Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak wins Provost’s Interdisciplinary Teaching Award
ICLS founder Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and Michael Harris, Mathematics, were awarded the Provost Interdisciplinary Teaching Awards (ITA) for their course, Mathematics and the Humanities: An Interdisciplinary Innovation.
[Quoted from their course description:]
This is an unusually innovative course, being taught by two senior faculty members who are theorists and practitioners in disciplines as different as mathematics and literary criticism. The instructors believe that in today’s world, the different ways in which theoretical mathematics and literary criticism mold the imaginations of students and scholars, should be integrated, so that the robust ethical imagination that is needed to combat the disintegration of our world can be produced. The texts have been drawn very broadly, and, except for the length of novels, the reading is no more than 100 pages a week. We will consider questions such as the parallels and differences between literary writing and mathematical writing, and the survival skills of the logicist school over against the Foundational Crisis of the early 20th century. Through a reading of such philosophers as Wittgenstein, we will ask: Are mathematical objects real? Or are they linguistic conventions? We will consider literary representations of mathematics. We will close with two classes where faculty persons from English and Biology will teach with us to help students and instructors understand the role of the digital imagination in the humanities: Can mathematics be written by machines?; and the play of a mathematical imagination in Christine Brooke Rose’s massive novel Subscript.