CAA News Today

News from the Art and Academic Worlds

posted by Christopher Howard — Jun 10, 2015

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.

I’m a Liberal Professor, and My Liberal Students Terrify Me

I’m a professor at a midsize state school. I have been teaching college classes for nine years now. I have won (minor) teaching awards, studied pedagogy extensively, and almost always score highly on my student evaluations. Yet things have changed since I started teaching. The vibe is different. I wish there were a less blunt way to put this, but my students sometimes scare me—particularly the liberal ones. (Read more from Vox.)

Stolen Art? Why No One Can Say for Sure

The largest and most powerful due-diligence service used by the art world is at the center of three separate provenance disputes, two of which are working their way through international courts. The Art Loss Register, a company that works with law-enforcement officials worldwide, more than eighty auction houses, most major art fairs, and innumerable collectors and dealers, has provided certificates confirming that works of art were free from claim, when they were in fact subject to claims by third parties or stolen. (Read more from the Art Newspaper.)

How Adjuncts Want to Be Hired

How should adjuncts be hired? What are the best practices? And is the method by which they are hired any indication of how they will be treated on the job? Michael Bérubé and Jennifer Ruth think so. In their new book, The Humanities, Higher Education, and Academic Freedom: Three Necessary Arguments, Bérubé and Ruth call for professionalizing contingent hiring, among other things. (Read more from Vitae.)

The Degree for Quitters and Failures

Today’s arguments about alternative academic careers almost always center on PhDs. Should we train PhDs for nonfaculty jobs? Some say that we already have a credential for people who don’t want a full-blown scholarly PhD—it’s called a master’s degree. Instead of reforming the PhD to make it more relevant to different career choices, this argument goes, we should just direct undecided graduate students into master’s programs. (Read more from the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

NEH, Mellon Foundation’s Humanities Open Book Program to Revive Backlist Work

As part of a wider emphasis on digital publishing and the relevance of humanities scholarship, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities are giving new life to out-of-print humanities books. In January the two organizations announced a new joint pilot grant program, Humanities Open Book, which will help publishers identify important works, secure rights to them, and convert them to EPUB-format ebooks freely accessible under a Creative Commons license. (Read more from Library Journal.)

Take Note

Can college students text and tweet their way to a better grade? In “Mobile Phones in the Classroom: Examining the Effects of Texting, Twitter, and Message Content on Student Learning,” Jeffrey H. Kuznekoff of Miami University explores if texting, tweeting, and note taking can be combined. The article appears in the most recent edition of Communication Education, a journal of the National Communication Association. (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.)

Cliché and a Lack of Feeling: Richard Shiff Explains Why Critics Have Failed Painting

Repetition and cliché infect art criticism. The art historian Thierry de Duve noted an irony in 2003: “About once every five years, the death of painting is announced, invariably followed by the news of its resurrection.” Like history, criticism is subject to optics—that is, perspective. Critics once opposed photography to painting, as if the two media were representative of antithetical psychologies, and social orders. This perspective lies within the penumbra of Walter Benjamin, who associated painting with focused concentration and photography and film with disruptive distraction. (Read more from the Art Newspaper.)

Losing the Thread

Textiles are technology, more ancient than bronze and as contemporary as nanowires. We hairless apes coevolved with our apparel. But, to reverse Arthur C. Clarke’s adage, any sufficiently familiar technology is indistinguishable from nature. It seems intuitive, obvious—so woven into the fabric of our lives that we take it for granted. (Read more from Aeon.)

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