Welcome to our Director’s Corner, where we will be posting articles we think may be of interest to the community. Please send us your own suggestions to cis@ucr.edu.

A year of collective work

Colleagues, it has been a privilege to serve as Co-Director of the Center this year. I have taken special joy in the numerous collaborations reflected in the collective work of the Decolonizing Humanism(?) programming stream, which I proudly initiated in Fall 2021. As the nationwide attacks against Critical Race Theory continue to saturate the politics and institutional culture of K-12 schooling, it has also been distressing to observe how overlapping and related forms of intellectual reaction and academic repression have crept into public university [...]

2022-06-07T13:05:03-07:00June 7, 2022|Categories: Director's Corner, News|Tags: |

A year of changes and opportunities

Dear colleagues and friends, At last, summer is around the corner – after what felt like an unusually long and demanding academic year. We did get a lot done at the Center for Ideas and Society, with the revamping of our internal structure, two new event streams designed by Dylan and me with Katharine’s input, and a variety of activities on zoom and in person, most notably perhaps our two impromptu zoom events at the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, attended by a [...]

2022-06-07T13:04:27-07:00June 7, 2022|Categories: Director's Corner, News|Tags: |

War in Europe

by Jeanette Kohl, Center for Ideas and Society Co-Director In the summer of 2011, I wrote an article on Vladimir Putin for the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.  Dmitry Medvedev was still president of Russia, with Putin, then prime minister, eagerly waiting in the wings. His aspirations to take over power in the world’s largest country were unmistakable. In my article, I looked at the ways in which Putin made use of historical image types of military prowess, sexualized male power, and the Machiavellian [...]

2022-02-28T09:21:07-08:00February 28, 2022|Categories: Director's Corner, News|Tags: |

The Party of the University: The institutional memory of Hanna Gray

There is a moment in former University of Chicago President Hanna Gray’s memoir, An Academic Life (published this spring with Princeton University Press), when Gray is appointed to chair Ronald Reagan’s Task Force on the Arts and Humanities, a committee whose object was reputed to be the dismantling of the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities. Her co-chair is Charlton Heston, star of Planet of the Apes, outspoken social conservative and president of the NRA. We might expect a futile exercise in bureaucratic nihilism, but, as [...]

2018-10-23T15:06:22-07:00October 23, 2018|Categories: Director's Corner|

The Rise of the Promotional Intellectual

The main tasks of a professor are to teach and do research. The two sometimes vie for priority, but together they encapsulate what we expect professors to do, and they take the bulk of weight in yearly evaluations, tenure judgments, and other professional measures. Now, it seems, a new task has been added to the job: promotion. We are urged to promote our classes, our departments, our colleges, our professional organizations. More than anything, we are directed to promote ourselves. The imperative is to [...]

2018-08-07T15:52:50-07:00August 7, 2018|Categories: Director's Corner|

Stop Trying to Sell the Humanities

Arguments that they’re useful are wrong, anti-humanistic, and sure to backfire The humanities are taking it on the chin. If there were any doubts about this proposition, they have been dispelled by the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point’s proposal to eliminate 13 majors, including history, art, English, philosophy, sociology, political science, French, German, and Spanish. The administration cited large deficits, programs with a low enrollment, and a desire to play to its strengths — STEM subjects and training in technology. One professor of [...]

2018-06-19T14:10:31-07:00June 19, 2018|Categories: Director's Corner|

Whose University Is It Anyway?

TOWARD THE END of his life George Orwell wrote, “By the age of 50, everyone has the face he deserves.” The same is true of societies and their universities. By the time a society reaches its prime, it has the university it deserves. We have arrived there now in Canada, in the middle age of our regime, well past our youth but not quite to our dotage. What do we see when we look into the mirror of our universities? What image do we [...]

2018-03-08T11:24:27-08:00March 8, 2018|Categories: Director's Corner|
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