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Weekend Reading: Semester Gets Underway Edition

On my campus we just finished the first week of the semester, involving the usual combination of faculty meetings and classes. Whether you’ve also already started or you’re still putting the finishing touches on your semester prep, here are a few readings to consider over the weekend.

Robert Epstein dismantles the “vacuous” idea that the human brain can be understood by considering it a sort of organic computer:

Our shoddy thinking about the brain has deep historical roots, but the invention of computers in the 1940s got us especially confused. For more than half a century now, psychologists, linguists, neuroscientists and other experts on human behaviour have been asserting that the human brain works like a computer.

Rosemarie Garland-Thomson considers the fluid nature of what it means to be a a person with a disability since most people, at some point in their lives, will become disabled:

[D]isability, like any challenge or limitation, is fundamental to being human — a part of every life. Clearly, the border between “us” and “them” is fragile. We just might be better off preparing for disability than fleeing from it… Becoming disabled means moving from isolation to community, from ignorance to knowledge about who we are, from exclusion to access, and from shame to pride.

Georgette Chapman Phillips and Donald E. Hall argue for a higher education experience in which students combine liberal arts studies with pre-professional coursework:

Educators need to ensure that all students are holistically educated by weaving the traditional liberal arts classes together with our specialized offerings to challenge our students to dig deeper in all disciplines. Doing so not only produces students who are ready for jobs and contribute to economic bottom lines, but creates individuals prepared to tackle big questions, contribute to society and lead fulfilling lives.

Kathleen Fitzpatrick makes the case for the continued importance of citation in the age of the digital hyperlink:

Things migrate with great fluidity these days: that article might still be associated with the journal in which it was published, but it’s very likely been found through an online journal aggregator like JSTOR, and that might make a difference to a future researcher trying to track down a source.

Margaret Talbot draws our attention to the larger context of workplace sexual harassment in the wake of Fox News chairman Roger Ailes’ downfall:

some studies have found that women in positions of authority, especially in workplaces that are dominated by men, may be more likely to experience sexual harassment than women in lower-status positions. [Sociologist Heather] McLaughlin says that these findings make sense, because, she believes, workplace sexual harassment isn’t really about sex; it’s about power.

What were your favorite reads this week? Share them in the comments!

[CC-licensed Flickr photo by Don McCullough]

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