Faculty

How an Alternate Reality Game Helped Build Community During the Pandemic

Patrick Jagoda

Interactive media has proven itself to be one of the most powerful forces in today’s world. A group of artists, designers and technicians at the University of Chicago is pushing the boundaries of how this new media can be used to build community and shape our interactions.

This spring, a team of scholars affiliated with the Weston Game Lab and the College developed and presented A Labyrinth, an alternate reality game that utilized the UChicago campus as the playspace for a series of interactive quests. Responding to the need for community as Spring Quarter classes and activities moved online in response to COVID-19, this initiative asks big questions about the future of the arts and media.

How do we relate to each other in this new world? How do we spend time together? How can we help fill the gap left by in-person interaction—and what new ways of interaction can we devise?

Op-Ed: Bias Against African American English Speakers Is a Pillar of Systemic Racism

Sharese King, assistant professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Chicago

In the national conversation taking place about systemic racism in the United States, one important element should not be overlooked: linguistic prejudice.

African American English, like other dialects used in the U.S., is a legitimate form of speech with a deep history and culture. Yet centuries of bias against speakers of AAE continue to have profound effects on employment, education, the criminal system and social mobility. To attack systemic racism, we have to confront this prejudice.

Of course, some of the greatest examples of American oratory and literature have roots in AAE, also known as African American Vernacular English. The works of Zora Neale Hurston and Toni Morrison are infused with AAE. Its significance cannot be understated when examining the speeches of orators like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and President Obama. 

Three Division of the Humanities Faculty Receive Named, Distinguished Service Professorships

Frances Ferguson

Thirteen University of Chicago faculty members have received named professorships or have been appointed distinguished service professors.

Profs. Clifford Ando, John Birge, Frances Ferguson, Vinay Kumar, Ka Yee C. Lee and Linda Waite received distinguished service professorships, while Profs. Neil Brenner, Junhong Chen, Scott Eggener, Timothy Harrison, Eric Pamer, Mercedes Pascual and Brook Ziporyn received named professorships.

The Berlins Endow New Chair for Assistant Professor in English Language and Literature

Timothy Harrison

Compelled to make the humanities relevant to UChicago students’ lives, Timothy Harrison focuses on creating and nurturing an intellectual community—within and outside the classroom. For his scholarship and his engagement with students, Harrison received the inaugural Chair for the Randy L. and Melvin R. Berlin Assistant Professor of Renaissance and Early Modern English Literature: Masterpieces from 1500–1700.

“By every measure of scholarship, pedagogy, collegiality, service, and impact, Tim is worthy of this named professorship,” said Anne Walters Robertson, Dean of the Division of the Humanities and the Claire Dux Swift Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Music. “He brings great distinction to the Division of the Humanities, and I am delighted that we now have this public recognition of his accomplishments.”

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