Arts and Humanities

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Professor David Pion-Berlin | Was the January 6th Storming of the US Capitol a Self-coup?

Professor David Pion-Berlin | Was the January 6th Storming of the US Capitol a Self-coup?

The storming of the US Capitol on January 6th 2021 was a shocking event for many. Citizens pushed past Capitol police, causing property damage and threatening congresspeople and the Vice President. Five people died in the attack. Participants included armed members of right-wing militias, terrorist groups, neo-Nazi organizations, and conspiratorial groups such as Q-Anon. Nothing similar had been seen since the British burned the Capitol building to the ground during the War of 1812. Immediately afterwards, scholars and the media attempted to understand what had happened. Commentators had a range of viewpoints, describing the event as an insurrection, a mob invasion, sedition, a legitimate protest, a rebellion, and a coup.

read more
Professors Wright, Boun & Chan | How Multilingual Education Helped Cambodia Boost Indigenous Student Enrolment

Professors Wright, Boun & Chan | How Multilingual Education Helped Cambodia Boost Indigenous Student Enrolment

Cambodia has had a tragic past, including a genocide and over a decade of civil war. However, since the mid-1990s, there has been relative peace, stability, and rapid development. Cambodia has made impressive progress rebuilding its education system and committing to universal educational access. By 2008, enrolment rates across Cambodia had risen to 92%. However, indigenous ethnic minority children in the remote villages of the northeastern provinces proved hardest to reach, in large part due to language barriers.

read more
Bethany Johnson | Exploring Community Responses to the Plague in the 16th Century

Bethany Johnson | Exploring Community Responses to the Plague in the 16th Century

By the second half of the 16th Century, the British Isles had experienced more than two centuries of periodic plague outbreaks. As a result, town councils were well equipped to rapidly implement a range of policies to protect public health. In response to the threat of plague, officials quickly enacted controls on the importation of goods and limits on the number of people traveling between municipalities. Locals or out-of-town workers were hired to care for the ill, bury the dead, clean the streets, and fumigate houses.

read more
Juan Ramirez | Achieving Faster Computation Through Philosophical Mathematics

Juan Ramirez | Achieving Faster Computation Through Philosophical Mathematics

‘What is a number?’ is a question with various answers depending on who you ask. This question is also vital to mathematical logic, and as a consequence, to all modern computation. In the early 1900s, the field of mathematics experienced multiple crises, as various paradoxes arose that proved all mathematical knowledge to be unfounded. The solution to these crises was the birth of Set Theory.

read more
Dr Nesibe Kantar – Professor Terrell Ward Bynum | Which Ethical Values Should Be Instilled into Artificial Intelligence?

Dr Nesibe Kantar – Professor Terrell Ward Bynum | Which Ethical Values Should Be Instilled into Artificial Intelligence?

Technological and scientific advancements have always come with ethical and social consequences. This remains true today, as artificial intelligence is rapidly and radically changing the way we think about the world. Seven decades ago, while creating the field of cybernetics, scientist-philosopher Norbert Wiener first asked: Which ethical values and principles should be instilled into machines that learn and make decisions?

read more
Professor Zhuoyi Wang | What Can the Compromised Progress of the Mulan Remake Tell Us About Cross-cultural Filmmaking?

Professor Zhuoyi Wang | What Can the Compromised Progress of the Mulan Remake Tell Us About Cross-cultural Filmmaking?

In 1998, Disney released Mulan, an animated take on a Chinese legend. The film tells the story of Mulan, a girl who impersonates a man to join the army. She shows bravery as she fights to save her kingdom. At the time, this was a breakthrough for Disney due to its positive portrayal of Chinese characters and strong women. Nevertheless, the film included many gender stereotypes and instances of cultural appropriation. In 2020, a live action remake of Mulan was released. Directed by feminist filmmaker Niki Caro, it aimed to be gender progressive and culturally appropriate. However, critics argued that it misrepresented Chinese culture, and perpetuated ethnic stereotypes. Given that the film tried to avoid these pitfalls, how did this happen?

read more
Austina Lee | Gareth Dylan Smith – The Role of Love and Community in American Schools

Austina Lee | Gareth Dylan Smith – The Role of Love and Community in American Schools

Capitalism and neoliberalism influence how children are schooled in the USA. American schools have standardised performance measures that teachers and students are expected to meet, which tend to prioritise: conformity, good grades and workforce readiness. They do not support students to develop identities, form good relationships, collaborate, or innovate. The result is an education system that undervalues care and community, which is at odds with the vision of raising compassionate young people. 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.

read more
Professor Kieran Kilcawley | Using Flavour Chemistry to Identify Biomarkers Behind the Sensory Perception of Irish Grass-fed Beef and Lamb

Professor Kieran Kilcawley | Using Flavour Chemistry to Identify Biomarkers Behind the Sensory Perception of Irish Grass-fed Beef and Lamb

For many consumers, the origin of the food they buy is of great importance. For instance, Irish beef and lamb is often seen as superior quality meat, as the animals are typically reared outdoors on a diet of predominately fresh grass. However, are Irish beef and lamb actually any different to meats produced elsewhere, from animals reared indoors in less sustainable production systems? Professor Kieran Kilcawley and his team at the Teagasc Agriculture and Food Development Authority in Ireland, in conjunction with University College Dublin, are investigating the ‘flavour chemistry’ of beef and lamb. Their aim is to determine whether there are fundamental differences in the chemical properties of meat due to the animal’s diet and origin.

read more
Dr William Durkan | Exploring How the Geography of Voter Turnout Impacts Election Results

Dr William Durkan | Exploring How the Geography of Voter Turnout Impacts Election Results

Voter turnout plays a key role in the functioning of democracies. If only a minority of citizens vote, the elected government might not accurately represent the views of the population. In contrast, when voter turnout is high, a country’s government has a strong mandate to make decisions on its citizens’ behalf. The geographical distributions of voters and voter turnout also significantly affect the outcome of elections. Dr William Durkan of Maynooth University in Ireland recently explored the changing geographies of voter turnout in US presidential elections from 2012 to 2020, using the state of Michigan as a case study.

read more
John H Cayley | Grammalepsy: The Art of Language as Culture Goes Digital

John H Cayley | Grammalepsy: The Art of Language as Culture Goes Digital

Technology has opened up new possibilities in the world of literature, by enabling the dissemination of artistic texts through digital media, and even by creating language-based art. John Cayley, Professor of Literary Arts at Brown University, was a pioneer of language-based digital art. Since the beginning of personal computing, he has been experimenting with the use of computer programs and algorithms to create poetry.

read more
Professor David Pion-Berlin | Was the January 6th Storming of the US Capitol a Self-coup?

Professor David Pion-Berlin | Was the January 6th Storming of the US Capitol a Self-coup?

The storming of the US Capitol on January 6th 2021 was a shocking event for many. Citizens pushed past Capitol police, causing property damage and threatening congresspeople and the Vice President. Five people died in the attack. Participants included armed members of right-wing militias, terrorist groups, neo-Nazi organizations, and conspiratorial groups such as Q-Anon. Nothing similar had been seen since the British burned the Capitol building to the ground during the War of 1812. Immediately afterwards, scholars and the media attempted to understand what had happened. Commentators had a range of viewpoints, describing the event as an insurrection, a mob invasion, sedition, a legitimate protest, a rebellion, and a coup.

read more
Professors Wright, Boun & Chan | How Multilingual Education Helped Cambodia Boost Indigenous Student Enrolment

Professors Wright, Boun & Chan | How Multilingual Education Helped Cambodia Boost Indigenous Student Enrolment

Cambodia has had a tragic past, including a genocide and over a decade of civil war. However, since the mid-1990s, there has been relative peace, stability, and rapid development. Cambodia has made impressive progress rebuilding its education system and committing to universal educational access. By 2008, enrolment rates across Cambodia had risen to 92%. However, indigenous ethnic minority children in the remote villages of the northeastern provinces proved hardest to reach, in large part due to language barriers.

read more
Bethany Johnson | Exploring Community Responses to the Plague in the 16th Century

Bethany Johnson | Exploring Community Responses to the Plague in the 16th Century

By the second half of the 16th Century, the British Isles had experienced more than two centuries of periodic plague outbreaks. As a result, town councils were well equipped to rapidly implement a range of policies to protect public health. In response to the threat of plague, officials quickly enacted controls on the importation of goods and limits on the number of people traveling between municipalities. Locals or out-of-town workers were hired to care for the ill, bury the dead, clean the streets, and fumigate houses.

read more
Juan Ramirez | Achieving Faster Computation Through Philosophical Mathematics

Juan Ramirez | Achieving Faster Computation Through Philosophical Mathematics

‘What is a number?’ is a question with various answers depending on who you ask. This question is also vital to mathematical logic, and as a consequence, to all modern computation. In the early 1900s, the field of mathematics experienced multiple crises, as various paradoxes arose that proved all mathematical knowledge to be unfounded. The solution to these crises was the birth of Set Theory.

read more
Dr Nesibe Kantar – Professor Terrell Ward Bynum | Which Ethical Values Should Be Instilled into Artificial Intelligence?

Dr Nesibe Kantar – Professor Terrell Ward Bynum | Which Ethical Values Should Be Instilled into Artificial Intelligence?

Technological and scientific advancements have always come with ethical and social consequences. This remains true today, as artificial intelligence is rapidly and radically changing the way we think about the world. Seven decades ago, while creating the field of cybernetics, scientist-philosopher Norbert Wiener first asked: Which ethical values and principles should be instilled into machines that learn and make decisions?

read more
Professor Zhuoyi Wang | What Can the Compromised Progress of the Mulan Remake Tell Us About Cross-cultural Filmmaking?

Professor Zhuoyi Wang | What Can the Compromised Progress of the Mulan Remake Tell Us About Cross-cultural Filmmaking?

In 1998, Disney released Mulan, an animated take on a Chinese legend. The film tells the story of Mulan, a girl who impersonates a man to join the army. She shows bravery as she fights to save her kingdom. At the time, this was a breakthrough for Disney due to its positive portrayal of Chinese characters and strong women. Nevertheless, the film included many gender stereotypes and instances of cultural appropriation. In 2020, a live action remake of Mulan was released. Directed by feminist filmmaker Niki Caro, it aimed to be gender progressive and culturally appropriate. However, critics argued that it misrepresented Chinese culture, and perpetuated ethnic stereotypes. Given that the film tried to avoid these pitfalls, how did this happen?

read more
Austina Lee | Gareth Dylan Smith – The Role of Love and Community in American Schools

Austina Lee | Gareth Dylan Smith – The Role of Love and Community in American Schools

Capitalism and neoliberalism influence how children are schooled in the USA. American schools have standardised performance measures that teachers and students are expected to meet, which tend to prioritise: conformity, good grades and workforce readiness. They do not support students to develop identities, form good relationships, collaborate, or innovate. The result is an education system that undervalues care and community, which is at odds with the vision of raising compassionate young people. 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.

read more
Professor Kieran Kilcawley | Using Flavour Chemistry to Identify Biomarkers Behind the Sensory Perception of Irish Grass-fed Beef and Lamb

Professor Kieran Kilcawley | Using Flavour Chemistry to Identify Biomarkers Behind the Sensory Perception of Irish Grass-fed Beef and Lamb

For many consumers, the origin of the food they buy is of great importance. For instance, Irish beef and lamb is often seen as superior quality meat, as the animals are typically reared outdoors on a diet of predominately fresh grass. However, are Irish beef and lamb actually any different to meats produced elsewhere, from animals reared indoors in less sustainable production systems? Professor Kieran Kilcawley and his team at the Teagasc Agriculture and Food Development Authority in Ireland, in conjunction with University College Dublin, are investigating the ‘flavour chemistry’ of beef and lamb. Their aim is to determine whether there are fundamental differences in the chemical properties of meat due to the animal’s diet and origin.

read more
Dr William Durkan | Exploring How the Geography of Voter Turnout Impacts Election Results

Dr William Durkan | Exploring How the Geography of Voter Turnout Impacts Election Results

Voter turnout plays a key role in the functioning of democracies. If only a minority of citizens vote, the elected government might not accurately represent the views of the population. In contrast, when voter turnout is high, a country’s government has a strong mandate to make decisions on its citizens’ behalf. The geographical distributions of voters and voter turnout also significantly affect the outcome of elections. Dr William Durkan of Maynooth University in Ireland recently explored the changing geographies of voter turnout in US presidential elections from 2012 to 2020, using the state of Michigan as a case study.

read more
John H Cayley | Grammalepsy: The Art of Language as Culture Goes Digital

John H Cayley | Grammalepsy: The Art of Language as Culture Goes Digital

Technology has opened up new possibilities in the world of literature, by enabling the dissemination of artistic texts through digital media, and even by creating language-based art. John Cayley, Professor of Literary Arts at Brown University, was a pioneer of language-based digital art. Since the beginning of personal computing, he has been experimenting with the use of computer programs and algorithms to create poetry.

read more

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