The Genesis of the Virtual Case Book Project
Barbara Abrash and Faye Ginsburg

9-11 and After: A Virtual Case Book is a prototype for a planned series of what we are calling "virtual case books" (VCB), each organized around a key area of cultural activism in which tactical media play a central role. Because tactical media practices (see definitions) are inherently responsive, interactive, and constantly evolving, we chose a format that would make it possible to capture the specificity of such developments in different political and cultural contexts. We have also taken advantage of the interactivity offered by web-based forms of publication, enabling us to invite others to join an ongoing conversation, and allowing readers to simultaneously access, analyze, and respond to the ideas, images, resources, and the multitude of links contained in the VCB.

Future VCBs will address such topics as HIV/AIDS activism and human rights. This hybrid form of publication, developed for topics that are particularly enmeshed in web-based activity, will combine:
    1. the extraordinary access and interactivity of the Internet and world wide web and their capacity to incorporate and archive print, visual, and audio data;

    2. the intellectual focus and range of academic research; and

    3. the organization of information conventionally identified with books that enables quick overall comprehension of relevant areas.
Plans for this series were hatched at a workshop held in April 2001 entitled Tactical Media: The Impact of New Media on Cultural Activism and Political Engagement, organized by The Center for Media, Culture, and History and funded by The Rockefeller Foundation through its Creativity and Culture Program, which also provided funding for this casebook. Our special thanks to Program Officer Joan Shigekawa for her visionary support of this and many other new media projects. Special thanks also go to award-winning web designers Alison Cornyn and Sue Johnson of Picture Projects, who designed and built the site for this prototype. We have benefited from the editorial advice of Pat Aufderheide, David Garcia, Daoud Kuttab, Drazen Pantic, and Ravi Sundaram. Tal Halpern, of NYU Instructional Technology Services, is our indispensable technical guru. Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett's guidance on visual imagery has contributed significantly to both the look and content of this VCB. Mariana Johnson's research, archival work, and editorial input have been essential to the realization of the project. We thank them all.

Editors: Barbara Abrash and Faye Ginsburg
Assistant Editor: Mariana Johnson
Technical Support: Tal Halpern, NYU Instructional Technology Services
Website: Picture Projects with Alison Cornyn and Sue Johnson, Britta Frahm
Funding for this project has been provided by The Rockefeller Foundation


© NYU and contributing authors 2002