolina system. In addition to direct training and ongoing help from the commercial platform vendors (Taskstream, Digication, and Acclaim), participants engaged in robust and ongoing hands-on orientation and practice. Section 4B details those activities and resources.
Sheer ease of use, however, may not mitigate other expenses associated with training and support. Mere competency in using the e-portfolio platform is not sufficient to produce a high quality end product. Users also need to master the strategic and technological skills to present the contents of the e-portfolio in a compelling fashion. More concretely, e-portfolio users must master not simply the vessel of presentation (the e-portfolio platform), but also the acumen to use the e-portfolio as a tool for crafting and adapting their academic and pre-professional story to appropriate audiences (e.g., institutional e-portfolio evaluators, prospective employers, etc.).
All commercial e-portfolio platforms carry direct cost; users must “pay to play.” The e-portfolio market is highly competitive and brimming with vendors eager to land large, multi-institutional contracts. Two of the largest and most established vendors, Digication and Taskstream, essentially match each other on the cost per student. Adopted on the scale of the entire sixteen-campus UNC system, both vendors could use this economy of scale to provide accounts approaching $10-$14US per student per year. This cost represents an ongoing expense not currently included or anticipated in institutional budget plans. Digication adds value to its e-portfolio package by providing free faculty and alumni accounts. With Taskstream, students would need to purchase an individual account to retain access to the system after graduation. Those individual accounts currently run $42US annually. Most UNC system campuses already are Taskstream clients (due to it being the required platform for teacher credentialing in K-12 education), so possibly the long-term access rates could be negotiable. Acclaim is currently bundled with the textbook for the basic Communication Studies course in General Education. Its cost is highly scalable depending on the size of the adoption, but currently it costs approximately the same per student as the major commercial e-portfolio platforms.
Any e-portfolio platform carries substantial hidden costs on several levels. These costs may escape notice, but they may emerge over the long run as the highest ongoing expenditures. Since most of these costs are associated with labor not as visible as publicly observable teaching, they may constitute indirect costs that are not easily recoverable in any material benefits of e-portfolio adoption (Schwartzman & Carlone, 2010). The following hidden or indirect costs may be associated with a large-scale e-portfolio adoption. The list is intended as representative, not comprehensive.
- Time and labor involved in mentoring faculty in e-portfolio pedagogy
- Effort involved in norming and validating assessment rubrics
- Platform orientation and technical support (potential additions to existing IT personnel)
- Pedagogical support (tutoring, etc.) of students in e-portfolio construction
Balancing Sharability With Privacy
Understood as a gateway from college to career, e-portfolios can maximize a student’s exposure to prospective employers. In this sense, the e-portfolio provides an accessible source of proof that a student can exhibit the competencies claimed on a résumé or in an interview. An e-portfolio also could serve a “foot in the door” function, providing initial professional exposure that could trigger further interest from employers and eventual entry into a desired career field. To fulfill their professional promise, e-portfolios must be capable of sharing widely but controllably. Students need e-portfolio platforms that permit creation and circulation of multiple e-portfolios tailored to different target audiences. Targeted self-presentation implies that the totally open access characteristic of public web pages may not provide the finely grained levels of availability needed for adapting content to multiple, distinct types of viewers.
E-Portfolio Platform Selection: To Mandate or Not to Mandate?
For internal assessment and institutional research purpose, a single platform would seem desirable to allow for data collection, evaluation, and retention. A top-down mandate of a single e-portfolio platform, however, would likely generate strong resistance and seriously harm instructor buy-in to e-portfolios generally. One size, or in this context, one platform, of e-portfolio does not fit all. Any thorough and critical examination of an e-portfolio rollout must go beyond employing and studying a single platform. Such a study, while informative, primarily tests the features of that particular platform without necessarily yielding more generalizable results regarding the feasibility and utility of e-portfolio pedagogy per se.
At the universities that participated in the current study, different platforms and types of e-portfolios have tended to emerge organically as each academic program or department experiments with what best suits its needs and those of its students. If a uniform platform were selected, it would have the advantage of enabling students to easily collect work products from various courses and departments to create an aggregate e-portfolio. With multiple platforms, students face the burdensome task of re-creating their e-portfolio every time they take a course in a department that uses a different platform. (Education majors would face a mandatory transition to Taskstream anyway, as that is the state-mandated platform for teacher credentialing.)
One problem with a uniform platform, however, is that it limits digital literacy skill acquisition because students are not cross-trained in multiple e-portfolio environments. Second, each academic program has selected its preferred platform for its own reasons. An external mandate would likely be seen as an intrusion and perhaps as an infringement on academic freedom if it forces abandonment of a platform in which a program has deeply invested effort and training. A single platform might be feasible if it were chosen collaboratively, with active involvement across disciplines.
Factors Affecting Successful Implementation
Qualitative feedback from instructors of the 13 course sections included in the PREP Project was gathered in weekly learning community meetings over the course of a full academic year. In addition, each instructor was interviewed individually at the conclusion of the project. This feedback converged on several themes concerning the determinants of successful deployment of e-portfolios. The following considerations emerged as factors that could affect the feasibility and success of e-portfolios on a large scale.
Technical issues pertain to any technological aspects of e-portfolio development both inside and outside of the classroom. Technological aspects encompass not only the usability and functionality of hardware and software, but the implications of implementing these tools. Aside from the issues listed above related to platform selection and operation, the following concerns arose:
1. Levels of privacy and access need to be adjustable by students to protect privacy while maximizing availability of e-portfolios to appropriate audiences.
2. Usage of e-portfolios needs to be scaled in proportion to an institution’s capacity to provide technical support. What happens if widespread e-portfolio usage creates more demand for services (e.g., technical support, e-portfolio construction tutoring, storage, bandwidth) than can be provided in order for students to fulfill course requirements?
3. Adoption of a freeware e-portfolio platform may require additional tools to enable data analytics and proper storage.
4. E-portfolio platforms must seamlessly integrate various media, including embedding video and multimedia content.
5. Platform should permit content creation and viewing across different types of electronic devices and browsers.
The realm of instructor-related issues comprises any particular enabler or constraint on more aggressive implementation of e-portfolios in teaching. In this study, those factors can include anything e-portfolio related that causes the participating instructor to change any pedagogical methodology to accommodate the needs of this project.
1. Justifying the use of e-portfolios to students (especially in course subjects where e-portfolios are not commonplace) will be necessary for student buy-in.
2. Rubrics may need to be re-normed for each course or subject matter to align with desired instructional goals and priorities.
3. Evaluative rubrics not designed natively for e-portfolios (such as the American Association of Colleges and Universities VALUE rubrics) may need to be revised or supplemented to account for issues related to e-portfolio strategy and design.
4. Instructor evaluations may suffer if students transfer frustrations with e-portfolios toward the instructor who requires them. This backlash increases in likelihood the less that e-portfolios have been institutionalized within a subject area.
5. Workload adjustments may be needed to accommodate startup learning curves and the labor-intensive nature of e-portfolio evaluations. The labor required for e-portfolios may challenge drives to maximize efficiency, as e-portfolios are far less efficient evaluation tools than standardized (especially quantitative) tests.
6. e-Portfolios need to be recognized as a desired and challenging pedagogical method whose use is acknowledged in institutional reward systems.
7. Instructors cannot reasonably be expected to provide major technical support in addition to teaching subject matter content.
The student dimension encompasses any experience in relation to the e-portfolio project that affected any student participant’s work products, ability to complete course assignments successfully, or satisfaction with the e-portfolio experience. This area can consist of any e-portfolio project related issue reported by students and/or faculty about students.
1. How user-friendly is the e-portfolio construction, editing, and sharing process?
2. Strategizing and creating e-portfolios requires digital literacy skills that may call for additional tutoring and practice.
3. The e-portfolio platform needs to build on tools the student already knows and uses, thereby shortening the acclimatization process.
4. The cost model for commercial e-portfolio platforms requires consideration. Should the cost be passed on to students (e.g., as an added technology fee), borne by the institution, etc.?
5. How long and under what conditions do students own the rights to their e-portfolios?
6. How long after graduation can students access and edit their e-portfolios?
7. How transferable are e-portfolios across different e-portfolio platforms?
8. What campus and e-portfolio platform resources are available for help?
9. How can users avoid plagiarism and illegal use of copyrighted material?
10. How well can the e-portfolio document the “whole life” of the student beyond conventional classroom assignments and work products?
11. Giving students the option to change platforms if they choose not to use the original platform selected. How does evaluation proceed if students select platforms that are not equally robust in their features?
12. To what extent are students involved as stakeholders in selecting e-portfolio platforms being considered for institution-wide or program-wide adoption?
The institutional dimension focuses on the roles e-portfolios could be expected to play within the educational organization. These factors might refer to the organizational culture of educational institutions per se or to the effects e-portfolios have on relationships, policies, and processes indigenous to a particular institutional environment.
1. To what extent is the institution legally liable for the contents of student e-portfolios, including copyrighted or offensive content?
2. Who owns the student’s e-portfolio? Do the same ownership policies extend beyond graduation?
3. How do e-portfolios fit within the institution’s (or each department’s) vision and mission? How do e-portfolios contribute to the fruition of the institution’s values?
4. How has each institution embedded e-portfolios into its unique culture of teaching and learning?
Notably, Kuh and colleagues (2005) found that e-portfolios provided a way for students to provide observable ways to link their work products with the values of the institution. This opportunity to rationalize their study in light of the institution’s overall mission can enable students to make more sense of their curricular and co-curricular activities, thus making learning more intentional and more likely to be completed.
Attitudinal and Structural Factors
The attitudinal realm includes any issue that emerged throughout the duration of this project that was a result of differing attitudes amongst participating faculty members with little to no prior experience implementing e-portfolios in the classroom. The structural aspects deal with the interface between e-portfolios and official policies or procedures at the institution.
1. How do instructors distinguish e-portfolios from the manifold instances of various educational fads?
2. How should e-portfolios be presented to students as something more than another exercise in assessment for its own sake?
3. How will instructors improve their teaching and improve student learning via e-portfolios?
4. Are the pedagogical benefits unique to e-portfolios, or could they be achieved through other means?
5. How can the institution cope with (faculty and student) digital divides in technology access and in technology competence (especially digital literacy deficits)?
6. How is student achievement in creating high quality e-portfolios recognized and rewarded?
7. How is the effectiveness of instructor pedagogy with e-portfolios assessed?
8. In what ways do e-portfolios “count” for the professional development of instructors? As equivalent to a course redesign? As service? As a new course?
The issue of documenting the pedagogical effectiveness of e-portfolios poses an especially important challenge. Many documented effects of e-portfolios, such as improved student perceptions of self-efficacy (Lopez-Fernandez & Rodriguez-Illera, 2009), may not align clearly with competencies traditionally measured by standardized quantitative assessments and used for institutional benchmarking.
Overall, the PREP Project demonstrated that broad-scale implementation of e-portfolios represents far more than simply adopting an online repository of student work products for conducting qualitative assessment. As the scope and depth of the issues overviewed in this discussion illustrate, e-portfolio adoption at the institutional or cross-institutional level may require significant alterations in pedagogical methods and institutional cultures (Buzzetto-More & Alade, 2008). The participating instructors in this project reinforced the concern expressed by Fong and colleagues (2013) that adequate resources and facilities for supporting e-portfolios must already be in place before e-portfolios are promoted and presented to students. The promotion of e-portfolios should not outrun the capacity of the technical and personnel infrastructure to enable their use. The PREP Project found that e-portfolios hold great potential for qualitative assessment, but they offer no magic bullet for solving the challenges associated with assessment. Careful consideration of the factors discussed in this report can make the different between e-portfolios becoming a superfluous burden or a genuine educational asset.
Ultimately the fate of e-portfolios on any campus relies on their use developing and broadening from the grassroots efforts of students and faculty. If e-portfolios can prove to facilitate more thorough teaching and deeper learning, they should be welcomed as an important pedagogical innovation. This pedagogical value appears to offer the greatest incentive for broad-based adoption by faculty (Cummings & Maddux, 2010). If understood as another labor-intensive, unfunded mandate from above, e-portfolios will face half-hearted reception or outright resistance. Similarly, if e-portfolios are treated as another layer of labor atop existing curricular requirements and not as an integral part of competency-based learning throughout the institution, students may be deterred from participating (Habron, 2015). Clearly a sustainable, long-term implementation of e-portfolios on a large scale requires thorough commitment and follow-through at all levels throughout an educational institution.
Buzzetto-More, N., & Alade, A. (2008). The pentagonal e-portfolio model for selecting, adopting, building, and implementing an e-portfolio. Journal of Information Technology Education, 7, 184-208.
Chang, C., Liang, C., Tseng, K., & Tseng, J. (2014). Using e-portfolios to elevate knowledge amassment among university students. Computers and Education, 72, 187-195.
Chang, C., Tseng, K., Liang, C., & Chen, T. (2013). Using e-portfolios to facilitate university students’ knowledge management performance: E-portfolio vs. non-portfolio. Computers and Education, 69, 216-224.
Cummings, R., & Maddux, C. D. (2010). The use of e-portfolios as a component of assessment and accreditation in higher education. In N. Buzzetto-More (Ed.), The e-portfolio paradigm: Informing, educating, assessing, and managing with e-portfolios (pp. 207-224). Santa Rosa, CA: Informing Science Press.
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Kuh, G. D., Schuh, J. H., Kinzie, J., & Whitt, E. J. (2005). Student success in college: Creating conditions that matter. Washington, DC: American Association for Higher Education.
Lopez-Fernandez, O., & Rodriguez-Illera, J. L. (2009). Investigating university students’ adaptation to a digital learner course portfolio. Computers and Education, 52(3), 608- 616.
Oakley, G., Pegrum, M., & Johnston, S. (2014). Introducing e-portfolios to pre-service teachers as tools for reflection and growth: lessons learnt. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 42(1), 36-50.
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SMART ICT TECHNOLOGIES IN SUPPORT OFE-GOVERNMENT
COMENIUS UNIVERSITY OF BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA
FACULTY OF MANAGEMENT
E-EUROPE R&D CENTRE
Prof. Dusan Soltes
e-Europe R&D Centre,
Faculty of Management,
Comenius University of Bratislava
Smart ICT Technologies in Support of E-Government
The paper is dealing with some problems of the implementation of the EU strategies on e-Europe in the conditions of the EU new member states regarding the most important and crucial application area i.e. e-Government.
SMART ICT TECHNOLOGIES IN SUPPORT OF E-GOVERNMENT
Dusan SOLTES Faculty of Management, Comenius University,
Keywords: e-Europe, e-Government, G2G, G2C, G2B
Abstract. Since its inception by the Lisbon strategy 2000 on e-Europe strategy and then its continuation through i2010 strategy up to now with the Horizon 2020 in support of the Innovative Europe 2020, the applications of smart ICT in the EU has passed a rather complex and sometimes also a quite controversial development process . In general it has been hampered by several key factors like e.g. the original Lisbon strategy adopted in year 2000 has been adopted by then only 15 EU member states while very soon the EU has been enlarged by 15 (2004) and then by another 2 (2007) mostly less developed CEECs and recently last year by another one new member up to current EU 28. In the following parts of this paper we are dealing with the current status as achieved in the development of the future EU as the e-Europe as well as we are trying to find the ways and means how to accelerate the entire development in this respect within the selected ten sectors of the future e-Europe..
In spite of the above existing problems and weaknesses in the development of the e-Europe there has been gradually going an increase in funding for the R&D activities including research for the ICT and/or IST and related smart technologies programs from around 35 billion Euro for 6FP (2002-6) to 52 bil Euro for 7FP (2007-13). And now under the HORIZON 2020 it goes up to 70 billion Euro for years 2014-20. What by itself is a steadily growth in financial support to the EU R&D but it remains still only fraction of the funding going to the most controversial CAP – Common Agricultural Policy that gets about the same amounts or in other words almost the half of the EU annual budget but … not for 5-7 years as it is in case of the support to R&D but for annual subsidies to the EU farmers. However, in spite of these objective but also not so objective problems there has been achieved some evident progress regarding applications of smart ICT technologies for the needs of the future electronic Europe although there are still some gaps between the achievements of the “old” EU15 and the “new” EU12 and now also EU13. According to some key sectors the main results but also some problems as so far achieved and/or identified in the e-Europe development are as they are presented in the following parts of this paper. :
Selected application areas of the future e-Government as a part of the EU e-Europe strategy
In this part of the paper we are going to deal at least very briefly with some key application areas of the future e-Europe. Into these areas we have selected the following ten key application areas as follows:
– e-Invoicing and e-Procurement
– e-Content and e-Libraries
– e-Knowledge and e-skills
e-Government. As far as the development of the future e-Government as one of the key application areas of the future e-Europe is concerned, the main results and challenges in this problem area have been within the following main three government services and that being G2C, G2B, G2G. The G2C stands for the governmental services of the future e-Government to citizens. The G2B means the services of the future e-Government to and/or for businesses. and the G2G represents the governmental agendas and interactions between and among the various governmental agencies on the central as well as regional levels. In general we could state in this connection that even after the more than 14 years since the inception of the Lisbon strategy, the results are still mixed ones exactly as it has been stated yet in 2004 in the well known W. Kok’s mid-term evaluation report that later on has led to replacement of the Lisbon strategy by its less ambition version of i2010 and nowadays we have been looking forward in its current version till year 2020 under the HORIZON 2020 strategy adopted for years 2014-2020. As the main problems have been basically still the same ones i.e. that some fundamental technical preconditions have not yet been created like e.g. the e-Signature as the main access tool for becoming an authorized user for various e-Government applications. That we will deal in more details in the separate part of this paper. But even more negative aspect of the entire concept of e-Government has been still the fact that there were not existing sufficient numbers of e-Government applications and services not only for citizens but as well as for businesses and also for interactions between various governmental agencies, ministries, etc. It would be really desired to have more relevant applications after the more than decade long “implementations” of various strategies related to e-Europe. As far as the Government services to citizens are concerned we could state that only now some main preconditions are created e.g. in many especially new EU member states including our country of Slovakia. In this connection it is worth to mention that e.g. only now has been launched the system of e-ID as a replacement of the still utilized system of classical plastic ID cards. Only now with the new by a chip equipped e-ID it will be possible for citizens to identify themselves in various ways and means of e-communications with various governmental agencies. But again it will be needed to implement as soon as possible the governmental applications that will enable citizens to arrange their needs from the government in the modern e-communications regarding e.g. issuing new passports, driving certificates/permits, e-health or cadaster and other governmental services including e.g. also e-voting as a part of the e-Democracy, etc. The same also for various other e- applications regarding various permissions, authorizations, approvals, agendas that are integral part of the daily life of citizens who should have now an opportunity to arrange all those often bureaucratic demands without necessity to be running from an office to other offices, etc. For example only for the arrangement of a permission to build a new house it is estimated that it requires up to about 50 “signatures” of various governmental agencies what of course is also a source for a possible corruption, clientelism, favoritism, etc. All these and other negatives could be almost removed from the daily life if the particular contacts G2C would be carried out in the e-way of communications also for all other subjects not only citizens. At the moment most of data in this respect are collected mostly by individual governmental agencies rather than to be shared by various governmental agencies within the G2G from some common data storage facilities, etc.\
The same we could say also regarding the G2B as to open e.g. a new business even on the level of SME nowadays requires again various applications, permissions and authorizations from various governmental agencies. In the new modern e-G2B all these bureaucratic obstacles could be removed and the creation as well as operation of the modern e-businesses could be arranged through several steps within e-communication with the one-stop e-business service centers.
As for the G2G communications, the main task remains still the same as we have mentioned it above i.e. to remove lack of e-interactions between and among various governmental agencies. Especially it is needed to remove the kind of autonomy in collection, storage and utilization of various data being collected by the individual governmental agencies from citizens, businesses, etc.
e-Signature. This very important e-tool for carrying out any and/or all fundamental e-activities has not been still generally available across the e-EU in the form that would meet the general requirements of the EU common market i.e. that it will be easily and equally available and functional across the entire single market of the Union. In different countries there was applied a different approach, so in principle there exist 28 different versions of e-signature. Some of them are offering it for free, in some other countries like e.g. in Slovakia it has been available only for a rather high fee of around 80 Euro. But there are still not yet so many applications as we have mentioned it above where to use it. Hence, especially in the case of SME, citizens, etc. it is rather too expensive if there are not available so many e-applications where e.g. SME could use it. The same situation is regarding G2C where is still relatively little e-agendas where the citizens could use their e-signatures, etc. Now there has been going e.g. in Slovakia a gradual implementation of the new e-ID with chips. It could be expected that the entire procedure will be then more simple and it can serve not only as an e-signature tool. It is also much cheaper than a “classical” e-Signature as it costs only 4.50 Euro so it is possible to expect that it will be more widely used than the existing e-signature. All that makes this problem area more closer to the practical needs of people as well as businesses especially those belonging to SME. All such applications like arranging e-ID, passports, driving and other documents, etc. are promised to be accessible electronically through this new e-ID alias e-signature. We have to only hope that it will be as being promised.
e-Invoicing and e-Procurement. E-Invoicing and e-Procurement are other main and very important preconditions for developing modern e-Business within the future EU digital internal e-market. There again has been achieved some progress on the national level of individual EU member states but just a very little regarding the unified “EU common e-digital market” of the EU28. The situation is similar like in the case of e-signature i.e. there are more or less working national systems but not the one for the needs of the EU future common digital e-market. One of the main problems is not only the technological one but also the language one as most countries are publishing their e-tenders only in the national languages and thus cutting off potential suppliers from other EU member states. Although it is clear that if it is published in one of 24 official but also national languages of the EU and not also in one of the basic three working languages of the EU i.e. especially in English but also French and German then it is really difficult to consider such tenders as really ones that could be also EU acceptable. More strict legislation regarding also the language aspects is more than needed also in this problem area. As in many other similar problem areas just to have an EU directive and not more stronger EU regulation is most probably not the solution for achieving really and truly EU-wide solutions suitable for the future e-Europe.
e-Health. Without any doubts the e-health is one of the key sectors of the future e-Europe if we take into account the demographic development in the EU and especially very fast growing the share of the aging population on its overall population. Again as in other areas also in this one, some progress has been achieved on the national level especially in some most developed EU member states and especially in its Nordic group of states but there is again existing a big problem regarding the e-Health for the entire e-Europe. The main problems again are not in the technological aspects of its implementation but in the legislative and organizational ones. There has been existing already for years a kind of the “common” EU Health Insurance Card but in its classical plastic form only. It means that if the patient needs some medical care outside of its national territory the main problem is that foreign doctor has no information about the particular patient as the above plastic card contains no e-medical records, diagnosis, medications, etc. Hence for the foreign doctor it is sometimes too risky to offer any kind of medical services without this key medical information. Of course in case of life threatening cases some first emergency is normally provided but anything else without the proper medical e-documentation is very problematic and mostly rejected. It will be definitely needed to force the EU member states and their medical authorities to speed up their effort in creating a kind of unified and/or standardized EU e-medical records in the form that it will be easily acceptable within the entire EU! Then also all other related agendas like e-prescriptions, e-consulting and advisory medical services will be fully available to all EU citizens irrespectively where they need any kind of medical services or help.
e-Surveillance. Again by a certain paradox of the entire e-Europe implementation strategy that although this specific sector of the future e-Europe originally has not been a part of it at all, in practice it is one of the most developed and according to many accounts one of the sectors being truly and fully developed across the entire EU. As in various other similar problem areas also in case of e-surveillance its enormous development and almost perfection has been achieved as a kind of secondary result of the ongoing technological development in the modern smart ICT and their applications as it is in case of e.g. mobile phones, tablets, social networks, navigation systems, etc. Mostly it is so thanks to their enormous popularity among the people in general and the EU citizens as well. Moreover if we take into account that it is a citizenship with one of the highest standard of living in the world and thus having enough finances also for following and utilize the results of the latest technological development in this area. Hence even without any special interest and intentions of the operators and through them all interested parties either from the governmental as well as private sector they all have at their finger- tips enormous amounts of and very often even most sensitive personal, business, state/administrative information. As our ongoing research under the EU funded projects SMARTY, CONSENT, RESPECT have documented then it is only a question of legislative, ethical and administrative respects to what extent and if at all that very rich source of data would be used properly exclusively only for the purposes that data was officially recorded for, or it would be misused also for some other often discriminatory, non-ethical or even criminal purposes. In this connection again more stronger and unquestionable EU legislation on the protection of personal data, human dignity, privacy, confidentiality in communications, etc. would be needed to be enacted as soon as possible as otherwise there is a real thread that the generally adopted fundamental human rights and protection of personal data, etc. will become only a document that nobody will be respecting.
e-Inclusion. Thank to above technological progress being achieved especially in popularity of mobile phones but also tablets, smart phones, etc. as we have been dealing with them in the previous part of this paper also one of the critical and most important parts of all strategies on the e-Europe has become a very practical and relatively easy to be implemented. Although again as in various other similar cases the strategies since the first one i.e. regarding the EU/Lisbon strategy have not been quite clear how to achieve the full e-Inclusion i.e. that every citizen of the future e-Europe will become integral part of this modern information society where everybody will become e-included one. Thanks again especially to popularity of mobile phones and/or in particular of their smart phone versions it has become a common reality. From smallest kids up to the oldest senior citizens all of them are nowadays users of this mobile latest smart ICT and thus also an integral part of their e-inclusion into the contemporary modern information society of the EU. The only problem is that this natural and easy going process of “informatization” of society is not more supported by those who are for this e-Inclusion directly responsible i.e. the EU as well as national authorities, There is still not existing enough relevant applications and programs that would be really fully and truly utilized their extremely big potential of these mobile as well as smart phones for all various needs of people in the case of e-Health, e-Education, e-Culture, e-Democracy, etc. There is not a short list of various applications in this respect but they are mostly results of business needs of producers and operators and in many cases more for their profit needs like e.g. various games, entertainment, etc. than for above practical needs of ordinary citizens in other they could to the full benefit from being an integral part of the e-Europe and all its potential e-benefits and e-services, etc.
e-Education. As mentioned in the previous part of this paper, the potential of the development in e-education especially regarding the so-called long-life education especially for adults as well as senior citizens has acquired through above mobile ICT quite new potential horizons. So far this potential has not yet been fully utilized especially in case of elderly and senior citizens for whom the e-education and/or better m-education is the most convenient ways together with the TV how to keep them up-to-date regarding the abruptly changing world. Hence in this respect there are quite big reserves and also potential to use the latest ICT for long life and/or various other forms of informal education. Otherwise, e-learning facilities for young people studying in various educational institutions are basically fully provided as the necessary technological basis has been widely available especially thanks to relatively cheap laptops and tablets and of course also smart phones. However also in this area of e-education there has been existing a serious problem regarding the availability of suitable teachers and educators. As in the most countries especially in the new EU member states the salaries of teachers are quite low ones it is no attraction especially for young people to teach at schools. After acquiring some practical skills and practice as the rule they quit their school jobs and go to work for private sector that has been paying much better salaries than it is in the school system.
e-Content and e-Libraries. Very closely related issue to the above problems regarding the e-education has been the problem of e-content and e-libraries. As we have mentioned also above there is still existing to some extent the lack of programs that would be supporting e-learning, life long and/or other forms of informal education i.e. educational forms especially intended for people who are already not a part of the regular formal educational systems at schools, etc. In this specific respect the role of the rich e-content and e-libraries are representing a very important and needed part of the e-Europe strategy. It is clear that some progress has already been achieved also in this respect but the more consistent progress has been to some extent negatively effected by the lack of funding for the necessary staffing as needed for this kind of work. In most cases the practice in this problem area has been based on utilization of the work of some volunteers who in cooperation with librarians have been providing scanning of documents, materials, etc. of the future e-content and e-libraries. It is evident that such an important and to some extent also specific work especially in case of work with some historical or archive documents and/or other objects of interest like cultural items (paintings, sculptures, museum artefacts, etc.) require a bit more professional than just a volunteers capacities of students, etc.. Then again the initiative is in the hands of various private providers of various searching engines that for their commercial reasons are placing on Internet an e-content that in many cases is in direct contradiction to any elementary requirements for good habits, morale, etc. Again as in case of some other problem areas as we have mentioned that above it would require to get more support from the national administrations and governments not to underestimate this one of the key areas of the future information society. They have to create all necessary also financial and professional preconditions in order it would be secured for the benefits of the future information society that without the e-content and e-libraries cannot be existing. Otherwise they would be dominated by the e-content not for benefits of people but for various private providers and their only mostly profit oriented interests including such criminal e-content like regarding pornography, drugs, violence, terrorism, etc. of which the Internet is unfortunately too full regarding its e-content.
e-Knowledge and e-Skills. It is absolutely necessary that the tasks of e-Europe strategy in the above areas of e-Content and e-Libraries have to support first of all, all various forms of e-content that represents the best what has been achieved in all various forms and categories of the social, economic, cultural, social, etc. areas of the human and societal activities. After all it was one of the key strategic objectives of the original Lisbon strategy that has as one of its main objectives defined the future EU as the most advanced knowledge based economy and information society in the world, Although this objective then later has been to some extent subdued as unrealistic and has been replaced by some less ambitious strategic objectives, it is clear that the process of supporting the spreading and dissemination of the best knowledge and skills from all various sectors of the socio-economic life has to be still in the forefront of the EU as well as national authorities regarding their objectives regarding the future information society. In this respect the first and most important source of such best knowledge and skill we see in the projects and programs and their results as achieved by the research and development projects being funded by the EU under its Frame work programs up the latest one 7FP that was running as the main vehicle of the EU funded research in years 2007-13. For the future it has been reorganized as the HORIZON 2020 R&D strategy for years 2014-20. Under these previous 1-7FPs there were completed really many so to say thousands of very successful projects with in many cases most relevant results for potentially very important improvements in various aspects of the socio-economic reality in the future EU. The main problem was that until now there have not been found a system that would guaranty that these remarkable R&D results would be fully utilized and implemented also in the practice on the EU as well as national level of individual member states. From our own long year experience from working permanently on various EU funded projects since adoption of the Lisbon strategy i.e. since year 2000 we have learnt that most or at least many member states rather apply for the EU funding for their own national programs and projects than would apply for the less funding that would be needed for using the results of the successful EU funded projects that are available for an immediate utilization and implementation in the national conditions from the EU Repository of all successfully completed EU funded projects. Again a more strict regulation would be needed that would force the member states to use these results rather than to claim EU funding for their various national projects or initiatives. That is in our opinion the best way how to achieve that we would not have in the EU so many various national versions of e-Signature, e-Procurements, e-Invoicing, etc. as we have characterized these problems in the previous parts of this our paper.
e-Infrastructure. It is absolutely clear that all the above mentioned problem areas of the future e-Europe and of course also many other of them not to mentioned here in order to be developed properly are fully depended on the existence and some availability of suitable modern latest ICT technological basis. Or as it has been characterized in all EU development strategies it has to be based on the modern technological “backbone” based on the cheap and widely available Internet and the same also regarding the mobile phone networks with again cheap roaming across the entire EU, etc. In this respect all EU strategies on the development of the future modern e-Europe have stressed first of all also the necessity to build a EU wide high speed broadband Internet that would cover all EU member states in full of its availability by the target year 2020 under the HORIZON 2020.strategy. Thus the entire e-Europe strategy has to have at its disposal also its inevitable e-Infrastructure. It is clear it would be much better if such an e-infrastructure has been already available in full right now, but as the popular saying goes it is better if it is late than never.
Some conclusions and recommendations
In conclusion we would like just to state that as we have presented it in the previous parts of this paper it is clear that since the inception of the original Lisbon strategy on e-Europe some evident progress has been achieved in implementation of all various areas of this strategy. In many cases as we have tried also to point it out it is not needed much more effort to achieve the objectives in full. But in any case it would require a better coordinated approach especially from the EU member states regarding e.g. their willingness to use the results of the EU funded R&D projects rather than to emphasize their own “ambitions” to build the future e-Europe more through various national initiatives than to accept and fully utilize results of the EU funded projects. After all, they are financed from the EU budget that is primarily based on the contributions from all EU member states! On the other hand in many cases it would help to the EU e-Europe strategy if also the EU itself would be supporting its own strategies also by more strict legislation that would force the member states to be more interested in achieving the Union objectives than only in their own national “subsystems” of the future e-Europe as the whole!
In summary it could be stated that the utilization of the latest smart ICT has been becoming the key aspect of the contemporary development and implementation of the e-Government in all EU member states and especially it is becoming the most crucial success factor in the EU NMS – new member states due to their some still existing delay behind the so called “old” EU members. In this respect most will depend upon the way how the EU NMS will manage to comply with the main strategic objectives of the current ongoing implementation of the EU strategy HORIZON 2020 and/or EUROPE 2020.
At this part of our paper we would like to acknowledge the funding we have received for our EU projects SMART, RESPECT and CONSENT under the previous 7th FP of the European Union. Our many thanks and acknowledgment goes also to Prof. J. Cannataci of the University of Gronningen for his leadership and overall support to our research under the above three EU funded projects.
Literature References J. Cannataci et al: EU/FP7-SSH-2009-A CONSENT – Collaborative project (small or medium scale focused project on Consumer sentiments regarding privacy on user generated kontent (UGC) services in digital economy, Annex I – Description of Work, University of Central Lanceashire, Preston, UK September 2009 Cannataci, J. et al: EU/FP7/SSH-2009-A CONSENT Project, WP3 – Mapping Privacy Settings, D 3.1. Survey Report, University of Malta, La Valetta, October 2010 //www.smart.law.muni.cz  D. Soltes at al: EU/FP7/SMART Project, Work Packages WP2-8 with thé results as achieved in thé Slovak Republic gradually in years 2011-13, FM UK Bratislava, March 2013  D. Soltes at al: EU/FP7-SMART Project, Work Package 10 – The Group Discussions for Slovakia, Bratislava, April 2013  Fundamental Human Rights of the Citizen of the EU, European Commission Press, Brussels 2010
POLITENESS AND BUSINESS HIERARCHY IN BUENOS AIRES SPANISH
THE COLLEGE OF WOOSTER
DEPARTMENT OF SPANISH
Dr. Diane Uber
Department of Spanish
The College of Wooster.
Politeness and Business Hierarchy in Buenos Aires Spanish
Data from Buenos Aires, Argentina illustrate that instructional practices for students of Business Spanish must include the concepts of hierarchy, respect and politeness. Norms of politeness dictate that one should be accommodating toward the addressee. This can be manifest in the form of the respectful, deferential usted. Alternatively, politeness also can dictate informal (vos) usage toward those sharing equal social status, or to show confidence and solidarity toward the consumer.
Politeness and Business Hierarchy in Buenos Aires Diane R. Uber Department of Spanish The College of Wooster Spanish
Diane R. Uber Department of Spanish The College of Wooster
I. Data from Buenos Aires
Data from fieldwork in workplaces inBuenos Aires, Argentina will illustrate someissues that are important for training futureemployees in international business.
Instructional practices for students of Business Spanish must include the concepts of hierarchy, respect and politeness.
The hierarchy of a business must be understood in order to avoid misunderstandings.
When entering a business, visitors are received by someone of lower rank. For example, when visiting a dentist’s office, after I rang the bell, the receptionist came down to street level to receive me. After she took me up in the elevator to the dentist’s office, she brought me tea and cookies. When I had finished observing, she took me down in the elevator and said goodbye at the door to the street.
When entering a larger business, visitors are received by someone of lower rank and then guided from one department to another by a supervisor, who then asks the supervisor of the next department to resume the hosting activity. For example, in a company that provides systems and computing technology for banks (processing letters and data processing), I was received by the security guard, who called the branch supervisor, who then came down to receive me. He kissed me on the cheek, and addressed me with the informal pronoun vos. As he escorted me to each
department, he identified the supervisor, who was to “host me” and then let him know when I was finished in that department and wanted to move on to the next department.
Hierarchical structure of small, informal companies
All companies, even small, informal ones whose employees are all under thirty, exhibit a clear hierarchical structure, as manifested by employee roles in the workplace. Employees of lower rank may open the door, bring beverages for visitors, and escort them out.
Example of hierarchy of small, informal company
For example, I visited a small graphic design company of only four employees, two of whom were about 30 years old and students of my friend. However, because they outranked a younger employee of about 25 years, who was not a student of my friend that had set up the visit, this younger employee was expected to come down to street level when I rang the bell, to receive me, to escort me up to the office, and to bring me refreshments. First, he brought me a pitcher of water. When the conversation turned to mate, the tea frequently drunk by Argentines, he served me mate. Upon my departure, he was expected to escort me down to street level and let me out. All of the employees were dressed in jeans and T-shirts or hooded sweat shirts, and classic rock music was playing during the several hours that I spent there. Thus, even in this casual setting, hierarchies are well defined.
– Address forms (second-person pronouns and verb forms) reflect the concepts of respect and politeness in the workplace. In Buenos Aires:
– Usted + its verb forms=formal address
– Vos + its verb forms=informal address
With greater age and higher rank in the workplace comes respect, which would dictate usage of the more formal address (usted).
(Lack of) Familiarity or solidarity
– People with whom a worker is not acquainted are also addressed with usted. This is especially common for employees addressing clients. On the next page is an example of a survey, brought to clients at a rather expensive restaurant, which uses usted:
– su presencia
– llegó usted
– Le gustaría
– déjenos sus datos
– The investigator (who was 58 at the time and from the United States) experimented with informal (vos) usage to address some employees younger than she, but many continued to address her with usted. Some employees said that they are incapable of using vos with someone they respect.
– One exception was the female bartender at the hotel where I stayed for five weeks. Eventually, she began to vacillate between usted and vos to address me.
– Norms of politeness dictate that one should be accommodating toward the addressee.
– This can be manifest in the form of the respectful, deferential usted, as shown in the examples above.
– Alternatively, politeness also can dictate informal (vos) usage toward those sharing equal social status, or to show confidence and solidarity toward consumers that are assumed to be from the Buenos Aires area.
Examples of address switching in marketing
– Examples from marketing and advertising will illustrate these different usages geared toward different target audiences.
– For example, subway tickets use usted for instructions that riders should keep the ticket:
Conserve esta tarjeta en buen estado.
– However, advertisements on the ticket use vos to address consumers, with whom the business wishes to establish some feeling of unity.
An advertisement for a chain of movie theaters shows usted on rider instructions.
The detail of the above advertisement for a chain of movie theaters uses vos: vas al cine, vas a Hoyts.
An ad for a cell phone company uses vos: tu teléfono, cambiate a Metrotel ivoz., Comunicate con nosotros, ¿tenés ivoz?
An ad for a pre-loaded credit card also uses vos: conocé
An ad for a travel web site shows vos: Llevá tu cuerpo a donde está tu mente.
In contrast, a place mat from a restaurant that attracts an older clientele uses usted: Disfrute…
The program from an informal peña (restaurant with performances of Argentine folk music) uses vos:
The program from an informal peña (restaurant with performances of Argentine folk music) uses vos:
A menu for a caterer of informal, at-home pizza parties uses vos:
(The detail is shown on the next page.)
The detail of the catering menu
Vos disfrutás…tus invitados…
Full pizza menu
(The detail is shown on the next page.)
The detail of the catering menu
Te…quieras…. …tenés…tu casa….
– Businesses, both small and large, and both formal and informal, are more hierarchical in Spanish- speaking countries.
– Respect is shown by the usage of formal address directed to distinguished or older clients or to the general public (negative politeness).
– A switch from usted to vos in the same document can foster group identity (positive politeness) when that segment of the document is directed toward speakers of the Spanish of Buenos Aires.
– Thanks to the Faculty Research and Study Leaves program at The College of Wooster for approving my one-year research leave.
– The Henry Luce III Fund for Distinguished Scholarship assisted with my travel expenses.
– Several professionals and business people permitted me to visit and observe in their workplaces.
– Finally, my most profound thanks to Soledad López Gambino and her parents, Jorge López and Carolina Gambino for facilitating most of my contacts in both the city and province of Buenos Aires.
– Brown, Penelope y Levinson, Stephen C. 1987. Politeness: some universals in language usage (Studies in Interactional Sociolinguistics 4). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
– García, Carmen. 1992. Refusing an invitation: A case study of Peruvian style, Hispanic Linguistics, 5: 207-243.
– Kaul de Marlangeon, Silvia. 2010. Voseo, ustedeo y cortesía verbal en folletos de propaganda argentinos, en Martin Hummel, Bettina Kluge y María Eugenia Vázquez Laslop (eds.), Formas y fórmulas de tratamiento en el mundo hispánico. México, D.F.: El Colegio de México: 993-1011.
– Uber, Diane R. 2010. Formas y fórmulas de trato en situaciones laborales en Santiago de Chile y Buenos Aires, en Martin Hummel, Bettina Kluge y María Eugenia Vázquez Laslop (eds.), Formas y fórmulas de tratamiento en el mundo hispánico. México, D.F.: El Colegio de México: 1051-1080.
– Uber, Diane R. 2011. Forms of address: the effect of the context, en Manuel Díaz-Campos (ed.), The handbook of Spanish sociolinguistics (Blackwell Handbooks in Linguistics) Oxford: Blackwell: 244-262.
– Uber, Diane R. 2014. Spanish Forms of Address in Advertising and Marketing Documents in Madrid: Respect and Politeness.” Proceedings of the 2014 Hawaii University Conference on Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Honolulu, HI, January 4-6, 2014. ISSN 2162-9188 CD-ROM and ISSN 2162-917X online.
SPANISH CULTURE AS REFLECTED IN THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT OF SPANISH CITIES, PART II
KENT STATE UNIVERSITY
COLLEGE OF ARCHITECTURE AND ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN
THE COLLEGE OF WOOSTER
Dr. Terrence Uber
College of Architecture and Environmental Design
Kent State University.
Dr. Diane Uber
The College of Wooster.
Spanish Culture as Reflected in the Built Environment of Spanish Cities, Part II
By examining public communal gathering spaces in Bilbao and Barcelona, Spain, we have attempted to show that the spaces we use reflect our needs, both functional and aesthetic. The design of these spaces directly affects the behavior of the population, including intergenerational interaction and dissolving boundaries between social classes.
Spanish Culture as Reflected in the Built Environment of Spanish Cities —Part II
Terrence L. Uber, College of Architecture and Environmental Design, Kent State University Diane R. Uber, Department of Spanish, The College of Wooster
INTRODUCTION:This paper is a continuation of the research that was presented at the Hawaii University International Conference on Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences in 2014. The first paper concentrated on the city of Madrid. Part II will focus on the cities of Barcelona and Bilbao. The forms of the urban landscape and architecture are major components of what we think of as culture. The public and private spaces we use reflect our needs, both functional and aesthetic. An understanding of the relationship between the landscape and buildings in a city context can lead to a better understanding of the culture of those who use the spaces.
The field of proxemics, as it relates to design and human behavior, explored by anthropologist Edward T. Hall in his books, The Silent Language, The Hidden Dimension and Beyond Culture, provides stimulus for this paper. Proxemics is defined as the interrelated observations and theories of people’s use of space as a specialized elaboration of culture. People from different cultures often speak different languages, inhabit different sensory worlds and interact according to cultural norms and context (Hall 1990:1-2). Humans can be seen as interlocutors with their environment, and it is essential that we learn to read the silent communications as easily as the printed and spoken ones (Hall 1990:6). According to Hall (1961:10), the silent language is the language of behavior.
The study of cultural communication should also include “how cities are planned and laid out” (Hall 1976: 14). Cities and towns in the Spanish-speaking world generally have the tradition of communal gathering spaces in central plazas or public squares. In addition, many residences as well as public buildings such as museums incorporate courtyards to serve as interior plazas or gathering spaces.
The design of these spaces directly affects the behavior of the population, including intergenerational interaction and dissolving boundaries between social classes. In addition, an analysis of the relationship between the landscape and the buildings in a city context can lead to a better understanding of the culture of the city.
This paper examines public communal gathering spaces in Bilbao and Barcelona, Spain. The Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim museum is Bilbao’s main attraction. This is an example of modern international architecture, which we examined to ascertain how it functions as an art museum, and how it is incorporated into the Spanish landscape. The Guggenheim and the contemporary riverfront development will be contrasted with the medieval quarter, as well as with the Plaza Moyúa, which contains structures from the late 19th to the mid 20th centuries.
Barcelona is a city with its own sense of style, which is reflected in the buildings and public spaces of virtually every street. The works of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí – Casa Batlló, Casa Milá, Parc Güell, and La Iglesia de la Sagrada Familia – are signature attractions in Barcelona. La Rambla, a pedestrian mall, is a busy gathering place for both tourists and residents which ends in the Gothic Quarter, while the area known as Montjuïc encompasses numerous museums and public spaces, including the site of the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition and the 1992 Summer Olympics. And the Plaza de los Ángeles is surrounded by the historic Convento de los Ángeles, contrasted with the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Barcelona (MACBA).
BILBAO:Bilbao, Spain’s sixth-largest urban area, is in the Basque Country in the north. It was an ironworks industry river town, which has undergone a major transformation in the last 20 years. Bilbao’s main attraction is the Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim museum (See Image Index, Fig. 1), which is an example of modern international architecture. Placed on the riverfront where industry used to dominate, the entrance (Fig. 2) is reached by descending a long stairway from the street above to the level of the river below – an acknowledgement of the importance of the river in Bilbao’s history. With the momentum created by the Guggenheim, the riverfront (Figs. 3 and 4) has been revitalized for residential use, business and relaxation. The inclusion of parks, café and fountains (Fig. 5) provide public spaces for both visitors and residents to enjoy.
In addition to the Guggenheim Museum, two buildings/complexes have redefined the riverfront in the 21st century. The Iberdrola Tower (Fig. 6) by architect César Pelli is a 40- story structure which dominates the western landscape of the city. With two adjacent residential structures, the modern tower maintains the interface of living and working seen in traditional Spanish cities. Close to the river, there is easy access to the riverside promenades (Figs. 7 and 8), parks and cafes for workers and residents.
The river promenade also features a bridge (Fig. 9) designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.
This leads to the Isozaki Atea building complex (Fig. 10), positioned along the river between the Guggenheim Museum and Casco Viejo, which was designed to respect the scale of surrounding buildings by balancing two tall, glass towers with lower (6-8 story) brick and stone structures. The complex also incorporates façades (Fig. 11), which were preserved from earlier structures. Residents have easy walking access to retail and business establishments in the center of the city, in addition to the riverside parks.
The different sections of Bilbao provide a unique look at the development of a Spanish city through centuries. The Casco Viejo (Fig. 12) is the medieval area of Bilbao. With narrow streets, there is less evidence of the plazas and open public spaces seen in more modern areas of the city. However the ground-level storefronts and cafes with residential units above provide an intimate setting for locals to meet on sidewalk cafes (Fig. 13). Additional public communal spaces are inserted wherever possible along the streets (Fig. 14), as seen on the street next to the Santiago Cathedral.
Plaza Moyúa (Fig. 15) was originally planned in the 19th century and renovated several times in the 20th century. This large central plaza serves as a hub for hotels, transportation, and businesses for both local residents and visitors. While expertly landscaped with numerous walking paths, the large central plaza/garden is now encircled by multi-lane streets, which may discourage pedestrians from entering it (Fig. 16).
While the city of Bilbao has undergone a major transformation from an industrial river town to a modern city, the development has largely maintained the cultural tradition of combining residential, work and public spaces in the central urban areas.
BARCELONA:The Catalan city of Barcelona, Spain’s second-largest urban area, is a city with its own sense of style, which is reflected in the buildings and public spaces of virtually every street. In Barcelona, the authors visited several Antoni Gaudí-designed spaces: the Church of the Holy Family (Iglesia de la Sagrada Familia) , Parc Güell, Casa Batlló, and Casa Milá (La Pedrera).
The Church of the Holy Family (Fig. 17) was designed as a place of worship but has become a focal point of culture in Barcelona, drawing international tourists and locals to observe, explore and wonder at the creative use of materials and space. Its setting within the city has become decidedly urban, but the park across from the main entrance (Fig. 18) used primarily by local residents and the one on the opposite side of the church directed more toward the tourist trade, fit with the Spanish concept of development to include gathering spaces. Gaudí’s interior (Fig. 19) echoes the trees by creating a forest of abstract columns reaching toward the sky.
Parc Güell (Figs. 20 and 21) was designed to be public communal spaces for a housing development within a park-like setting which never materialized. Although it is located on a very steep hill, it does still function as a gathering place for people of all age groups and for families. There is a large open plaza-like area (Fig. 22), which overlooks the city and numerous walkways (Fig. 23) with areas to rest from the climb; sit and converse; or meditate in the open air. Elaborate structures serve as landmarks throughout the park.
Casa Batlló (Fig. 24) is one of the Gaudí-designed apartment buildings which permit tours in part of the structure to illustrate the original home design. An integral component of this structure is an outdoor courtyard (Fig. 25) on the second level rear designed for communal use of the residents. The attic (Fig. 26) also contained communal spaces such as laundry facilities and meeting spaces. Casa Batlló, along with Casa Milá, still function as apartment buildings while showcasing the organic forms that have become synonymous with Gaudí and Barcelona.
Casa Milá, also known as La Pedrera (‘the stone quarry’) (Fig. 27), was designed by Gaudí between 1906 and 1912. The residential structure originally contained the owners’ residence and 20 rental units. The rooftop (Fig. 28) with its phantasmagorical structures is an inspirational experience and provides panoramic views of Barcelona. The interior courtyard (Fig. 29) was designed to permit light into the interior of each floor and provide a common meeting place for residents.
Public spaces and museums are found throughout Barcelona. Montjuïc is a section of Barcelona which contains multiple museums and public spaces, in addition to being the site of the 1992 Olympics. The entrance to Montjuïc (Fig. 30) features a broad boulevard and wide sidewalks lined with fountains. As one ascends the hill, there are open plazas, fountains and staircases which provide many areas for rest and relaxation. These areas provide an open venue to accommodate thousands of residents during public festivities. Montjuïc is home to the Museo Nacional de Arte de Barcelona (MNAC) (Fig. 31), the Fundació Joan Miró, the Pueblo Español and the Caixa Forum. The design of each institution includes public spaces, interior and exterior, for people to meet, converse and relax. The walkways along Montjuïc provide multiple areas for people to gather and rest as they move between museums. Montjuïc was host to the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition and the 1992 Summer Olympics, which included the landmark stadium (Fig. 32) from the 1929 International Exposition and Santiago Calatrava’s communication tower (Fig. 33).
The Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Barcelona (MACBA) (Fig. 34) is located in another section of Barcelona. The contemporary structure flanks one side of the Plaza de los Ángeles opposite the Convento de los Ángeles (Fig. 35), a historic structure that has been reinvented as a cultural center. The interface of the structures is seen in Fig. 36 – a view of the plaza and convent from inside the museum.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS:Through observational research and analysis of digital photographs, we have examined how Spanish culture is reflected in the architecture and streetscapes, and discovered how new structures have been incorporated into the urban fabric, while respecting the traditional heritage. By examining public communal gathering spaces in Bilbao and Barcelona, Spain, we have attempted to show that the spaces we use reflect our needs, both functional and aesthetic. Many public buildings and museums in the Spanish-speaking world incorporate courtyards to serve as interior plazas or gathering spaces, which evoke the tradition of communal gathering spaces in central plazas or public squares. The design of these spaces directly affects the behavior of the population, including intergenerational interaction and dissolving boundaries between social classes.
SUI SIN FAR: THE PIONEER OF ASIAN AMERICAN TRICKSTERS
SRINAKHARINWIROT UNIVERSITY, THAILAND
FACULTY OF HUMANITIES
DEPARTMENT OF WESTERN LANGUAGES
Dr. Supaporn Yimwilai
Department of Western Languages
Faculty of Humanities
Sui Sin Far: the Pioneer of Asian American Tricksters
Like trickster, the purpose of this paper is to disrupt because it discusses trickster strategies Sui Sin Far, the pioneer of Asian American authors, employed in “The Smuggling of Tie Co” and in “An Autumn Fan.” By engaging in tricksterism, Sui Sin Far not only to get her writings published but also to counter the Anglo-American discourse on race and gender.
Sui Sin Far: the Pioneer of Asian American Tricksters
Asst. Prof. Dr. Supaporn Yimwilai , Faculty of Humanities, Srinakharinwirot University, 114 Soi Sukhumvit 23, Wattana District, Bangkok 10110, Thailand
Like trickster, the purpose of this paper is to disrupt because it considers many the trickster strategies Sui Sin Far, the pioneer of Asian American authors, employed not only to get her writing published but also to counter the Anglo-American discourse on race and gender. In “The Smuggling of Tie Co,” Sui Sin Far created a woman who disguises as a man to resist the state of victimization of the Chinese female immigrants. In “An Autumn Fan,” Sui Sin Far employs a trickster aesthetic to reverse the concept of “Otherness” and to break away from racial and gender stereotypes.
The earliest American fiction about the Asians was written in the 1860s and 1870s and set in the California frontier; this fiction represents the conflict between the Chinese and white Californians. The sources of this conflict are complex. In addition to racial differences, the religious, cultural, and linguistic differences were much greater than those among Europeans of different backgrounds. In this way, the prevailing image of the Chinese immigrants at this time was that of a coolie,” or unskilled laborer. Coolies were considered physically small, dirty, and diseased. In manner, they were allegedly humble and passive, but also sneaky and treacherous. They supposedly looked alike and were depraved morally, given to theft, violence, gambling, and opium. The early American fiction about the Chinese immigrants was written with an awareness of these images.
For example, one of the earliest authors to write about Chinese characters was Bret Harte. His works often included Chinese characters. One of his poems, “The Heathen Chinee,” is a portrayal of a card game between Ah Sin and William Nye. The poem dramatizes how Nye is outwitted by Ah Sin. Although Ah Sin has a “childlike” smile, the readers learn that he is a wicked man. As Nye catches Ah Sin cheating, he shouts, “We are destroyed by cheap Chinese labor.” Similarly, Francis J. Dickie’s short story “The Creed of Ah Sing” presents the bad images of the Chinese immigrants. The narrator remarks, “All Chinks are great gamblers, and as a game keeper Ah Sing was a wonder” (498).
While the Anglo-American literature presents the negative images of the Chinese, employing a Chinese pen name and writing in defense of Chinese immigrants made it difficult for Sui Sin Far to sell her writings to a general American audience, especially on the West Coast. How could Sui Sin Far publish her writings? Like trickster, the purpose of this paper is to disrupt because it considers many the trickster strategies Sui Sin Far employed such as characters in the text and linguistic and stylistic principles. I argue that Sui Sin Far used many trickster strategies not only to get her writing published but also to counter the Anglo-American discourse on race and gender.Sui Sin Far’s two short stories, “The Smuggling of Tie Co” and “An Autumn Fan” are good examples to show her trickster strategies.
Tricksters: Survival Strategies
In The Practice of Everyday Life (1984), Michael de Certeau offers a powerfully suggestive model to explain “the procedures of everyday creativity” by which the weak “continually turn to their own ends forces alien to them” (xiv; xix). He calls these popular procedures “tactics,” which take form of “victories of the ‘weak’ over the ‘strong’, clever tricks, knowing how to get away with things, ‘hunter’s cunning,’ maneuvers, polymorphic situations . . .” (xix).
The best known literary scholar of the origins of the African American trickster is Henry Louis Gates. Gates explains that the African American signifying monkey represents a radical undermining of the language and power structures of white America. Gates’ analysis of the signifying monkey shows how the African American trickster becomes both figure and a linguistic means for one culture’s “guerrilla action” against its oppressing culture’s language and ideology (52).
As to the Native American Indian trickster, Andrew Wiget points out that the trickster “lives best in the ephemeral world of words.” According to Wignet, Native American Indian stories typically use word-formula to set the scene for what the audience knows will come. The Native American Indian trickster follows a basic pattern: trickster fixes himself on a particular goal, but to get it he will have to transform himself on a particular goal. He tries several times but fails, and though he may be punished or killed, he survives to try again and again.
Recent theorists of the trickster build upon these past studies and advance the field particularly along two lines: the social impulse behind the “multicultural” context(s) of trickster, and the crucial role he plays in art. For example, Elizabeth Ammon in her introduction to Tricksterism in Turn-of-the-Century American Literature: A Multicultural Perspective, argues that for many writers of color, tricksters and trickster strategies represented the most viable way of negotiating the Anglo-American male dominated American publishing industry. Inspired by Ammon, Jeanne Rosier Smith puts more emphasis on the multicultural role of trickster in Writing Tricksters: Mythic Gambols in American Ethnic Literature. She argues that the narrative forms of writers of color share distinctive features: breaks, disruptions, loose ends, and multiple voices or perspectives.
From the above discussion, it can be concluded that tricksters can become “a survival strategy” through which oppressed groups or individuals may attain a certain degree of personal and political autonomy within the restrictions or the dangerous situations. It can be characterized as disguise, deceit, ambiguity, change, disruption, surprise, and adaptation. One of writers who employ this survival strategy is Sui Sin Far.
Trickster “Tie Co”
Sui Sin Far’s “The Smuggling of Tie Co” first appeared in Land of Sunshine in July 19101 and was later reprinted in Mrs. Spring Fragrance. Set in eastern Canada near the United States border, during the early years of Chinese exclusion, “The Smuggling of Tie Co” involves a Chinese’s girl’s unrequited love for a white American. Disguised as a man, Tie Co emigrates from China and works in a laundry in Canada. She secretly falls in love with Jack Fabian, and American smuggler. When she finds that Jack is unemployed because when some American lawyers devise a scheme in which Chinese young men purchase birth certificates from American-born “fathers,” thereby establishing their right to enter the country, his business drastically spoiled. Restless and desperate, Fabian complains about his troubles to Tie Co. Tie Co offers to be smuggled to New York even though he has already established himself as one of the partners in a local laundry business. Unfortunately, they are found by the police after crossing the border. In order to spare Jack from being caught with evidence, Tie Co jumps off a bridge and drowns herself. When the Tie Co’s body is brought out of the river, it turns out that “the body found with Tie Co’s face and dressed in Tie Co’s clothes [is] the body of a girl–a woman” (191). Released from jail in less than a week because there is no evidence against him, Fabian soon resumes his smuggling business, and now and then he finds himself “pondering long and earnestly over the mystery of Tie Co’s life–and death” (192).
1 A major Western magazine based in Southern California, Land of Sunshine was edited by Charles Lummis, whose goal was to present “the best Western literature” and make the West “match the East in the excellence of its literary product” (qtd. in White-Parks, Sui Sin Far. 85-86).
The story of trickster Tie Co is complicated because of multiple border crossings. First, disguise as a man, trickster Tie Co has come to Canada with other men. Next, she attempts to cross over from Canada to the United States. In this way, she crosses both geography and gender boundaries. Although there is no explanation for Tie Co’s behavior, I suggest that the disguise as a man is Tie Co’s trickster to overcome their state of victimization of the Chinese women
One of the most noticeable characteristics of the Chinese population residing in the United States before World War II was pronounced shortage of women. According to the United States censuses of population taken during the second half of the nineteenth century, the number of Chinese females fluctuated between 3.6 percent (in 1890) and 7.2 percent (in 1870) of the total Chinese population (Chan “Exclusion” 94). The percentage rose slowly during the twentieth century, but most of the increase was due to the birth of girls on American soil, not to immigration.
Various explanations have been given for why so few Chinese women immigrated to the United States. Some historians, such as Ronald Takaki, have claimed that because Chinese society was patriarchal. The acceptable roles for married women were bearing children and serving their husbands and parents-in-law. Given the central importance of filial piety in traditional Chinese culture, the moral duty of wives to remain in China to wait on their parents-in-law was greater than their obligation to accompany their husband abroad. Moreover, women were kept home in order to ensure their absent husband would not forget their families in China, would send remittances home, and would come back.
The second reason is that since the majority of the Chinese who came to the United States were sojourners, there was no reason to bring their wives with them. The main aim of sojourners is to earn money; it was cheaper to send savings home to sustain their families in China–where the cost of living was considerably lower–than to have them reside in the United States.
Finally, the restrictive immigration laws kept Chinese women out. As Suchen Chan argues, from the early 1870s onward, efforts by various levels of American government to restrict the immigration of Chinese women became the more significant factor. On March 3, 1875, Congress passed “An Act Supplementary to the Acts in Relation to Immigration”– commonly referred to as the Page Law–forbidding the entry of Chinese, Japanese, and “Mongolian” contract laborers, women for the purpose of prostitution, and felons. Although the aim of this law was to stop the immigration of prostitute, it affected other groups of Chinese women who sought admission into the country as well. It made Chinese women difficult to immigrate to the United States because they had to prove that they were respectable women. In 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act, renewed until 1943, prohibited entry into the United States for all Chinese except diplomats, merchants, tourists, teachers, and students. This law ended the hope of Chinese wives to join their families in the United States. In 1924, Congress passed a special law whose effect was to prohibit all immigration of Chinese women, including wives of American-born Chinese. In this way, the number of Chinese women was very low.
Disguise as a man is Tie Co’s “a survival strategy” through which she resists the mechanism of power which attempted to dominate the Chinese women. This strategy is Tie Co’s “a camouflage and guerilla tactic” and thus links her to the tradition of tricksterism and to the subversive tactics described by de Certeau. Disguise as a man is Tie Co’s “a survival strategy” through which she resists the mechanism of power which attempted to dominate the Chinese women. Trickster Tie Co could make her way across the Pacific and could earn a successful living in a man’s world. Trickster Tie Co adapts to the situation and becomes a “master[s] of both physical and psychological disguise, in part to avoid [her] hunters.” As a Chinese female-to-male transvestite, she is able to resist the constrictive gender roles in Chinese patriarchy. She refuses to be kept at home and to do only housework. At the same time, she challenges the restrictive immigration laws in the United States barred to the Chinese immigrant women.
In addition, disguised as a man, trickster Tie Co is able to live on her own terms instead of playing the role of submissive Asian woman. Her trickster strategy allows her to develop a long term relationship with the man she loves. For example, she is able to sit and talk to him like a friend about his business and his troubles which is unusual for a Chinese woman to do. When they both journey across the border, they are not just the smuggler and the would-be-smuggled to each other but companions sharing their adventure. More importantly, dressing as a man, Tie Co is able to declare her love for the white man without his knowledge. During their journey across the border, Tie Co tells Fabian in a clear and sweet voice, “I like you . . . I like you so much that I want to go to New York, so you make fifty dollars” (189). In this way, through disguise as a man, trickster Tie Co resists both racial and gender boundaries.
Sui Sin Far was not alone in employing a disguise to address the inequalities of race and gender. In Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Harriet Jacobs creates a moment that Brent disguises as an African-American sailor: We were rowed ashore, and went boldly through the streets, to my grandmother’s. I wore my sailor’s clothes, and had blackened my face with charcoal. I passed several people whom I knew.The father of my children came so near that I brushed against his arm; but he has no idea who it was. (128)
Disguise as a man is the narrator trickster strategy that allows her to move about in a southern town. The narrator in a man’s clothes brushes unrecognized the man with whom she has experienced sexual intimacy; a familiar and hunted African-American slave, “blacken” with charcoal, passes as an unfamiliar sailor. Similar to Tie Co, disguise as a man is her survival strategy to be unrecognized by the hunters. Instead of escaping to the North, the narrator makes a circular escape into a voluntary captivity in order to stay near her children. Her male disguise allows the narrator to address the critical pressures faced by slave women and the values with which they respond. Unlike male slaves, the female slaves had difficulty to escape to the North because they tied to their children.
In “The Smuggling of Tie Co,” Sui Sin Far transforms the passive, submissive Asian woman into a transvestite trickster who resists the state of being oppressed. This story represents the Asian female experience as grounded in a history contrary to the images represented by the Anglo- American authors. By doing so, the story challenges the white male hegemony
Sui Sin Far’s Love Story
“An Autumn Fan” is Sui Sin Far’s first tale published in the New England Magazine. Many articles written by Anglo-American writers and published in the New English Magazine intended to demonstrate that Asian nations could not keep up with the Western technological developments because their culture and principles of government are antiquated. Several articles highlight the “outlandish customs” of Asia, while scrupulously avoiding any reference to current East-West relations, and reinforces the stereotypes of the Chinese as “impish”, “unclean”, “brutal”, “absurd”, and “queer” (all words used in the text). How, then, did Sui Sin Far counter the Anglo-American discourse presenting the negative images of Asia and Asians? And what made her stories such as “An Autumn Fan” appeal to editors of New England Magazine in 1910?
Sui Sin Far’s “An Autumn Fan” appears to be based on a romantic plot of female patience rewarded. A young Chinese man, Ming Hoan, comes from China to visit and to stay with Yen Chow in America. Ah Leen, Yen Chow’s daughter and Ming Hoan fall in love. Her father agrees to their marriage only on the condition that, after the wedding, the groom will return to his ancestral village to obtain his parents’ blessing. Several months after the groom’s departure, news arrives of his marriage to another woman favored by his parents. To the astonishment of all, even her family, the first wife accepts the news with a stoicism undisturbed even by birth of a son by the second wife. She resists the Chinese community’s pressure to divorce him and remarry. True to his word he does come back and they embrace without need for explanation or apology
In “An Autumn Fan,” the readers’ understanding of the story changes with the realization that the action takes place in a coastal town in California. “We are in American,” asserts the bridegroom. “America! … Land where a man knows no law save his own,” replies his father-in-law. The bride’s mother rejoices that her daughter will not have to “serve or obey” a mother-in law, for the bridegroom is planning to settle in America. After almost thirty years of Chinese exclusion, the given media representations of Asia as timeless and remote, to place Chinese characters firmly against California landscapes, “curving, sloping hills, covered with a tender green; here and there patches of glowing, darling color— California flowers” was a deliberate political move. The Chinese are not in a time and place apart. Sui Sin Far seems to be saying: they are here, they are here now, and they are here to stay.
To involve the readers, the narrator addresses them directly. In the first instance, she points out two of the wedding guests to the readers: “See, there is Ah Chuen, the wife of the herb doctor, and Sien Tau, the mother of the president of the Water Lily Society.” Several paragraphs later, Sui Sin Far involves the readers with the question, “What is that Lee Ah Chuen is saying?” Although this strategy is not used consistently, it does seem to be more deliberate than accidental. In addressing the readers directly, Sui Sin Far uses what Gerald Genette has called “metalepsis,” crossing diegetic levels to imply that figures inside and outside the fiction exist on the same plane. Sui Sin Far blurs the boundary between the real and the fictional. She uses this device to suggest that the characters are possibly as “real” as the narrator and the readers. Sui Sin Far draws on the readers’ memory and emotion through direct address to the readers. In doing so, Sui Sin Far can arouse the sympathetic feelings of her readers.
This strategy is also found in many writings of the nineteenth century such as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Stowe’s novel is full of direct address to the narratees, demanding sympathy for the slaves:
You who have learned, by the cradles of your own children, to love
and feel for all mankind,–by the sacred love you bear your child.—I
beseech you, pity the mother who has all your affections, and not one
legal right to protect, guide, or educate, the child of her bosom! By
the sick hour of your child; by those dying eyes, which you can never
forget; by those last cries, that wrung your heart when you could
neither help nor save. . —I beseech you, pity those mothers that are
constantly made childless by the American slave-trade! And say,
mothers of America, is this a thing to be defended, sympathized with,
passed over in silence? (623-624)
In this passage, the direct address strategy, similar to Sui Sin Far’s, is first to arouse the feeling of any readers who can identify with the narrates, then to ask the readers to project those feelings in the compassion for actual slaves. Whether the situation depicted is that of American slaves or immigrants in North America, this strategy helps develop the readers’ capacity of sympathy for the characters. Then it encourages the readers to apply to nonfictional, real life the feeling the fiction may have inspired.
Then Sui Sin Far employed the trickster aesthetic strategy. Because the shift of tense—present tense, present perfect tense, and past tense—it is difficult to locate the narrative point of view: we are limited to neither the vantage point of a participant-observer nor that of Ah Leen. What, if any, is the rationale for the drifting point of view? Much of the time we are forced to guess who is thinking, observing, or speaking: whether it is Ah Leen the “abandoned” bride, her American friend, or the narrator. If anything, this unfixed point of view suggests that the narrator, the American and Ah Leen all partake of the same consciousness, even as the latter two hold conflicting views on marriage and divorce. Their three voices are orchestrated with the host of others that contribute multiple points of view on this unusual case.
This strategy clearly links Sui Sin Far to the trickster aesthetic. In this way, the readers get to hear a Chinese merchant’s critique of American individualism, his wife’s indirect condemnation of the servitude endured by Chinese women in the home of their mother-in-law, a young Chinese man’s declaration of love, and many more voices of people who had been traditionally silenced. These multiple points of view allow for reciprocal criticism by people of different cultural backgrounds instead of privileging the one-way hierarchical gaze.
This trickster strategy also links Sui Sin Far to Bakhtin’s idea of “carnivalesque.” Carnivalesque, as the word suggests, is connected to the energies of the carnival. In literature, it can be recognized in scenes dominated by the heterogeneity of the crowd, disproportion, excess, chaos, physical needs and pleasures, impurity, and the images as “multiple, bulging, over- or under-sized, . . . mobile and hybrid” (9). While usually associated with the low, the carnivalesque actually “mediates” between the center and the margin or high and low. In “An Autumn Fan,” Sui Sin Far’s trickster strategy involves challenging what Bakhtin has termed monologic visions of social reality with the dialogic of multiple viewpoints, voices that represent those society attempts to make “powerless.” Like Smith’s idea, Sui Sin Far employs multiple perspectives and refuses to mediate with one clear authorial stance. Thus, this trickster strategy exposes monologic illusions about society as well as reversing the order of “Other-ness” from the usual views in Anglo-American literature
Another trickster strategy Sui Sin Far employs is disrupting the readers’ perceived expectations. In “An Autumn Fan,” Sui Sin Far teases the reader by presenting situations and characters that appear to fit stereotypes, then she disrupts the readers’ expectation. Consequently, just as a South Africa mother may compose revolutionary songs in the guise of love ballads, the radical themes slip by unnoticed. A number of elements in the story reinforce popular stereotypes of Chinese: the Chinese women’s passivity, the male Chinese’s bigamy, and Chinese traditionalism. Also the images evoked in the narrative—the crushed geranium expressive of the heroine’s crushed love, “the moon hanging in the sky above like a pale yellow pearl,” the bamboo rocking chair and tea drinking ritual—are all recognizable exotic signs reminiscent of oriental decors. Superficially, the story seems to follow the same line as the Anglo-American narrative which presents the images of Chinese. However, the narrative has many peculiarities that call for a closer examination.
In the midst of the protracted family crisis, we meet the “American girl” who remains present through most of the story but is peripheral to the action. She functions as a stand-in for the readers. Her level of consciousness and cultural distance from the Chinese determine the amount of exposition to be supplied by the narrator. From what other characters tell her, the readers learn about the ins and outs of Chinese wedding ceremonies and rules of kinship. But more importantly, the readers are expected to initially share the American girl’s outrage at Ming Hoan’s “unfaithfulness,” as well as her opinion that Ah Leen should obtain a divorce, since “that is the only course open for a deserted wife who wishes to retain her selfrespect.” When proven wrong, the American discreetly removes herself in the final paragraph, in order to use her new understanding of love to repair her own broken love relation. Here, Sui Sin Far disrupts the readers’ expectation again: the Chinese man comes back as he promised.
Another common belief the story calls into question is that Chinese are cold, practical, and calculating in all matters including marriage—a stereotype perpetuated in stories of fathers selling daughters into marriage of convenience or slavery. One good example of this kind of story is Ah Moy: The Story of Chinese Girl (1908) written by Lu Wheat. This novel details the life of a girl in China, born in 1880, who at age twenty is sold into slavery and taken to San Francisco. The book emphasizes on the hardships caused by the role of females in traditional Chinese society. Wheat cites the social system as the cause of the suffering of the Chinese women, including the selling of the daughter among the poor, the binding of daughters’ feet among the wealthier, and the general preference of parents for sons over daughters. For example, Ah Moy’s mother tells Ah Moy, “Women must obey the man of their family, whether they wish to do so or not” (78).
However, in “Autumn Fan,” Sui Sin Far disrupts the perceived expectations. Contrary to popular stereotypes, Chinese culture is no less prone to change than American culture. The conservative Chinese father who “vowed that he would not disgrace his house by giving his daughter to a youth whose parents had bothered him to another” goes back on his word in acknowledgement of the young couple’s love. The same “inflexible” patriarch eventually revises his opinion on divorce:
Yen Chow puffs his pipe and muses: Assuredly a great slight has
been put upon his family. A divorce would show proper pride. It
was not the Chinese way, but was not the old order passing and the
new order taking its place? Aye, even in China, the old country that
had seemed as if it would ever remain old.
Contrary to the stereotype of Chinese father in Ah Moy, Yen Chow stands for adaptability, change, and guarded interest in the new. As simple and artless as “An Autumn Fan” first appears, upon closer examination we begin to see Sui Sin Far’s tactic to address and disrupt a variety of Anglo-American discourse that ordered reader expectations in her time. In the process, Sui Sin Far shocked the perceptions of the readers.
By engaging in tricksterism, by “both exercis[ing] and exorcis[ing] the negation of the Cultural Other” (Spinks 178), Sui Sin Far was able to avoid her hunters and to achieve voice and visibility in the turn-of-the-century literary marketplace. More importantly, she was able to challenge the dominant discourse which attempted to dominate Asian people. Drawing on the ‘spirit of the trickster-creator,” to use Paula Gunn Allen’s words, Sui Sin Far reminds us of the trickster’s power to laugh at old worlds and invent new ones.
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