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IAS Summer School, University of Warwick, 15-19 July 2013

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: Contesting Claims for Expertise in a Post-Secular Age: In Search of Intellectual Life
IAS Summer School, University of Warwick, 15-19 July 2013
The current moment seems to be one of ‘crisis’ or at least of dramatic change for the authority of academic expertise. Policy debates over climate change, embryology and the like have often seen scientific knowledge politicised, problematised and reduced in public imagination to just another partial ‘perspective’. These issues are particularly acute where scientific expertise runs up against that of, or associated with, markets. Whilst authority that is grounded in the experience of practicing natural and social science seems to flounder, authority that is associated with market forces seems only to gain in stature – despite recent disasters wrought under the watch of just such expertise. This creates and compounds a series of dilemmas for critical academic practice that are bound up with changing conceptions of what constitutes public life. The arrival of a post-secular moment in which religion has re-entered the public sphere further unsettles debates about expertise, science and religion. This summer school provides a space for postgraduate students, postdoctoral fellows and other early career academics to come together to respond to this ‘crisis’ and to think through new avenues for intellectual life, practice and collaboration – reaching across boundaries of science, religion, critique, participation, pragmatism, vitalist ethics, and explanation. Together, we will work through the challenges of the present moment and ask whether there is a conceptual language or theoretical framework for addressing such challenges beyond disciplinary divides. The summer school offers a mix of expert lectures and participant-led discussion groups as well as workshops organised by members of the Authority Research Network. For more information about the summer school, please visit our website: http://buff.ly/UzqIhe

Keynote academics:
Bob Antonio (University of Kansas), John Holmwood (University of Nottingham), Amy Levine (Changwon National University), Celia Lury (University of Warwick), Andrew McGettigan (Independent), Thomas Osborne (University of Bristol), Nigel Thrift (University of Warwick, tbc), Stephen Turner (Florida University), Sarah Whatmore (University of Oxford)

Application process:
1. Please complete an application form (attached) and return to alexander.smith@warwick.ac.uk by 5pm, March 15th 2013
2. We will consider all applications, and inform successful applicants, by April 15th 2013
3. All successful applicants will be required to register for the summer school by May 15th 2013
Registration fee: £200 to include accommodation and food for the duration of the summer school. Applicants are required to cover their own travel costs.

Bursaries: We have some money available for fee waivers and travel bursaries. If you would like to be considered for either or both of these, please indicate this on the application form. Our resources are limited, and we will prioritise those applicants without sources of institutional support.

Organisers:
Alex Smith, Claire Blencowe and Gurminder K. Bhambra, Department of Sociology, University of Warwick

Dr Julian Brigstocke
Lecturer in Human Geography
School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Plymouth University
Plymouth PL4 8AA
United Kingdom

e: julian.brigstocke@plymouth.ac.uk
t: +44 (0)1752 584977

http://www.plymouth.ac.uk/staff/jbrigstocke
www.authorityresearch.net


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On Pope Benedict XVI’s Historic Resignation

By Darren Poley

Habemus Papam, one of the most famous Latin phrases still in use today, means “We have a Pope!” It will be said preceding the announcement of which bishop is to be elevated to the office of supreme pontiff. But this ceremony follows a great deal of ritual surrounding the election of a new pope by the group of electors from the College of Cardinals. For a thorough description of the process, see “Election of new pope follows detailed procedure,” a Catholic News Service story.

Pope Benedict XVI’s official abdication of the Chair of Peter on February 28 signals the first time in modern history that the bishop of Rome has retired rather than stay in office until the end of his mortal life. Many have reacted to this news in various ways, but blogger Rocco Palmo summarizes some of the issues related to the papal resignation very well in his Feb. 12 post: “And Now, ‘Vatishock’.” Palmo’s blog Whispers in the Loggia has received accolades for his deeply insightful and punctiliar style of reporting on ecclesiastical affairs. Another online source to watch for Catholic Church news is “Live Catholic Headlines from the last 30 days.”

As the world turns its view towards the papal election, keep in mind Falvey has reputable newspapers and magazines with features, opinion, and analysis that will greatly enhance an understanding of current events. Issues of renowned Catholic magazines, America, Commonweal, The Tablet, and U.S. Catholic for example, as well as newspapers, such as the National Catholic Register, National Catholic Reporter, and Our Sunday Visitor are available for reading in the current periodical area on the first floor of the Library. Like many news periodicals today, however, the weekly newspaper from the Vatican L’Osservatore Romano has content online and in print, including editorials like “The future is God’s” from the same day as Benedict XVI “announced his decision to ‘renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome’.”

Another resource, Origins, is the documentary service publication from the Catholic News Service organization. The Feb. 21 issue of Origins has “Reactions to Pope Benedict XVI’s Resignation” by various religious and civic leaders, as well as an English translation of the statement of resignation by Pope Benedict XVI. Origins is a digest of official and authoritative sources of information, including speeches and statements on matters related to the Catholic Church. Recent issues of Origins have been placed on reserve in the Library, so you need to ask for them at the circulation desk. There is an online archive of Origins to which Falvey subscribes, too. The Journal Finder is the best way to determine if Falvey provides access to content from periodicals either in print or online, or both.

Darren Poley is the theology and religious studies subject librarian. Contact him directly at darren.poley@villanova.edu.

 

 


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Spring Brings a New Digital Library Intern to Falvey

Falvey’s Digital Library has welcomed a new intern, Joseph Malcomson. To learn about Malcomson and his work with the Digital Library collections and projects, please go to https://blog.library.villanova.edu/digitallibrary/2013/01/30/meet-joseph-malcomson-spring-2013-digital-library-intern/.

 

 

 


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User-friendly Website Design: Observing Student Navigation Patterns

By Jutta Seibert

The library website is not just a pretty face; it is an essential research tool for Villanova University faculty and students. It is the main access point to online journals and databases, the library catalog, patron accounts, subject librarians, library events and much more. The library website had over 400,000 visitors in 2011. Available usage statistics already tell us a lot about how the site is used: the number of unique users, their geographic location, the devices and browsers they use to access the site and the time of the day or night when site traffic peaks.

They also tell us which library functions are most heavily used: the online library catalog is at the top of the list with over 120,000 hits followed by the Databases A-Z list with over 100,000 hits. What usage statistics cannot tell us is whether students ultimately find the information they seek. For this reason the library’s Web team planned and executed a series of usability tests.

 

 

 

 

 

What is usability testing?

Usability testing is a technique used to test the functionality of website design through the close observation of novice users who are asked to perform a number of pre-defined tasks. Jakob Nielsen’s Usability 101: Introduction to Usability is a good source for detailed information about usability. Usability testing does not require much investment of time and resources although specialized usability labs use heat maps as well as eye and navigation tracking and recording software. Some labs have one-way mirrors installed to ensure unobtrusive observation of research subjects.

Falvey’s Web team determined that a test administrator, a test recorder and software that tracked the test subject’s navigation paths while recording the thoughts of the subjects would suffice. How do you record the thoughts of a test subject? We asked all test subjects to think out loud while they performed the assigned tasks on the library website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why do usability testing?

Web designers generally conduct usability testing to identify design flaws. Why does the Web team need students, rather than library employees, to detect potential design flaws? The majority of library employees use the library website on a daily basis, which makes them expert users. Expert users navigate a website efficiently because they have been trained by their daily interaction with a website’s functionality and organization. As a consequence they are no longer able to see the site through the eyes of a novice user.

Library employees also know from personal observation that students often cannot find library resources as readily as they should. Students may be confused by library lingo or by a content hierarchy that only makes sense to a librarian. For this reason the library’s Web team administers usability tests before and/or after it updates the website’s user interfaces. The ultimate goal of these tests is to design a website that is functional, intuitive and accessible to novice users and experts alike.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What did we learn?

Some of the results of the latest rounds of usability testing were expected based on informal observations; others were a surprise. Student feedback was unanimous in regard to text-heavy Web pages. They told us that certain library Web pages are too text heavy and make their “eyes glaze over,” which interfered with their ability to find what they were looking for. (more…)


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Dr. Ronald Hill to Deliver This Year’s Outstanding Faculty Research Lecture

On Thursday, Feb. 21, at 3:00 p.m. the Library will host a Scholarship@Villanova event featuring Ronald Hill, PhD, Richard J. and Barbara Naclerio Chair and professor of marketing and business law in the Villanova School of Business. Dr. Hill’s lecture, “A Manifesto on Marketing as Exchange,” will address contemporary trends in the discipline and practice of marketing and also their relationship to human value.

Dr. Hill’s research, which will be presented Thursday as part of his lecture, led to his selection for last year’s prestigious Outstanding Faculty Research Award. His approach begins with several criticisms of marketing as a discipline, including its recent theoretical tendency to “disregard of the vast majority of consumers in favor of a narrow, affluent socioeconomic subset.” Over the years Dr. Hill has developed a broad and eclectic body of research, and his work on the intersection between marketing and society can be found in illustrious publications like Harvard Business Review and Human Rights Quarterly.

Scholarship@Villanova events are dedicated to recognition of bold scholarly publications, exciting ongoing research, and other intellectual contributions of faculty members from all four of Villanova University’s colleges. Dr. Hill’s talk represents the second springsemester lecture in this series. In the tradition of past Scholarship@Villanova lectures, this event is free and open to the public, and will be held at the Speakers’ Corner on the first floor of the Library.


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eBook available: Atchoo!

Balancing the Books

Another of our proofreading projects has been completed: George Niblo’s Atchoo! Sneezes from a Hilarious Vaudevillian, which started the process in August.

As mentioned previously, this book is a transcript of a live comedy routine from 1903.  For the most part, the humor has not aged well, particularly since there are quite a few nasty ethnic stereotypes on display.  However, some of the book’s targets are still considered fair game in some circles today — lawyers, policemen, newlyweds — and many of the jokes have a familiar ring to them.  Puns haven’t changed much in over a century.  Here is a representative example:

My brother Tom was hit on the head some time ago, and at the hospital they said they would have to amputate half his brain. I didn’t want them to, because he is absent-minded anyway.

“We’ll have to give him something to make him sleep,” said one of the surgeons.

“That won’t be necessary,” said another; “he’s a policeman.”

That made Tom sore, and he snapped: “I’ve got half a mind to cave in your ribs for you.”

“You won’t feel that way in a minute,” said the surgeon, “because that’s the half of your mind we’re going to cut out.”

It was a great operation. When I told my wife of the surgeon’s little joke and how Tom came back at him she said she never knew a time when Tom wasn’t ready to give anybody a piece of his mind.

If you are interested in the full experience of reading a Vaudeville routine (and are fully prepared to be offended), the complete book is now available for online reading or download to electronic reading devices from Project Gutenberg.


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CFP: Governing Technology: Material Politics and Hybrid Agencies (Stanford, due 3/22)

Governing Technology: Material Politics and Hybrid Agencies
*Thursday, May 9 and Friday, May 10, 2013*
*Stanford Humanities Center*
*http://governing.morganya.org *

This conference aims to bring together two communities of scholars: those examining the ways that states and other institutions have sought to govern technologies, and those examining the ways that technologies have influenced the practice and form of governing. In the process, we will revisit the concept of governance through the lens of *material politics*.

As some technologies promise the world and others threaten to overrun it, scholars in the humanities and social sciences have turned a critical eye to the agentive power and material effects of technology, as well as the responses that this power invokes. Research on technology’s entanglements with states, transnational organizations, and other powerful institutions has often taken its cues from science and technology studies. In particular, pioneering work in STS on materiality, on governmentality, and on hybrid and nonhuman agency has become more and more a part of mainstream work in history, geography, anthropology, communication, literary studies, sociology, and beyond. Scholars from across these fields have, in turn, developed new frameworks of analysis that go beyond classic conceptions of governmentality and materiality to incorporate their own disciplinary strengths.

Cornell professor Steve Jackson<https://sites.google.com/site/stanfordstsgrad/conference/keynote> will discuss the interplay between governance and technology in his keynote lecture <https://sites.google.com/site/stanfordstsgrad/conference/keynote>. The conference will wrap up with a roundtable discussion on building the STS community in the Bay Area and beyond, featuring STS professors from Stanford and several nearby Universities of California.

Call for Participation

We invite papers that consider (or critique) the relevance of *material politics* in understanding the relationship between governance and technology: how states and other institutions respond to challenges imposed by new and emerging technological developments and how technologies, understood broadly, become part of governing.

Papers from any discipline or institution are encouraged. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

– Natural resource management and extraction
– The politics of environmental regulation and tourism
– National or transnational policies on innovation and intellectual property
– The regulation and development of biotechnology
– The agency and role of non-governmental organizations
– Governing dangerous materials
– The politics of agricultural technologies
– Medical innovation and regulation
– The *un*governability of certain technologies
– The politics of technology in public health or urban planning
– Historical accounts of technological governance or agency
– Theoretical discussions or critiques of material agencies
– Theoretical discussions of governance through the lens of material politics

Please submit the following to *governing.technology@morganya.org*:

– *A submission abstract* of no more than 250 words
– *A brief biography* of no more than 50 words to be included in the conference program

The deadline for submissions is *March 22, 2013*. Notifications will be sent and the schedule posted by April 12, 2013.


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Starting Points for Catholic Social Thought

As Catholic social thought finds its way onto syllabi across the curriculum, you may be wondering what the best starting points are for research in this field. Over on Falvey’s Library News blog, theology and religious studies librarian Darren Poley written a terrific post to get us oriented.


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Through Hell to the stars

Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
mi ritrovai per una selva oscura,
ché la diritta via era smarrita. (I.1-3)
Midway in our life’s journey, I went astray
from the straight road and woke to find myself
alone in a dark wood.

Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate (Abandon every hope, who enter here)
Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate. (III.9)
Abandon all Hope ye who enter here.

On February 12, the Digital Library Team led a journey through Hell in the form of a marathon reading of Dante’s Inferno. The event was supported by the Library’s Scholarly Outreach Team, and co-sponsored by the Italian Club, the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, and the Villanova Center for Liberal Education. Reading began at 10am and continued through all 34 cantos to about 4pm, with cantos being read in English and Italian.

Mini exhibit of Dante-related books and movies.
Dante-related materials from a mini-exhibit.

This event was originally dreamed up by Dr. Diane Biunno, an assistant professor in the Italian Department and a Digital Library Intern for Summer 2012 (Diane is currently working on a Masters of Library Science at Drexel University), and Michael Foight, Digital Library & Special Collections Coordinator. As her internship project, Diane curated the online exhibit “Dante’s Illustrated Adventure” (you can read Diane’s post about her exhibit here). The marathon reading was originally scheduled for October 30, 2012, but was canceled due to the inclement weather produced by Hurricane Sandy. There was a lot of excitement for the event, however, so we rescheduled it for the February date.

Diane Biunno, dressed as "Beatrice," started the reading with Canto I.
Diane Biunno, dressed as “Beatrice,” started the reading with Canto I.

Diane provided a brief welcome and began the reading in Italian shortly after 10am. Volunteers were then asked to read each subsequent canto, with a choice of reading in either Italian or English. If a canto was read in Italian, the next reader would read the same canto in English, so that everyone could follow along. The English translation that we used for the day was John Ciardi’s (which is also used for the English translations within this post). There was a good turnout throughout the day and among the readers were students from Italian classes of various levels, faculty from the Department of Romance Languages & Literatures, and several others. All participants had a fun time, partaking of thematic snacks along the way, and we emerged on the other side of Hell at the end of Canto XXXIV just after 4pm.

E quindi uscimmo a riveder le stelle. (XXXIV.139) And we walked out once more beneath the Stars.

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Window Shopping: 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation

By Alice Bampton

To celebrate Black History Month and the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, Joanne Quinn, graphic designer, worked with Judith Giesberg, PhD, an associate professor of history, to create a cultural display. A large central poster, “In Commemoration of Black History Month and the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation,” draws us into the exhibit. Flanking this are two large vertical posters. On the left, “God is Settling the Account” provides a brief account of the Emancipation Proclamation, and under an image of Lincoln appears the text of the proclamation. “African American Reaction to Lincoln’s Emancipation,” the poster to the right, includes portraits, other images and text.

Smaller informative posters highlight “Memorable Days: The Emilie Davis Diaries,” (Dr. Giesberg and her team created the The Emilie Davis Diaries website); “Never Caught: The President’s Runaway Slave,” a lecture by Erica Armstrong Dunbar, PhD; and “How and When to Commemorate Emancipation,” a lecture by William A. Blair, PhD. Various books drawn from Falvey’s collection, a bust of Lincoln, flags, two digital slide shows and other artifacts complete the exhibit.

Eye-catching and informative, the display was mounted by Quinn with the help of Ann Stango, Access Services specialist, and Minh Cao, graduate assistant. Stephanie Liu, a Falvey student employee, prepared the PowerPoints for the digital picture frames. Jutta Seibert, Academic Integration team leader, provided databases for the one slide show; the other one shows images of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Black History Month, celebrated since 1976, is an outgrowth of Negro History Week, established in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson, educator, historian and leader of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Woodson selected the second week in February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln (February 12) and Frederick Douglass (1818-1895), an abolitionist whose birthday is celebrated on February 14.


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Last Modified: February 18, 2013