The Mina Rees Library has coordinated and hosted its Open Pedagogy Fellowship for three consecutive years, and with a Summer 2020 and Winter 2021 cohort. The Fellowship is at the intersection of theory and praxis – targeting high-enrollment courses being taught at CUNY by Graduate Center doctoral students, converting them to a Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) model, and expanding the concept of “open” in the process.
Previous keynote speakers at our 2019 and 2020 Symposia have included: Audrey Watters, journalist; Walis Johnson, artist; and Clelia O. Rodriguez, author of Decolonizing Academia: Poverty, Oppression, and Pain. Our 2020 event was shifted to an entirely virtual program due to the onset of COVID-19 restrictions, and drew international attention, with attendees from the University of Kashmir, Edinburgh College of Art, University of Victoria, and other far-flung institutions.
At the core, our programming is driven by the question – Why open? Without taking for granted the wider context of scholarly publishing, we seek to encourage a critical lens: on the commercialized incursion of educational technology; global inequities that obscure a historically localized and/or indigenous knowledge production; as well as the everyday economics of journal/database subscription fees.
Borrowing from Audrey Watters’ inquiry, we’d like to follow these lines of questioning on the broadest scale as well as in the smallest iteration. Who decides what “open” looks like? When we work towards a scholarship that is openly-licensed, who is the imagined recipient of this knowledge? Open for what, and ultimately, open for whom?