Category: Academics

Dare We Hope That All Men Be Saved?

Hell is everywhere we look. It is integral to religious belief systems, literature, and even popular TV shows. As editor of the new compilation “The Penguin Book of Hell,” Scott Bruce explores 3,000 years of this damnation, from Odysseus traveling to Hades to Climate Change as Hell on Earth. While doing so, he reckons with […]

Core Meets Core: Virginia Woolf on Jane Austen

In her 1913 essay, Virginia Woolf writes on the merits and failings of Jane Austen. While Woolf describes Austen as “singularly blessed,” she also critiques Austen’s lack of rebellion of her “artificial” life. For Woolf, Austen someone satirizes middle class life and the fools who inhabit it, but never fully pushes away from it. Perhaps […]

On Education and a New Semester

As we welcome students from break and from Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we offer some timely thoughts from the Boston University alum. In his paper “The Purpose of Education,” King argues for education that extends beyond logic into an more enlightened education of the soul. While education must help people achieve their goals, he […]

Machiavelli, Man of the People

We’ve known our share of allegedly misunderstood literary figures (lookin’ at you, Nietzsche). But is Machiavelli one of them? In The Prince, Machiavelli argues that leaders shouldn’t be objectively virtuous or truthful, but rather effective at preserving their reign. Hence a just end can excuse a leader’s horrendous acts, or “the ends justify the means.” […]

Opinion: Go Get That B

I dare you to get a B in this class. That’s what Adam Grant is telling straight-A students. Pushing back against the “cult of perfectionism” cultivated around education, Grant claims that students who aim for perfect transcripts often avoid taking risks, miss opportunities for failure and growth, and neglect emotional and social growth.Advisors and parents […]

From The Chronicle of Higher Education: Engineers Need the Liberal Arts, Too

STEM has its roots in the humanities. If our intellectual foundations are uprooted, then, naturally, the natural sciences and their applications are in danger of withering away. This is a strong reason for the protests that followedPresident Trump’s beginning attempts to deforest our education, which might have had in mindthe prospect of recreating America in […]

From Truthout: Banning Howard Zinn’s Books Is Hardly a Way to Start a Conversation

As we all know, Howard Zinn was a prominent activist under the “auspices” of Boston University, best known for hisA People’s History of the United Statesthat was popular in every sense of the word, one of the reasons for its having remainedso powerful. Understandably, on March 2, the governor of Arkansas, Kim Hendren introduced a […]

From The Weekly Standard: What We Know of Shakespeare from His (Known) Portraits

Blake Seitz at The Weekly Standard reviews Portraits of Shakespeare by Katherine Duncan-Jones, an absorbing study, we are told, by an author who flouts the rule that tells us we cannot judge a book by its cover. Or if we cannot judge Hamlet from its cover, we can at least make a judgment about its […]

From The New York Times: Can Dr. Worthen go to Great Books Camp?

And in posing this question Professor Molly Worthen argues dyspeptically in her latest article for why more liberals should be attending ‘Great Books Camp.’ A careful study into the history of one’s own ideas, Dr. Worthen suggests, would allow us to put not only Donald Trump in perspective, but more generally to engage with conservatives […]

From The Business Insider: How Donald Trump Could Abolish the Department of Education

In his first hundred days as President, Donald Trumps plans to shutter the Department of Education. Top legal scholar, Laurence Tribe, has regrettably affirmed that there is no constitutional limitation against such an action. Assuming that Congress will give its consent, and that we make it past the first 100 days, this seems dangerously likely. […]