Access your Project MUSE content using one of the login options below Close(X)
Browse Results For:
Interdisciplinary Research and Teaching among College and University Faculty
Interdisciplinarity, a favorite buzzword of faculty and administrators, has been appropriated to describe so many academic pursuits that it is virtually meaningless. With a writing style that is accessible, fluid, and engaging, Lisa Lattuca remedies this confusion with an original conceptualization of interdisciplinarity based on interviews with faculty who are engaged in its practice. Whether exploring the connections between apparently related disciplines, such as English and women's studies, or such seemingly disparate fields as economics and theology, Lattuca moves away from previous definitions based on the degrees of integration across disciplines and instead focuses on the nature of the inquiry behind the work. She organizes her findings around the processes through which faculty pursue interdisciplinarity, the contexts (institutional, departmental, and disciplinary) in which faculty are working, and the ways in which those contexts relate to and affect the interdisciplinary work. Her findings result in useful suggestions for individuals concerned with the meaning of faculty work, the role and impact of disciplines in academe today, and the kinds of issues that should guide the evaluation of faculty scholarship.
White Mothers, International Adoption, and the Negotiation of Family Difference
Since the early 1990s, close to 250,000 children born abroad have been adopted into the United States. Nearly half of these children have come from China or Russia. Culture Keeping: White Mothers, International Adoption, and the Negotiation of Family Difference offers the first comparative analysis of these two popular adoption programs. Heather Jacobson examines these adoptions by focusing on a relatively new social phenomenon, the practice by international adoptive parents, mothers in particular, of incorporating aspects of their children's cultures of origin into their families' lives. “Culture keeping” is now standard in the adoption world, though few adoptive parents, the majority of whom are white and native-born, have experience with the ethnic practices of their children's homelands prior to adopting. Jacobson follows white adoptive mothers as they navigate culture keeping: from their motivations, to the pressures and constraints they face, to the content of their actual practices concerning names, food, toys, travel, cultural events, and communities of belonging. Through her interviews, she explores how women think about their children, their families, and themselves as mothers as they labor to construct or resist ethnic identities for their children, who may be perceived as birth children (because they are white) or who may be perceived as adopted (because of racial difference). The choices these women make about culture, Jacobson argues, offer a window into dominant ideas of race and the “American Family,” and into how social differences are conceived and negotiated in the United States.
Transforming Public Will into Political Power
Vinny DeMarco might be a latter-day Don Quixote except that he tilts his lance at real obstacles to social justice: lobby-locked state legislatures and Congress, stonewalling the public will. And he makes impossible dreams come true. In twenty years of organizing campaigns in Maryland, he has led successful efforts to pass gun control laws (against National Rifle Association opposition), to hike cigarette taxes to prevent youth smoking, and to extend health care to hundreds of thousands of low-income workers. He has also built a unique alliance of mainstream and conservative faith groups, which helped secure rare bipartisan votes in Congress for the enactment in July 2009 of landmark FDA regulation of tobacco manufacture and marketing. DeMarco's unique strategic template, developed over two decades of serial campaigning, includes momentum-building stages over a multiyear campaign; unrelenting, skillful access to the media for engaging public support; coalitions of hundreds, even thousands, of faith, community, labor, public health, and business groups; and a hard press on candidates to support legislation before elections, rather than after they are comfortably in office. As an organizer/leader, Demarco also succeeds in his campaigns through force of personality: his unquenchable exuberance and idiosyncrasies delight and madden his opponents--sometimes his allies, too. Michael Pertschuk, himself a veteran advocate, here chronicles three of DeMarco's campaigns, each facing a different obstacle course. His deep analysis draws out strategic and leadership lessons that engaged citizens and advocates for popular causes stonewalled by powerful lobbies can put to immediate and practical use.
Public Work, Citizenship, and the Future of Colleges and Universities
Today Americans feel powerless in the face of problems on every front. Such feelings are acute in higher education, where educators are experiencing an avalanche of changes: cost cutting, new technologies, and demands that higher education be narrowly geared to the needs of today's workplace. College graduates face mounting debt and uncertain job prospects, and worry about a coarsening of the mass culture and the erosion of authentic human relationships. Higher education is increasingly seen, and often portrays itself, as a ticket to individual success--a private good, not a public one.
Democracy's Education grows from the American Commonwealth Partnership, a year-long project to revitalize the democratic narrative of higher education that began with an invitation to Harry Boyte from the White House to put together a coalition aimed at strengthening higher education as a public good. The project was launched at the beginning of 2012 to mark the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act, which created land grant colleges.
Beginning with an essay by Harry C. Boyte, "Reinventing Citizenship as Public Work," which challenges educators and their partners to claim their power to shape the story of higher education and the civic careers of students, the collection brings world-famous scholars, senior government officials, and university presidents together with faculty, students, staff, community organizers, and intellectuals from across the United States and South Africa and Japan. Contributors describe many constructive responses to change already taking place in different kinds of institutions, and present cutting-edge ideas like "civic science," "civic studies," "citizen professionalism," and "citizen alumni." Authors detail practical approaches to making change, from new faculty and student roles to changes in curriculum and student life and strategies for everyday citizen empowerment. Overall, the work develops a democratic story of education urgently needed to address today's challenges, from climate change to growing inequality.
The Cultural Production of the Female Body in Eighteenth-Century Peru
Deviant and Useful Citizens explores the conditions of women and perceptions of the female body in the eighteenth century throughout the Viceroyalty of Peru, which until 1776 comprised modern-day Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay. Mariselle Meléndez introduces the reader to a female rebel, Micaela Bastidas, whose brutal punishment became a particularly harsh example of state response to women who challenged the system. She explores the cultural representation of women depicted as economically productive and vital to the health of the culture at large. The role of women in religious orders provides still another window into the vital need to sustain the image of women as loyal and devout—and to deal with women who refused to comply. The book focuses on the different ways male authorities, as well as female subjects, conceived the female body as deeply connected to notions of what constituted a useful or deviant citizen within the Viceroyalty. Using eighteenth-century legal documents, illustrated chronicles, religious texts, and newspapers, Mariselle Meléndez explores in depth the representation of the female body in periods of political, economic, and religious crisis to determine how it was conceived within certain contexts. Deviant and Useful Citizens presents a highly complex society that relied on representations of utility and productivity to understand the female body, as it reveals the surprisingly large stake that colonial authorities had in defining the status of women during a crucial time in South American history.
New Studies and Interpretations
"The material presented in this volume reflects a kind of sea-change in Dewey studies. It is not so much that these essays are uniformly positive or uncritical, for they are certainly not that. Their importance lies rather in the fact that serious scholarship on Dewey's logic, building on the solid advances won over the years by Thayer, Kennedy, Sleeper, Burke, and others, seems finally to have reached a critical mass. Perhaps even more important, when taken together these essays establish an important way-marker along a road that Dewey hoped his students would follow. They seek to push Dewey's ideas forward: to work out the consequences of his logic--his theory of inquiry--for a living philosophy."--Larry A. Hickman, from the Foreword Despite the resurgence of interest in the philosophy of John Dewey, his work on logical theory has received relatively little attention. Ironically, Dewey's logic was his "first and last love." The essays in this collection pay tribute to that love by addressing Dewey's philosophy of logic, from his work at the beginning of the twentieth century to the culmination of his logical thought in the 1938 volume, Logic: The Theory of Inquiry. All the essays are original to this volume and are written by leading Dewey scholars. Ranging from discussions of propositional theory to logic's social and ethical implications, these essays clarify often misunderstood or misrepresented aspects of Dewey's work, while emphasizing the seminal role of logic to Dewey's philosophical endeavors. This collection breaks new ground in its relevance to contemporary philosophy of logic and epistemology and pays special attention to applications in ethics and moral philosophy.
In these hard times of global financial peril and growing social inequality, injuries to dignity are pervasive. "Indignity has many faces," one man told Nora Jacobson as she conducted interviews for this book. Its expressions range from rudeness, indifference, and condescension to objectification, discrimination, and exploitation. Yet dignity can also be promoted. Another man described it as "common respect," suggesting dignity's ordinariness, and the ways we can create and share it through practices like courtesy, leveling, and contribution.
Dignity and Health examines the processes and structures of dignity violation and promotion, traces their consequences for individual and collective health, and uses the model developed to imagine how we might reform our systems of health and social care.
With its focus on the dignity experiences of those often excluded from the mainstream--people who are poor, or homeless, or dealing with mental health problems--as well as on vulnerabilities like age or sickness or unemployment that threaten to make us all feel "less than," Dignity and Health recognizes dignity as a moral matter embedded in the choices we make every day.
Identities, Leadership, and Change in Public Higher Education
Through their interviews with faculty and administrators (from department chairs and deans to provosts and presidents) from a sample of eight public universities in the Northeast and their own experiences in both worlds, the authors provide a unique window into the life experiences and identities of those who struggle to make universities work. The book examines the culture of academic institutions and attempts to understand why change in public higher education is so difficult to accomplish.
Many faculty believe that one of their own who becomes an administrator has gone over to "the dark side." One provost recalled going for a beer with a faculty colleague and hearing the colleague complain about the latest memo "from the administration." He had to remind his friend of many years that he was the author of the offending document. Now he was "the administration." He realized that former colleagues now appeared in his office wearing suits and ties and referring to him by his title rather than his first name.
The disciplines serve as the tribes into which individual scholars are organized; the discipline is where a faculty member finds his community and identity. Administrators, on the other hand, identify with each other in trying to get the tribes to work together. Though most administrators came from the faculty ranks, their career paths take a different shape, especially in terms of mobility to another institution. It's not surprising that the two groups talk past each other.
A chapter is devoted to chairs of departments, who occupy an interesting middle ground. To their faculty, they can come across as a nurturing parent or a petty bureaucrat. The authors recommend training for chairs and administrative internships offered by the American Council on Education and other organizations.
The men and women on the campuses of the public universities described in the book make clear the challenges that universities face in terms of budgets, legislative politics, collective bargaining, rankings, and control of academic programs. If public institutions are truly to serve a public purpose, faculty and administrators must find ways to engage each other in shared conversation and management and find ways of engaging the university with the community.
The Aesthetics of Charles Hartshorne
Considered by many to be one of the greatest philosophers of religion and metaphysicians of the twentieth century, Charles Hartshorne (1897–2000) addressed questions of aesthetics throughout his long career. Yet his efforts in this area are perhaps the most neglected aspect of his extensive and highly nuanced thought. Divine Beauty offers the first detailed explication of Hartshorne's aesthetic theory and its place within his theocentric philosophy. As Daniel A. Dombrowski explains, Hartshorne advanced a neoclassical or process theism that contrasted with the "classical" theism defended by traditionalist Jews, Christians, and Muslim believers. His conception of God was dipolar, which could attribute to God certain qualities that traditionalists would exclude. For example, in Hartshorne's view, God can embrace excellent aspects of both activity and passivity, or of permanence and change; classical theists, on the other hand, exclude passivity and change from their conceptions. Dombrowski goes on to explain the ramifications of Hartshorne's view of God for aesthetics, which for him had both broad and narrow meanings: all sensory feeling or sensation, in the broad sense, and a disciplined feeling for beauty, in the narrow sense. Included are discussions on Hartshorne's famous appreciation for the aesthetics of bird song; his view of beauty as a mean between two sets of extremes; his idea of the aesthetic attitude, which concentrates on values that are intrinsic and immediately felt; and the place of death in his aesthetics, in which the value of our lives consists in the beauty or intensity of experience that we contribute to the divine life. Filling an important gap in our understanding of Hartshorne, Divine Beauty also makes a persuasive case for the superiority of his neoclassical theism over classical theism.
Resistance, Family, and Community
In this compelling collection of oral histories, more than seventy-five peacemakers describe how they say no to war-making in the strongest way possible--by engaging in civil disobedience and paying the consequences in jail or prison. These courageous resisters leave family and community and life on the outside in their efforts to direct U.S. policy away from its militarism. Many are Catholic Workers, devoting their lives to the works of mercy instead of the works of war. They are homemakers and carpenters and social workers and teachers who are often called "faith-based activists." They speak from the left of the political perspective, providing a counterpoint to the faith-based activism of the fundamentalist Right.
In their own words, the narrators describe their motivations and their preparations for acts of resistance, the actions themselves, and their trials and subsequent jail time. We hear from those who do their time by caring for their families and managing communities while their partners are imprisoned. Spouses and children talk frankly of the strains on family ties that a life of working for peace in the world can cause.
The voices range from a World War II conscientious objector to those protesting the recent war in Iraq. The book includes sections on resister families, the Berrigans and Jonah House, the Plowshares Communities, the Syracuse Peace Council, and Catholic Worker houses and communities.
The introduction by Dan McKanan situates these activists in the long tradition of resistance to war and witness to peace.