Arts and Humanities
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Over recent decades, the use of digital technologies has increased exponentially worldwide, bringing significant changes to daily life. Like most societal transformations, this process of ‘digitalisation’ has had both positive and negative aspects. Dr Jens Allwood, Professor Emeritus at the University of Gothenburg, has recently published a paper exploring some of the darker elements of digitalisation, particularly focusing on its tendency to dehumanise our daily activities.
The term literature refers to a wide and diverse range of work, including novels, poems, plays, and essays. While literary experts agree that all literature is composed of language, they often argue about which texts can or should be considered as a part of the literature that we value. In recent years, technological advances have led to the creation of innovative works that merge language with digital media, state-of-the-art technologies and computation itself. In a fascinating book called Grammalepsy, Professor John Cayley of Brown University introduces a new theory of aesthetic linguistic practice that could shed new light on digital literature or, more comprehensively, language art.
Rises in population and demographic changes can have significant effects on the development and governance of urban environments. Associate Professor Glen Searle of the University of Sydney recently published a paper that highlights the ways in which Sydney’s rapid population growth is supported by national immigration targets and the state government’s desire to keep Sydney ahead of other Australian cities as a global city. This population growth then drives important governance decisions at state and national levels, particularly relating to development. By prioritising rapid dwelling construction to accommodate Sydney’s rising population, but lacking adequate funding for new transport, the state government has had to reduce checks and balances needed for more democratic planning and sustainable development.
Herman and Chomsky’s propaganda model is among the most renowned academic contributions to the study of journalism. Although it offers valuable insight into news content and how the media industry operates, it mostly ignores an important step in the production of news: what happens in the newsroom. Dr Tabe Bergman, an Assistant Professor at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University and Deputy Head of the University’s Media and Communication department, recently assessed practices in the newsroom, with the aim to supplement the propaganda model.
Dr Eric Nelson, a political theorist and Professor of Government at Harvard University, recently published a book entitled ‘The Theology of Liberalism: Political Philosophy and the Justice of God’. In this book, Nelson argues that liberal traditions in politics are ultimately a product of ancient theological disputes about freedom of the will. Dr Edward Andrew, a Professor Emeritus at University of Toronto, recently published a paper that questions some of the ideas introduced by Nelson in his recent work. His paper highlights the failure of Nelson’s ideas to reconcile differences between Christians and Jews or provide for religious toleration. Andrew also suggests that a liberalism based on utility rather than individual rights, or what Nelson calls ‘dignitarian liberalism’, would be less likely to generate social inequities.
Young people are central to a country’s growth and development, as they bring fresh perspectives and innovation. However, the path towards gaining full inclusion in society can be arduous for many youths, particularly those from marginalised and disadvantaged backgrounds.
Humanity is facing many challenges, ranging from COVID-19 to climate change, and from natural resource depletion to social inequity. The Prince Mahidol Award Conference is an annual event held in Bangkok, where leaders and experts meet to discuss global challenges. This year, the theme was ‘The World We Want: Actions Towards a Sustainable, Fairer and Healthier Society’.
Seasonal workers often fill temporary positions that are poorly paid and commonly deemed undesirable by residents. While seasonal work schemes can benefit both employers and the local economy, they often fuel the uneven economic participation and marginalisation of migrants. Professor Ruth McAreavey of Newcastle University recently published a paper outlining issues that should be addressed if seasonal worker schemes are to achieve social justice.
Han Han and Fredrik Mørk Røkenes – Investigating The Benefits Of The ‘Flipped Classroom’ In Teacher Training
The ‘flipped classroom’ is an innovative educational approach that emphasises active learning, with the aim of increasing student engagement and academic performance. While educators in numerous disciplines have recently started experimenting with this approach, there is still a lack of solid research assessing its effectiveness in the field of teacher education. To fill this gap, Han Han and Fredrik Mørk Røkenes of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology have recently examined a multitude of studies focusing on flipped classroom approaches in teacher training environments.
The Prince Mahidol Award Conference (PMAC) is an annual event held in Bangkok, at which humanitarian leaders and experts in various disciplines meet to discuss global challenges, including health crises and climate change. This year, the conference ran from the 25th to the 29th of January, featuring seven sessions with international speakers. The theme of PMAC 2022 was ‘The World We Want: Actions Towards a Sustainable, Fairer and Healthier Society’. This article highlights some of the main global issues and megatrends discussed at the conference.
The Hershey Company, one of the largest chocolate manufacturers in the world, produces and distributes millions of sweet treats every year. In 2019, an article on the Washington Post accused the company of failing to uproot child labour from its cocoa supply chain. Dr Bertrand Guillotin, an Associate Professor at Temple University’s Fox School of Business, recently published a case study that closely explores these child labour allegations against the Hershey Company.
The 20th Century philosopher Hannah Arendt grounded ethics in aesthetics because she viewed art as a way of understanding how the world appears to different people. In her recent work, Professor Andreea Deciu [day-chew] Ritivoi [ree-tee-voy] of Carnegie Mellon University highlights Arendt’s rich repertoire of literary writings, as she believes that they deserve to be considered alongside other popular ethical works. Professor Ritivoi shows how Arendt’s unique contribution identifies the obstacles facing ‘human togetherness’, so that we can find ways to overcome them.
Capitalism and neoliberalism inform the way in which children in the USA are schooled. Mainstream education prioritises standardisation and conformity, and may not help students develop a sense of themselves, or tools to create good relationships with others. In a recent paper, teachers Austina Lee and Gareth Dylan Smith explore how this can be challenged through ‘punk’ pedagogy. They use the case study of a high-school choir to demonstrate how their ideas can be put into practice.
Human rights defenders Leyla and Arif Yunus played a crucial role in Azerbaijan’s politics and modern history. After being sentenced to 8.5 years in jail by the Azerbaijani government and being released due to health issues, Leyla and Arif Yunus shared the suffering and torture they endured as regime opponents and political prisoners in a book entitled The Price of Freedom. Dr Audrey L. Altstadt, a Professor of History at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, recently published a short article outlining the dynamics underlying the arrest of the two political activists and the struggle described in their book.
In a recent paper, Professor John P Miller discusses the importance of mutual accommodation and compassion in preserving democracies and ensuring we can tackle some of our biggest global problems. He highlights the way in which Canada has become a more tolerant, cooperative, inclusive society by emphasising the role of compromise and compassion. Using examples from education, he shows how we can nurture these qualities in children and young adults.
So far, very few research studies have investigated the effects of criminal convictions on the families of defendants. Dr Hong Lu, a Professor of Criminal Justice at University of Nevada, along with her co-authors, Dr Yudu Li and Dr Bin Liang, carried out a study examining how the family of Nian Bin, the defendant in a high-profile capital case in China who received four death sentences, managed the physical, emotional, financial, and legal challenges they faced after their relative’s conviction.
In the United States, public opinions have become increasingly polarised. This polarisation leads to ‘othering’, which describes how one group of people can view another group as very different from themselves and depict them in negative ways. Dr Megan Schraedley at West Chester University recently carried out a study exploring how othering arises in the context of US politics, and how it can be disrupted. Understanding how this destructive phenomenon can be disrupted could help policymakers to successfully introduce important legislation.
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