Tag Archives: digital tool academic blogging

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How to Create Your Own Timeline

Throughout this topic series, we will introduce knowledge streams and digital tools that can help you present information in engaging and meaningful ways. The Timeline JS tool used to create the Stop-and-Frisk timeline is one of these tools.

Timelines allow you to craft a narrative for your audience, gather a wide range of information, and provide a platform that is clean, clear, and interactive. Whether designing a class project, curating data and resources for an academic article, or presenting a history of your community group, timelines naturally combine the visual and textual in an easy to follow format.

While digital tools change at a rapid rate, a current favorite timeline of mine is Timeline JS. Developed by Zach Wise as part of Northwestern University’s Knight Lab, the tool is simple to use and produces visually appealing, interactive timelines that are easily embedded on a website.

To get started, download the Google spreadsheet template. You can then pull in media directly from Wikipedia, Soundcloud, YouTube, GoogleMaps, Twitter, Flicker, and more. There are clear step-by-step instructions on on the Timeline JS website, including a video tutorial and an excellent Help section. We’ve also made some screencasts to get you started. The first walks you through the basics of creating a timeline, the second highlights some of the options available.

Timeline Basics

Working in the Template

 

Top 3 Timeline Tips

1. Create a clear narrative. The strongest timelines are those that tell a clear narrative. Though presented in a visual form, timelines are much like any research paper or story: they work best when they have a good organizational structure and the order of the argument makes sense.

2. Incorporate a range of media. Images are only one way to ground your text. Charts, maps, documents, links to other sources, video, and infographics can give your project a more robust feel and provide your reader with further avenues to explore on the topic.

3. Cross-promote content. Timelines let you curate a broad range of information. If there are academics, journalists, activists, or community groups working on the subject, be sure to include links to their websites, tweets that are relevant to the topic, and events or research that they’ve done. Not only will this broaden the readership of your timeline, but it will direct people to important work being done in the field.

In the comments, please feel free to share links to your own timeline projects.

 

This post is part of the Monthly Social Justice Topic Series on Stop-And-FriskIf you have any questions, research that you would like to share related to Stop-and-Frisk or are interested in being interviewed for the series, please contact Morgane Richardson at justpublics365@gmail.com with the subject line, “Stop-and-Frisk Series.”

Stop-and-Frisk Timeline

This timeline illustrates some of the major moments of, responses to, and influences on Stop and Frisk dating back to Terry vs. Ohio, the 1968 Supreme Court decision to the present Federal District Court ruling on Floyd v. New York City. Collected here are important documents, reports, and films, created by the state, activists, research and community institutions. In the comments, we welcome your suggestions for other entries to add to the timeline.

 

This post is part of the Monthly Social Justice Topic Series on Stop-And-FriskIf you have any questions, research that you would like to share related to Stop-and-Frisk or are interested in being interviewed for the series, please contact Morgane Richardson at justpublics365@gmail.com with the subject line, “Stop-and-Frisk Series.”

Introduction to Social Justice Topic Series: Stop-And-Frisk

Today begins our month-long social justice topic series which asks academics, activists, and journalists to reimagine New York City after the end of stop-and-frisk and to consider how civic engagement and greater democracy might be promoted for all residents. The first week of this month’s series, Stop-At-Frisk At A Glance, will provide an overview of the issue to-date. We will include a blog post on the connection between social justice and activism, as well as interviews with activists and academics in the field. Emily Sherwood, a member of the JustPublics@365 team, will introduce an interactive timeline about milestones in the Stop-and-Frisk story along with steps to creating your own digital timeline to use as a form of digital activism and social engagement.

The Morris Justice Project teamed up with the Illuminator to share some of the initial findings of their ongoing research into policing in the Morris Avenue area of the South Bronx. As a crowd watched from across the street, the Illuminator projected survey results onto a high-rise apartment building. Two short films were also projected: Julie Dressner’s New York Times op-doc “The Scars of Stop and Frisk” and “Community Safety Act” by The NYCLU and Communities United for Police Reform. Drummers from BombaYo provided a musical intro.”

Stop-and-frisk has been a tool used by the NYPD for decades, though in recent years the number of criticisms and grassroots protests around police tactics has increased tremendously. In the case of Terry v. Ohio (1968), the United States Supreme Court established a national legal basis allowing officers to stop, question and frisk citizens. This decision allowed police officers to stop and detain individuals based on reasonable suspicion rather than a higher level proof of probable cause. According to the NYCLU, New Yorkers have been subjected to police stops and street interrogations more than 4 million times since 2002. Nearly 9 out of 10 of those stopped and frisked have been completely innocent with Black and Latino communities representing an overwhelming target of these tactics.

While Mayor Bloomberg and New York City police officials have stated stops-and-frisks are beneficial for decreasing crime, citizens of NYC affected by stop-and-frisk saw these tactics as intrusive, unwarranted and ineffective. Together with activists, journalist, and academics, the city of New York City organized to shed light on the realities of stop-and-frisk and on August 12th, 2013, the U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin found that the New York City Police Department had violated the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments in the way that they have conducted stop-and-frisks, thus ending a controversial policing experiment.

Click here for more information about our Monthly Social Justice Topic Series.

If you have any questions, research that you would like to share related to Stop-and-Frisk or are interested in being interviewed for the series, please contact Morgane Richardson at justpublics365@gmail.com with the subject line, “Stop-and-Frisk Series.”

Be Informed. Stay Updated. Stop, Question and and Frisk Policing Practices in NYC. A Primer (Revised).

Becoming Public: Academic Blogging as a Tool for Activism and Community Engagement

A recent feature on the London School of Economics (LSE) blog, asked a question which has been plaguing the academic community for over 10 years: Why are so many academics against academic blogging?”  There is much anecdotal evidence as to the reasons why academics refrain from blogging.  They include concerns that academic blogging:

  • Demeans or cheapens scholarly work
  • Can become misconstrued, misunderstood, and misused to fit narrow political or social agendas as it enters the public realm.  This may threaten the autonomy of academic work.
  • Takes too much time and so, takes away from “more legitimate academic activities”.
  • Leads to internalized self-censorship that comes with years of enforced academic perfectionism
  • Can hurt the academic and professional prospects of a scholar

Looking at these concerns it’s clear that academics have to mediate between the discomforts and concerns that surround academic work and the public realm. Academic blogging is merely one of the common ways that academia life intersects with the publics. LSE argued in their article above, “Academic blogging exists somewhere in an ether space between academic research and broader community.”  It is the space where academic research is made more accessible and so facilitates a more democratic relationship between academics and various publics.”  

And who is most equipped and suited to overcome these challenges and provide further definition and insight into this ether space – than academics themselves!  Many academics are trained in ethnographic and field work methods which prepare them to act as brokers and mediate between two worlds.  These are the same skills that can be used in order to merge the academic with the public and lay the groundwork for channeling  academic blogging towards activism and community engagement.

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(CC Image from Flickr)

Last week was the launch of CUNY Graduate Center’s first participatory, open, online course “POOC”: Reassesing Inequality and Reimagining the 21st Century: East Harlem Focus.  The speakers Dr. Michelle Fine and Dr. Maria Torres shared personal experiences conducting participatory action research (PAR) in regards to stop and frisk policy issues in NYC communities. Their talk described and emphasized the mutual reliance that academics and the communities they study have to foster and grow a shared learning process.  Academics have learned though years of hard lessons out on the field; to juggle the ethical demands and principles of their scholarly community with those that arise when they embed themselves in the lives and communities they seek to study.  Like in most types of field work research, as the mediation process is introduced, there are risks of misrepresentation, misinterpretation and exaggeration that may arise.  However, in field work we have learned to persevere and overcome these challenges. Why can’t the same difficult, long, yet rewarding learning process take place, as it is now academics and their work, ideas, and thoughts which are placed under the microscope of public scrutiny and for public consumption? The basis of much of academia is to bring people together across these boundaries, ideas, and beliefs – and we should be committed to contributing to this shared learning process.

So, my hope is that by acknowledging the difficulty of “becoming public” we can set ourselves on a path to identifying lessons we have learned in our own research and work that can help us move on and “get over it.”

With that being said, embracing a culture of connectivity is not for every academic. However, there has never been a better time to be a public intellectual thanks to the abundance of technology and digital tools available.  And as this article argues – academics are among the best equipped to help forge that path.