“Remember to imagine and craft the worlds you cannot live without, just as you dismantle the ones you cannot live within.”Ruha Benjamin
“To be enabled to activate the imagination is to discover not only possibility, but to find the gaps, the empty spaces that require filling as we move from the is to the might be, to the should be.”Maxine Greene
“The world is where it is because of the millions of decisions that were taken. For each of those decisions, there could have been another…so we have to undo it like we undo knitting.”Arundhati Roy
It is central to Muhlenberg’s liberal arts mission to strive to develop learners who are equipped with ethical and civic values and prepared for lives of leadership and service. This work requires imagination. If we are to live into our mission, it is not enough to build upon reality as it is, but we must aim to construct a world as it might–as it must–be. A world that is more just, anti-racist, and humane. We cannot achieve this based on our existing ways of seeing, thinking, acting. Change is constituted, in large part, through the imagination. We must be able to imagine other worlds are possible if we are to strive towards their construction.
Our liberal arts mission and fundamental values compel us to explore the possible uses and purposes of digital tools to help ignite students’ social imagination–their capacity to construct visions of what should be and might be in their fields of study, their communities, and a society in need of new solutions and approaches to repair some of our most intractable problems and renew a sense that other worlds are possible. This requires an understanding that technology is not neutral. We cannot mistake technology as itself the solution. Not only is technology not the solution to what is wrong in higher education and in society broadly, it often replicates and exacerbates pervasive power structures and exclusionary practices. This critical understanding is required if we are to enlist the transformative potential of digital resources as we attempt to see in new ways, envision and craft other possible futures.