Wednesday, December 17, 2014

David McRaney on the Stereotype Threat - Another Way in Which We Are Not So Smart

David McRaney's book You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You’re Deluding Yourself presents phenomena which, in our modern view of the supremacy of reason and free will, should not impact humans' behavior. One is the stereotype threat (Chapter 42, pp. 232-3):

"Psychologists Claude Steele and Joshua Aronson conducted a study in 1995 where they had white and black Americans take the Graduate Record Examination. The GRE is a standardized test usd by many colleges to determine whether or not to accept graduate students. ... Steel and Aronson told half of their subjects they were testing for intelligence, which they hypothesized would add an extra level of stress the other half wouldn't feel. When they got back the results, the white students performed about the same whether or not they were told it was a test of how smart they were. The black students, though, primed by the strereotype threat, performed worse in the group who believed the test would reveal their true intelligence. According to Steel and Aronson, the social stigma of being an African-American messed with their minds. Attempting to fight the stereotype, they had unwelcome thoughts walking around and making noise in their brains while they solved word problems and figured fractions. The white students, free from those fears, had more mind space in which to work. This same sort of experiment has been repeated with gender, nationality, and all sorts of conditions. Psychologists call it the stereotype threat. When you fear you will confirm a negative stereotype, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy not because the stereotype is true, but because you can't stop worrying that you could become an example proving it."

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Play Dramatizes Israeli Soldiers' Testimonies of Atrocities of Occupation

"It's What We Do" attempts to bring reality of Israeli soldiers' testimonies to US audiences.
Josh Ruebner of US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation recommended this project. Please consider supporting it.
Pam Nice is involved in the project.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Review: The Imperial University: Academic Repression and Scholarly Dissent by Piya Chatterjee and Sunain Maira (eds)

Bill V. Mullen reviewed The Imperial University: Academic Repression and Scholarly Dissent, edited by Piya Chatterjee and Sunain Maira, and published by the University of Minnesota Press in 2014.
[T]his is, far and away, the most affecting, comprehensive, and visionary collection of essays published to date on the politics of contemporary higher education. The book memorably sketches out what Raymond Williams called the “structure of feeling” in today’s university: the lived experience of ideological contestation, economic restructuring, professional vulnerability, political imagining, and political foreclosure. In this achievement, The Imperial University is sui generis: it should be bookmarked by historians of neoliberal higher education and used as a brick by those seeking to build an invigorated academic Left. ... read more ...
One of the essays in this volume is by Steven Salaita. Bill Mullen has written in defense of Steven Salaita.
I have not read the book.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Review: An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine

Julie Kearney wrote a review of An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine

Rosecrans Baldwin also did a review for NPR.
I have not yet read the book.

Free (English) eBooks from Yatakhayyaloon - Arabic Language Science Fiction - Nov 15 & 16 Only

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Review: Aisha: The Wife, the Companion, the Scholar by Reşit Haylamaz

Amanda Quraishi reviewed Aisha: The Wife, the Companion, the Scholar by Reşit Haylamaz. It's not clear to me if the author wrote the book in English or Turkish, his native tongue, and then somebody translated it.

I have not read the book.

The publisher is Tughra Books.

Updated December 4, 2014: