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Category: Academia

Gates No Friend of the Humanities

Inside Higher Ed: During a sprawling talk in which he emphasized the importance of using data-based metrics to figure out how to increase educational attainment while bringing down costs in both K-12 and higher ed, Gates said that when the governors are deciding how to allocate precious tax dollars, they might consider the disparity between how much the state subsidizes certain programs and how much those programs contribute to job creation in the state. … Only the assembled governors were permitted to ask follow-up questions, and those who did focused on K-12, so Gates did not elaborate on what might…

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My View on Historical Reenactments

I’ll just admit it up front: I’m not a big fan of historical reenactments. I always tend to look at them the way this Monty Python sketch portrays them. That being said, reenactments are not innately bad, just very hard to do well. In a pure sense, reenactments are another attempt at understanding the world of the past, just as academic scholarship should attempt to do. The problem seems to be in execution. Bad reenactments can innocently allow specific details, like clothing, to overtake the importance of understanding the meanings of the event being reenacted or, more sinisterly, whitewash history…


Twitter as a tool for thinking

Charles Fernyhough: But I suspect that I also use Twitter to think out loud. I’ve written previously on this blog about children’s private speech, and how it seems to be their medium of thinking before verbal thought becomes internalized. I wonder whether I use Twitter for some of the same purposes. Talking to yourself seems to have many different functions, for adults as well as children. For one thing, it can express feelings. Many of children’s private utterances seem to have a function in emotion expression and regulation. I don’t have any data on the topic, but I suspect that…

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Civil War Reenactments

Here’s a good piece on Civil War Reenactments in Texas. It’s well timed too, since my Monday post will be on historical reenactments. The Texas Observer: Here in Texas, it’s becoming popular to celebrate the war as the opening salvo in the conservative campaign for states’ rights. Neo-Confederate organizations and pro-secessionists are among the leading groups in organizing Texas’ commemorative events. Their version of history downplays the role of slavery in the Civil War and encourages anti-federal government political ideology. They make no bones about it: They’d be happy to see Texas secede again …. “The Sons of Confederate Veterans…

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Humanities Blogs

Interesting list of the “50 Best” humanities blogs.  The list includes many good non-academic blogs (from NPR, New York Times, The New Yorker, etc.), but does not recognize many historical blogs (though there are plenty of good ones).

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Yale Inc.

Through a friend from undergrad I learned people at Yale are working on organizing and getting recognized a graduate student union. First, I think this is great and wish them luck. Second, on a more broad point, I do not think the corporatization of the university is a good trend. Even though there is a dearth of literature about the crisis in humanities (and the increasing amount of unstable adjunct positions, the disappearance of tenure track positions, the death of the scholarly press, etc.), which can wear down even the most enthusiastic optimist among us, I may need to organize…

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What are the Humanities and NEH

Jim Noles at the Huffington Post: For what it is worth, I will share my own definition with you. The humanities are those fields of study that explain and celebrate what it means to be human and, in doing so, enrich and enhance our lives. Think of the fields of literature, history, the classics, jurisprudence, theatre and art history, film studies, languages, philosophy, and ethics, to name a few. … If I am correct in this regard, then the humanities are more than simply a field of study that requires definition. Rather, the humanities are as much a catalyst as…

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Support the NEH

Don’t let the National Endowment for the Humanities become a casualty of political posturing. Tell your elected officials you support the NEH.

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What Grad Students Need

I applied to continue onto the Ph.D. program at UNL this semester and it got me thinking about what I would have know about grad school before beginning. I had lots of good advice, but most of it was from personal conversations. All that I could find online was either non-department specific or not that great, so I have created a list of what I would recommend all graduate students in history (most of it applicable to other humanities disciplines though). My list includes a good number of items, so I borrowed Cold Stone Creamery’s sizes to organize the things…