Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton Institute for the Interdisciplinary Humanities

2014 Theme: New Media, New Knowledge: Technology and the Humanities

Wheaton LEAPS:
Liberal Education and Professional Success

Tuesday, April 8 @ 5:00pmEllison Lecture (Watson 102)
Reception to follow in the Haas Concourse

A liberal arts education prepares students for professional success in numerous ways, but the leap from being a full-time college student to a college grad looking to begin your career can be daunting.  One way to make it less so is to keep in mind that in addition to emphasizing the value of active, lifelong learning, a liberal arts education also provides you with the critical, creative and computational thinking skills that will enable you to achieve your academic and professional goals.

The WIIH and the Film and New Media Studies program are pleased to co-sponsor Wheaton LEAPS, a program about the connection between Liberal Education and Professional Success.  This is the first of what we hope will be an annual panel discussion and Q&A session designed to provide an opportunity for current and former Wheaton students to talk about the transition from life as a student to life as a young professional.

In keeping with this year's WIIH theme – "New Media, New Knowledge: Technology and the Humanities" – the inaugural Wheaton LEAPS event will feature three alumnae/i with careers in new media . They will discuss what role their Wheaton education played in their professional path thus far, and will share their sense of what kinds of skills and knowledge are especially important for anyone hoping to find work in any aspect of digital culture or the creative industries (film, television, music, publishing, journalism, marketing and advertising, etc.).



Rachel Bowie ('04)
Associate Editor of Digital Editions at Good Housekeeping


Lisa Madison ('05)
Owner and co-founder of StoryKeep


David McKinley ('93)
Chief Technology Officer at Oomph, Inc.


Polar Opposites? Artistic and Scientific Knowledge A conversation with Artist Jane Marsching and Geochemist Matthew Evans
Wednesday, March 195:00 p.m. in Ellison Lecture HallReception to follow in the Haas Concourse and the Beard & Weil GalleriesUsing their respective explorations of the earth’s poles, Marsching and Evans will share their research, methodologies, and outcomes to elucidate the similarities and the differences between an artist’s and a scientist’s quest for knowledge.Artist, Jane D. Marsching explores our past, present and future human impact on the environment through interdisciplinary and collaborative research-based practices.  Her project “Arctic Listening Post” explores climate change and sustainability through a multiplicity of voices that combine various materials such as film, photography, web-based production, and writing components.Associate Professor of Chemistry and Geology Matthew Evans is working on a NASA-funded study of the connections between recent ice sheet melt, sea ice decline and enhanced ocean biological productivity on the coast of Antarctica. With Wheaton students, he is searching for a historical precedent for the rapid changes that are occurring in Antarctica, Greenland, and elsewhere.Join us for a dynamic conversation between these two distinguished professionals, whose work involves data collection, visual translation, writing, interpretation, and so much more.This panel will be introduced and moderated by fellows from the Wheaton Institute for the Interdisciplinary Humanities.In conjunction with the exhibition “The Observant Eye," on view in the Beard & Weil Galleries through April 15.This event is co-sponsored by the Beard & Weil Galleries.This year’s WIIH events are made possible thanks to the generous support of the Office of the Provost; the Office of the President; the Evelyn Danzig Haas 39’ Visiting Artist Program; the Student Government Association; and the Women’s Studies Program.




Knowledge is neither timeless nor immutable. It is produced by and situated within particular contexts that themselves undergo complex and inevitable changes.  To understand this is, in a sense, to submit to two truths: First, the more knowledgeable we become, the more clearly we recognize that knowledge is not some singular, unified 'thing' that we can ever possess -- or even perceive -- in its entirety.  Second, although information might seem more valuable when only certain people have access to it, knowledge becomes more viable when it is open to and accessible by everyone. Bodies of knowledge are nourished by intellectual curiosity and creative innovation, and are strengthened by informed debate and critical inquiry.  Without these, bodies of knowledge do not live very long; they either obsolesce or, worse, become dogma.

Knowledge is held together by ideas and information, endowed with meaning through a variety of conceptual frameworks.  In this sense, knowledge is indissociable from the narratives that shape it.  And it is here that the academic disciplines comprising the humanities are of particular and enduring importance, for the humanities are centrally concerned with questions of meaning and representation.

From the printing press to the daguerreotype to the iPad, new information and communication technologies have had a tremendous impact on the humanities.  Equally true, though, is that humanistic inquiry has also influenced and enriched how we understand these technologies, as well as the practices, uses and values to which they give rise.

Of the many ways new and emergent technologies have affected the world, perhaps the most profound has been their role in transforming how ideas and information -- and thus, knowledge -- are created and disseminated. The paradigm of knowledge production that held sway throughout most of the 20th century was predominantly hierarchical.  The emerging paradigm of knowledge production is more collaborative, largely because new media technologies have weakened many key and long-standing dichotomies: expert/amateur, producer/consumer, author/reader.  As more people participate in the production and dissemination of ideas and information, the narratives through which these become knowledge proliferate. It is here that the humanities intervene, reasserting the need to recognize and to interrogate the mechanisms and processes that compose these narratives.

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