To complete her homework assignment, Meran Hill needed total concentration. The University of Washington senior shut the blinds in her studio apartment. She turned off the music. She took a few deep breaths. Then she plunged into the task: Spend 15 minutes doing e-mail. Only e-mail, and nothing else. Soon enough, though, a familiar craving bubbled up. For some people, the rabbit hole of Internet distraction begins with cat videos. For Ms. Hill, who calls herself “a massive weather geek,” […]
William Julius Wilson changed the way scholars saw urban poverty. Did it make a difference? My new article looks at the influence of Wilson’s classic 1987 book, The Truly Disadvantaged. The Harvard sociologist’s book stimulated an enormous volume of research about inner-city neighborhoods, and it also shaped public policy. Yet 25 years after its publication, hardly anyone is talking about poverty. Not since the early 1960s has the issue received so little attention. Here’s an excerpt from the story: Jacqueline lived […]
College life, quantified: My latest story looks at how data mining is reshaping the student experience. The article is a collaboration between The New York Times and The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Liberals would be well-served, says Jonathan Haidt, to wise up about conservatives’ gut feelings. In this week’s Chronicle Review, I profile the moral psychologist, happiness guru and liberal scold. A sidebar explores the controversy over Haidt’s claims about liberal bias in the field of social psychology. And a graph lets you see where you fall on the moral spectrum. Also, see some reaction to these articles in The American Conservative, The Atlantic, and Reason.
My latest Chronicle story is a profile of the physician-philosopher Raymond Tallis. The scrappy British polymath aims to cure academe of two illnesses: “Neuromania” and “Darwinitis.” Neuromania is the notion that to understand people you must peer into the “intracranial darkness” of their skulls with brain-scanning technology. Darwinitis is the idea that Charles Darwin’s evolutionary theory can explain not just the origin of the human species—a claim Tallis enthusiastically accepts—but also the nature of human behavior and institutions. Tallis’s opponents call him […]
New lawsuits and policies have hobbled teaching and research. Now scholars are pushing back. The Chronicle this week published a special report on the copyright wars brewing in higher education. I contributed two stories. The first is about a music professor’s 10-year campaign to overturn a federal law that makes it impossibly expensive for small orchestras to play certain pieces of music. That fight is now heading to the U.S. Supreme Court. It’s a high-stakes copyright showdown that impacts far […]