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Colloquium Archive

Martha Webber

Name: Martha Webber, English Department

Presentation Title: "'The Problem is Here, the Time is Now': Research, Reciprocity, and Service"

Date: December 3, 2009


In the closing lines of "They Pledged Your Tuition," an October 2009 open letter to University of California students, Bob Meister exhorts: "The problem is here, the time is now, and we are building a movement that can produce new knowledge on which other movements can build." Drawing on the recent events in higher education as its broad context, as well as participant observation research I produced with South African state and non-governmental organizations over the last two years, this presentation explores fieldwork and ethnographic research to understand their inextricable connection to reciprocity and service. What conceptions and practices of reciprocity and service do researchers and educators engage? And is there something about the time "now" that compels us to "produce new knowledge" of what reciprocity and service could mean?