Some links

July 19, 2022

Just a few links today:


Very good piece by my friend Johann Neem about the current state, and future prospects, of America's historical self-understanding. 


A great story about when scientists decided to see if they could take a ship out to deep ocean and drill through the crust of the earth—thinnest beneath the ocean, but still pretty thick—to reach the upper mantle.  We may be trying again, soon, and it could be really interesting.


A very disturbing (but only suggestive) story about certain infrastructural crises in the humanities, and what they might reveal about the current state and health of humanities scholarship (or perhaps, humanities scholars). This seems provocative: "the shedding of professional obligations is but one expression of much larger phenomena of disaffiliation, disaffection, distrust and division that has been termed the eclipse of community or the drift toward privatization or the triumph of hyperindividualism."


A pretty fun survey of two scholars (one a Byzantinist, one a Late Antique historian) talking about their big scholarly annoyances. Highly recommended.


Finally: Right after August 12, 2017, Danielle Allen wrote a piece in the Washington Post and what she wrote has continued to stay with me:

“The simple fact of the matter is that the world has never built a multiethnic democracy in which no particular ethnic group is in the majority and where political equality, social equality and economies that empower all have been achieved. We are engaged in a fight over whether to work together to build such a world. And even those who are, in principle, willing to build that world are fighting with one another, for instance, over issues such as how the compelling state interest in nondiscrimination, confirmed by the Supreme Court decades ago, interacts with rights of association and speech.

This fight is different than our earlier ones because this time everyone begins from the psychological position of fearing to be a member of a vulnerable minority. Experiences of uncertainty, anxiety and endangerment are widely spread. Out of such soil grows the poison plant of extremism.”


Take care, all.