Jean-Jacques Ngor Sène, Ph. D.
Associate Professor of History and Cultural Studies
Department of Social Sciences
Chatham University (Pittsburgh PA), North America
Tech Fellow, Chatham University 2019 - 2021
Fellow, DPL Virtual Edition, University of Colorado Denver, July 2020
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode? (Langston Hughes, b. 1902 - d. 1967)
I define The “Digital Divide” as the blatant plethora of inadequacies and inequities, and injustices, and scandalous differences that exist in the availability of reliable Internet infrastructure among individuals, organizations, countries, and regions of the world...Qui dit mieux ?
• In the spring of 2012, I was hyperactively involved in building a Master’s in African History at the sole, struggling university in the West African nation of The Gambia: The University of The Gambia (UTG). The country was under a dusty, predatory, ruthless, lethal, senseless military dictatorship at the time (1996 - 2017). I & I are still happily involved teaching both online and on the ground in that amazing program, beating all odds across The Digital Divide....
Chronicles and Experiments
• Since February 2020, the so-called confinement has not reduced in any way my connectivity to the world (friends, family, colleagues, work-partners, students, advisees, advisors, mentors...) if anything, the dynamic intellectual self-compassion, compassion, and flexibility involved with moving all operations to “remote delivery” have counter-intuitively resulted, for me, in very productive days and nights. The COVID-19 pandemic and its related commotions have in fact quintessentially boosted my connectivity to my...self.
• Yet, for some of our sisters and brothers in the global academic community, the recent developments in world affairs have only revealed more of the crying inadequacy of Internet Infrastructure to support the aspirations of individuals with fabulous professional and political potential.
• L’argent est le nerf de la guerre. You ga’tta channel massive amounts of all kinds of resources over there from over here, across the pond and across the Digital Divide. Beneath. Across. Within. Without. Hither, wither, tither, where are the scissors to cut the cord and decolonize the curriculum?
For a heroic instance, this van (2003 Dodge Caravan) right here,
The Barneymobile, was rematriculated locally and now runs in the dusty streets and picturesque white beaches of The Gambia, West Africa, hauling around day in and night out, lecturers and staff, students and stuff...
You. Yes, You and Our Prospective Leap Across the Digital Divide
• ONCE UPON A TIME, for the summer 2013 on-the ground Intensive Retreat, in conclusion of the last session of HIS789:01 Religion, Identity, and Nation-building in pre-colonial Africa at UTG, the students asked to take a picture. Earlier in the session, I had surveyed world history through the prism of “global” empires. At some point, before we left the sweltering room in virtual intellectual euphoria, a student who later was jailed by the f#*%ing dictatorship's military police for doing political survey research in relation to his thesis, left a mark on the green blackboard 🙂. [Thankfully, he was subsequently able to escape and gain political refugee status in Sweden --Sait Maty Jaw, first from the right]. He has since then returned to his native land after the dictator fell and fled, as a......ready (?) ...lecturer in Political Science at The University of The Gambia! Victory! Don't fight for peace. Fight for Victory!!!💪🏿👣🤯🌎💪🏿👣...
The same student, first from right, decidedly dancing to drummers of GRAND PLANS AND GRANDILOQUENT MISSIONS, had inscribed at the bottom of my summative outline: “PAX GAMBIANA.” Comprenne qui pourra dans le sens qu’il voudra.
• Our students have done well for themselves, their families, their employers, their communities, and their countries over time. This one is a banker. This other one is mayor of a small town. This one is a college lecturer. This other one is an Elementary School Vice-Principal. Another student is doing his Ph.D in Political Science at the prestigious Vrije Universteit in Brussels. Another student is doing his Ph. D in History at Ohio State University in the USA. Others have returned to their NGO-jobs with their MA in African History in their pocket, in their heads, and much higher salaries...
No surprise, when relations and relationships get personal AND RIDICULOUS HIERARCHIES ARE DISSOLVED, everything is possible, precisely; across the Digital Divide:
Where Do We Go From Here?
Please see following post on MAAT’O Proposal -Master's in African History Online. The project is "simply" 🙂 to set up a Master’s in African History Online. Please check it out.