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A platform for dialogic and analytical engagement with critical issues finds wide appeal

Representational image.

Representational image.  

A novel crowdfunding initiative in asking questions and debating topics

Experiments in crowdfunded journalism are not rare, but a project to build a body of long format interviews with global public intellectuals is finding wide appeal for its uniqueness. Jipson John and Jitheesh P.M., both in their twenties, already have hit it heavy with exhaustive interviews with 20 doyens including Noam Chomsky, M.S. Swaminathan, David Harvey and Akeel Bilgrami over the last 18 months. These interviews have appeared in publications including The Frontline and the American magazine Monthly Review, and the duo has now launched a crowdfunding initiative on ourdemocracy.in, endorsed by several of these intellectuals.

“I have read several of the interviews in the series and have been much impressed with their contents and insights. It is plainly a most valuable project,” Mr. Chomsky said in an endorsement. “The asking of questions and the debating of issues that impinge on our lives is absolutely critical,” said historian Romila Thapar in her endorsement.

“We are trying to develop a platform for dialogic and analytical engagement with the most critical issues of our time, through conversations ranging from 3,000 to 35,000 words. The focus is on two critical issues of our time: one, the alarming growth of right-wing religious forces and two, the devastating effects of market fundamentalism that brings unprecedented income and wealth inequality,” said Mr. John. “The campaign would run for the next few weeks. It is not that any specific amount matters as such, but it is the amount of support we could generate that will help us sustain our efforts. We hope that society will stand with us in supporting this campaign and project,” said Mr. Jitheesh.

The personalities covered in the series so far are from six countries including the U.S., the U.K., Germany, Greece, Senegal and India. These pieces have been translated into 10 languages including French, Chinese, Portuguese, Spanish, Turkish, Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam. Their project was selected for an international fellowship by Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research in 2018.

The money raised through crowdfunding will finance over the next one year interviews with not less than 30 more people from 12 countries including U.S. Democratic Party leader Bernie Sanders, French economist Thomas Piketty, Canadian journalist Naomi Klein and distinguished Nobel laureates, who have expressed interest in participating. “A project of this magnitude requires intense research, extensive travel and other post production work. So we need to have independent financial sources in order to be able to continue this project,” said Mr. John.

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Printable version | Jul 11, 2020 4:15:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/a-platform-for-dialogic-and-analytical-engagement-with-critical-issues-finds-wide-appeal/article30635817.ece

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