In the course I’m TAing for (a Masters level American Religious History course), I was given the opportunity to give a class lecture. The professor wanted me to bring my own work and knowledge, given that the lecture material was related to my own area of study (Catholic immigration and nationalism in the US). While I have had the opportunity to lecture in the past (and design my own portion of the syllabus to then teach), this was the first time I taught material chosen by someone else. Continue reading “Teaching “Just the Facts””
On Sunday’s episode of Last Week Tonight, John Oliver delivered a really entertaining bit on the duel between–or conflation of–facts and feelings that played out during the Republican National Convention:
We talk a lot on this blog about the vested interests present in any interpretation or identification. Appeals to facts and empiricism all too often present them as implicitly neutral or self-evident. Vaia Touna calls our attention to the sticky wicket of interpretive acts in this post, for example, on the hermeneutical quicksand that attends reading maps and recording history. Continue reading “Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore”
One of my frustrations with some scholars is that they often take the tip of the iceberg for the whole thing, failing to see that there’s a lot of assumptions and debates below the surface of our claims — even seemingly mundane claims — that support the edifice that we usually see.
John Douglas, a former FBI agent, is now a well-known criminal profiler, and he was among the people involved in the effort to free three men who were convicted when they were teenagers, in Arkansas in the mid-1990s, of the brutal murder of three young boys. In the recent documentary on the case, “West of Memphis” (2012), he’s also among the people interviewed, to help shed light on an old case whose outcome was changed by new DNA testing methods. Continue reading “Changing Narratives, Changing Facts”
The Pew Research Center has a blog, named the Fact Tank, that is a component of an intriguing way of branding itself.
Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. Pew Research does not take policy positions. It is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts.
They reinforce what initially caught my eye in this, the language “fact tank”, when they emphasize their role to “inform” us of what is influencing society through “empirical” research. Continue reading “The Fact Tank”