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Humanities Research Seminar

2017-2018 Seminar

A Collective Understanding or a Disparate Idea? A Transdisciplinary Investigation of Evidence and Its Use

Evidence is a cornerstone of academic research and has application across multiple, if not most, disciplines.  Additionally, governments, corporations, NGOs and other organizations harness evidence to identify emerging trends, inform decision-making, and, ultimately, justify actions.

Every academic discipline has its own definition and standard of evidence.  From law to political science, history to math, geography to geology, scholars universally recognize the importance of evidence but often rely on widely different methodologies for acquiring, analyzing and disseminating evidence and other “empirical” metrics. Even within disciplines scholars frequently quarrel over the value of qualitative versus quantitative techniques, debates that ultimately center on the relative value of different types of evidence—ranging from contextual accounts of specific events to robust statistical databases. Indeed, many academic conferences devote entire sections or, at the very least, a handful of subset panels to addressing these pressing methodological questions.

In the 2017-18 Humanities Seminar, A Transdisciplinary Investigation of Evidence and Its Use, we are thrilled to bring together scholars from Bentley and beyond to explore a wide range of issues related to evidence and evaluation in both a theoretical manner as well as various applications.

The Humanities Seminar is proudly organized by the Valente Center with the support of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The organizing faculty fellow for the 2017-18 Valente Humanities Seminar is Sean McDonald, Associate Professor of Global Studies.