Back in the MLA

As the humanities decline in the United States, the country is losing the craft of understanding, losing its capacity for citizenship. Even educated people are increasingly unable and unwilling to distinguish between fake and real information, becoming a community that cannot understand itself as anything more than a circulation of figures. Self-righteousness takes the place of substantive discussion. Narcissism and outrage become the dominant techniques of self-definition. And the cure…

The Righteous Mind

I just finished “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion,” a very accessible mainstream (non-academic) book by social psychologist Jonathan Haidt. Takeaways: Our rational minds are to our emotional/instinctual selves like riders on an elephant. When the elephant leans even slightly to one side, the riders look in that direction and start coming up with rational arguments about why it’s a good idea to go…

We’ll Always Have Paris (TNG Rewatch: Season 1, Episode 24)

Rewatching Star Trek: The Next Generation after a 20-year break. Another episode that I had never seen before (so this is technically not a “rewatch”). The Enterprise traces time blips to the laboratory of a brilliant scientist on a remote research station, where a woman Picard stood up in Paris 22 years ago re-enters his life. The script was written by two women, but that doesn’t fully excuse the presentation…

Myths about “Learning Styles Persist in Society

I first heard the formalized theories about “learning styles” as a junior faculty member, at a faculty workshop. I didn’t build my whole pedagogy around it, but it was one of the things I thought about, especially in the context of encouraging students to take intellectual risks with multimodal student projects (rather than just fun using their tools in the way they were accustomed to using them). Many people, including…