The Matter of Facts

Wednesday, January 24, 2018 at 10:00am to 12:00pm

Building 1, 242
33 MASSACHUSETTS AVE, Cambridge, MA 02139

Karen Boiko

Sign-up by 01/23
Limited to 30 participants

In this troubling time of truthiness, alternative facts and “fake news,” how might we as instructors steer the conversation in a direction more congruent with our training and values? Do facts look the same in Biology and History? In Electrical Engineering, Economics and Women’s Studies? How do we, as instructors value facts? How do we, or might we, make this valuing explicit in our teaching? Do we talk about truth or limit ourselves to “data,” as so many students seem to want to do?

Participants in this workshop will start by considering Jill Lepore’s New Yorker essay “After the Fact,” which historicizes the concept of the fact, and relates it to the concepts of truth and data. Discussion will then move into the questions of how we recognize facts in our disciplines, and what their value is. We will end by considering how we might engage students more explicitly on this topic as well as identifying ways we already do so.

This workshop is intended for faculty, instructors, and TAs in all disciplines.

Sponsor(s): Comparative Media Studies/Writing, Writing, Rhetoric, and Professional Communication
Contact: Karen Boiko,

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