Blog Post

HASTAC Needs a Motto: "We Are What We Make Us"

HASTAC needs a motto. Or mottos. We hope you'll use the comment section below so together we can come up with one--or many.


Here's why: We're still beta-testing our new website, but what a site it will be when it will be. Richly interactive, the new will allow individuals and institutions to show their work, their events, to allow for invitations the way Facebook does, and in other ways is the online embodiment of what HASTAC's network of networks aspires to be (at least as much as a voluntary network that doesn't collect dues can afford to do). Mandy and Mark did an amazing job working with the developers (and very, very little cash: remember, no dues, no advertising, lots of volunteerism and elbow grease and generous institutions behind us), and now Ruby has taken up the leadership role. Soon we'll be public to more than just the HASTAC Scholars and the Digital Media and Learning Competition winners (who are helping us with the beta version now). We're hoping for the big (still beta) release after the Fourth of July, and we will be inviting all of you to explore the new site, give us constructive feedback, and, most important, populate it with your projects and activities. We'll be rolling out more features over the next year. We're excited!


But, we are also amused and bemused. There's all this text about what HASTAC is and it just isn't that anymore! It now seems hopelessly outdated. (That's why you redo a website if you redo it right, not just to make it up to date in tech and design but in content, in the deep structure of thinking that should structure every website.) Ours goes back to 2005 . . . and that's eons ago in Internet Time. We were also amused to see archives of previous statements, going back to 2002, about what HASTAC is. Or was.


The basics are the same, but all the details vary, with so many differences in pitch and purpose. That's a good thing. HASTAC is about change. But there are so many shifts and turns in our purpose statements over the years that Mandy quipped we should use as our motto, "We Are What You Make Us." Or "We Are What You Want Us to Be." Or "We Are What We Want to Be." Or "We Are What We Make." Or "We Are What We Want Us To Be." (Down with pronouns!) Or all of the above. A DIY network of networks should have a constantly self-customizing motto.


Here are some HASTAC principles; A passionate interest in some kind of learning that is not restricted to schools or to books but all the ways we learn our world and each other. Some kind of ever-new, ever-changing media whose impact is social and intellectual and deeply global. Some kind of critical thinking, informed by history and deep interdisciplinary appreciation across all boundaries. Some kind of recognition that learning never stops, that it is about all the ways we interact. Some deep conviction that universities need to be un-walled. Some sense that, whether or not we work within institutions, we can mobilize our efforts and use whatever skills and research and thinking we have and do to make a difference in the world. Some keen awareness that everything is changing fast--a revolution can be waged in Iran on Twitter, the world's largest encyclopedia can be created by volunteers worldwide in hundreds of languages with new stores of knowledge by contributors who never meet one another.


Everything is changing fast, that is, except universities, which are changing only around the edges, and K-12 which barely budges at all. Is school the opposite of learning? What a waste, on every level if schools are for taking and passing tests and learning happens organically and elsewhere. What is the future of thinking in this digital age? These are deeply humanistic questions but the humanities are just beginning to claim this responsibility and take this opportunity and run with it.

There was once upon a time (and now) so much dedication to condemning science and technology that there was no time left to think about what the humanities should be doing. How ignorant is that? Science and technology need the humanities in this era when ever major question is about the meaning of life, the meaning of our planet. The humanities need the social sciences, science, and technology when we want to ponder the big questions and need still other tools. But who is thinking in these ways except HASTAC? It's frustrating. In this incredible time, we need incredible new ways to think and act and organize together. The walls remain. But HASTAC has no walls. And the Revolution will be tweeted.


We began with some core principles in 2002 (same year Wikipedia began, to put our history in perspective) but all the details keep changing because our landscape does and the whole point of HASTAC is change.


So our motto? We invite you to use the comment section below to come up with mottos (plural) for HASTAC. HASTAC R Us. How do you HASTAC? How (in five words or ten) do you describe why you are interested in HASTAC? What is HASTAC to you? We Are What We Make Us. Mottos, please!




How about a variation on the old Sun Microsystems slogan "the network is the computer?" HASTAC's motto could be "the network is the academy."


Your comment "what a site it will be when it will be" conjured up Doris Day beginning to sing "Que sera sera" and getting two words out before being brutally interrupted, hence your new motto:


Or "The Academy is a Network!"


Related to this, I only recently learned that the song "Que Sera, Sera" was written for Alfred Hitchcock's 1956 remake of his earlier film The Man Who Knew Too Much (the remake starred Jimmy Stewart and Doris Day) and therefore I jokingly propose

"HASTAC: To Know Too Much".

All right, more seriously.


* deletes a half-dozen as too much like the title of 80s fantasy film _The Neverending Story_*


Here's some suggestions.

"Constant Learning in Constant Change"

"Learning The Future Together"

"Networking the Academy"

"The Network Has No Boundaries"


May we use your "Learning the Future Together"? We will, of course, credit you!


Yes, of course, you may use it.


Fabulosity is a fickle mistress... <sigh>


HASTAC Charities?!


These are really wonderful, Steve. Thank you! I suspect somewhere on the new site we will have a list or wiki that anyone can add to. "Learning the Future Together" is really lyrical. Can we trademark it? Quick?!