Have you been following higher ed issues in the UK? Apart from debates over the role of public vs. private education and over the cost of education, the most recent is a debate over the portion of time a professor spends doing research vs. teaching, with the presumption of some being that research takes time away from teaching. The assumption seems to be that universities are all about teaching and that research can sometimes (always?) get in the way. […]
Underestimating the Relevance of Obscure Research
Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory have asserted that the relevance of humanities and social science research for all fields, including the hard sciences, is typically underestimated. Rather than the traditional method of focusing on citations of articles, this research group analyzed the access through online journal portals, suggesting that humanities and social science journals are accessed more often than they are actually cited. The authors assert, “There can exist stark differences between what people claim they do and what […]
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The Lure of Hard Science
Can research in Humanities and Social Sciences be quantified? Is something lost in the effort to make our data into tidy, quantifiable measures? A recent post on Scientific American‘s blog argued that too often scholarship in the Humanities and Social Sciences moves towards the quantifiable to gain legitimacy from the hard sciences. The author writes, “Every softer discipline these days seems to feel inadequate unless it becomes harder, more quantifiable, more scientific, more precise. That, it seems, would confer some sort of missing legitimacy in our […]
Should Research Be Accessible?
The relevance of research is an implicit topic in a recent blog post (Bulletin for the Study of Religion blog) from Craig Martin, a religious studies scholar at St. Thomas Aquinas College in New York. He questions why scholars outside religious studies often do not engage recent scholarship in religious studies when working on “religion.” He wonders, “Is this because ‘religion’ in the popular imagination is something so naturalized or self-evident that serious theory on it need not be read?” Commenters on his […]
Relevance of Research for Teaching
As the posts earlier this week emphasize, research in the Humanities and Social Sciences have improved our ability to analyze society and operate within it. Highlighting more examples of these contributions from Humanities and Social Science scholars is important in detailing the relevance of these fields today. However, another related benefit of research is its contribution to our teaching. […]
The Relevance of Research: Religions as Vestigial States
[By Naomi Goldenberg] My work at present is focused on developing the hypothesis that religions can be productively thought of as vestigial states. I consider this to be one way of de-essentializing, demystifying and deconstructing the category of religion. In general, the concept directs theory along two trajectories: one is the analysis of particular histories in which ‘religions’ are formed or solidified in distinction to ‘states’; another is a focus on classifications which current governments use to delineate spheres of […]
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What About Research?
In many of the discussions of the relevance of higher education, assertions about the benefits of research usually focus on life-saving developments in the natural sciences. These research outcomes, and all of the failed projects that it takes to produce a major discovery, are extremely important, and such projects receive the bulk of private and public funding. In the midst of the various defenses of the Humanities and Social Sciences, the lack of discussion of the research that scholars in […]