[ilds] The Function of the ILDS Listserv

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Sat Dec 10 14:35:12 PST 2016


Thanks for the information.  But I expected to be informed of the outcome of my nomination.  A followed up, as you have just provided, would have been appreciated.  Similarly, journals normally do this when rejecting MSS.  It’s a matter of courtesy.

Bruce





> On Dec 10, 2016, at 1:23 PM, Anne Zahlan <zahlan at earthlink.net> wrote:
> 
> Among the many complaints expressed by Mr. Redwine was the following: I nominated someone for ExCom, but I was never informed of what happened to my nomination, which, as I eventually learned, went nowhere or possibly into the trashcan.  
>  
> I am reliably informed by the chair of the nominations committee that Mr. Redwine’s nomination, as all others, was acknowledged with thanks. Of course, the committee appropriately considered all nominations, considered which candidates had more nominations than others, and discussed experience and qualifications of all before making a decision.
>  
>  
> From: ILDS [mailto:ilds-bounces at lists.uvic.ca] On Behalf Of Bruce Redwine
> Sent: Friday, December 9, 2016 8:07 PM
> To: Sumantra Nag <ilds at lists.uvic.ca>
> Cc: Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>
> Subject: [ilds] The Function of the ILDS Listserv
>  
> Dear Pamela Francis and G. R. Taneja:
>  
> Thanks for your two responses.
>  
> First, let’s avoid the red herring about the difficulties of pursuing an academic career.  Which I do not dispute.  Let’s stick to the topic of what has become of the ILDS listserv and all its implications.  Perhaps I idealize, but I see it as a forum for discussing issues related to Lawrence Durrell in depth.  A place to test ideas and to see what works and what doesn’t.  That precedent was set back in 2007 (?), during a moderated (and highly successful) close reading of Justine.  The ILDS moderators were James Gifford, Charles Sligh, and Bill Godshalk.  They were all excellent, and they were all academics.  Gifford and Sligh provided detailed commentary.  Godshalk was pithy and humorous.  But they all participated—and that's my main point.  Do we see such participation today?  No (with one or two exceptions).  That’s a fact.  Am I advocating a return to the culture of 2007?  No.  My model is Bill Godshalk, who was (now sadly gone) a very busy and productive scholar of great worth.  In his unique style, Bill listened, commented, prodded, and kept the discussions going.  He was undoubtedly a fine teacher in the Socratic tradition.  Does such participation involve a lot of extra work?  Although possibly wrong, I don’t think so, unless one is stimulated to greater involvement.  I don’t expect the list to ever repeat the success of 2007.  Some crude “simulacrum,” however, can be attempted.  Last year a reading of Tunc took place.
>  
> Two, what’s the situation today?  Above all, praise goes to James Gifford for his tireless moderation of the list’s remnants.  Now,  James Clawson mischaracterizes the ILDS listserv as a “distraction” and an “echo chamber,” which I take personally offensive, and he uses the Society’s newsletter to publish his views.  In doing so, he promulgates official policy.  If challenging this characterization is an ad hominem attack, then this forum has indeed ceased to be a place for “any sort of useful discussion.”  I’ve always thought of the Academy as a place for open debate.  The fact that both of you disagree with my challenge, strongly suggests to me that you believe the general membership of the ILDS should pay their annual dues, sit quietly, and not complain as policy is determined by a select few.  For another opinion, I suggest you read Peter Baldwin’s email of 7 December 2016, item no. 3 in particular.  On this point, I completely agree with Peter.
>  
> Three, is the ILDS a democracy or an oligarchy?  I think it’s run like the latter.  But this is a matter of the bylaws.  Perhaps a lawyer can comment.  I realize that institutions like corporations are not democracies (so I was informed by an SVP when I worked in one).  Does the ILDS fit this pattern?  Is the Executive Committee (ExCom) too satisfied with its plenary powers?  Hence, no need to consult and no need to justify itself?  I nominated someone for ExCom, but I was never informed of what happened to my nomination, which, as I eventually learned, went nowhere or possibly into the trashcan.  I would like to see, in the jargon of the day, more “transparency.”  For example, are the minutes of ExCom meetings taken?  If so, why aren’t they circulated via the list and why aren’t comments solicited?  Generally, I find ExCom unresponsive, as illustrated by two previously emails by others on this topic, which, so far, have gone unanswered.  It seems that the only way to get a response is to be blunt, of which I am guilty.
>  
> Four, for all the reason stated above and previously, I do not agree that the ILDS listserv is antiquated and useless.  As to the value of Twitter and Facebook as vehicles for “discussing” Lawrence Durrell, I’ve already stated my views in a previous email.  They have not changed.  In brief, I see those outlets as a diminution of Durrellian studies.  I’ll not participate in them, and I see no point in pandering to the whims of current social media.  Yes, I’m an old fogey.
>  
>  
> Clarifications
>  
>  
> One, to be clear, I did not make up the story of academics saving their ideas for articles, which Pamela Francis apparently inflated into an attack on her profession.  That anecdote originated as an exchange between two academics, one of whom reported it to me.  I take it as true.  From what I know of academia and the years spent in it, I think that story patently true.
>  
> Two, I do not hold academia in contempt.  That innuendo is another red herring.  To the contrary, I value the Academy highly.  You, Pamela Francis, are confusing debate with conflict—which surprises me, given your profession and what it values, the free exchange of ideas.  You are also indulging in the kind of mischaracterization previously reserved for the ILDS listserv.  I am not an academic, but I am on Academia.edu <http://academia.edu/>.  I don’t have a title and institutional identification, as you do, but my CV and articles can be downloaded at the website.  My recent essay is entitled, “The Ancient Egyptian Context of The Alexandria Quartet,” Mosaic 49.3 (2016):  71-90.
>  
> So let the debate continue,
>  
> Bruce
>  
>  
>  
>  
>  
>> On Dec 9, 2016, at 7:43 AM, Pamela Francis <pamelajofrancis at gmail.com <mailto:pamelajofrancis at gmail.com>> wrote:
>>  
>> subject: Bruce Redwine's comments:
>> 
>> >That is, he doesn?t want to engage in any kind of
>> > serious discussion?for whatever reason.  (So the advice of one
>> > academic?time is better spent writing articles for tenure and promotion.)
>> 
>> To Bruce and other members of the listserve:
>> 
>> Mr. Redwine's comment is exactly the kind of statement that indicates that this listserve has become a forum for personal grievances rather than any sort of useful discussion. I don't know what you have against people who do academic work, Bruce, but I refuse to even take part in a forum where the very nature of my life's work is somehow considered to be so much blather. No one has ever, to my knowledge (though admittedly, I don't use this forum for the reason stated) said that you don't have any sort of validity in your research just because you are not an academic; however, I do not see the same respect for those of us who do make our living by teaching. You have no idea what teaching in a university in the US is like now--tenure barely even exists, and James Clawson and I both teach in institutions where research and publishing are secondary to the instructional components of our job. It is hard work, and time-consuming work, and to be accused of some sort of snobbery towards non-academics that I know neither James Clawson nor I nor any of the other Board members possess is insulting and uncalled-for. 
>> 
>> As for out-dated technology; well, yes, listserves are outdated. I subscribed to about five of them about ten years ago. As far as I know, this is the only one that is still extant. If you choose not to use social media, so be it, but I find our page to be lively and informative, and I have come to know a great number of people (most, for your information, NOT academics) from all over the world. We are investigating other forums, but I will say that the listserve has become little more than a place for you to make derogatory comments about other Durrellians and this is the main reason that I, at least, will be more than happy to see this forum go away. 
>> 
>> I promote Durrell scholarship, but I also promote general discussion on both Durrells, and if you have ever attended an OMG (I think you were in Victoria?), you would know that a number of our participants are not affiliated with universities, but are thoughtful admirers of Larry and his work. Our Society has room for all those who are interested in him, but it does NOT have room for people who are for some reason dismissive of those from one or the other "camp." The fact that I have to refer to two "camps" is a problem, and one that I never dreamed would be an issue in this Society. 
>> 
>> I realize this is not a well-written reply--I am in the middle of giving a final, which is some of that work I do to get "promoted," which means that in another three years, I'll get another $300 a year added to my salary. Having read some of your missives, I know that you will likely tear apart my writing. But I have read too many of these mean-spirited posts, and I have just had enough. This listserve is not in the spirit of genuine dialogue about a fascinating and complicated writer, and I, for one, do not mourn its passing. 
>> 
>> Sincerely,
>> Pamela J. Francis, Vice-President, International Lawrence Durrell Society and Editor, The Lawrence Durrell Society Herald. 
>>  
>> On Thu, Dec 8, 2016 at 2:00 PM, <ilds-request at lists.uvic.ca <mailto:ilds-request at lists.uvic.ca>> wrote:
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>>> Today's Topics:
>>> 
>>>    1. LISTSERV (William Apt)
>>>    2. ILDS Listserv (Bruce Redwine)
>>>    3. Re: ILDS Listserv (PETER BALDWIN)
>>>    4. Durrell in Hebrew (Rony Alfandary)
>>>    5. Re: Durrell in Hebrew (James Gifford)
>>>    6. Re: Durrell in Hebrew (Rony Alfandary)
>>>    7. Re: Durrell in Hebrew (Kennedy Gammage)
>>> 
>>> 
>>> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>>> 
>>> Message: 1
>>> Date: Wed, 7 Dec 2016 13:33:43 -0600
>>> From: William Apt <billyapt at gmail.com <mailto:billyapt at gmail.com>>
>>> To: "ilds at lists.uvic.ca <mailto:ilds at lists.uvic.ca>" <ilds at lists.uvic.ca <mailto:ilds at lists.uvic.ca>>
>>> Subject: [ilds] LISTSERV
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>>> Dearest all:
>>> 
>>> I use neither Facebook nor Twitter. Does that mean that I will not be able
>>> to participate in or keep up
>>> with discussions unless I join these outlets?
>>> 
>>> Billy
>>> --
>>> WILLIAM APT
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>>> 
>>> ------------------------------
>>> 
>>> Message: 2
>>> Date: Wed, 7 Dec 2016 15:09:30 -0800
>>> From: Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at gmail.com <mailto:bredwine1968 at gmail.com>>
>>> To: Sumantra Nag <ILDS at lists.uvic.ca <mailto:ILDS at lists.uvic.ca>>
>>> Cc: Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at gmail.com <mailto:bredwine1968 at gmail.com>>
>>> Subject: [ilds] ILDS Listserv
>>> Message-ID: <3246813F-49D5-4AD2-B80A-8453DFB964AD at gmail.com <mailto:3246813F-49D5-4AD2-B80A-8453DFB964AD at gmail.com>>
>>> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
>>> 
>>> As a due-paying member of the ILDS, I think we need a clarification on the function of the ILDS listserv.  Let me quote James Clawson, the incoming president of the ILDS, as he explains in the current Herald:
>>> In truth, we?ve been outgrowing the technology behind the listserv for a few years now, and it has with me become a distraction from the work it was meant to serve. We recommend to users that they move the discussion elsewhere? for example, to Facebook, where Pamela keeps up the public group, or to Twitter, where Charles maintains an active presence with @ DurrellSociety. With 130 members in the first of these and 1,600 followers of the latter, these groups serve far more active participants than the listserv, and they?re a vibrant means to reach outward beyond the invisible walls of what could otherwise become an echo chamber.
>>> 
>>> Now, what is Clawson really saying?  The listserv, to which he almost never contributed, has become a ?distraction.?  (If I recall correctly, Clawson made only one brief comment re the idea of Durrell?s latent ?homosexuality.?)   That is, he doesn?t want to engage in any kind of serious discussion?for whatever reason.  (So the advice of one academic?time is better spent writing articles for tenure and promotion.)  And what was the listserv ?meant to serve??  What is it now intended to become?  Presumably a vehicle for a kind of Durrellian agitprop, which can be more effectively propagated on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook.  And why did the listserv become an ?echo chamber??  Because, with one notable exception, academics never contribute to the discussions.  Yes, Clawson's reasoning is circular.
>>> 
>>> I don?t use social networks and never will.  These are not forums for ?discussion,? as Clawson claims.  They?re places for dropping one-liners and postcard impressions.  I?m very suspicious of those who use these outlets.  I think that they pander to the craving for fame and recognition and that they promote lazy thinking, the kind president-elect Donald Trump indulges in.
>>> 
>>> Bruce
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>>> 
>>> ------------------------------
>>> 
>>> Message: 3
>>> Date: Thu, 8 Dec 2016 05:47:40 +0000
>>> From: PETER BALDWIN <delospeter at hotmail.com <mailto:delospeter at hotmail.com>>
>>> To: "ilds at lists.uvic.ca <mailto:ilds at lists.uvic.ca>" <ilds at lists.uvic.ca <mailto:ilds at lists.uvic.ca>>
>>> Subject: Re: [ilds] ILDS Listserv
>>> Message-ID:
>>>         <LOXP123MB114356C7FF998D82D6432006C8840 at LOXP123MB1143.GBRP123.PROD.OUTLOOK.COM <mailto:LOXP123MB114356C7FF998D82D6432006C8840 at LOXP123MB1143.GBRP123.PROD.OUTLOOK.COM>>
>>> 
>>> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
>>> 
>>> A number of comments :
>>> 
>>> 1. The ILDS needs to keep up with the times and consider how best to use social media
>>> 
>>> 2. All such media are open to abuse and that, regrettably, has to be factored into our use of such media
>>> 
>>> 3. If James' comments reflect a change of ILDS policy determined by the ILDS committee, I would rather it had be sent out first via The Herald for consultation.
>>> 
>>> 4. Against my better judgement, I subscribe to both Facebook and Twitter. Contrary to my expectation when I subscribed to Facebook with a view to keeping in touch with far-fling family, I consider it useless. However, I have found it invaluable for special interest groups where info and photos can be shared - both helpful and enjoyable. I am still finding my feet with Twitter but, again, think it is a good forum for views on shared interest.
>>> 
>>> 5. I personally would keep the list serve since there is no character limit.
>>> 
>>> Hope these comments help
>>> 
>>> Peter Baldwin
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> Sent from my iPhone
>>> 
>>> On 7 Dec 2016, at 23:43, Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at gmail.com <mailto:bredwine1968 at gmail.com><mailto:bredwine1968 at gmail.com <mailto:bredwine1968 at gmail.com>>> wrote:
>>> 
>>> As a due-paying member of the ILDS, I think we need a clarification on the function of the ILDS listserv.  Let me quote James Clawson, the incoming president of the ILDS, as he explains in the current Herald:
>>> 
>>> In truth, we've been outgrowing the technology behind the listserv for a few years now, and it has with me become a distraction from the work it was meant to serve. We recommend to users that they move the discussion elsewhere- for example, to Facebook, where Pamela keeps up the public group, or to Twitter, where Charles maintains an active presence with @ DurrellSociety. With 130 members in the first of these and 1,600 followers of the latter, these groups serve far more active participants than the listserv, and they're a vibrant means to reach outward beyond the invisible walls of what could otherwise become an echo chamber.
>>> 
>>> Now, what is Clawson really saying?  The listserv, to which he almost never contributed, has become a "distraction."  (If I recall correctly, Clawson made only one brief comment re the idea of Durrell's latent "homosexuality.")   That is, he doesn't want to engage in any kind of serious discussion-for whatever reason.  (So the advice of one academic-time is better spent writing articles for tenure and promotion.)  And what was the listserv "meant to serve?"  What is it now intended to become?  Presumably a vehicle for a kind of Durrellian agitprop, which can be more effectively propagated on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook.  And why did the listserv become an "echo chamber?"  Because, with one notable exception, academics never contribute to the discussions.  Yes, Clawson's reasoning is circular.
>>> 
>>> I don't use social networks and never will.  These are not forums for "discussion," as Clawson claims.  They're places for dropping one-liners and postcard impressions.  I'm very suspicious of those who use these outlets.  I think that they pander to the craving for fame and recognition and that they promote lazy thinking, the kind president-elect Donald Trump indulges in.
>>> 
>>> Bruce
> 
>  
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