Things to Do in the Twenty-First Century

I had thought Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” would be one of those books I would continue to read about but would probably not read first-hand. At 685 pages, its great strength data, its cost new $39.95 (speaking of wealth and distribution), the French economist’s thick tome was not on my list ofContinue reading “Things to Do in the Twenty-First Century”

Ah, Bartleby! Ah, Humanities!

For more Liberations and Humanities in Crisis Revolution, see “Strangers on a Train: A chance encounter provides a lesson in complicity and the never-ending crisis in the humanities,” at Academe Online, by Cathy N. Davidson. Photo to left is cover of Liberations: New Essays on the Humanities in Revolution, edited by Ihab Hassan. Wesleyan University Press, 1971. See Richard WassonContinue reading “Ah, Bartleby! Ah, Humanities!”

Happiness and the Humanities

Chris Beha’s investigative report (Harpers, Oct. 2011) on the for-profit higher education experiment is an impressionistic view of the inequities of degree access and funding. Not quite Maigret goes to [night] school, but this is US culture, the land of opportunity, and of second opportunity. Is the for-profit model hopeless? Cut to England, where theContinue reading “Happiness and the Humanities”

The Happy Humanists of Main Street (a Fragment)

The Happy Humanists of Main Street (a Fragment): College Humanities now post their letters from Desolation Row. Yet on Main Street, the happy humanists go about their business. Lawrence, the locksmith, time on his hands, having just come back from unlocking Mrs. Tenderness’s pick-up truck, for the third time this week, so she wouldn’t beContinue reading “The Happy Humanists of Main Street (a Fragment)”

Culturomics and Google’s Ngram Viewer: More Noise?

The other day, a few minutes of wilfing led us to Technium’s post on Google’s latest project, the Ngram Viewer. Is Google making us stupid again? But this is serious stuff, as evidenced by the Ngram Viewer introduction in last December’s Science. The Ngram Viewer is a corpus allowing users to search keywords in millions of books and toContinue reading “Culturomics and Google’s Ngram Viewer: More Noise?”

PLoS One sparks paradigm changes…

PLoS One sparks paradigm changes in academic and research publishing. When will the Humanities catch up? Consider the Atlantic article, “Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science.” The science community is ahead of the Humanities in recognizing the hoaxes of academic and scholarly publishing. But over at the FQXi Community, the physicists are having a good timeContinue reading “PLoS One sparks paradigm changes…”

Can Business Rescue the Humanities?

While Plato ruefully proposed to banish the poet from his Republic, today’s Humanities aficionados may seek to bar businesspersons from their club. Yet the Humanities are in crisis, as usual, perhaps for lack of sound business sense, while the sound business sensors, often viewed as eschewing the Humanities, may be nipping in the basement ofContinue reading “Can Business Rescue the Humanities?”

Trilling’s “The Meaning of a Literary Idea”; or, the Essay as Argument: Why The Research Paper Should be Abolished

The more we fragment the further we get from the emergent whole, a picture that is satisfying for its very wholeness – in a way that an examination of any one pixel or isolated group of pixels can not be satisfying. A study of a part of something can never be as interesting as aContinue reading “Trilling’s “The Meaning of a Literary Idea”; or, the Essay as Argument: Why The Research Paper Should be Abolished”

Opening the Patient in Open Access Week; or, the Great Research Hoax

At first glance, The Atlantic’s “Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science,” by David H. Freedman (November, 2010), about the inaccuracies, contradictions, reversals, and errors in medical and pharmaceutical research, looks like something out of the National Enquirer: can this hoax be, to this extent, true? Alas, Dr. John Ioannidis’s 2005 article, published in JAMA, goesContinue reading “Opening the Patient in Open Access Week; or, the Great Research Hoax”

An Argument of Definition: A Definition of Argument; or, The Light Without the Light Within

Have you ever read something and thought, I am not alone – there’s someone else here on the island with me. Someone has been speaking to me, and for me; I just maybe have not been listening in the right places. Personal essays are “arguments”; they are not “creative non-fiction.” On the contrary, the researchContinue reading “An Argument of Definition: A Definition of Argument; or, The Light Without the Light Within”