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Art and the machined world

Claude Fischer, professor of sociology | January 24, 2014

Much of early 20th-century art in the West was commentary on the massive technological developments of the late 19th century. Where, 100 years later, is the comparable 21st-century artistic response to the technological developments of the late 20th century? American artists a few generations ago, especially painters and photographers, portrayed the massive structures, machined objects, … Continue reading »

Word counts and what counts

Claude Fischer, professor of sociology | September 27, 2013

A post back in June on “digital humanities” discussed the promises and perils of turning to “Big Data” to answer questions about American history. I focused there on a study that looked specifically at the history of American literature. A paper in Psychological Science this August uses the same tool – the Ngram function in … Continue reading »

Robert Bellah

Claude Fischer, professor of sociology | August 13, 2013

The great scholar Robert N. Bellah, Professor Emeritus of Sociology at UC Berkeley and winner of the National Humanities Medal in 2000, died July 30. (He was also a colleague and friend.) Bellah’s seminal contributions range from analyses of Japanese society to a recent, epoch-spanning book on the history of religion. For many, and for … Continue reading »