Then and Now
academic

The Meaning of “Torah”: A Report from the Enoch Seminar

A couple of months ago I attended a meeting of the Enoch Seminar in Camaldoli, Italy.  The conference, which included an extraordinary range of scholars, grappled with the meaning of the word and concept of “Torah” from the biblical period through Late Antiquity.  There were a mix of session topics and formats and I have...

Naming Rabbis: A Digital List

A little over five years ago I posted an idea about creating a social network analysis of the rabbis found in classical rabbinic literature.  In the interim I have thought a lot about this project but have done very little on it.  I still believe it is worth doing, though, and I have finally taken...

Shared, but How?

  What is a “ball”?  Does a ball exist when there is nobody around to see it? Over the past couple of months I have been exposed to the thought of Bruno Latour.  Latour tries to thread the needle between seeing all of reality as a social or rhetorical construction and a strictly realist or...

Lazar Gulkowitsch

In any given week of research I probably peruse scholarly articles and monographs of a dozen or more authors.  Aside from the few whom I might personally know, the vast number of these authors are little more to names to me.  I read, consider, accept or reject their arguments based on my opinion of their...

The Dissertation: An Unnecessary Evil?

In a piece recently published in Inside Higher Ed, Christopher Schaberg and Ian Bogost discuss their experiences trying to get academics to write for broader audiences and pinpoint ten particular challenges that academics have in reaching wider audiences.   They are certainly right that academics have challenges reaching a wider audience.  As one who has...

How to Turn Your Dissertation into a Book

I will be conducting a workshop at the University of Zurich for advanced graduate students on turning their dissertations into books publishable by (mainly anglophone) university presses.  It will take place over two full days and is focused primarily on doing the intellectual work necessary to generate the draft of a book proposal.  I am...

Evaluating University Teaching

At most colleges and universities, the granting of tenure and promotion is based on achievement in three key areas: scholarship, teaching, and service.  Measuring scholarship and service is not exactly straight-forward, but is still a relatively clear process that usually involves some combination of tallying things up and soliciting input from both external reviewers and...

Paying for College in 1803

When I pay our son’s college tuition I am given a variety of options, from full payment up-front to installment plans, but no matter how I pay I must use U.S. currency.  Which raises the question, before there was a standard U.S. currency, how did students pay their college tuition? I have been reviewing the...

Digital Preservation

Over the past few years, institutional digital repositories and more broad-based digital “commons” have proliferated.  Many are found at universities (Brown now has one) and sites such as Zenodo and Humanities Commons.  Such platforms serve two purposes.  First, they provide a (relatively) stable environment that can preserve digital data.  Second, they serve as a digital...

Create, Process, Link: Some Final Thoughts on The Big Ancient Mediterranean Conference

Now back home it will take me a while to process what I’ve learned at The Big Ancient Mediterranean Conference, and even longer to work through my new, vastly expanded, to-do list.  Here I want only to sketch out a few thoughts.  I don’t think that any of them are particularly original but having the...

The Big Ancient Mediterranean: Middle Thoughts

As The Big Ancient Mediterranean Conference begins to wind down, my head is swirling.  People are working on amazing things and it is hard not to keep thinking of all the different ways to learn from them in order to better enhance my own project.  We will wrap up today and I imagine that I...

The Big Ancient Mediterranean: A Preliminary Thought

I had the good fortune of participating today in a conference called The Big Ancient Mediterranean at the University of Iowa. The purpose of the conference is to discuss ways in which digital projects (including my own Inscriptions of Israel/Palestine) might better use linked open data to facilitate research.  There is a nice cross-representation of...