College Art Association

CAA News Today

News from the Art and Academic Worlds

posted by Christopher Howard — Sep 17, 2014

Each week CAA News publishes summaries of eight articles, published around the web, that CAA members may find interesting and useful in their professional and creative lives.

Introduction to 2012–13 Humanities Departmental Survey

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences initiated the Humanities Departmental Survey, first administered in 2008, to fill critical gaps in knowledge about the state of the humanities in higher education—specifically, about the number of faculty and students in the field and the role of humanities departments in their institutions and society. Apart from trends in the number of students receiving degrees in humanities disciplines, data sources about the state of the humanities at the national level have fallen away over the past fifteen years, leaving decision-makers without key guideposts during a time of change in higher education. (Read more from Humanities Indicators.)

On Trigger Warnings

A current threat to academic freedom in the classroom comes from a demand that teachers provide warnings in advance if assigned material contains anything that might trigger difficult emotional responses for students. This follows from earlier calls not to offend students’ sensibilities by introducing material that challenges their values and beliefs. The specific call for “trigger warnings” began in the blogosphere as a caution about graphic descriptions of rape on feminist sites, and has now migrated to university campuses in the form of requirements or proposals that students be alerted to all manner of topics that some believe may deeply offend and even set off a PTSD response in some individuals. (Read more from the American Association of University Professors.)

Creative Schools: The Artists Taking Art Education into Their Own Hands

Several artists and arts professionals, spotting the same or similar failures in the UK’s official education programs at both schools and universities, have taken matters into their own hands. If the government’s curriculum changes, funding cuts, and fees are barring the way to education for many aspiring artists, independent initiatives might offer alternative routes into the creative industry. Who’s leading the way? (Read more from Apollo.)

Getting a Reference When You’re New

I just graduated with my PhD and am beginning my job as a one-year visiting assistant professor this fall. My first applications for this year’s job market are due about two weeks after the semester starts; most applications will be due by midterm. Will hiring committees be expecting a recommendation from my new colleagues? I don’t think they would be able to write a strong letter after knowing me for a month, but I also don’t want the lack of letters to throw up any red flags. (Read more from Vitae.)

Peer Review and Careers

I have no doubt that the humanities disciplines are, on the whole, the worst offenders when it comes to how long it takes to generate reader reports, and to move an article from an initial submission to a finished, published product. If it can take two years to publish humanities research in some traditional, print-based journals—and I’m talking articles here, not books—that lag makes it harder than ever to defend the project of humanities disciplines. (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.)

Hidden Monuments under Stonehenge Revealed by High-Tech Mapping

An astonishing complex of ancient monuments, buildings, and barrows has lain hidden and unsuspected beneath the Stonehenge area for thousands of years. Scientists discovered the site using sophisticated techniques to see underground, announcing the finds last week. Among the discoveries are seventeen ritual monuments, including the remains of a massive “house of the dead,” hundreds of burial mounds, and evidence of a possible processional route around Stonehenge itself. (Read more from National Geographic.)

How Okwui Enwezor Changed the Art World

Since his 1996 breakthrough as a curator of In/Sight: African Photographers, 1940 to Present, an exhibition of thirty African photographers at the Guggenheim Museum, Okwui Enwezor has alternated between ambitious international exhibitions that seek to define their moment—biennials in Johannesburg, Gwangju, and beyond, along with the Paris Triennale in 2012—and historically driven, encyclopedic museum shows centered on topics such as African liberation movements in the twentieth century, the arc of apartheid, and the use of archive material in contemporary art. (Read more from the Wall Street Journal.)

Apply Now for Sustaining Digital Resources: A Course for Digital Project Leaders

Ithaka S+R will again offer its highly successful course, “Sustaining Digital Resources: A Course for Digital Project Leaders,” in 2015. If you are responsible for the future vitality and impact of a digital initiative, Ithaka S+R encourages you to apply. The application deadline is October 15, 2014. (Read more from Ithaka S+R.)

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