SSH News: hitchBOT completes its journey, World University rankings, Vanier and Banting recipients announced

Thursday, August 21, 2014


hitchBOT completes its journey

hitchBOT the hitchhiking robot, created by communication professors David Smith (McMaster) and Frauke Zeller (Ryerson), has completed its journey from Halifax to Victoria. We took the opportunity to speak to the professors about the influence of the humanities and social sciences in the hitchBOT project. Blog post and full interview can be found here.

World university rankings

Shanghai Jiao Tong University has released its 2014 Academic Ranking of World Universities. US institutions dominated the top 20, with Harvard being ranked in first place. The four Canadian universities that made it into the top 100 are the University of Toronto, the University of British Columbia, McGill University and McMaster University.

The value of the humanities and liberal arts

Nick Kristof writes in his New York Times column that the humanities “are still relevant in the 21st century — every bit as relevant as an iPhone.” He points out that the humanities provide the content that animates these technologies. 

Two fictional Twitter characters, Libby and Art, have taken to social media to correct misinformation about the liberal arts and, specifically, small liberal arts colleges in the US. The Twitter account is part of a public-information campaign organized by the Council of Independent Colleges.

Vanier and Banting recipients announced

The Canadian government has announced 166 new Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship recipients and 70 new Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship recipients. A combined total of 78 awards were granted by SSHRC.

Academia and freedom of speech

Associate professor of history at Dominican University David M. Perry expresses concern about the blocking of Steven Salaita’s appointment at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign due to his tweets about the Israel-Gaza conflict. Perry is worried that this will discourage all but tenured academics from expressing political opinions for fear of similar consequences.

In light of this incident, a post on LSE’s Impact blog asks readers to consider how the provocative style of social media may be at odds with critical academic exchange, even if expressing a position on an issue is not in itself problematic.   


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