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Knowledge Machines: University to Search Engine

Knowledge Machines: University to Search Engine

For critics on the political left and right, the contemporary and increasingly data-driven university has become a bureaucratic behemoth, a rational system that expunges the personal and particular in favor of the quantifiable and universal. Consider here in the UK, the Research Excellence Framework and its accounting of over 191,150 “research outputs” in the past … Continue reading

The Visibility of Knowledge

The Visibility of Knowledge

I am happy to announce that a new collaboration with Andrew Piper’s .txtLab and Mohamed Cheriet’s Synrchomedia Lab has been funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The project is called “The Visibility of Knowledge: The Computational Study of Scientific Illustration in the Nineteenth Century.” Our aim is to study how scientific knowledge became visible to readers … Continue reading

Revolution U

Revolution U

What today’s critics of the university get right…and wrong. Since at least the nineteenth century, research universities from Berlin to Baltimore have been indispensable institutions. They have conserved, created, and circulated knowledge not just for the specialized scholars within their ivied and bricked walls but also for the communities outside them. Research universities authorized and … Continue reading

Bibliotherapy

Bibliotherapy

Of the power of art, history, and philosophy to change us there are few instances more straightforward than Rilke’s sonnet “Archaic Torso of Apollo,” in which a confrontation with classical sculpture ends with the injunction, “You must change your life.” It might seem, at first, a short step from that stern command to branding Rilke’s … Continue reading

Introduction to “Organizing Enlightenment”

Introduction to “Organizing Enlightenment”

On Sunday, June 10, 2012, Helen Dragas, rector of the University of Virginia’s Board of Visitors, announced that President Teresa Sullivan and the board had “mutually agreed” that Sullivan would resign. Citing a “rapidly changing” higher education environment, Dragas insisted that the university had to change, and fast. In the ensuing weeks, Dragas alluded to … Continue reading