Links: Life of the Mind, Scientists in the News, In Defence of the Humanities PhD

From Inside Higher Ed, here is an essay about the implications of the shifting attitudes of universities to the study of humanities; according to Andrew Taggart, if our universities continue to move from a ‘welfare’ to a ‘neo-liberal’ view of education, humanities research will suffer. With this in mind, the author suggests some new models for thinking about the life of the mind outside a university setting.

Here are two interesting reflections on the role of scientists as interpreters of current events. Writing in the University of Venus blog, Itir Toksöz discusses the role of scientists as experts, arguing that their highest responsibility should be to present the general public with accurate scientific information. The Women in Wetlands blog discusses how the scientific approach to certainty can be misused to justify opposition to established scientific claims.

I have to admit, I was tired of these so-you-want-to-get-a-[degree] videos almost as soon as I saw my first one: the cynicism quotient is just too high for me. So I was interested to see one–Yes, I want to get a PhD in the Humanities–that tries to acknowledge some of the privilege and pleasure of graduate study in the humanities. I was subsequently even more interested in the virulence of the reaction to this video; commenters were very quick, I thought, to suggest that any expression of positivity in this realm was naive if not delusional. Finally, if you are curious about these videos, here is an article from The Chronicle of Higher Education about the broader phenomenon of Xtranormal videos.

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