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And Still More Scholarly Ink

After we ran a Short Subjects article and then a Tweed post on academics with tattoos that relate to their work, the photos just kept rolling in. Here is our last word on the subject, at least for a good long while. Thanks to everyone who responded.

I am a registered nurse, passionate researcher, and one year away from my masters in mental health nursing. The tattoo is a modified caduceus, the symbol of the medical profession. 

—Kate Sullivan, U. of Tennessee

I’m an Italian Ph.D. student. I have tattooed “Watashì” (“I”, in Japanese) on my ankle. It’s due to my scientific interest and area of research (epistemology and methodology of economics and philosophy; Austrian economics, libertarianism); to my individualistic (that is not … egoistic) world view. … Everything has references to “I.” It’s all for me. 

—Adriano Gianturco Gulisano, U. of Genoa

My tattoo is a Coptic inscription from a Gnostic poem titled, “The Thunder: Perfect Mind.” The selection, taken from the opening monologue of the unidentified (female) narrator goes as follows: “do not be unaware of me at any place / or any time. / Wake up! Do not be unaware of me…”

My research mainly focuses on the Coptic “Gnostic” texts discovered at Nag Hammadi (Egypt) in 1945. “The Thunder” has long been my favorite text of the bunch. I got the tattoo when I first started to teach myself Coptic in 2003. I was starting to explore this wonderful language, and wanted to preserve the “intimacy of the unknown” and optimism I had going into it, although I had no idea if I would later be admitted to a doctoral program. 

—Dylan M. Burns, Yale U.

I am a philosophy professor with a philosophy-related tattoo. It’s an image of the sculpture “Winged Victory” with the phrase “Know Thyself” in Greek letters. My tattoo is also related to the series of books I edit on pop culture and philosophy. Some people sneer at connecting philosophy and pop culture. They’ll sneer all the more when they see my tattoo. I’ve used the supposedly low-brow art form of tattooing to put one of the masterpieces of ancient sculpture on my arm along with the wisdom saying from Delphi. 

—William Irwin, Kings College (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.)

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