Measuring the polarization of American politics
by Jill Lepore
[From The New Yorker, Dec. 2, 2013]: The study of government, like the government itself, is in a tight spot. In 2009, during a vote on a House appropriations bill, Tom Coburn, a Republican senator from Oklahoma, tried to abolish the National Science Foundation’s Political Science Program, which supports academic research in “citizenship, government, and politics.” The motion was tabled after the American Political Science Association staged a same-day e-mail campaign to oppose it. Last year, the measure met with success in the House; House members who have few qualms about closing the Centers for Disease Control are not, generally speaking, daunted by the prospect of stifling the pursuit of social science. And, earlier this year, when Coburn re-introduced his amendment in the Senate, it passed with no more quibbling than the addition of a proviso that some political science could be funded: research whose purpose is “promoting national security or the economic interests of the United States.” The President signed the bill into law in March.
The movement to defund political science stems from the belief that the National Science Foundation has no business funding political science, because political science is all politics and no science—except when it advances national security or boosts the American economy, in which case it is, naturally, apolitical and scientific. The political and unscientific stuff is the study of, for instance, gridlock. According to Coburn, one reason the federal government should not pay for political-science research is that “studies of presidential executive power and Americans’ attitudes about the Senate filibuster hold little promise to save an American’s life from a threatening condition or to advance America’s competitiveness in the world”—a statement that is difficult to square with the damage done to the U.S. economy by the ongoing budgetary brinkmanship. . . . Read the full article here: Lepore Long Division The New Yorker
American Studies Association deliberates proposed resolution endorsing Israeli academic boycott
The National Council of the American Studies Association is deliberating a proposed resolution to endorse a boycott of Israeli universities, and a decision is expected before Thanksgiving, according to the executive director of the association, John F. Stephens. The council had a long meeting on Sunday morning, at which many thought there would be a decision, but the meeting is still technically considered to be in session. The resolution, which was proposed by the ASA’s Academic and Community Activism Caucus, has been endorsed by the current president and president-elect of the association, and attracted strong support from members during an open forum at the association’s annual conference on Saturday. A letter opposing the resolution on academic freedom grounds was signed by more than 50 members, including seven past presidents. Comments on the resolution continue to pour in. Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/11/25/american-studies-association-meeting-scholars-debate-proposed-academic-boycott#ixzz2lqhcqITA
From “The taboo on boycotting Israel has been broken” by David Lloyd, The Electronic Intifada: ”Something extraordinary happened on Saturday evening at the American Studies Association’s annual meeting in Washington, DC. At a packed open meeting called by the ASA’s National Executive Council to discuss a resolution to “endorse and honor” the Palestinian call for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions, speaker after speaker rose to express strong support for the resolution. They urged the council to vote on it without further delay or deferral.” Read the rest of the editorial here: http://electronicintifada.net/content/taboo-boycotting-israel-has-been-broken/12949.
New York Is Not Just the “Cradle” of Women’s Rights.
It’s the Torch.
by Louise Bernikow, The Huffington Post, New York
The anniversary of the New York victory for woman suffrage (1917-2017) in the not too distant future is prompting proud talk of our state as “the cradle of women’s rights,” which is true enough but only half the story. The phrase refers specifically to the revolutionary movement that began in the small northern town of Seneca Falls in 1848 and was propelled by visionaries like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Matilda Joslyn Gage, and Frederick Douglass.
That early movement was “cradled,” as in “nourished in its infancy,” by geography. Cities and towns like Rochester and Seneca Falls were the “north star” of the Underground Railroad, places packed with Abolitionists and Quakers and radicals of all stripes. The population nurtured the young women’s movement and provided a base from which its standard-bearers could venture forth to persuade the rest of the nation. Read the rest of the article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/louise-bernikow/new-york-is-not-just-the-_b_4296460.html.
Poetry: “Picking Up Branches After A Wind Storm”
in Guernica Magazine
Read the latest published poem by R-N Doctoral Candidate Sara J. Grossman at Guernica Magazine: a magazine of art & politics: http://www.guernicamag.com/poetry/picking-up-branches-after-a-wind-storm/.
Taking Note: Presenting Arts Data Artfully
How A Nation Engages With the Arts
Highlights from 2012 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts
“The commonality between science and art is in trying to see profoundly—to develop strategies of seeing and showing.” —Edward Tufte
The NEA has partnered with the United States Census Bureau six times since 1982 to conduct the Survey of Public Participation in the Arts (SPPA). Over that period, the SPPA has become the nation’s most authoritative source of information about the ways in which Americans from all walks of life participate in the arts and how this participation has changed over the years. Its statistical rigor, national coverage, and depth of detailed information about the American people make the SPPA an unparalleled resource for understanding the value and impact of the arts in society.
- See more at: http://arts.gov/art-works/2013/taking-note-presenting-arts-data-artfully?utm_source=Oct+30%2C+2013&utm_campaign=Oct+30%2C+2013&utm_medium=email#sthash.6IEXBFHB.dpuf.
Humanities Unbound: Supporting Careers and Scholarship Beyond the Tenure Track
Senior Research Specialist, Scholarly Communication Institute
“Equipping graduate students with the skills and literacies needed for 21st century scholarly work—from technical fluency to an understanding of organizational structures—is critical to ensuring continued rigorous and creative research and other work products. Remaining wedded to outmoded systems, including a model of apprenticeship in higher education that reinforces the false assumption that professorship is the only meaningful career for humanities doctoral recipients, does a tremendous disservice to all individuals and organizations that benefit from humanistic perspectives. It is essential that humanities programs begin to equip graduate students for varied career paths and deep public engagement, while also emphasizing the value of working in a range of sectors beyond the tenure track. Professorships should not be seen as the sole prestigious career for humanists; instead, any intellectually rewarding role that contributes to society should be seen as a tremendously successful outcome. The time is ripe for prestige to be measured not only by tenure track placement rates, but also through the many other careers that graduates choose to pursue, and ways that those paths positively benefit the broader ecosystem of our shared cultural heritage.”
See full report here: http://katinarogers.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Rogers_SCI_Survey_Report_09AUG13.pdf.
Sandy – A Reminder that human and natural history are inseparable
John R. Gillis is professor emeritus of history at Rutgers University and the author of The Human Shore: Seacoasts in History
FOR CENTURIES the coasts of Japan have been ravaged by deadly tsunamis. Local communities responded by erecting tsunami stones, not memorials to the dead but reminders of the highest points of inundation. In recent years, these stones have been displaced and forgotten. When the great tsunami of March 11, 2011, struck, local people had no way of knowing how far to flee. Almost 16,000 people died, and the number of missing remains at 2,652.
New Jersey might do worse than to erect Sandy stones to remind it of just how far the ocean can reach, but no doubt these would be objected to for the same reasons that Santa Barbara rejected painting a green line on its streets that would have marked projections of sea-rise levels. Critics objected that the line would lower property values and scare away tourists.
There was once a time when the traces of disaster, shipwrecks and ruined wharves were allowed to linger on beaches as reminders of the dangers of the sea. Today, sands are quickly cleansed, for beaches are the places we turn to forget the world, our chosen places for forgetting.
We live in an age of coastal amnesia.
- Read the rest of this excellent op-ed piece from the Sunday, 10/27/13 New Jersey Record: http://www.northjersey.com/news/opinions/gillis_102713.html?page=all.
American Studies and the Cornwall Center marked the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy with a lecture by John Gillis on Wednesday, October 30 at the John Cotton Dana Library, Rutgers-Newark.
Kornel Chang’s Pacific Connections: The Making of the U.S.-Canadian Borderlands is Finalist for John Hope Franklin Prize
Kornel Chang was a finalist for the John Hope Franklin Publication Prize. The annual award honors the previous year’s best-published book in American Studies. He was nominated for Pacific Connections: The Making of the U.S.-Canadian Borderlands (University of California Press). More details here: http://www.ncas.rutgers.edu/history-professor-kornel-chang-finalist-john-hope-franklin-prize.
Sean Singer in the Los Angeles Review of Books
“What can we learn about the ways AIDS and cities were connected by reading the poems produced at the time? What can we learn about the impact that AIDS has had on the evolution of poetry, art, and culture in America? And what can we learn about the ways in which memory can aid recovery, both on a personal and a societal level?”
Recent PhD grad Sean Singer has an essay published in the Los Angeles Review of Books that examines poetic responses to the urban/AIDS crisis during the 1980s and ’90s. Entitled “Blood Positive: Recovering Poetry from the AIDS crisis,” it can be accessed here: http://lareviewofbooks.org/essay/blood-positive-recovering-poetry-from-the-aids-crisis.
Julian Gill-Petersen: “We are Not Cyborg Subjects, We are Artisans”
PhD aspirant Julian Gill-Petersen’s excellent work on transgender embodiment provides him with a singular perspective to explore nascent developments around trans technogenesis and the self and body’s role within it. He discusses this in the aftermath of a particularly stimulating session at the recent 27th Annual Meeting of the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts (SLSA) at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. His insights can be found here: http://juliangillpeterson.wordpress.com/2013/10/07/we-are-not-cyborg-subjects-we-are-artisans/.