The Empathetic Humanities

Does the lack of charity in public discourse – the quickness to judge, the aversion to context and intent – stem in part from what we might call the ‘adversarial’ humanities? These practices of interpretation are certainly on display in many classrooms, where students learn to exercise their moral and intellectual prowess by dismantling what... Continue Reading →

Students in Action

"Gann’s course on the US History of Disabilities has been getting a lot of press lately. Everyone from Fox-25 to WBUR to the New York Times is curious about the work that Gann students are doing work in the classroom and around the country. The course is classic Gann: students are working on a real-world... Continue Reading →

Spontaneous Order

Even the deepest-seeming change – to the grammar – never destroys the language system. Some distinctions can disappear: classical Arabic has singular, dual and plural number; the modern dialects mostly use just singular and plural, like English. Latin was full of cases; its daughter languages – French, Spanish and so on – lack them, but... Continue Reading →

A Visual Ode to Water

In Massachusetts, it’s been a wet weekend so far. If you’re in a meditative mindset this morning, consider taking a few minutes to watch part of a 12 minute “cinepoem” from 90 years ago. “H₂O (1929), [Ralph Steiner’s] debut short and one of the earliest US art films, is a meditative, visual ode to water in... Continue Reading →

Info Literacy + Positive Group Dynamics = Optimal Collaboration

We build a new theory here that the mobile device – which gives equal access to information– does not necessarily lead to effective reasonable fact-based discussions in small groups. Group interactions and informal roles are stronger than information equality, meaning that group dynamics outweigh information access, and thus impact discussion and decision-making more than the... Continue Reading →

The First

Happy January 1st! What does it mean for something or someone to be the first? I’ve been thinking about this question ever since I watched Hulu’s production “The First” this fall. It’s a drama about a manned mission to Mars, but the mission is itself only the framing device for the show. In fact, almost... Continue Reading →

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