A liberal arts education is both a practical preparation for a flourishing career and an immersion in the big questions of life and the world. It’s the right answer to a host of questions.
The Bell Tolls for WHOM: The complicated fate of the stuffiest object pronoun
Whom is dying out … mostly. As an essential part of grammatical English, that stuffy, old-fashioned object pronoun is declining in usage, and has been for more than a century. As a stylistic marker, though, it has some life left.
K-Drama, K-Pop, K-Places: The Research of Youjeong Oh
Oh investigates how Korean cities and regions use popular culture, particularly television dramas and K-pop, to promote themselves to an expanding audience of ardent fans. But pop culture is always a bit of a gamble, and it’s not always clear who — or where — benefits from sudden stardom.
The Way of Roger: Poet Roger Reeves ponders history, loss, joy, and the bright side of barbarism
Roger Reeves’ latest poetry collection, Best Barbarian, is part jazz song, part fever dream, part mythic reimagining. “For me, the barbarian is the achievement of something that is recognizably outside and potentially threatening, not because it seeks to be but just because it’s making a way and a life of being possible. It’s about self-love. Being your best barbarian is really about loving yourself, and that is completely different from the normal.”
Spreading the Fever: Arianna Avalle wants everyone to read Elena Ferrante
One of the French and Italian department’s Italian Civilization courses, Avalle’s class gives students a tour of Ferrante’s “My Brilliant Friend” and its Neapolitan context. But more importantly, Avalle says, it introduces students to a new way of thinking about cultures outside their own.
The Rise of Open Source Foreign Language Learning
In 2010, with funding from the U.S. Department of Education, Carl Blyth launched COERLL. One of 16 National Foreign Language Resource Centers (LRCs) funded by the federal government, COERLL’s mission is to produce and disseminate foreign language educational material that was free for anyone to use, remix, repurpose, and redistribute.
Creating Human Nature: Government professor Benjamin Gregg delves into the fraught politics of genetic engineering
For Benjamin Gregg, professor of government at The University of Texas at Austin and author of the new book Creating Human Nature: The Political Challenges of Genetic Engineering, the potential of gene editing technologies is too great to leave it to ad hoc reactions, either from a skittish public, a sensationalistic media, or a heavy-handed state.
Beyond Zoom: The College of Liberal Arts is reimagining online teaching
Since it began producing online courses, LAITS has worked with seven colleges and 45 departments, resulting in more than 135 unique undergraduate courses and more than 20 master’s degree courses. They have served more than 190,000 students and provided more than 570,00 credit hours.
Huge in Nigeria: Q&A with Abimbola Adelakun
In the U.S., Abimbola Adelakun is a respected junior academic, first a graduate student and now an assistant professor in the Department of African and African Diaspora Studies at The University of Texas at Austin. In her native Nigeria, Adelakun is “a bit famous.” She is the author of a weekly political column for Punch, one of the most widely read newspapers in the country.
How Populism Dies: Political scientist Kurt Weyland sees a bright-ish future for liberal democracy
A longtime scholar of democratization and its discontents, Kurt Weyland’s work over the past few years has focused on explaining in detail why we are not, despite some appearances, in the midst of either a crisis of global democracy or an ascendant wave of illiberal populism.
For better or for worse, Marfa is a city defined by artists. In his new short documentary, “Prada Marfa? A Film about a West Texas Icon,” American studies professor Randy Lewis takes stock of the town’s transformation through the lens of Prada Marfa, a hyperreal public art installation that has become emblematic of the city.
The Turnaround: COLA’s UTurn program helps struggling students get back on track
UTurn offers academic coaching, peer mentoring, and a dedicated space where students in the program can study, socialize, and support each other. “Most 18–20-year-olds have been almost programmed to think just about getting an A,” says program coordinator Ben Burnett. “And I’m trying to program them to think about themselves and what is the best path for them.”
Peace in the Middle East…ern Studies Department
Over 20 years ago, UT Austin’s Department of Middle Eastern Studies (MES) was characterized by intense volatility and internal conflict. After re-structuring itself around the principles of transparency, democracy, and egalitarianism, the department is now a bastion of support, respect, and cheerful collegiality.
The Taylor Swift Songbook Course Swiftly Makes Over English 314
Professor of English Elizabeth Scala teaches a lower-division course in Liberal Arts Honors, E314L: “Literary Contests and Contexts,” nearly every fall. For fall 2022, Scala decided to structure the course around an unusual literary figure: Taylor Swift.
Keeping it in the (Liberal Arts) Family
All three of the front-desk staff members in the Dean’s Office in Gebauer Building are alumnae of the Cellege of Liberal Arts. We spoke to Kaley Aguero, Richelle King, and Kacie Vanecek about their past, present, and future.
Antiquities Road Show Busts Its Way to UT
In October of 2018, Austin-based antiques dealer Laura Young purchased a marble bust at Goodwill for $34.99. Suspecting that the sculpture might be a much greater find, Young reached out to The University of Texas at Austin professors Rabun Taylor (Classics), Stephennie Mulder (Art & Art History), and Penelope Davies (Art & Art History), to understand more about the piece. As it turns out, the artifact was indeed a find dating to ancient Rome, approximately the late first century B.C. or early first century A.D.
Teaching Brazilian Portuguese to the World
It is not a stretch to say that Orlando Kelm, an associate professor of Spanish and Portuguese at The University of Texas at Austin, is one of the most popular teachers of Brazilian Portuguese in the world. This is thanks to Brazilpod, a collection of podcasts, videos, transcripts, and blogs on Brazilian Portuguese that Kelm and his colleagues have been producing over the past two decades.