Recent work by Karen L. King, the Hollis Professor of Divinity at Harvard Divinity School, has made waves in the field of New Testament and Early Christianity studies by focusing on previously unknown, ancient Christian texts that challenge many long-held beliefs, including the question of Jesus?s marital status. Among other works in DASH, Professor King’s “The Place of the Gospel of Philip in the Context of Early Christian Claims about Jesus?s Marital Status” featured in New Testament Studies investigates themes of marriage within the early Christian text the Gospel of Philip. She argues that the Gospel “introduces a rich set of images into the arena of Christian ritual or sacramental theology by referring to Christian initiation as entrance into the bridal chamber… modeled paradigmatically in Jesus? marriage to Mary Magdalene.” Of interest to historians and ethicists alike, her analysis uncovers rich layers of meaning that encourages the rethinking of norms ascribed to gender and sexuality in Christianity.
A supporter of Open Access at Harvard, Professor King’s work has been downloaded nearly 3,000 times since mid-2012. Find her featured article and more in DASH, including the widely recognized ““Jesus said to them, ‘My wife …’”: A New Coptic Papyrus Fragment“ (2014).
Many people, drawn in by attractive displays and subtle lighting, are swayed to purchase home goods from IKEA, only to become frustrated by the assembly process. But what if the assembly process causes us to value and find greater satisfaction in the final product? This question, and broader questions surrounding the psychology of investment, forms one pillar of scholarship by Michael I. Norton, Associate Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. In his article “The IKEA Effect: When Labor Leads to Love,” Norton, along with Daniel Mochon and Dan Ariely, discusses how self-created products can lead consumers to greater feelings of competence and value. In one experiment reported in the article, participants were asked to value (in the form of a monetary bid) an origami creature of their own making and one made by an expert. Creators were willing to bid much higher for their own creation over the arguably better product.
Professor Norton’s other work focuses on social norms regarding people’s behaviors and attitudes, an example of which was featured in a recent NYT article. Over 20 articles by Professor Norton are available in DASH.
Dr. Walter Willett, Chairman of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, was recently featured on a NPR segment regarding the effectiveness and health outcomes of low-fat diet fads in the 1990s. Experts at that time recommend diets low in fat to prevent heart disease, which led to people replacing fats with carbohydrates. Dr. Willett’s research countered the health benefits of a low-fat diet; Willett stated during the segment that “the high-carb, low-fat approach might not lead to fewer heart attacks and strokes.” Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, an epidemiologist from the Harvard Medical School, also weighed in during the segment: “The thinking that it’s OK to swap saturated fats for these refined carbs ‘has not been useful advice.’”
DASH contains more than 40 works by Dr. Willett, starting with his 1995 article “Diet, nutrition, and avoidable cancer” and by Dr. Mozaffarian, an example being his 2013 article “Do healthier foods and diet patterns cost more than less healthy options? A systematic review and meta-analysis.”
“In many countries, polling day ends with disputes about ballot-box fraud, corruption, and flawed registers. Which claims are legitimate? And which are false complaints from sore losers?” These are the questions asked by Pippa Norris, Director of The Electoral Integrity Project and McGuire Lecturer in Comparative Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, and her co-authors Richard W. Frank and Ferran Martinez i Coma in The Year in Elections, 2013: The World’s Flawed and Failed Contests. This report “aims to evaluate the quality of elections held around the world,” and covers 73 national parliamentary and presidential contests in 66 countries over 18 months (from July 2012 to the end of 2013). One striking highlight of this report is that “the United States ranks 26th out of 73 elections worldwide, the lowest score among Western nations.”
The Electoral Integrity Project’s The Year in Elections, 2013: The World’s Flawed and Failed Contests is openly available in DASH.
Open Access (MIT Press, 2012) by Peter Suber, Director of the Harvard Office for Scholarly Communication and Harvard Open Access Project, has been named an Outstanding Academic Title for 2013 by Choice. Published by the American Library Association, Choice is read by over 22,000 librarians and scholars who make collection development and scholarly research decisions for academic libraries. The designation of Outstanding Academic Titles recognizes works that show importance within a discipline, originality or uniqueness, and overall excellence in presentation and scholarship. In his preface to Open Access, Suber describes his book as “a succinct introduction to the basics, long enough to cover the major topics in reasonable detail and short enough for busy people to read.”
Peter Suber’s book, Open Access, is openly available in DASH. Suber’s home page for the book includes updates and supplements as well as links to reviews, translations, and open-access editions: http://bit.ly/oa-book.
In a recent New York Times article, published December 22, 2013, Samuel Mehr, a doctoral candidate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, summarized his recent work on the cognitive benefits of music education. “Does music make you smarter?” he asks. Mehr, along with his colleagues conducted two new randomized trials with preschoolers and parents at Harvard’s Laboratory for Developmental Studies. Their conclusion? “We found no evidence that a brief series of parent-child music classes improved preschoolers’ cognitive skills,” states Mehr. However, Mehr goes on to say that “even if future studies fail to support the existence of music’s cognitive benefits, this should not deter parents from providing their children with music lessons.”
Samuel Mehr’s paper (written with Adena Schachner, Rachel Katz, and Elizabeth Spelke) “Two Randomized Trials Provide No Consistent Evidence for Nonmusical Cognitive Benefits of Brief Preschool Music Enrichment” is available in DASH.
Photo by Gerry Szymanski
In a paper given at the 2013 conference of the Digital Islamic Humanities Project, Harvard professor Afsaneh Najmabadi outlines the disciplinary and theoretical considerations of establishing a multi-genre digital archive to document a historically underrepresented group in established archives: women of Iran’s Qajar dynasty (1796-1925). The Women’s Worlds in Qajar Iran is a digital repository that, as of April 2013, provides access to 33,000 images, 43 private family collections, and ten institutional collections. Professor Najmabadi, Principal Investigator on this project, emphasizes the scholastic advantages of “pull[ing] together disparate archival threads” by gathering personal and family objects, photographs, and oral histories on a digital platform. “[This] has produced a fabric that is not simply the sum total of the separate threads. The resulting fabric generates connections that facilitate doing richer histories,” states Najmabadi.
Professor Najmabadi’s paper, “Making (Up) an Archive: What Could Writing History Look Like in a Digital Age?” is available in DASH.