Via the Twittersphere

J. Laurence Laughlin, Methods of Teaching Political Economy (1885), chap. 5, at Irwin Collier, Economics in the Rearview Mirror.

No matter how clear the exposition of the principles may be [in a lecture], no matter how fresh and striking the illustrations, it still remains that the student is relieved by the instructor from carrying on the mental processes which he ought to conduct for himself.

Isabelle M. Côté and Emily S. Darling, “Scientists on Twitter: Preaching to the Choir or Singing from the rooftops?,” Facets, June 28, 2018.

From the abstract:

We analyzed the Twitter followers of more than 100 faculty members in ecology and evolutionary biology and found that their followers are, on average, predominantly (∼55%) other scientists. However, beyond a threshold of ∼1000 followers, the range of follower types became more diverse and included research and educational organizations, media, members of the public with no stated association with science, and a small number of decision-makers. This varied audience was, in turn, followed by more people, resulting in an exponential increase in the social media reach of tweeting academic scientists.

“Lab Cult: An Unorthodox History of Interchanges between Science and Architecture,” curated by Evangelos Kotsioris, with his sound and video introduction, Canadian Centre for Architecture, March 22 to September 2, 2018.

From the exhibition description:

In its ubiquity as metaphor, physical space, and visual aesthetic, the laboratory has become an unquestioned dogma. At a moment when science and the production of scientific knowledge are once again undergoing an attack, architecture’s reinvigorated faith in the infallibility of science paradoxically resembles the blind devotion of a religious cult.

Eric Posner and Glen Weyl, “How Economists Became So Timid,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 6, 2018.

From the final paragraph:

Calls for more interdisciplinary work, common as they are, often lead to muddle. What’s missing from the social sciences is a willingness at a large scale to revisit the roots of the intellectual traditions that have given rise to the current system of silos in which researchers make incremental advances along familiar paths, proposing modest reforms rather than reimagining our basic institutions.

This desire for meaningful big-picture scholarship in the social sciences comports with Jo Guldi and David Armitage’s call in The History Manifesto for more relevance in the work we produce.

Frederik Schulze, “Global History of Knowledge from a Latin American Perspective: Overcoming the West-Rest Dichotomy,” Trafo: Blog for Transnational Research, May 17, 2018.

Schulze limits knowledge as a research object to “all canonized or useful inventories of thought” but at the same time envisions “analysis of the creation, exchange, challenge, rejection and modification of [global] knowledge inventories.” Readers might wonder what is gained or lost by understanding knowledge in terms of utility and inventories, but Schulze’s insistence that the history of knowledge lies at the center of the global history project seems noteworthy.