Friday, February 13, 2009

meeting 6:41

We consciously chose not to let numbers win
to merge together the twin basic phenomena
it's a choice that'll tell our story better, to help us stand apart from other schools

1 comment:

  1. The undertone to a lot of this discussion seems to concern academia and disciplinary pecking order. Librarianship (1) is among the oldest, most important, and most honorable of academic professions, but (2) is often seen as feminized and professional. The first makes it a requisite of academic community but the second means as a field of study it is often looked down upon, tainted because it is a professional field of study rather than a pure humanity or science.

    The focus on library “science” has meant that LIS is included among the social sciences, although at the bottom of the pecking order. The irony, I think, is that communication is clearly a lesser social science. It’s a late comer, typically with lower academic standards, and it is frequently derivative (of psychology, sociology, history, etc.). In my undergrad, communication was the frequent source of mockery, and I don’t think it contributes much to the study of LIS—certainly no more than would education or any of the traditional social sciences.

    Furthermore, it’s not at all clear that communication (or information for that matter) is a “phenomenon,” much less a twin phenomenon alongside “information.” (And twenty years ago, I doubt you could find anyone who would say this.) The relationship between these two is hard to clarify (is information the object of communication? is communication a component of informing?). Much less are these universal phenomena that are inclusive of LIS or media. (Or, if they are so universal as to describe LIS and media, they also include almost any field which includes words, from theology to law.)

    I would rather have seen a comprehensive title (including media studies) or a simpler title, perhaps followed by a colon (Rutgers School of Information: Communication, Library, and Media Studies).

    It also just seems strange to me to eliminate the name for one of our top ranked and recognized programs (LIS) while keeping one which in some rankings barely cracks the top 100 (Communication). Can we please rethink this?