|About the Book|
In the face of expanding openness, is it possible to theorize the Web? If one accepts the provocative proposition that the old academic paradigm of Publish or Perish and Peer Review is, if not actually dead, virtually extinct, then the next questionMoreIn the face of expanding openness, is it possible to theorize the Web? If one accepts the provocative proposition that the old academic paradigm of Publish or Perish and Peer Review is, if not actually dead, virtually extinct, then the next question must be: what are the effects upon traditional academia of the new paradigm of scholarly publication based on the boundless Internet? This book examines the possibilities of theorizing the Web, takes up current debates on digital discourse, and presents the work of the leading scholars of the Internet working in the current field of content production in Cyberspace. Here on the Internet, new intellectual practices are being invented to lead the way to a revolution in the collective production of knowledge for a new century.Writing The Postmodern Condition in 1979, Jean-François Lyotard prophetically described impact of the explosion of innumerable “little narratives” upon the once exclusive privilege of producing knowledge. While this basic definition of the “postmodern condition” as the shattering of the metanarrative and a breakdown of authority is well-known, and in the twenty-first century, it is necessary to revisit and reconsider the under-appreciated fact that Lyotard was contemplating the fate of knowledge transformed into atoms of information through computer technology. Although the philosopher did not live to see today’s Internet, his predictions of paralogy are now playing out in Cyberspace and their impact needs to be examined anew.The production of a computer-based culture resists authority and this new field of content can neither be guarded by gatekeepers nor patrolled by centralized control. Without a discernible center, what has evolved in this century is a practice of a contemporary and innovative gift economy as though re-imagined by Mauss and re-placed in Cyberspace. Defying the domains of discursive control, the Web is open to anyone and everyone, and new voices are coming to the fore, making their disruptive presences felt. For traditional university communities this new condition of openness is the immediate now, and this book explores the consequences of discursive decentering upon today’s academic condition.Dr. Jeanne S. M. Willette, the author of this study, is a professor of art history at Otis College of Art and Design and an art writer in Los Angeles. She writes and publishes the website Art History Unstuffed and this illuminating experience as an art writer on the Internet has led her to investigate the possibilities of Cyber scholarship in the de-centered Web world of open access. Using art history and art criticism as examples, New Artwriting points the way to the future of academic writing and art writing when publishing in the contemporary world within the Lyotardian “condition” of postmodern knowledge. Here crisis creates opportunity for a free exchange of scholarship and a further evolution of an intellectual discourse that is moving towards a democratization of knowledge.