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The Professorial Life
Melissa Harris-Lacewell is Associate Professor of Politics and African American Studies at Princeton University. She is the author of the award-winning book, Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought, (Princeton 2004). And she is currently at work on a new book: Sister Citizen: A Text For Colored Girls Who've Considered Politics When Being Strong Wasn't Enough. Her academic research is inspired by a desire to investigate the challenges facing contemporary black Americans and to better understand the multiple, creative ways that African Americans respond to these challenges.
Her academic research has been published in scholarly journals and edited volumes and her interests include the study of African American political thought, black religious ideas and practice, and social and clinical psychology. Professor Harris-Lacewell's creative and dynamic teaching is also motivated by the practical political and racial issues of our time. For example, her course entitled Disaster, Race and American Politics explored the multiple political meanings of Hurricane Katrina. Professor Harris-Lacewell has taught students from grade school to graduate school and has been recognized for her commitment to the classroom as a site of democratic deliberation on race.
Question: Beyond a simple title, how would you describe what you do?
Harris-Lacewell: When people ask I say, “Well I teach at a little school in New Jersey.” (Chuckles) So what I do for a living is that . . . You know in other words the thing that if I did only that I’d still get a check from Princeton University is, you know, I teach their students, right? So I spend time in the classroom prepping and preparing ideas, spiting them back out, and assessing students on the quality of the ability to tell me what they’ve learned. At the most basic level I’m a teacher. I really am a teacher. And if I did nothing else but that for the rest of my life, apparently because of tenure I’d keep getting a check. So just for a living I do that, but that’s my . . . that’s my . . . that’s my vocation. That’s the thing that I have to do. The joy, or the pleasure, or all of the other things (11:50) that I do come from the fact that I have that particular stability in my job. So I’m able to say at my most fundamental level I’m a teacher. I’m a classroom teacher. But on a much broader level I’m a much bigger kind of teacher. So in other words I see my research, my scholarship, and my public intellectual engagement as all being about teaching, but the best kind of teaching; teaching that is not just about regurgitation of ideas, but teaching which is about engagement in dialogues and discussions with a whole population of people who are my students, and who are also teaching me back. So when I write a book, the amazing thing about books is that they go out there into the world without you. I don’t get to stand there with it and explain, “Well what I mean on page 10 was . . .” It goes out there and it does all kind of teaching for me. It says things that maybe I mean it to say, and some things that I didn’t mean it to say, and that are unexpected what people find in it. But it’s a tool and a method for me to be engaged in conversation with folks beyond sort of who I’m able to stand in front of a classroom with. And then I spend a lot of time on the Internet talking to journalists; spending time, you know, on television. And when I’m doing that, again I’m engaged in teaching – oftentimes teaching the journalists, because there’s a great deal of teaching of the journalists that goes on. You may get one quote or one line in the New York Times, but you spent an hour with a reporter kind of helping them think through the central issues. Or when I get, again, an opportunity, for example, to blog, or to appear on television, I always try to see that as an opportunity for teaching and engagement; to bring some of what we know from the academy out into the public view.
"I teach at a little school in New Jersey."
Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.
Health officials in China reported that a man was infected with bubonic plague, the infectious disease that caused the Black Death.
- The case was reported in the city of Bayannur, which has issued a level-three plague prevention warning.
- Modern antibiotics can effectively treat bubonic plague, which spreads mainly by fleas.
- Chinese health officials are also monitoring a newly discovered type of swine flu that has the potential to develop into a pandemic virus.
Bacteria under microscope
needpix.com<p>Today, bubonic plague can be treated effectively with antibiotics.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Unlike in the 14th century, we now have an understanding of how this disease is transmitted," Dr. Shanthi Kappagoda, an infectious disease physician at Stanford Health Care, told <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">Healthline</a>. "We know how to prevent it — avoid handling sick or dead animals in areas where there is transmission. We are also able to treat patients who are infected with effective antibiotics, and can give antibiotics to people who may have been exposed to the bacteria [and] prevent them [from] getting sick."</p>
This plague patient is displaying a swollen, ruptured inguinal lymph node, or buboe.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention<p>Still, hundreds of people develop bubonic plague every year. In the U.S., a handful of cases occur annually, particularly in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado, <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/plague/faq/index.html" target="_blank">where habitats allow the bacteria to spread more easily among wild rodent populations</a>. But these cases are very rare, mainly because you need to be in close contact with rodents in order to get infected. And though plague can spread from human to human, this <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">only occurs with pneumonic plague</a>, and transmission is also rare.</p>
A new swine flu in China<p>Last week, researchers in China also reported another public health concern: a new virus that has "all the essential hallmarks" of a pandemic virus.<br></p><p>In a paper published in the <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020/06/23/1921186117" target="_blank">Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</a>, researchers say the virus was discovered in pigs in China, and it descended from the H1N1 virus, commonly called "swine flu." That virus was able to transmit from human to human, and it killed an estimated 151,700 to 575,400 people worldwide from 2009 to 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.</p>There's no evidence showing that the new virus can spread from person to person. But the researchers did find that 10 percent of swine workers had been infected by the virus, called G4 reassortant EA H1N1. This level of infectivity raises concerns, because it "greatly enhances the opportunity for virus adaptation in humans and raises concerns for the possible generation of pandemic viruses," the researchers wrote.
The word "learning" opens up space for more people, places, and ideas.
- The terms 'education' and 'learning' are often used interchangeably, but there is a cultural connotation to the former that can be limiting. Education naturally links to schooling, which is only one form of learning.
- Gregg Behr, founder and co-chair of Remake Learning, believes that this small word shift opens up the possibilities in terms of how and where learning can happen. It also becomes a more inclusive practice, welcoming in a larger, more diverse group of thinkers.
- Post-COVID, the way we think about what learning looks like will inevitably change, so it's crucial to adjust and begin building the necessary support systems today.
Scientists uncovered the secrets of what drove some of the world's last remaining woolly mammoths to extinction.
Every summer, children on the Alaskan island of St Paul cool down in Lake Hill, a crater lake in an extinct volcano – unaware of the mysteries that lie beneath.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.
- Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
- New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
- Times of crisis tend to increase self-centered acts.