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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: January 10, 2002; February 5, 2002
Latest Update: September 14, 2002.

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Index of Topics on Site Building Discourse in the Aftermath
of September 11, 2001.

by Collaborative Student Writing Workgroup of Dear Habermas
Team Membership
from California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) and
the University of Wisconsin, Parkside (UWP)

Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata and Individual Authors, January 2002.
"Fair use" encouraged.

First Draft

This essay offers the experience of a group of college students in the aftermath of the World Trade Center attack in New York City on September 11, 2001. We, like the rest of the world, felt rage and shock and a need "to do something." We had no ritual phrases to fall back on. We needed to talk through the trauma. We needed discourse.

We were fortunate enough to have a forum on which build discourse. n. 1 Our teaching /learning website offered a place, albeit virtual, for us to come together, a place to let us rediscover a sense of community in the midst of our anger, fear, and confusion. We put together this essay as a model of our experience, since we believe that the healing we needed is shared by all those who seek peace and social justice. We hope that by offering stories of our own experience we may illustrate some of the ways in which the academy may serve in a role of recovery and understanding.

Our first reactions swirled about our feelings. We were angry, frightened, indignant, and wanted to lash out at the offenders. On our site we offered paintings, poetry, thoughts, and we stretched the connections we had established as a virtual learning community. Gradually these intense emotions gave way to considering peace and how our country's actions would reflect on world peace and justice.

At that point our site served as a resource, with the constant reminder that we needed to explore in good faith many conflicting perspectives. We didn't have the discretionary time to read whole books on the Taliban, but we could share what each of us was reading. The reviews and summaries on site fed our discussions in a variety of classes and in the hallways.

Our purpose in this essay is to suggest that such a forum could serve as a focus in guiding other groups through the intense emotions we felt after September 11. We moved in phases from using the forum to express inner feelings that would otherwise have blocked reasoned consideration of validity claims. And we shared more information than any of us could have read so quickly in the face of other demands. We think such factors weighed heavily in our ability to refocus on peacemaking and the costs of armed conflict.

We offer this descriptive analysis in the hope that the model will serve many communities, both real and virtual. The technology helped us, because we were not able to come together easily in our urban metropolitan environment. But technology was not essential to what we accomplished. It could be done face to face in local neighborhoods. It could be done with paper and pencil as in the old days of hardcopy texts.

The Healing Effects of Having a Forum
to Say What We Feel

In this section, we offer the actual submissions on which we are basing our assessment of what the site offered us that holds a potential for peace making.

  • Part of no longer being a victim . . . n. 2. by Michelle Marshall

    I am so glad to know that I will not have to wait until next year to vent about how I really feel. Since taking your classes, I have been called dogmatic, intolerant. I don't see any problem with seeing things the way they really are. Often times it is too painful, so others may choose to look at the situation with rose filtered glasses. Part of no longer being a victim requires us to look at things for the way they really are n. 3 and not how we'd like to see them in our head. This is the first step to healing.

    Part of no longer being a victim . . .

    Michelle reflects here gratitude most of us felt for having a place to voice what we were feeling, and to be heard. She indicates the sense of empowerment that gave. Oddly, though we considered this empowering and enlightening, others in her experience have seen her newly-discovered freedom as intractability, as she challenges the dominant discourse. That issue will afford us whole new areas of research on the means of supporting critical thinking.

  • It matters not if I agree or disagree . . . n. 4. by Lisa J. Stevens
    "That this country could ever experience such a tradegy and loss was inconceivable to me prior to 9/11/01, yet at the same time I wondered how we had escaped something like this for so long. What was so wonderful about the site, was on a daily basis, I could read about the disbelief, the horror and the responsiblity that was felt by other members of our communites, worldwide. . . .

    "Writing to the site, sounding off my opinions and checking in to see what was going on in the minds of others gave me a sense of "doing" something in a situation where there was not much that I could literally do. The confusion, hurt pride, loss of life and utter despair felt when facing this issue was lessened by having a place to go."

    It matters not if I agree or disagree . . .

    Lisa makes a fascinating point that I would attribute to good faith listening n. 5. Even if we don't agree with the conclusion reached, or the theoretical approach, the discourse helps. This fits in with our advocacy project, in which we work at exploring the many perspectives that need to be heard in good faith and their validity claims explored. That did satisfy, for many of us, the need "to do something."

  • Restorative justice n. 6. by Patricia Acone
    Jeanne, I picked up my mail today and a copy of the Albany Catholic Worker for Winter 2001/2002 was waiting for me. The following excerpt was contained on page 8 of the Book Review for Restorative Justice:
    "The thing to do right now is to create a new society within the shell of the old with the philosophy of the new which is not a new philosophy, but a very old philosophy a philosophy so old that it looks new." Peter Maurin

    As I reflect upon the events, which are now referred to euphemistically as "nine eleven", I remember it only in the abstract. Even though, I have seen the video versions many times, it still does not seem real. I was a little girl when Pearl Harbor occurred and even that did not seem real.

    I certainly realize that to those who lived this nightmare it is/was very real. Perhaps, I believed what the dominant discourse preached, through its leaders and the media, that, after all, the United States was impenetrable. Our shores and our borders were sacrosanct; no one from outside the U.S. could touch us.

    Ironically as a long time activist radical, I firmly believed that the United States was long overdue for a retaliation by the countries that we have made into third world countries by atrocities committed against them, even though we proclaim ourselves a democracy, For example, when a country practices exclusion both within and without, when it acquires a "them and us" mentality, when it continues to colonize people and both pillages and kills the people and their land, something is going to happen. n. 7. I, however, must have believed that retaliation to the American people would occur within the boundaries of the countries that America had colonized--never here!

    As for the question of how can we help to bring about world peace? I personally feel that we as a people must stop and question what the dominant discourse n. 8 is telling us through our leaders and the media. On a daily basis, we are told that we must put an end to these terrorist fundamentalists, and yet we are never told that we have terrorist fundamentalists in the US. For example, Amos Oz, noted author and Israeli peace activist, (in a speech aired on KPFK during the week of 1/7/02) says that there is no difference between those in the US who bomb and subsequently kill people at the abortion clinics simply because they have a different philosophy from someone else, and those who bombed the World Trade Center.

    We must, also, keep ourselves well informed and well read. We must never be afraid to speak if we disagree or believe that an individual is believing the language of the dominant discourse. We must realize that our educational system has egregiously failed us by neither teaching us to think critically nor to respect people for what they are--human beings.

    In other words, we must, as the fundamentalists tell us, BE VIGILANT. I am grateful, on a daily basis, that I have the dearhabermas site to help me to keep well informed.

    Restorative Justice . . .

    Pat reminds us of the convolutions in thinking as we struggle to weigh the facts that simply refuse to be pinned down as we study the many perspectives. I, like Pat, have been grateful for the site, for it continually forces me to consider new aspects, as we try to respond in good faith to all the perspectives and validity claims that pop up in the course of our discussions.

    This also forced me to expand my range of reading, as I discovered how many questions I could not answer in good faith. This had the effect of giving the students curricular control, for there are issues I would not have hunted for, but for their questions.

  • Learning with our kids n. 9. by Patricia Acone
    Good Morning! On PBS's Sagwa, n.10, this morning's segment illustrated how people in Moslem countries live, their holidays (Ramadan), their laws (the Koran), and so forth. Even though it is a children's program some adults could learn much from it. There are segments of Sagwas several times a day (consult your local tv guide - always wanted to say that, ha, ha).

    Sagwa Revisited . . .

    The issue Pat describes here seems so deceptively simple, yet it is not. We have found over the course of the growth of our virtual community that learning demands sharing. Most of us have children in our lives. And most of us take time from those children for our studies and our "serious" adult work. We have found it to be a measure of respect when we take time from our studies to share these issues with them. They do have much to say, and they do respond to the respect.

    Our site helps by just such odds and ends of information as Pat sends us here. I would never have found Sagwa, for there are no young children in the household to watch it. Now, I can make it a point to turn to PBS' program for young guests and for myself. Again, we are sharing in the task of locating curriculum for all of us.

  • what a small world it is! n. 11. by Kerry Partika
    Hi Jeanne,
    Hope that your break is going well. thanks so much for the oscar that you awarded me. it really made my day. anyway, you won't believe this one... my mom was reading her fiance's christmas cards today, and she read one from one of his old college friends. she started to think how familiar everything in the newsletter inside the card was sounding when she realized that she was reading stuff about dear habermas and things that she had heard me talking about. turns out, the card was from susan takata!! isn't that so funny! what a small world it is! i thought that you would get a kick out of that. i think that i will email her that story and introduce myself. well, have a nice weekend. talk to you soon. Kerry

    what a small world it is! . . .

    Kerry notes the special delight of realizing that we're out there in the real world. We bump into one another in the strangest places. That not only adds to our delight in each other, but it brings home another perspective of empowerment. By venturing out there, by sending a message out into the unknown, we find others. We're stretching the edges of our community.

  • Thanks for saying it, Kerry n. 12. by Susan Takata

    is the focus only on the WTC and sept 11th or the related tragedies at the pentagon and in pennsylvania? (the tragedies as a whole). the one i would like added (i think i pulled the file for you among the list of things i went through yesterday and emailed to you) was my first interaction with kerry when she emailed orlando (took the initiative to find his email) and email her condolences. n. 13 and my reaction was how neat because i still haven't emailed him (it's hard to find the words, especially the right words). actually i've been meaning to email or better yet, write to orlando to explain where the students' emails are coming from and how he in his own way helped my students at UWP and i better understand fellman in practice, when rodriguez urged peace, not revenge in his editorial in the ny daily news.


    p.s. maybe in emailing this to you, i've hit my 300 words!

    Thanks for saying it, Kerry . . .

    Susan's message tells us quite a lot about our community. First of all, she's a professor at the University of Wisconsin, Parkside. Second, she was once, long ago, my student. Third, she shares with all of us, across the country, across issues. And like all of us, she's juggling to fit everything in. Hence, the reference to 300 words. In alerting this workgroup I noted that Students for International Peace and Justice said they would accept an essay as brief as 300 words.

    Again, that may seem trivial. But most of us are caught in hectic schedules, and torn by many allegiances. The offer to accept brief excerpts means that we can somehow fit the project in. And that speaks to social class. We are grateful that there is a chance to have our work recognized, even though we cannot plunge into it, to the exclusion of other demands.

    Susan also reminds us that words are not always easy to come by. Kerry had a safer distance for writing. She did not know Orlando. Susan did. And found it much harder to find words. This willingness to cross the traditional faculty/student barriers means that we come to see each other differently. These are some of the ways in which we need to share tasks with our students, not clapping erasers on the blackboard, or the greenboard as it may be.

  • You never told Habermas? n. 14 by Rebecca McLaughlin ("Mac")
    jeanne: "Yes, it's true. We never told him. He doesn't like electronic communication. Old school elite, you know. I never had the courage in the old days. And then we're just ordinary folks, doing discourse. I guess I figured that people like Habermas don't talk to people like me."

    Mac: You never told Habermas?

    Mac has hit the nail on the head. This business of exclusion really hurts, on every level where it pops up its ugly head. Although we've been struggling to understand Habermas, and to cherish his optimism that somehow humans can co-exist in this new world order, we still retain the scars of not being part of an elite scholarly institution. To some extent that just means we don't have enough discretionary time to pursue our research. But to a much greater extent it means that we've internalized the labelling of academic rank.

    Maybe once that made sense of some kind. But today it speaks mostly of excluding those who lack the advantage of access to the hallowed halls of elite institutions. The academy has long cherished a hierarchical system that fosters arrogance and exclusion. And once it could afford to. No longer. As we face the new empire, or the new world order, arrogance and exclusion are recognized and challenged. Today, legitimacy would seem to demand that all have access to the critical thought that establishes and maintains policy.

    Because we are not yet ready to debate all the finer points of Habermas' theory, I made the unstated assumption that Habermas would not be interested in what we were doing. In that, I disrespected myself, and applied that label of disrespect to our students. These are the slippery slopes we need to beware of as we fight the battles of arrogance and dominance. It's hard to believe enough in ourselves to understand that anticipating the arrogance that will exclude us disrespects all of us, and reflects a psychological life space that expects doors once closed to remain closed, and is complicit through denying the validity of trying the door once again.

    Worse than that, one of the Habermas sites calls us an inaccurately named site. That hurts. I guess we don't get to be a real Habermas site unless we write more advanced theory. So I'm working on it. We really did start out with Habermas, and we really do keep struggling to get through all his books. There just wasn't enough time to do that and manage to summarize and develop teaching exercises for undergraduates. And teach four courses a semester.

    This points up even more the need for allowing participation to those who are not smiled upon by the academic ranking system. And that reminds me that I must not in turn disrespect my students and the creative production of their thoughts. That means that I must not be complicit in the hierarchical system's arrogance of believing that my students are not competent to find wholly new ways of approaching social issues. The y need that I grant them the respect of listening to their ideas in good faith. n. 15. We may no longer have "enough room at the top," but we have a desperate need for creative innovation in dealing with social problems and issues.

  • Making it and staying in touch n. 16. by Victor Rodriguez
    Subject: Hello

    Hi Jeanne, How are you? I was your student for 3 classes and i graduated from CSUDH last year....I'm currently working as an Associate Producer for NBC Telemundo, and I just want to thank you for all your help...God bless you...Victor

    Making it and staying in touch . . .

    Victor makes the point that teachers often forget that students really want to learn. Victor's knowledge of where to find the site and of our genuine interest in each other meant the site was still available to him, and the community thus still benefits from his participation. And I recall when it was like pulling teeth to convince Victor to write e-mail! He was in classes several semesters ago, when we were still just barely learning how to create this virtual community.

  • I apologize for not communicating frequently . . . n. 17. by Nyree Berry

    "Hello, jeanne

    Happy New Year, I hope all is well. I apologize for not communicating frequently when I was in Jamaica for the spring semester, However due to the extreme underdevelopment my access to email was limited. I was living on a campus, and the access to television radio, Internet, electricity was very limited, and the only way I was able to contact home was a collect call to my parents' house. I truly apologize for not communicating with you. However the experience was wonderful, and I introduced several methods that I learned in your classes to the students that I was teaching. It was awesome to see students taking notes and remembering things that I mentioned in a class session."

    I apologize for not communicating frequently . . .

    Nyree's contribution illustrates the extent to which we trust one another. But for this virtual community, I would howl about a student failing to check in. Nyree knows that. But she also knows that I abhor structural violence. n. 18. In an elite world, in which technology and access are possible, we assume that that is always the case. As Nyree reminds me here, in some places and sometimes access is lacking. Her manner of pleading the case suggests that we have dealt with the issues of structural violence, and learned to listen to one another and try to understand the other perspective. That is the kind of trust in which learning can flourish. And she notes that in her pleading.

  • Trust is not easy to come by . . . n.19. by Marlene Veliz

    On Monday, December 4, 2000, Marlene wrote:

    Hi Jeanne, I am writing to you to express my feelings towards the class on Tuesday night.

    I was very frustrated to see the discourse going on among the black students mainly because that monopoliztion of the discourse made it seem as if they are the only ones discriminated against. The truth is otherwise; us Latinos are also discriminated against.

    Latinos are also sent to prison unjustly. I can honestly say this because I have a relative who has been in prison for five years for no reason. He was sentenced for 12 years and was charged with no evidence, nothing was proven against him, but since the case was against a white person, he was bound to lose. Latinos are also discriminated against by police officers. Whenever a police officer sees a Latino driving a nice car or nicely dressed they assume he/she is a drug dealer. Therefore, they are stopped and searched. That is certainly not right.

    I perfectly understand that blacks are upset by the slavery their ancestors went through. But hasn't anyone stopped to think that us Latinos were also slaves once during the time of the conquistadores? Hasn't anyone thought that we also have the right to be upset, since we are living in what once used to be Mexico before the United States took over. I believe we also have the right to have resentment against many people, but we do not go around portraying it. Mexicans are not even allowed to cross the border to have a better style of living only because it is so hard to survive in Mexico. White people do not understand that the life in Mexico is extremely hard. Some people do not have jobs, because it is hard to find a job, whereas here there are plenty of jobs, but too many lazy people. n. 20.

    Latinos are also discriminated against in their native language. We are not allowed to speak Spanish which to me is so absurd. I was told once at my job site not to speak Spanish. I immediately answered that my title was Bilingual Instructional Assistant; therefore, I had the right to speak Spanish, and even if I didn't, I would still speak Spanish.

    Jeanne, I guess that what I am trying to say is: Aren't we all the same? Don't we all bleed the same? I certainly agree with Berthena when she said that we needed to search for ourselves. It is obvious that we all have feelings, and we are bound to show them when it comes to our background.

    Jeanne, I know I am not the only Latina frustrated in class while we are doing discourse. So can you please refer to ethnicity instead of blacks? Because we are all being discriminated against. What role do we play in your class?

    Trust is not easy to come by . . .

    On Wednesday, December 6, 2000, Araceli Mark wrote:

    I just wanted to say that the piece on "Don't we all bleed the same?" was great. I can understand where the writer is coming from, being a Latina myself. I wanted to say that many of us go through discrimination and hardships; Blacks, Latinos, Asian, and Native Americans. It is important to remember that many of these groups dealt with colonialism and racialization. To be the "Other" in a world that is dominated by the dominant group is very difficult. We should all try to be open to other peoples experiences and embrace difference. I know it is hard, but it's a start.

    Trust is not easy to come by . . .

    On Sunday, December 10, 2000, Lisette Garcia wrote:

    Hello, Jeanne

    For your Tuesday night class Marlene Veliz wrote "Don't we all bleed the same", I was surprised Marlene actually spoke out and said what she felt, because I've known her since junior high, and I know she is a little shy. So am I. I guess that's why I never spoke out and expressed my feelings also, which are similar to Marlene's. However, I don't think any ethnicic or racial group should feel any resentment for anything that has happened in the past. Life is too beautiful to feel pain and be hurt by things that happened many years ago. There is a saying: "learn from your mistakes". I think instead of being resentful, we should learn from everyone's mistakes and avoid trying to live in the past.

    Yes, we have all been discriminated against, and it probably will not stop any time soon, but we can sure try to make a difference. Another thing I wanted to add is that I hope you don't feel bad about the statement that the class discussion was mostly about blacks, because . . . you put up work on the web and bring up class discussions on what we ask for or what we are interested in. Therefore, if we are shy and don't speak up, then you don't know what we want to learn about. I know because I love chicano artwork or poetry and everytime I've emailed you about that you always have work on the website you tell me to look up about it, such as the chicano murals, Eduardo Galeano, and that project in Reno with Mexican students.

    Trust is not easy to come by . . .

    Marlene, Araceli, and Lisette, in this thread from over a year ago, allow us to see the trust growing, the support coming from others, who have learned that they may speak with impunity. And I learned a lot about the need to balance validity claims over time, not just when crises develop.

    Our Brother's Keeper . . . n. 21 by Malika Shakoor

    "All people must realize that the responsibility or the lack thereof is like throwing a pebble in a pond. The ripples (repercussions) are far-reaching and all will be held accountable. all quotes appear in My Soul Looks Back, 'Less I Forget, edited by Dorothy Winbush Riley."

    Our Brother's Keeper . . . http://www.csudh/edu/dearhabermas/others10.htm

    Graduation Reflections . . . n. 22. by Malika Shakoor

    Greetings Jeanne, I was so happy to see you my "revolutionary petunia"...It was indeed a day to remember but it still smacks of structural violence n. 23., nevertheless I did participate so......

    Anyway, friend, mentor, sister, I really thought these two quotes were appropriate:

    • "Up you mighty race, you can accomplish what you will." - Marcus Garvey

    • "To struggle and battle and overcome and absolutely defeat every force designed against us is the only way to achieve." - Nanny Burroughs

    The first is for all of us, regardless of race, creed or color. The second is symbolic of the battles you've fought and taught us to fight. Have a wonderful the way will you be around next semester?

    Graduation Reflections . . .

    Malika reflects here the sharing, the caring that holds us all together. As usual, she quotes for us. And she recognizes that peace involves battles. We're not all gentle, peace loving. We understand the complicity of denial and the need to say "NO" and mean it.

    Malika's final "by the way will you be around next semester?" is also typical of our community. We stay in touch. Especially through the site. It gives us a homebase where we know ourselves to be safe. It worked during the "nine/eleven" crisis. And it seems to work for us over time and over space. We would like to see it work for student/ faculty/ community groups all over the globe.


1. Dear Habermas Website link: Dear Habermas,
Dear Habermas Website URL:

2. Website URL for file from which excerpt was taken: Part of no longer being a victim . . .

3. This is a reference to our class discussions on the complicity of denial in refusal to accept responsibility for what privileged status . . . . affords us.

4. Website URL for file from which excerpt was taken: It matters not if I agree or disagree . . .

5. Website URL for file on which good faith explained:

"Good faith, as we use it in our discussions of public discourse, means a willingness to leave aside our unstated assumptions, to listen for clues that might help us understand the context and meaning of the Other's validity claim. "Good faith does NOT mean that we have to agree with the Other's validity claim. We may hear it in good faith and still disagree. But in the interest of legitimacy, and of allowing each citizen to have a voice in the system of law by which he/she must live, we must make a genuine effort to understand." passim Jurgen Habermas, Beyond Facts and Norms. MIT Press. 1996.

6. Website URL for file from which excerpt was taken: Restorative Justice . . .

7. Website URL for file on which restorative justice is explained: Restorative Justice Definition

8. Website URL for file on which dominant disscourse is explained: Dominant Discourse: Definition

9. Website URL for file from which excerpt was taken: Sagwa Revisited . . .

10. Website URL for Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat, On PBS KIDS Online: Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat . . .

11. Website URL for file from which excerpt was taken: what a small world it is! . . .

12. Website URL for file from which excerpt was taken: We're All Struggling With Words . . .

13. Website URL for file to which Susan is referring: kerry when she emailed orlando . . .

14. Website URL for file from which excerpt was taken: You never told Habermas? . . .

15. Website URL for filewith definition of good faith as used on Dear Habermas: See endnote 5.

16. Website URL for file from which excerpt was taken: Making it and staying in touch . . .

17. Website URL for file from which excerpt was taken: I apologize for not communicating frequently . . .

18. Website URL for file giving definition of structural violence: Structural Violence Compared to Violence . . .

19. Website URL for file from which excerpt was taken: Trust is not easy to come by . . .

20. This is the point at which we would come back in our discussions to "surplus value" and what empire and imperialism meant in terms of depriving the Other of the value added by his/her labor. The concept that the Other is "lazy" would offer us a chance to question the dominant discourse on these issues.

21. Website URL for file from which excerpt was taken: Our Brother's Keeper . . . http://www.csudh/edu/dearhabermas/others10.htm

22. Website URL for file from which excerpt was taken: Graduation Reflections . . .

23. Website URL for file giving definition of structural violence: See Endnote 18.


    Texts used in classes and in class discussions by the participants in this collaborative article:

  • Ahmed, Akbar. Islam Today: A Short Introduction to the Muslim World. I.B. Tauris, 2001. Washington Post story. Online.
  • Fanon, Frantz. The Wretched of the Earth.1963. Fanon Online.
  • Fellman, Gordon. Rambo and the Dalai Lama. State University of New York Press, 1998. Fellman. Online.
  • Gordon, Lewis. Bad Faith and Anti-Black Racism. Atlantic Highlands: Humanities Press, 1995. Institutional Bad Faith Online.
  • Habermas, Jurgen. Between Facts and Norms. MIT Press. 1996. Habermas Online.
  • Pepinsky, Harold. "Peacemaking Primer" in Social Justice, Criminal Justice. Edited by Bruce Arrigo. West/Wadworth. 1999. Peacemaking Primer Online.
  • Galeano, Eduardo. The Open Veins of Latin America. Galeano Online.
  • Rashid, Ahmed. Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia 2000. Yale Press Review with excerpts. Online.
  • Said, Edward. Culture and Imperialism. Said Online.

    Collaborative Student Writing Team of Dear Habermas
    Team Membership from California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) and the University of Wisconsin, Parkside (UWP)
    • Patricia Acone, CSUDH
    • Nyree Berry, CSUDH
    • Jeanne Curran, UWP
    • Lisette Garcia, CSUDH
    • Araceli Mark, CSUDH
    • Michelle Marshall, CSUDH
    • Rebecca McLaughlin, UWP
    • Kerry Partika, CSUDH
    • Malika Shakoor, UWP
    • Lisa J. Stevens, CSUDH
    • Susan Takata, UWP
    • Victor Rodriguez, CSUDH
    • Marlene Veliz, CSUDH

    The writing team consists of student and faculty members (current and alumni and retired) of the Dear Habermas virtual community who responded to the request to participate in this piece. The writing took place over the Winter Break of 2001, and includes a few excerpts gleaned from Dear Habermas archives.

    Dear Habermas is a weekly student journal on postmodern and critical thought, with special focus on Habermas, defender of whatever can be rescued from the broken illusions of the Enlightenment. Perspectives include race, class, gender, and both postmodern and critical theory analyses of institutional and interpersonal relationships.