Living Amidst the ShadowsRoger Berkowitz
Suzy Hansen writes about the photographs and the journey of Turkish photographer Emin Özmen as he has documented Turkey’s descent from a democracy on the cusp of joining the European Union to an autocracy. Hansen collaborates with Özmen whose haunting photographs make palpable sense of powerlessness in Erdogan’s Turkey.
A Failure of LeadershipRoger Berkowitz
There may be no more dangerous trend in higher education than the epidemic of administrators. For over ten years we’ve been reading articles about administrative bloat—spending on administration now nearly equals spending on faculty at many major universities. Philip Mousavizadeh writes about the “proliferation of administrators” at Yale University, where in the last 20 years “the number of managerial and professional staff... has risen three times faster than the undergraduate student body.”
Building a Race-Conscious University One Administrator at a TimeRoger Berkowitz
Jonathan Kay reports on a conference of academic administrators in Canada. There was, Kay writes, barely a mention of Covid, virtual education, or the financial crisis facing many Canadian universities. Instead, the "centerpiece" of the meeting was a report titled Building a Race-Conscious Institution: A Guide and Toolkit for University Leaders Enacting Anti-Racist Organizational Change.
Justus RosenbergRoger Berkowitz
My colleague Justus Rosenberg died last week at the age of 100. Aside from teaching literature, Justus was known for the stories he would tell about his experiences during WWII, which included working with Varian Fry to help save many Jewish writers, artists, and intellectuals, including Hannah Arendt.
Speer Goes to HollywoodRoger Berkowitz
I was privileged to conduct a Question and Answer session with Vanessa Lapa and Tomer Eilav about their new documentary “Speer Goes to Hollywood.” The documentary is based on over 40 cassette recordings in which Speer sought to edit and create a Hollywood movie about his life and involvement in the Nazi Party. You can listen to a podcast of the Q&A here.
To Make Analogies is to Be HumanRoger Berkowitz
John Pavlus interviews Melanie Mitchell, an AI scientist at the Santa Fe Institute. Mitchell is above all concerned with the way human intelligence depends on making analogies. She explains that analogy-making is central because it is key to the human capacity for abstract thinking.
Great CirclesRoger Berkowitz
The idea that inequality emerges with civilization is often attributed to Jean Jacques Rousseau. But today it is simply an accepted fact. Yet, in their new book The Dawn of Everything David Graeber and David Wengrow argue that archaeological evidence shows that the rise of urbanization did not inevitably lead to hierarchical and unequal societies.
When State Schools Emphasize the StateRoger Berkowitz
It has been a busy month for the Academic Freedom Alliance. This time it is not a professor falling afoul of a group think from the left, but three professors being censored from expressing their professional opinions because those opinions run afoul of the Florida Governor.
When Society is Not a Relation Among PersonsRoger Berkowitz
It is craziness to ban the teaching of Critical Race Theory, as many states have done. But it is also bad pedagogy to make children feel guilty about the color of their skin or their religion. David Bromwich on how the parents of all races are rebelling against essentialist antiracist discourse in schools.
Racism and The Great ReplacementRoger Berkowitz
At the 2019 Arendt Center Conference, Ian Buruma moderated a panel on The Great Replacement, a popular right-wing theory in France that immigrants and other minorities are replacing the Catholic French. Now, one of the leading French presidential candidates, Eric Zemmour is embracing the theory.