The Public Humanist

Tag Archives | Public Humanist

Broadsheets, Live Tweets, and Television: Media in Culture and the World

The Public Humanist invites thoughtful contributions on the subject of media past, present, and future. What can we learn from or about media by basing inquiry in the humanities?

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A Scientific Sea Change? What the Humanities Offer Environmental Science in the Anthropocene

A sample of plastiglomerate, collected on Kamilo Beach in Hawaii.

How might the sciences and the humanities converge in a geologic era marked by human activity?

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Rhetorical Shifts: Economic Liberty

John Gast’s American Progress, an allegory of Manifest Destiny that was widely disseminated in chromolithographic prints in the late 1800s.

The meanings of welfare and liberty changed significantly from the revolutionary era to the present. How did Adam Smith’s ethically-based concept of liberty come to be replaced with a no-holds-barred free market?

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Are You Ladies Alone?

Marriage

The recent trend in women choosing to marry late (or not at all) is as liberating as any movement, suffrage or sexual.

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Welfare and Liberty

Founding Fathers painting

Twenty years ago, President Clinton signed into law the welfare reform act for which his presidency is widely remembered. His efforts changed our national concept of welfare. But the word used to mean something very different, as is true with many of the ideas put forth in the Constitution.

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Believing is Seeing

If gendered differences are made to appear biological and irreversible, it is easier to reinforce the heterosexuality and male privilege in our gendered relationships.

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For Equality Only, We Wish to Contend

Betty Friedan, right, and Kathryn F. Clarenbach of the University of Wisconsin at the second annual National Organization for Women (NOW) in Washington D.C. in 1967.

Massachusetts history contains many feminists who espoused full-humanity for men and women as well as equal political, educational, and occupational opportunities, including some early feminists who challenged traditional definitions of gender.

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On Learning by Making

I have a new bookshelf. It modestly greets all who enter the house. The top shelf holds, perfectly, an old set of cloth-bound books of walking tours of English counties. Other random favorites with handsome spines populate the lower shelves. What’s special about this shelf is that I made it. Bear with me: I’m bragging, although it’s a dubious honor to have completed this small project over the course of several months, taking weekly classes at a local craft school that offers courses to the community at amazingly low prices.

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Binary Thinking and Gender: Father, Daughter, iPod

So I’m talking with twenty-five year old Casey Llewellyn about music and I’m praising the digital sound quality on my iPod and she comes back at me with how analog sound reproduction is more accurate than digital, and tube amps are superior to solid state, and I come back with how about how digital sampling eliminates tape and gear noise, etc. and we go back and forth a bit more and then she says flatly: “Digital: That’s binary thinking, Tim,” as if that settles the matter.

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A Philosopher’s Calling Card

Every profession gets a standard response. You know, the response you get when you mention your work. Lawyers get the eye-roll. Doctors get the question aboutsore elbows and the like. Teachers get the nod of approval, then expressions of regret at how they’re not valued. I’m a philosophy professor. The response to me? "What do you DO with philosophy, anyway?" I’ve heard it so many times.

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