All posts by Jonathan Marks


‘Zionist Attack Dogs’? The MLA’s Debate on Israel Might Go Viral

Need a break from grading? Head on over here, where someone has posted a partial record of Modern Language Association member comments on resolution 2014-1, urging the “United States Department of State to contest Israel’s denials of entry to the West Bank by United States academics who have been invited to teach, confer, or do research at Palestinian universities.” It is a spectacle. How often do you get to see scholarly colleagues refer to one another as “Zionist attack dogs?”

In January, the …


American Studies Association, You Got Hacked

I write in the hope of getting a message to members of the American Studies Association. The ASA is devoted to, let’s face it, a fusty mission. It is the “nation’s oldest and largest association devoted to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and history.” Academics so behind the cutting edge of scholarship are probably not even reading this because they would have to be on the Internet to do so. But perhaps a charitable reader who knows an American-studies scholar (they may tea…


The Data-Driven Have to Be Strong

Thank God for sound and responsible higher-education journalism! I almost blundered and sent my son to Columbia University. To be frank, my son had his heart set on it. There were tears when he learned he was attending Cal State Fullerton instead. Sometimes, I said, the data-driven have to be strong.

My son is a victim of “the myth … that paying a ransom for a college degree is worth it, particularly at a top-tier institution.” I was, too, until John Wasik of Forbes explained to me that most col…


Why Philosophers Need Not Shun the Templeton Foundation

Philosophers are stirred up again about the John Templeton Foundation, which according to its mission statement, supports “research on subjects ranging from complexity, evolution, and infinity to creativity, forgiveness, love, and free will.” Its programs “encourage civil, informed dialogue among scientists, philosophers, and theologians and between such experts and the public at large, for the purposes of definitional clarity and new insights.” Philosophers cannot help but wonder: Shoul…