Category: Humanities

  • Oy Vey – The Strange Stories of Yiddishland

    Unlike most languages, which are spoken by the residents of a particular area or by members of a particular nationality, Yiddish – at the height of its usage – was spoken by millions of Jews of different nationalities all over the globe. Eddy Portnoy’s book mines century-old Yiddish newspapers to expose the seamy underbelly of […]

  • Ethics and Social Science

    “We’re not just playing games in empty classrooms anymore,” says Scott Desposato, professor of political science at UC San Diego. As the world of social science is increasingly reaching beyond the traditional college campus setting for their studies, new ethical questions are emerging. Sure, large amounts of data can be gathered in massive scale field […]

  • Updating our Views on Nature and How to Save it

    What is nature? What does it mean to preserve, or save it? Science writer Emma Marris says one common definition of nature in North America is the way any given place was before European explorers arrived and began changing the landscape. Therefore, saving nature would mean returning the land to how it was before their […]

  • Double Jeopardy

    Jewish History scholar Marion Kaplan was a co-editor of the landmark essay collection, “When Biology Became Destiny: Women in Weimar and Nazi Germany.” Published in 1984, this book established gender studies – heretofore neglected – as a vital component of Holocaust research, exploring the “double jeopardy” experienced in pre-war and wartime Nazi Germany by women […]

  • Is it Time to Rethink the Idea of the Amoral Economic Man?

    There is a widely held belief that when designing public policy or legal systems, it makes the most sense to assume that all citizens are entirely self-interested and amoral. It’s a theory known as “homo economicus” or “economic man.” But, economist Samuel Bowles argues against that belief in his book The Moral Economy: Why Good […]

  • 2019 Writer’s Symposium by the Sea

    One of the top journalists in Washington, a Christian poet, and a new voice in the Marvel Black Panther Universe – three writers with very different backgrounds and styles, all sharing their insight into the art of putting pen to paper. Join founder Dean Nelson as he welcomes E.J. Dionne, Christian Wiman and Nnedi Okorafor […]

  • The Social Media Bubble

    Social media has become such a ubiquitous part of our lives that it’s difficult to remember a time before Facebook, Google, Twitter, Instagram, etc. So ingrained are these platforms in our daily routines that we seldom stop to ponder their effect on ourselves, other users, and/or the larger society. As an early financial advisor to […]

  • Buddhism and Sexuality

    José Cabezón is Professor of Religious Studies and the XIVth Dalai Lama Professor of Tibetan Buddhism and Cultural Studies at UC Santa Barbara. Cabezón edited a collection of essays entitled Buddhism, Sexuality and Gender (1992), one of the first scholarly works in the field. His participation in a 1999 conference hosted by the Institute for […]

  • Immersive Languages

    It’s a misuse of terms to say that we have a natural language; languages are arbitrary and conventions of peoples by institution. – François Rabelais Constructed languages, or conlangs, are popular features of many science fiction and fantasy tales. Examples include Barsoomian (Edgar Rice Burrough’s John Carter series), Elvish and Khuzdul (Tolkien’s Lord of the […]

  • Neuroscience, Mini Brains, and Your Health

    “All the best models are the ones that you can improve in complexity to get closer and closer to the reality.” The idea of a brain in a dish may sound like science fiction to some but scientists are becoming more and more adept at creating cortical organoids in the lab. The organoids are models […]