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Sapping Attention: "Peer review" is younger than you think. Does that mean it can go away?
Historian of science Alex Czsisar wrote a short piece for Nature in 2016 ... where he says this, which is very much along the same lines.
'Peer review' was a term borrowed from the procedures that government agencies used to decide who would receive financial support for scientific and medical research. When 'referee systems' turned into 'peer review', the process became a mighty public symbol of the claim that these powerful and expensive investigators of the natural world had procedures for regulating themselves and for producing consensus, even though some observers quietly wondered whether scientific referees were up to this grand calling.

All of this suggests, though it doesn't prove, that the shift to a language of "peer review" involves a model of research that draws on a nationally organized scientific funding system that merges with a series of older traditions. Most of the histories of peer review in the sciences note how late journals were to adopt it: leading British publications like the Lancet and Nature don't take up outside peer reviewers until the 1970s.

If the history of peer review in the sciences is young, the history of peer review in the humanities is even younger.
academe 
10 days ago by ayjay
How Poets Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Academy - The Chronicle of Higher Education
If the struggle of the modernists was to make peace with bureaucratic institutions without compromising the purity and quality of their work, the question for those who have come after them has been whether to challenge or sustain that peace. The modernist union of poetry, criticism, and bureaucracy has had many obvious benefits: Certainly the levels of comfort, prosperity, and productivity enjoyed by several generations of Anglo-American poets from the postwar era onward as a result of their connection to bureaucratic institutions are nothing to minimize.

But in many ways poets have traded reliance on an aristocratic elite for a technocratic one — the patron for the administrator. The particular kind of cultural compromise that the modernist poet-critics normalized has made it harder to conceive of an autonomous poetic culture that exists apart from bureaucratic institutions. In an age of labor-market crises in academe and dwindling resources for the arts in both the public and private sectors — not to mention rampant populist anti-intellectualism and skepticism even on the part of elites about the value of the humanities — that may be exactly the future that today’s poet-critics and scholars most need to imagine, whether they want to or not. [...]

Are there new institutional havens out there to which today’s poets (and critics) can turn? Can the market, or civil society, sustain the kind of professionalized poetic activity that has been supported by the academy and other institutions for the past 60 years? Will today’s poets need to return to something like the old patronage system, in which a few exceptional geniuses are subsidized while the majority of would-be professionals are neglected?

The answers are unclear, in part because the need to provide them has not yet become acute: We have not yet abandoned the citadels that the modernists established. Indeed, we should continue to defend them. But we should spend at least as much time and energy surveying what lies beyond.
poetry  criticism  academe  via:ayjay 
14 days ago by isaacsmith
How Poets Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Academy - The Chronicle of Higher Education
If the struggle of the modernists was to make peace with bureaucratic institutions without compromising the purity and quality of their work, the question for those who have come after them has been whether to challenge or sustain that peace. The modernist union of poetry, criticism, and bureaucracy has had many obvious benefits: Certainly the levels of comfort, prosperity, and productivity enjoyed by several generations of Anglo-American poets from the postwar era onward as a result of their connection to bureaucratic institutions are nothing to minimize.

But in many ways poets have traded reliance on an aristocratic elite for a technocratic one — the patron for the administrator. The particular kind of cultural compromise that the modernist poet-critics normalized has made it harder to conceive of an autonomous poetic culture that exists apart from bureaucratic institutions. In an age of labor-market crises in academe and dwindling resources for the arts in both the public and private sectors — not to mention rampant populist anti-intellectualism and skepticism even on the part of elites about the value of the humanities — that may be exactly the future that today’s poet-critics and scholars most need to imagine, whether they want to or not. [...]

Are there new institutional havens out there to which today’s poets (and critics) can turn? Can the market, or civil society, sustain the kind of professionalized poetic activity that has been supported by the academy and other institutions for the past 60 years? Will today’s poets need to return to something like the old patronage system, in which a few exceptional geniuses are subsidized while the majority of would-be professionals are neglected?

The answers are unclear, in part because the need to provide them has not yet become acute: We have not yet abandoned the citadels that the modernists established. Indeed, we should continue to defend them. But we should spend at least as much time and energy surveying what lies beyond.
poetry  criticism  academe 
14 days ago by ayjay
Social Media isn't for Learning - Long View on Education
I have a very strong reaction against the idea that we should teach students how to brand themselves, especially given the broader economic context where those good google jobs aren’t handed out equitably based on online portfolios. But I think there is a strong argument for teaching children how to manage as best as possible what search engines will find when they are googled. Maybe there is room for teaching how to be less than your whole self, selectively curating different slices of you for extraction at a later date. On the flip side, students may not want to act out their most meaningful or ‘authentic’ learning on the most public of platforms. Schools have a role as a carapace.

As much as we can teach students how to navigate the platforms we do have, we must guard against the greatest danger: inculcating a sense of complacency in the face of the existing platform logic as if it forms an inevitable and incontestable future.
socialmedia  textpatterns  academe 
20 days ago by ayjay
“Students as Creators” and the Theology of the Attention Economy
But the rhetoric around “students as creators” is unbelievably bad. It parrots all of capitalism’s worst theology: we want to make “makers, not takers”, we value “doers, not thinkers”. As I said a few years back, the idea that universities should value “producers” and push our students towards “production” is actually the least subversive idea you could possibly have at a university. The most subversive idea you could have at a university these days is that you might think a few connected thoughts without throwing them into either publication or the attention economy. That you might think about things for the purpose of being a better human, without an aim to produce anything at all.
academe  textpatterns  socialmedia 
20 days ago by ayjay
China Looks at Western Universities and Smells Weakness
Western universities’ traditional response to criticisms on China’s restrictions on free inquiry was to claim that they could help liberalize their Chinese counterparts by establishing contact with them. What has happened instead is that they’ve ended up importing Chinese academic censorship into their own institutions. Cambridge University Press censoring on behalf of Beijing is not the first time elite British universities have opted for the bottom line over principle in accepting Chinese censorship contributions.

A recent study by the U.S. National Association of Scholars found widespread evidence that the Confucius Institutes, Beijing-funded centers for “Chinese culture and language” in foreign campuses, limit what can be taught and discussed not just in their courses but throughout universities. Confucius teachers are paid by the Chinese Ministry of Education and are required to adhere to Chinese laws on speech even when teaching overseas. As the report noted, “Some reported an outright ban on discussing subjects that are censored in China.… [U]niversities have made improper concessions that jeopardize academic freedom and institutional autonomy.” Western universities are not just accepting censorship; they are signing up for it.
academe  from instapaper
26 days ago by ayjay
Why Donald Trump Has Been Good For Truth
In paying less attention to truth, we humanists have undermined the strongest argument to be made for why scholarship is important. At the end of his 1950 article, Momigliano explained that the historian’s search for truth is a form of religious life. Scholarship may be secular, but devotion still drives the modern academic venture: the researcher is a secularized monk, truth is sacred, and its pursuit is a path of holiness.

It’s not likely that much of this sentiment is conveyed to doctoral students or newly minted Ph.Ds. And, of course, researchers are not saints and devotion to truth in one’s footnotes does not mean that one does not cheat on one’s taxes. Yet the scholar’s habitus does track a religious calling. If we are going to take truth seriously we will need to take the meaning of its pursuit — not just its ends — equally seriously. We can’t yet know if those shocked by Trump’s Pyrrhonism will turn back to traditional cultures of evidence. But we in the academy can seize this moment to pay new attention to research: its history and practices, its social meaning, and, finally, its ethical importance.
politics  academe  scholarship  from instapaper
28 days ago by ayjay
Universities can do more to curb hateful speech - Chicago Tribune
My own view is that universities, including public universities, would be well-advised to stand on their rights to limit the presence of nonuniversity speakers where possible and to stop their public spaces from becoming classic public forums.

On the surface, it may seem that such limitations would run counter to the free academic exchange of ideas.

But on closer examination, academic freedom and constitutional free speech are actually pretty different. In private universities, the act of creating a campus where academic freedom exists requires the creation of a community that shares certain scholarly norms. If students and teachers could shout each other down, free exchange of ideas on campus would quickly become impossible.

And in truth, public universities aren’t much different. To function as universities, they need to create an environment of communal commitment to exploring the truth. That includes, in my view, great latitude for expressing almost any imaginable viewpoint. But it does not include threats or harassment. And it does not allow for gross violations of civility. [...]

In short, the university is not the public square. Where the First Amendment requires it to be treated as such, it’s crucial for public university administrators to follow the law. But wherever possible, we should use all lawful means to distinguish the free-for-all of public argument from the structured, reasoned debate to which the university as an institution is supposed to be dedicated.
academe  university  freespeech 
4 weeks ago by ayjay
How Colleges Are Strangling Liberalism - The Chronicle of Higher Education
Flash back to 1980 and the election of Ronald Reagan. Republican activists are setting out on the road to spread the new individualist gospel of small government and pouring their energies into winning out-of-the-way county, state, and congressional elections — a bottom-up strategy. Also on the road, though taking a different exit off the interstate, you see former New Left activists in rusting, multicolored VW buses. Having failed to overturn capitalism and the military-industrial complex, they are heading for college towns all over America, where they hope to practice a very different sort of politics aimed at transforming the outlook of the educated classes — a top-down strategy. Both groups succeeded. [...]

The universities of our time instead cultivate students so obsessed with their personal identities and campus pseudo-politics that they have much less interest in, less engagement with, and frankly less knowledge of matters that don't touch on identity in the great out there. Neither Elizabeth Cady Stanton (who studied Greek) nor Martin Luther King Jr. (who studied Christian theology) nor Angela Davis (who studied Western philosophy) received an identity-based education. And it is difficult to imagine them becoming who they became had they been cursed with one. The fervor of their rebellion demonstrated the degree to which their education had widened their horizons and developed in them a feeling of democratic solidarity rare in America today.
politics  academe 
5 weeks ago by ayjay
Universities need to plan for a dark future if academics prefer their own Plan B | THE Features
Viewed positively, the exit of high-level expertise from the academy into a variety of other socially valuable sectors where it might not ordinarily have gone, such as school education, is a good thing. And even those who do not end up in such careers – an educationalist I interviewed had left to sell gelato; the cancer geneticist was seriously considering insurance – often find energising and productive ways of using their intellect outside the academy.

Still, most skilled and economically significant professions in which almost 40 per cent of workers want to leave would be viewed as being in crisis. Even if there are plenty of young would-be academics in the queue to replace them, universities’ relinquishment of specialists from virtually all fields of knowledge, often at the peak of their capacities, has to be seen as a threat to sustainable, long-term knowledge production.
academe 
10 weeks ago by ayjay
Analysis finds significant drop in humanities majors but gains in liberal arts degrees at community colleges
Most of the data released today will likely depress humanities professors. But those at community colleges may have reason to celebrate an analysis released on their institutions.
Much of the data about associate degrees at community colleges does not break out majors with the same granularity as can be found for bachelor's degrees. So the data that follow use a combination of degrees, including the popular liberal arts and liberal studies degrees, to track trends in the humanities at community colleges. Almost all of those programs involve substantial instruction in humanities disciplines.
Using that definition of humanities, the study found that 2015 saw a continuation of a trend in which associate degrees conferred in the humanities have increased in number every year since 1987, by an average of 4.3 percent per year.
humanities  academe 
june 2017 by ayjay
Education Technology as 'The New Normal'
Education needs to change, we have long been told. It is outmoded. Inefficient. And this “new normal” – in an economic sense much more than a pedagogical one – has meant schools have been tasked to “do more with less” and specifically to do more with new technologies which promise greater efficiency, carrying with them the values of business and markets rather than the values of democracy or democratic education.

These new technologies, oriented towards consumers and consumption, privilege an ideology of individualism. In education technology, as in advertising, this is labeled “personalization.” The flaw of traditional education systems, we are told, is that they focus too much on the group, the class, the collective. So we see education being reframed as a technologically-enhanced series of choices – consumer choices. Technologies monitor and extract data in order to maximize “engagement” and entertainment.

I fear that new normal, what it might really mean for teaching, for learning, for scholarship.
edtech  academe  from instapaper
may 2017 by ayjay
On Point: Sen. Ben Sasse Is On The Hunt For ‘American Adults’
Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska

@21: Peter Pan is a historical hell
@39: Learn to ride a bike = contributing members of society!
@44: Gaming
vs  listening  politics  work  academe  bicycle  family 
may 2017 by ingenu
Today’s College Freshmen Are…
• More confident in their open-mindedness: In 2008, 65 percent of incoming freshmen said they rated themselves “above average or better in terms of … ability to see the world from someone else’s perspective”; today that number is 77 percent. Similarly, there has been seven point uptick in the share of freshmen who say they are more tolerant than average of people with different beliefs. Needless to say, the self-assessment of these students has been … called into question by some of the campus antics of the past few years.

• More confident in their academic ability: 73 percent of students said they were above average academically in 2016, compared to 69 percent in 2006 and 67 percent in 1996. It’s probably true that most people going to college do have above average academic skills compared to everyone else their age, but the steady increase testifies to a cultural shift.

• Less spiritual: 36 percent rated themselves at least “above average” in terms of spirituality, a figure that has been more or less consistent since 2010. But around the turn of the century, it was significantly higher; 45 percent rated themselves more spiritual than average in 2000. This tracks the decline in religiosity in America as a whole—a decline that, as Peter Beinart argued last month in the Atlantic, has probably made our political debates more corrosive."
academe  university  from instapaper
may 2017 by ayjay

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