Goals of Academic Response
The goal of dialogue in academe, of responses and responses to the responses, is less about ratification, or confirmation of what we already know and more about risk-taking, or what is sometimes called "reading against the grain" or functioning as the "loyal opposition." Implicit here is the assumption that we learn by keeping an open and enlarging mind, and that at the same time we acknowledge the incomplete nature of each of our perspectives. We do the best we can at any given time, with the material and resources available to us, and the way we respond today may differ from the way we respond tomorrow.
Further, because no two people are alike, neither are their ways of responding to "texts." Yet the power to interpret belongs to everyone. So even though we may not feel qualified to respond to a text, may not believe we possess sufficient background or expertise on a topic, nevertheless we find ourselves capable of responding to it and, in fact, often are required to do so.