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William Hart-Davidson | “Creativity is Not Zero Sum, or How Future Perfect Thinking Might Make a More Humane Academy”

Event Type
Lecture
Sponsor
Sponsored by the Interseminars Working Group and the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities
Location
Levis Faculty Center, Room 422
Date
Apr 23, 2019   11:00 am - 12:15 pm  
Speaker
William Hart-Davidson (Michigan State)
Views
41
Originating Calendar
Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH)

This talk will prompt discussion of a holistic approach to faculty development grounded in Iris Marion Young's critique of distributive justice - in a nutshell, the way we unnecessarily ration non-finite social goods to construct and/or maintain oppressive hierarchies. Hart-Davidson believes this applies in higher education where the ends toward which we all work in public research universities are all non-finite: knowledge, understanding, inspiration, and even reputation. It is also true of the ends we claim as part of our public mission: health, inclusion, sustainability, democratic participation in society, etc. Despite this, we arrange our evaluation systems in higher education to sort and rank - both at the institutional and individual level - and when we do we put ourselves in the position of measuring our success by counting means rather than evaluating ends, creating false scarcity and anxiety.

Here, Hart-Davidson would like to ask a question that might lead us down another path: what would a career-oriented evaluation approach look like if we measured those things that matter most at the end of a career - the kinds of things we talk about in folks' retirement encomia - right from the beginning?

William Hart-Davidson is Professor in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric & American Cultures and Associate Dean for Research & Graduate Education in the College of Arts & Letters, Michigan State University.

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