Arts, Culture & Humanities

Claude Fischer Vocabulary retrogression

As is now well-known, scores on “intelligence” tests rose strongly over the last few generations, world-wide – this is the “Flynn Effect.” One striking anomaly, however, appears in American data: slumping students’ scores on academic achievement tests like the SAT.

Notes of the decline starting in the 1960s sparked a lot … More >

Thomas C. Leonard The Free Speech Movement’s passionate readers

“Passionate readers” is not the tag line today for the people swept up in the Free Speech Movement, but it fits just as well as other efforts to sum them up. Thanks to the archives that the Library has built, serious students of the FSM know this.

Margot Adler, a familiar voice … More >

Bruce Fuller TV’s Dora takes kids exploring where schools fear to tread

“For my kids to learn a second language — it’s so important to me,” Christiane Gauthier said in mournful tones, her own mother’s native Spanish fading fast among younger generations. Many parents share this lament as our children remain ill prepared for a diverse society, along with a job market … More >

Nicholas Dirks What ‘Ivory Tower’ gets wrong

The documentary film Ivory Tower takes on national debates about higher education and renders them as compelling dramas, stories, and scenes. Andrew Rossi, the film’s talented director, previously used similar techniques to raise probing questions about the future of print journalism in an age of digitalization in his film Page One. Now … More >

Claude Fischer Telling stories vs. telling data

In a just-released preview of his new book, Narrative and Collective Action, public-policy scholar Frederick W. Mayer of Duke University discusses the power of the well-told story for leaders of social movements and politicians. Starting with the example of Martin Luther King, Jr., Mayer recounts how effective leaders deploy stories rather than analyses. … More >

Claude Fischer Work hours and the pay gap

Twenty-five years ago, Berkeley sociologist Arlie Hochschild coined the phrase “stalled revolution” to describe how far American women had come since the 1950s. What she meant (in my reading) is that, although gender relations in America, from workplace to bedroom, had changed radically, the pace of change had slowed tremendously.

The … More >

Claude Fischer Mourning 9/11 Victorian style

We have just witnessed the opening of the 9/11 memorial and museum at site of the destroyed World Trade Towers, an event that once more raises attention to how we Americans form our “collective memories.” (On collective memory, see here, here, here and here.)

In a recent suggestive essay in the Journal of Social History, Stacy Otto … More >

Claude Fischer Bible readings

A recent story noted that president of the Hobby Lobby company, the company that took its religious objections to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) all the way to the Supreme Court, is a leader in a campaign to put Bibles and Bible classes into American public schools. As you would expect, this … More >

Additional posts

See all posts in Arts, Culture & Humanities >