A Conversation at U.C. Santa Cruz

One of the great things about UC Santa Cruz is its reputation as an innovative liberal arts institution — and while developing our Academic Literacy Curriculum, a few of its designers and teachers decided we wanted to learn more about the liberal arts — what is a liberal arts education exactly? Does it just mean “broad learning” or “the freedom to ask big questions” while pursuing your course of study?

To help answer these questions I called up seven members of the UC Santa Cruz community, asked them all about the unique ways that…


Before the end of 2026, a new major sub-discipline, that intersects statistics and perception science, will have emerged involving the gulf between two kinds of perception: the first being what we normally consider intuitive perception of experiences, and the second being how we perceive those same experiences in terms of quantitative measurements. The new take: rather than them as an automatic push from “subjectivity” to “objectivity”, we’ll recognize them as divergent perceptions that are vulnerable to similar kinds of distortion.

Now that I’m writing this, I’m recalling useful arguments to this effect in Gilles Deleuze’s “Difference and Repetition” (1969) and…


by Albert Martinez

“We name the hated strangers and thus are confirmed in the tribe” (60) Ta-Nehisi Coates Between the World and Me

I made this painting of Alan Turing to spread the message that we should not judge someone nor their work by their background. We see this with the LGBTQ+ community, but also within other communities such as women, POC, and almost any other community that is seen as different in America/the world. Had Turing been alive today he would have gotten more work done because the LGBTQIA+ laws today are more relaxed.

Alan Turing, who helped break…


To submit a story:

  1. Make a Medium post (you will need an account — easy to sign-up with your ucsc.edu address). Once you have an account, click on your account icon in the upper right hand corner, and select “Write a Story” from that menu. Then you’ll be asked to write a title and start adding text, links, and images, to present and describe your work on a final project.

You can save your work, and return to edit it later.

Hermit Thrush at Kresge College (Ben Carson 2020)

— You can also publish your work at this stage if you want others — including your collaborators —…


Self Portrait by Tommaso Minardi (1807)

A student group in the Arts Division at the university where I teach asked faculty to comment on what we did to survive if we’d ever gone through periods of unemployment. I have, but these words are based on others’ strategies, too—things I gleaned while borrowing and lending and sharing resources with artists who had less parental support than I had.

First, though: if you’re a student, or a recent graduate, and you aren’t making ends meet, don’t Romanticize the struggle. Poverty is harmful, and the damage can accumulate. …


I first saw the mansplaining flowchart in a post by a colleague of mine — let’s call her Judith.

Am I mansplaining? By Kim Goodwin. 29 July 2020.

She’s an effective and highly respected labor organizer. Judith also reflected on personal experience, adding that women sometimes mansplain too.

A commenter — let’s call her Karen — disagreed, with a learned-sounding rebuttal. Some good stuff about structural patriarchy. But it escalated to a groan of ridicule— “… women can mansplain? That’s like saying black people can be racist.”

Judith—not wanting a pissing contest—replied “whatever.” Then I think someone posted one of those memes with Michael Jackson eating popcorn.


Dear Students at Kresge and Oakes Colleges,

Last week we learned that graduate students at UCSC will begin a strike this week to improve their compensation and working conditions. The strike started today, Monday, February 10th, and the strikers have not set an end date. This follows a grade strike that began at the end of Fall quarter. Both strikes were initiated independently of their union representation, in part because the union representing graduate students is bound by a contract affecting all UC System campuses. The concerns of our graduate students on this campus are specific to the cost-of-living issues…


I seem to have a lot of white friends who don’t think it’s necessarily a problem if the only viable candidates in the primaries are white. Identity politics is not the most important politics, they say, as long as we get a progressive leader who can fight for all of us. They also point out that it’s hard to get good representation when the stage has narrowed to just a few names.

But this is not just a problem of statistics. The current state of this election strikes at the heart of what is meant by “progressive.” We no longer…


[ Let’s think for just a bit on how the dem front-runners figure

In soundbytes, not debates — without their statements, just the stickers.

Paired up, I mean. But not in polls…just names — the way they’re uttered.

A president and sidekick, boldface-logo-style, uncluttered: ]

Klobuchar-O’Rourke has got a certain banker’s weight to it.

Castro-de Blasio wouldn’t work, but the ring is really great to it.

Combining Biden-Buttigieg sounds stiff, and sort-of stoic.

What show-tunes Gabbard and Williamson’d pen! …if they weren’t so homophobic.

Could Sanders run as Warren’s pick? Redundant vowel by vowel?

And Hickenlooper-Bullock — yeah — should just throw in the towel.

Bennet-Delaney rolls off the tongue, but the aftertaste is funny.

For a tough-on-crime police-state? Harris-Ryan 2020.

Now this sounds cool: “Vote Booker-Yang!”, but how could Trump withstand

The basket of deplorables who’d go for Inslee-Gillibrand?


Kresge Class of 2019, I want to thank you. On behalf of your faculty, I want you to know how grateful we are for the small part you allowed us to play, as you lived this education into existence. As faculty we owe our standing in the world to your choice: and the choices you make every day to fulfill Kresge’s unique vision… an interweaving of research and critical thinking with the everyday challenges of deep community. In other words, a dialogue of life and learning. And we know that at Kresge, they are interdependent.

You know that this learning…

Ben Leeds Carson

Data-driven piano music. Post-secondary public education. Post-primary public wellness. Mindlessness therapy. <http://benleedscarson.com/>

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