Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Waiting for Elijah

In many traditions there is a some version of maintaining "a seat for Elijah" in which an absent person is included in activities of social communion even if not physically present. Internet rituals involving missing people often have this element of anticipation of the person rejoining the others at the table. Recently, the Chronicle of Higher Education has reported on how "friends and colleagues search for missing scholar Philip Agre." Internet policy research is a relatively small world, and -- although I don't know him personally -- he has often had a place nearby my name, whether on book catalogs or course syllabi. Colleagues are also sending plaintive messages to Friends of Phil Agre hoping that it is merely his concern for his own privacy that has caused him to go missing.



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