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Amor Mundi 9/20/15

In our Amor Mundi, we reflect on how bureaucratic culture is spoiling freedom on college campuses, wonder at persistent government surveillance, and more! Posted on 20 September 2015 | 8:01 pm

The Humanities and Common Sense

humanities
Roger Berkowitz observes the unnecessarily specialized nature of humanities scholarship in today's colleges and universities and offers some remarks on how this can be remedied. Posted on 30 August 2014 | 9:53 am

Of Ceilings and Binders: The Case for Satire

“Political language…is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.  One cannot change this all in a moment, but one can at least change one’s own habits, and from time to time one can even, if one jeers loudly enough, send some worn-out and…Read more Of Ceilings and Binders: The Case for Satire Posted on 21 October 2013 | 11:14 am

Hannah Arendt on Education and Excellence

  “Neither education nor ingenuity nor talent can replace the constituent elements of the public realm, which make it the proper place for human excellence.” -Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition I am proud to attend a college that envisions education as a life devoted to intellectual excellence. I am also proud of the fact that…Read more Hannah Arendt on Education and Excellence Posted on 30 September 2013 | 1:32 pm

Failing Fast: The Educated Citizen in Crisis

On Thursday and Friday Oct. 3-4, the Hannah Arendt Center will host its 6th Annual International Conference, “Failing Fast: The Educated Citizen in Crisis.” At a time of blistering technological and cultural change, reformers want schools to prepare students for the future—but which future? And despite the polarizing polemics over curricular change and the learned arguments…Read more Failing Fast: The Educated Citizen in Crisis Posted on 27 September 2013 | 12:07 pm

The Danger of Intellectuals

[T]here are, indeed, few things that are more frightening than the steadily increasing prestige of scientifically minded brain trusters in the councils of government during the last decades. The trouble is not that they are cold-blooded enough to “think the unthinkable,” but that they do not think. -Hannah Arendt, “On Violence” Hannah Arendt’s warning about…Read more The Danger of Intellectuals Posted on 22 July 2013 | 2:20 pm

MOOCs, Sufi Devotion, and the Ethics of “Presence”

The recent ascendance of massive open online courses, or MOOCs, has generated considerable enthusiasm among college faculty members and administrators. But it has also created a great deal of anxiety, as Nathan Heller notes in his recent article “Laptop U,” which appeared in the May 20 edition of The New Yorker. Among their other concerns—the…Read more MOOCs, Sufi Devotion, and the Ethics of “Presence” Posted on 9 July 2013 | 11:00 am

Defending the Humanities While Trashing Them

Leon Wieseltier, the longtime cultural editor of the New Republic, dedicated his commencement address at Brandeis last month to a defense of the humanities. He asks, “Has there ever been a moment in American life when the humanities were cherished less, and has there ever been a moment in American life when the humanities were…Read more Defending the Humanities While Trashing Them Posted on 21 June 2013 | 4:07 pm

On MOOCs; and Some Possible Futures for Higher Ed

Barely more than a year old, MITx and edX now dominate discussion about the future of higher education like nothing else I have seen in my time in Cambridge, MA. I have been teaching at MIT for more than 10 years now, and can’t remember any subject touching directly on university life that came even…Read more On MOOCs; and Some Possible Futures for Higher Ed Posted on 4 June 2013 | 12:19 pm

Looking Beyond A Digital Harvard

Graduation is upon us. Saturday I will be in full academic regalia mixing with the motley colors of my colleagues as we send forth yet another class of graduates onto the rest of their lives. I advised three senior projects this year. One student is headed to East Jerusalem, where she will be a fellow…Read more Looking Beyond A Digital Harvard Posted on 24 May 2013 | 12:22 pm