In 2011, the cultural critic Emily Nussbaum reflected on the flowering of online feminism through new publications, social media conversations, and digital organizing. But Nussbaum worried, even if you can expand the supply of who’s writing, will that actually change the influence of women’s voices in society? What if online feminism was just an echo chamber?
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One of the primary questions, or problems as I see it, is this “illusion” that sameness will bring safety. People start to thinking that if we are surrounded by similar people, like-minded people, if we have communities based on sameness, that will bring us safety. That’s an illusion. That’s not the case at all.
When I look at the signs today, I see a very strong trend back to what I call tribalism, back to nation-states, nationalism, religiosity, all those divisive forces that many intellectuals in the 1940s, ‘50s, thought were going to disappear gradually. That did not happen.
We are in the midst of a shift in how we encounter information. And we’re wrestling with three paradigms at the same time. The oldest of these paradigms, for for most of us, is edited media. … You have a powerful gatekeeper, the newspaper editor, who says, “Here are things you need to pay attention to today. Give this a small amount of your time, and you will be roughly up to date with what you need to know.”
Everything we know about biological sciences, medicine, agriculture, disease, whatever, is based on studying one example of life. Life on Earth. Life as we know it. If we find another example that’s different, a second genesis, and independent origin of life, comparing those two might enable us to answer questions that we would never be able to answer if we only had one example to study. That could provide practical benefits for humans as well as better understanding of how to manage ecosystems, etc.
Sara Hendren: One proactive thing we do with students at Olin in their first year on team collaborative projects is we have them identify and separate the team’s goals from their individual learning goals.
I like to diversify the way that we work with technology, and I like to think of it as an art object, and an installation where we rethink and reinvent computation, especially focusing on alternative possibilities of the computer as not driven by war agendas or corporate mass production.
I want to talk about a general disposition toward ability and disability that I try to embody in my own work and the work that I do with students. That disposition is a kind of productive uncertainty in engineering and design.