Judith Butler, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, is among the leading social theorists alive today. Her most recent books are Frames of War (2009) and The Power of Religion in the Public Sphere (2011), an SSRC volume that puts her in conversation with Jürgen Habermas, Charles Taylor, and Cornel West. As we carried out our conversation by email between Brooklyn and Berkeley, uprisings were occurring across the Arab world, and a U.S.-led coalition had just begun conducting airstrikes in support of rebel forces in Libya. We had discussed some similar questions, and some different ones, a year earlier in an interview for Guernica magazine.
At global gathering of higher ed officials, some question why rising female enrollment levels aren’t translating into comparable gains in the academic and non-academic work force. more
Despite legal roadblock in Google Books project, libraries might soon benefit from other digital search-and-retrieval services. more
Patricia Lee Sharpe
While I was in India last month, I was asked by some female tourists if I thought all the bumping and brushing they were encountering on the sidewalks of Kolkata was a creepy sort of molestation. I said I didn’t think so. The sidewalks are crowded, people are in a hurry and everybody shoves everybody else. They’d have known if some guy were really intent on getting fresh.
Remember Marxism? It was a current or trend in anthropological theory that began in the mid-sixties and ended in the mid-oughts. Like all schools of thought it has its redoubts and strongholds in certain departments, but it seems to me that on the whole high table anthropological theory has pretty much given up on it. Of course, there are still baby boomer anthropologists who make ritual obeisances in the direction of Marx, and some even believe that their own globalized, frictioned, assemblaged work can somehow be connected meaningfully back to Marx with enough ingenuity and historical reconstruction. But it seems to me that increasingly recent influential ethnographies — particularly those which focus on moneybags himself — seem unaware or uniterested in the paradigm.
2 new studies suggest that bias is not the reason professors tend to lean left. But don’t expect the debate to end. more
Disciplinary group harshly critiques NRC ratings, urging professors and prospective graduate students to disregard them and be “suspicious” of underlying data. more
New digital tool is pitched as way for universities to assemble top talent — or as way for faculty members who feel unappreciated to demonstrate their work. more
Sloan Consortium develops standardized metrics for assessing quality of online programs. more
The list of finalists for the 2011 Man Booker International Prize has been announced. John le Carre is one of thirteen authors on list of finalists, but he has asked for his name to be withdrawn. Carre’s literary agents, Curtis Brown, issued the following statement on his behalf: