Tag Archives: education

Fellowship Opportunity at Cranbrook Academy of Art

Cranbrook Academy of Art, a preeminent graduate school of art, design and architecture, is pleased to announce a unique teaching fellowship. Cranbrook seeks applicants working in the fields of Critical Theory and/or Contemporary Art, Craft and Design Theory for a one-semester residential teaching fellowship for Fall 2011. Candidates must hold an advanced degree in their field (MA or higher, PhD preferred), have graduate-level teaching experience and an interest in the links between theory and visual art/design studio practice. The Fellow will give two public lectures and conduct discussion groups with graduate students. They will also be asked to review student art work and participate in occasional studio critiques. Opportunities also exist for creative curatorial, research or other projects while in residence. This position is well-suited to an emerging professional, although all levels are invited to apply.
Fellowship includes:
Travel stipend toward R/T travel to campus and/or professional activities
Housing (private apartment on campus)
Fellows must reside on campus and be free from professional duties during fellowship (September 12- December 16, 2011)
Application must be postmarked by December 1, 2010.
To apply, send 3 copies of a packet that includes:
· Completed Application Form (download here)
· Letter of interest
· Academic CV (including bibliography of published work)
· Proposal of Series (to include lectures and discussion topics)
· Names and contact information for three references (must include telephone number)
Mail application to:
Sarah Turner / Critical Studies Fellowship
Cranbrook Academy of Art
PO Box 801
39221 Woodward Avenue
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48303-0801
Founded in 1932, Cranbrook Academy of Art is located on a National Historic Landmark campus in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. The country’s only independent graduate-only program in visual art, architecture and design, Cranbrook offers an intense and intimate learning experience for 150 graduate students in a community of studio-based programs where Artists-in-Residence mentor students to creatively influence contemporary culture.
For more information, contact Sarah Turner at the address above or:sturner@cranbrook.edu

As promised…Daniel Thurs’ guest post Part II

What is Good Scholarship?
Part II

Here I’d like to contribute something of my own, perhaps idiosyncratic, thinking about the nature of good scholarship (and I want to take special pains to emphasize that from here on out, everything you may take issue with is purely me). Chief among my scholarly touchstones is the notion of humility. I don’t mean a kind of obsequiousness that consistently favors engagement and fears criticism. Many scholars-in-training already tend to defer, understandably, to the intellectual giants of their fields. In those cases, I’d suggest a slightly more skeptical course. On the other hand, to move the metaphor back to land, those people whose words and behaviors provide the grist for scholarly mills are sometimes treated with a sort of disregard. In my own work, I’ve encountered too many historical actors—not the great intellects, but otherwise ordinary folks—who were as smart or smarter than I was, and knew more about what was going on around them to boot, to be comfortable with such a view. In approaching sources, I did bring an important set of tools, concepts, and questions they did not have, but our relationship worked best when I treated them as partners rather than resources to be exploited and when I kept open the ever-present possibility of being surprised by what they had to say.

One reason why I tend to value humility so highly, and possibly one reason why the question of what makes for good scholarship is so hard to answer in the abstract, is that scholarly endeavor takes place in a certain institutional context. Modern academia, whatever its substantial contribution to the world, is not a system that typically values or rewards being humble. Aside from the intellectual adventure and fulfillment it provides, the work of getting a Ph.D., of getting a job, of getting noticed often requires a kind of studied arrogance toward other scholars (who often have to be wrong in some measure for you to be right), toward sources (who sometimes become one-dimensional and conveniently easy to deconstruct), and toward the general public (which is occasionally either little more than the waiting and empty receptacle for scholarly knowledge or the passive “other” subject to scholarly analysis). Present-day expertise, rooted in and cultivated through the institutions of academia, is an important part of the world and can effect considerable change for the better. It also has a less fortunate side that can elevate experts over everyone else, in turn justifying their expertise. For me, at least, truly good scholarship is about keeping away from such currents.

I suspect, beyond the demands of particular disciplines and the institutions of academia, there’s one additional challenge to determining the nature of good scholarship, and that’s the magic word “scholarship.” As much as I’d like to believe it, to justify all those student loans I took out, I don’t think anyone requires a Ph.D. to either produce or appreciate good scholarship. That’s true whether you earned a BA five years ago or never went to college at all. The twin values of engagement and critical attitude are present in ordinary interactions at their best wherever they occur. What is required is a community of people dedicated to grappling with the world honestly and effectively. And that is what that Draper Program provides.

Perhaps that’s the ultimate meaning of humility for me—no one can do it alone. In that spirit, I should say that, while I’ve made passing reference to the collective Draperian wisdom, I have specific people to thank for the ideas above. So, humble thanks to Amber, Georgia, Larissa, Louis, Maia, Nina, Rebecca, Robert, and Robin.

And finally, I want to impart to you all, the most humble, most important, and most profound secret of good scholarship. In one word: scallops!

What is Good Scholarship? A guest blog entry by Daniel Thurs, Professor of Science Studies

We’ll be posting Professor Thurs’ excellent essay on scholarship in two parts. Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow…

Part I

What is good scholarship? That was a question a student recently posed to me. After a lot of thought and a few halting stabs at an answer, I decided my best option was to pass the scholarly buck. So, I re-posed the question to the staff and faculty here at Draper to get their views on the matter. What follows is my attempt to channel the program’s collective wisdom.

One of the first responses I found was that the nature of good scholarship depended on the particular fields involved. Some disciplines value testing established models, others look for the identification of causal relationships, and still others aim at tracing out complex and often messy webs of meaning. Certain areas avoid jargon and others encourage testing the limits of conventional language. In some cases, you can refer to yourself in the first person. In others, that’s a high crime. This makes the faculty, staff, and students at Draper and NYU more broadly, with all their varied backgrounds, valuable sources of insight into different scholarly traditions. In other words, you should feel free to pass your own scholarly bucks.

Still, there was consensus on some general elements of good scholarship that transcended particular disciplines. Perhaps the most important was engagement. There’s no immediately simple way to characterize the nature of engagement, though the common image is one of reaching out. It’s the close and careful reading of sources on their own terms, according to the rules and logics they set up, while doggedly and persistently seeking out the many possible meanings and facets that any given piece of material may contain or enable. It’s also stepping into the larger academic world, grounding conclusions in the work of other scholars, being aware of their views, and addressing the problems they raise with (in part, at least) the tools they provide. And it’s making your efforts matter, ideally to those both inside and outside of academia, which relies on the ability to successfully communicate your ideas, perhaps with a dash of enthusiasm.

The second element of good scholarship that came through clearly was the need for a critical approach, on three different levels. First, while you want to read your sources carefully, you can’t always accept every claim they make. It’s important to subject them to analysis of some kind. Neither should you always nod in your conversations with other scholars. Their work, even by the most well-known, should similarly be open to question. This isn’t to suggest you claim that X or Y is irredeemably wrong at every opportunity—that probably comes from a lack of engagement—but their ideas may not fit the particular case you’re working with or you may need to adapt or extend them. Lastly, you want to subject yourself and your claims to a critical eye. Are there reasons, beyond evidence and argument, that I think something is true? What are the limits, as well as the strengths, of my perspective? What are the implications of the conclusions I draw? What are the stakes of the questions I raise?

Given what’s been said, I think it’s fair to see engagement and criticism as the two poles of the scholarly globe, which raises another question. How do you navigate between them? Luckily, Draperian wisdom can still provide some guidance. To find your way, you’ll need a sense of balance between an openness to the world and a suspicion of its honesty, between faith in the reality of knowledge and skepticism that anything can be truly known, between construction and deconstruction. At the same time, you’ll want to rely on your ability to be creative. That doesn’t always mean coming up with a dramatically new argument or composing a revolutionary piece of literature. Most enduring knowledge builds by increments on what’s come before and the majority of scholarship—even some of the best—is more methodical than grandiose. There is creativity in finding (and recognizing) a new and valuable source of information, in saying things in subtly new ways that open up novel routes of thought and research, and in combining existing ideas in unexpected constellations.

Teach-In on Relief in Haiti Tonight (1/26)

This Tuesday, 1/26, at 5:30 PM at the Kimmel Center (60 Washington Square South)
in room 914, the Institute for Public Knowledge is hosting a teach-in for NYU
students, faculty, and the general public to provide context to the challenges
of helping Haiti in the aftermath of this month’s devastating earthquake.

Presenters will include Greg Beckett, University of Chicago; J. Michael Dash,
French, NYU; Leslie King, Partners in Health; William O’Neill, Social Science
Research Council and the United Nations; and Michael Ralph, Social and Cultural
Analysis, NYU. Craig Calhoun, Director of the IPK, will provide opening
remarks. Detailed bios are available below.

This event is sponsored by the Humanitarian Action Initiative at the IPK, and it
is open to all.

Tuesday, 1/26; 5:30PM
NYU Kimmel Center
60 Washington Square South
Room 914

For more information, and to RSVP:

For more background on the tragedy in Haiti, the Social Science Research Council
has put together a series of essays entitled “Haiti: Now and Next”

Please forward this announcement to your colleagues and friends:

-About the Presenters-

Greg Beckett, University of Chicago
Greg Beckett is Collegiate Assistant Professor and Harper Fellow in the Social
Sciences Division at the University of Chicago. He studies environmental, urban,
and political crises in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He received his Ph.D. from the
Anthropology Department at the University of Chicago. His dissertation, “The End
of Haiti: History Under Conditions of Impossibility,” explores the cultural,
historical, and political meanings of crisis in contemporary Haiti. Beckett is
currently working on a book manuscript based on his dissertation and on a series
of articles exploring local responses to the US
occupation of Haiti (1915-1934), the discourse on state failure and the use of
international peacekeeping missions as a mode of emergency powers, and
humanitarian crises and disaster response.

Craig Calhoun, SSRC, NYU, and IPK
Craig Calhoun serves as Director of the Institute for Public Knowledge at NYU
and President of the Social Science Research Council. He is also University
Professor of Social Science at NYU.

After receiving his doctorate from Oxford University, Calhoun taught at the
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill from 1977 to 1996. He was Dean of
the Graduate School and the founding Director of the University Center for
International Studies. He has also taught at the Beijing Foreign Studies
University, the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, and the
Universities of Asmara, Khartoum, Oslo, and Oxford.

Calhoun’s own empirical research has ranged from Britain and France to China and
three different African countries. His study of the Tiananmen Square
protests of 1989 resulted in the prize-winning book, Neither Gods Nor Emperors:
Students and the Struggle for Democracy in China (California, 1994). Among his
other works are Nationalism (Minnesota, 1997), Critical Social Theory: Culture,
History, and the Challenge of Difference (Blackwell, 1995), and several edited
collections including Habermas and the Public Sphere (MIT, 1992), Hannah Arendt
and the Meaning of Politics (Minnesota, 1997), Understanding September 11 (New
Press, 2002), and Lessons of Empire (New Press, 2005). He was also editor in
chief of the Oxford Dictionary of the Social Sciences. In more than ninety
articles, he has also addressed the impact of technological change; the
organization of community life; the relationship among tort law, risk, and
business organizations; the anthropological study of education, kinship, and
religion; and problems in contemporary globalization. Calhoun’s work has been
translated into more than a dozen languages.

J. Michael Dash, NYU
J. Michael Dash, born in Trinidad, has worked extensively on Haitian literature
and French Caribbean writers, especially Edouard Glissant, whose works, The
Ripening (1985), Caribbean Discourse (1989) and Monsieur Toussaint (2005) he has
translated into English. After 21 years at the University of the West Indies,
Jamaica where he was Professor of Francophone Literature and Chair of Modern
Languages, he is now Professor of French at New York University after having
been Director of the Africana Studies Program. His publications include
Literature and Ideology in Haiti (1981), Haiti and the United States (1988),
Edouard Glissant (1995), The Other America: Caribbean Literature in a New World
Context (1998). His most recent books are, Libeté: A Haiti Anthology (1999) with
Charles Arthur and Culture and Customs of Haiti (2001). He has represented
CARICOM and the Caribbean Conference of Churches on official missions to Haiti.

Lesley King, Partners in Health
Lesley King worked at JP Morgan for 15 years and retired as a Managing Director
in Fixed Income Sales management in order to focus on non-profit work. She
served as Interim Executive Director of Trinity Church in Greenwich, CT where
she was also co-head of the Rwanda Council. Lesley is on the Board of Directors
for Partners In Health and is a Regional Representative for PIH where for the
past few years she has led a “community of concern” to open and support the PIH
Rukira Health Center in southwest Rwanda.

William O’Neill, Social Science Research Council
William O’Neill is a lawyer specializing in humanitarian, human rights and
refugee law. He was Senior Advisor on Human Rights in the UN Mission in Kosovo,
Chief of the UN Human Rights Field Operation in Rwanda and led the Legal
Department of the UN/OAS Mission in Haiti. He has worked on judicial, police
and prison reform in Burundi, Liberia, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Timor Leste,
Nepal and Bosnia-Herzegovina. He investigated mass killings in Afghanistan for
the High Commissioner for Human Rights. He also conducted an assessment of the
human rights situation in Darfur and trained the UN’s human rights monitors
stationed there.

At the request of the UN’s Executive Committee on Peace and Security, he chaired
a Task Force on Developing Rule of Law Strategies in Peace Operations. He has
created and delivered courses on human rights, rule of law and peacekeeping for
several peacekeeping training centers whose participants have included senior
military, police and humanitarian officials from dozens
of countries.

He has published widely on rule of law, human rights and peacekeeping,
including, “Kosovo: An Unfinished Peace” and “Protecting Two Million Displaced:
The Successes and Shortcomings of the African Union in Darfur.” In the spring
of 2008, O’Neill was visiting professor of law and international relations at
the Scuola Sant’Anna in Pisa, Italy. He is currently the
Director of the Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum located in New York City.

Michael Ralph, NYU
Michael Ralph earned his Ph.D. in the Department of Anthropology at the
University of Chicago and taught briefly in the Cornell University Department of
Anthropology before joining the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis at
New York University. Michael is a historical anthropologist who works on crime,
citizenship, and sovereignty in Senegal and the Atlantic world,
more broadly. Michael is now completing a book manuscript based on several
years of archival research and ethnographic fieldwork in Dakar entitled, “The
Forensics of Capital: Debt, Sacrifice, and Democracy in Senegal.” Michael is a
member of the Editorial Boards of Sport in Society and Transforming
Anthropology, the Souls Editorial Working Group and the Social Text Editorial

Why get a master’s degree, anyway?

Years ago I saw a poster that said simply, “Change your mind.” It was an advertisement for a meditation class. Clever, succinct and almost a dare, the phrase could just as well advertise what happens when a university gives its students its best.

In a troubled economy, questions about value and worth are especially urgent. Such questions extend to all fields, including higher education. There’s been debate in the press recently about the cost and value of college in general, and there’s been debate about the master’s degree in particular.

At the end of June, the New York Times asked a panel of experts — two professors, one personal finance consultant, and a former university president — what an MA is worth (you can read their responses here). It’s an important question, except that the answers in the Times use a narrow understanding of “worth.” The respondents talked mostly about whether or not an MA will help the recipient earn more money. In that context, they concluded that a master’s degree is a waste of time.

But there are many ways to evaluate “worth” beyond the limited measure of dollars.

A person stepping into a master’s program has made a commitment to be part of a community of scholars, which in and of itself is pretty exciting. If she’s sincere in her commitment, going to school is not a “hobby” or a casual endeavor. It is consuming, the way training becomes consuming for a serious athlete. Already the student is drawn out of herself and into a larger world. There’s something heady, even a little intoxicating, about a classroom full of people trying to understand how, for instance, a new interpretation of French postmodern feminist literature can influence the controversy about Muslim women wearing religious headscarves in Paris. Does such insight guarantee the student a higher salary when she’s finished her degree? Nope. But does it change, even in a small way, her perception of the world around her? It certainly can. And does this matter?


It points to the most significant benefit of taking the degree, and recalls the gentle exhortation of that poster from the past. A true education cannot leave a student unchanged. Over time, she comes to perceive more detail, nuance, interconnection, and potential in everything around her. Whether she’s studying landscape ecology or American colonial history or Anglophone literature or early childhood education or molecular anthropology, her world becomes wonderfully more complicated the more she studies.

She will also be changed by the work required to do well. The countless hours reading, researching, attending and participating in classes, listening to colleagues differ or find consensus, influence her thinking and her sense of connection to and responsibilities within the larger world.

Then there’s the writing. Any master’s program worth its salt (from the Latin sal, the root of the word “salary”) requires students to write. And write. And write. No matter what comes after the MA, a student who becomes a competent writer graduates with a skill marketable across nearly all job categories. We’re back to the monetary rewards of the degree, but this particular point wasn’t mentioned by the quartet who wrote for the Times. I’ll even make the claim that if a student (at any university) does not become a better writer by the time she has earned the master’s, then that university has failed her.

It’s true that an MA at a private research university can be expensive. It’s also true that a direct link between that degree and a higher-paying job is sometimes elusive. But it’s hard to argue that there is no link at all. The person who emerges from the classes and the research and the writing with that master of arts is not the same person who first enrolled. Her journey through the process has changed her mind — and thus changed her world — forever and completely.