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tsuomela : specialization   15

U.S. Intellectual History: How -- And For Whom -- We Write
"But while I certainly want academic history to continue valuing clear, non-technical prose, I also think we should try to have a more realistic sense of who we reach and how we reach them. The myth of accessible academic history has its costs as well as its benefits.

To begin with, the myth of accessibility can devalue some of what academic historians do uniquely well. We produce knowledge about the past regardless of whether there is a mass market for the knowledge we produce. And since I don't believe that the mass market does a good job of determining what's worth knowing, I think we ought to moderate our polemics against specialization. Many good ideas--even ideas that eventually have a profound impact on broad, public conversations--start in abstruse corners of academic work. Think, for example, of Kuhn and the idea of a "paradigm shift.""
history  profession  outreach  audience  public-understanding  writing  academic  specialization  access  tone 
april 2012 by tsuomela
Heather Wilson - Our superficial scholars
"I have, however, become increasingly concerned in recent years - not about the talent of the applicants but about the education American universities are providing. Even from America's great liberal arts colleges, transcripts reflect an undergraduate specialization that would have been unthinkably narrow just a generation ago. "
education  meritocracy  elites  rhodes-scholarship  academic  pedagogy  specialization 
january 2011 by tsuomela
Worldchanging: Bright Green: John Wilbanks on Science Commons, and Generativity in Science
The truth is that the scientific world is far less generative than the digital space. He proposes three major obstacles to generativity: accessibility, ease of mastery, and tranferability. He points out that, as science has gotten more high tech, it’s far harder to master. The result is hyperspecialization: neuroanatomists don’t talk to neuroinformaticists… “and god help you if you cross species lines.” And so universities are making huge investments to try to encourage collaboration: MIT’s just build a $400 million building – the Cook Center – to force collaboration between cancer researchers… and predictably, researchers are fighting the mandate to move in and work together.
science  infrastructure  generative  reform  collaboration  specialization  future 
march 2010 by tsuomela
Scientists Know Better Than You--Even When They're Wrong: Scientific American
How do you distinguish the people who can and can't contribute to a specialized field?
The key to the whole thing is whether people have had access to the tacit knowledge of an esoteric area—tacit knowledge is know-how that you can't express in words.
science  sts  science-wars  expertise  experience  evaluation  judgment  knowledge  implicit  specialization 
april 2009 by tsuomela

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