Tag Archives: RVE Symposium

David Mullins: Complexity pedagogy must define the university

David Mullins, an undergraduate student of comparative literature and one of the SRC’s most visible representatives, has sent us the text of his presentation at the symposium.

“Complexity Pedagogy Must Define the University”

Many commentators tend to talk about science and math as if they were neatly separable from language, liberal arts, and literature. That we can shorten column B (say liberal arts) and lengthen column A (say, science or business) and then we will have less B and more A. This presentation will argue that this is a bit of a devil’s bargain, and we will end up losing both. We will lose both because something that might be called complexity is both what the liberal arts excel at navigating, and that which underpins breakthroughs in science and business. so it is not that the liberal arts are somehow parasitic on scientific or economic breakthroughs, it’s actually precisely the opposite. That complexity, and creativity in the face of complexity, is the basis of groundbreaking investigation in all three: the liberal arts and the sciences, and economics and that the liberal arts, because they do not have this input/output fixation, this focus on efficiency they are in a privileged position because generally better situated than a Management 101 class to navigate complex systems, which have multiple and sometimes unknowable variables, not just one variable that we might call profit or empirical success, empirical success from the perspective of a rather naieve sort of modern, pre-Einsteinian, pre-quantum physics science.

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Tressie’s RVE speech and reflections

Tressie McMillan Cottom has published her talk from the Re-Visioning symposium on her blog, along with afterthoughts. You wouldn’t have known from listening, but much of her talk was edited at the last moment, in response to AIDS researcher Dr. Kimberly Hagen’s earlier talk about teaching one of Emory’s first MOOCs.

The panel on which Tressie spoke, which also featured Michelle Ledder of the Graduate Division of Religion and David Mullins of Comparative Literature, was one of the more electrifying conference experiences many of us had witnessed in a long time.* Jason Francisco, our faculty ally in Visual Arts, remarked that it was definitely the most compelling performance he had seen in the VAB gallery. We hope to make more of the presentations available in the coming days.

*I write this even having been present at the seminotorious Lee Edelman/Jack Halberstam standoff at the last MLA.

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Essence of Emory = censoring student expression

In the wake of yesterday’s Re-Visioning Symposium, which was a tremendous success (photos and reflections to come), one of our organizers received the following polite but loaded e-mail:

I hope your event went well last night and we need a favor. Can you please pull your signage and yellow ribbons from trees, poles, etc, on campus today?

We have many future college students touring campus this week and we want their “vision” of Emory to be as clean and neat as possible.

Thank you,

Jimmy Powell
Director Exterior Services
Campus Services

In fact, campus workers began tearing down our signs (none of which were as imposing as a 60-foot tall Dooley) and erasing our sidewalk chalk on Sunday night and Monday morning, before the symposium began. This was an academic conference sponsored by three Emory departments. Can’t let potential freshmen be exposed to any of that!

Powell and Exterior Services have also run into conflict with Students and Workers in Solidarity over student activists’ banners.

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Fighting institutional monotony with creative repetition.

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Symposium poster!

SRC Symposium flyer
Thanks to Laura Hunt for another fabulous poster. The Re-Visioning Emory symposium, in case you missed it, is happening next Monday, April 8, at 4:30 in the Visual Arts Building. Keep an eye on our Symposium page for further updates. Right now, our biggest challenge is making sure all the provocative, challenging, and ever so eminent speakers can fit into one evening program.

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Symposium: Presentations still welcome

We’ve extended our call for proposals to next Monday, March 25. Whether you’re a student, a faculty member, or a non-Emory-affiliated ally, a humanist or a scientist, please share your work and your vision on April 8! Email revisioningemory@gmail.com for more details.

We’re also tremendously thankful to the departments of English and visual arts and the ILA for sponsoring the event. We’re continuing to raise funds to keep the symposium free and fabulous. Individual or anonymous supporters may contribute via our Indiegogo page. Of course, the cheapest, easiest way to support intellectual innovation at Emory will be to attend.