What are you reading, watching, thinking about this week? As usual, here’s a few which have been on our mind. Let us know your thoughts on any/all of them. If you have items you’d like us to consider for the top five, add them in the comments or send them to Tom or Mike.
1. Alan Jacobs’ Grad School Thoughts: Should you go to grad school? “Probably not,” writes Alan Jacobs, Wheaton English professor and author of Original Sin, The Narnian, A Theology of Reading, and many other excellent things. But if you insist, he’s got some good advice. (Also check out Alan’s contribution to our ESN article, “Why Get a PhD in the Humanities?”)
2. James K. A. Smith’s Desiring the Kingdom ties for OUR MOST AUDACIOUS CLAIM: THE MOST IMPORTANT BOOK OF THE YEAR with Matthew Crawford’s Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work in Best Books of 2009 Part I by Byron Borger of Hearts and Minds Bookstore. Take a few minutes to review the list, keep an eye out for two more parts going up next week, and let us know what books you’re interested in discussing this year.
3. In The Marketplace of Ideas: Reform and Resistance in the American University (W.W. Norton, 2010), Louis “Menand asks four questions: Why is it so hard to create a general-education curriculum? Why have the humanities undergone a crisis of legitimacy? Why has ‘interdisciplinarity’ been seen—and ultimately failed—as a magic wand? Why do professors share the same politics?” — Oxygenating Academe: The Unpublic Intellectual (By Karen J. Winkler, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 10, 2010)
4. ‘Baby Einstein’ Founder Goes to Court (By Tamar Lewin, NY Times, January 12, 2010): Raises the question of access to and reproducibility of research in relationship to marketing and consumer concerns. Do you know anyone who watched or advocated Baby Einstein?
5. Proof (or at least Evidence) That Mentoring Matters (by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed): A study presented the American Economic Association’s annual meeting found that mentoring had a significant impact on the number of grants and publications for female economists.