Category Archives: culture

April 17, 2014, 9:37 am

Dartmouth President Speaks Out Against Violent Campus Culture

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This Dartmouth frat, Alpha Delta, co-hosted a “Bloods and Crips” party last year with the Delta Delta Delta sorority

On Wednesday, Philip J. Hanlon, the new president of Dartmouth College, threw down a challenge to his students: clean up your act. You are ruining a good school. Speaking to the community both as president and as an alumnus, Hanlon maintained that “there is no finer undergraduate education than the one offered by Dartmouth,” the school’s “promise is being hijacked by extreme behavior, masked by its perpetrators as acceptable fun.”

This would include binge drinking, rape and racist parties where white kids are encouraged to dress up as stereotypes of their class mates of color. You know: normal elite college behavior that lawyers quietly settle out of (more…)

June 5, 2013, 2:52 pm

Radical Mailbag: Writing A Good Blog Post

woman-writing-letters-by-charles-dana-gibsonSo ya wanna be a blogger? “Santa Rosa Sandy” writes:

Dear Dr. Radical:

Having enjoyed your blog and admired the writing (and wry humor!) for a while, I wondered if you’d be willing to address the characteristics of good blog writing. My own sense is that blog posts should be meaty, but pithy—if that’s not conflating two different food groups. They can be leavened with more personal comment, humor, and current cultural reference than—say—a journal article. I recently submitted an invited entry to a higher ed blog (admittedly, I’d gone over the word limit). But to my chagrin, the editors are making it fit by removing anything that seemed even slightly leavening, leaving a pretty bland result. (more…)

September 6, 2011, 5:19 pm

Respecting Differences

Today’s guest blogger is my Zenith colleague, feminist philosopher, animal studies scholar and fellow tenured radical Lori Gruen.  I asked her to comment on the renewed interest, both virtual and real, in the relationship between humans and chimpanzees.

Two summer movies featuring “chimpanzees” (no actual chimpanzees were used in the production of either film) have really got folks talking about our primate cousins.  People seem to be both fascinated and frightened by the idea that scientists might create intelligence in other apes.  What’s interesting is that other apes are already intelligent without our manipulations — we just don’t know how to appreciate it because we’re too focused on our own cleverness.  Project Nim, a documentary by James Marsh, director of the acclaimed Man on a Wire, reveals the quirks inherent in cognition research with chimpanzees as well as …

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September 5, 2010, 2:16 pm

Cultural Studies; Or, The Perils Of Mislabeling Campus Problems

One of the things I have noticed, probably because I live with an anthropologist, is that academics tend to use the word “culture” to describe a variety of things that, actually, are not cultural at all. It is true that “culture” has a great many meanings, depending on the context in which it is being used, the historical period or thing that is being described, and the intellectual tradition (if any) that is being referenced: here are a few. For social scientists, most centrally anthropologists, “culture” is far more likely to invoke a set of usefully contentious questions and methodological choices than an answer to any given problem.

In a college or university setting, however, when someone starts talking about “culture” it is too frequently the end of the discussion, an explanation for why things must be as they are and/or a way of distancing from something nettlesome. You will…

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