Someone new to the skeptical movement will immediately discover the large number of websites and discussions that are devoted to skepticism in science, and this is wonderful. It is important to realize, however, that the humanities also have scholarly standards that employ critical thinking and judgments based on the examination of evidence.
Skeptical Humanities explores areas of human experience such as art, philosophy, history, literature, rhetoric, aesthetics, literary criticism, pop culture studies, folklore, and cultural studies. By focusing on the fringes of these disciplines, we hope to introduce mainstream research in the humanities to the public. In doing so, we hope to build a community of scholars that is willing to document the process of researching in the humanities.
ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS
Bob Blaskiewicz received his Ph.D in English from Saint Louis University. He specializes in twentieth-century American literature and culture, and wrote his dissertation on the fiction and memoirs of American combat veterans of the Second World War. He is a Brittain Postdoctoral Fellow in the Writing and Communication Program at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, where he teaches writing and communication classes that take extraordinary claims as their subject. His most recent classes include Science and Pseudoscience, American Conspiracy Theories, and Writing about World War II in Film and Literature (Spring 2011). He is currently the Chair of the Steering Committee for the Atlanta chapter of the Independent Investigations Group (IIG-Atlanta), a research group and public resource for information about the paranormal and extraordinary. IIG-Atlanta also has a standing $50,000 challenge for anyone who can provide evidence demonstrating the existence of the paranormal, occult, or supernatural under properly controlled conditions. But he really wants to direct.
Eve Siebert has a Ph.D. in English literature from Saint Louis University. Her primary concentration is in Old and Middle English literature, with secondary concentrations in Old Norse and Shakespeare. Her dissertation focuses on a group of didactic poems in Old and Middle English in which a damned soul berates its body for its bad behavior in life and gloats over its putrefaction in death. She painstakingly inscribes all of her posts on vellum with a quill; she has no idea how they get into the “electric devil box.”
Mark Newbrook was born and brought up in Wirral near Liverpool in North-West England, where he now lives again. He completed a BA (Honours) in Classics at Corpus Christi College, Oxford and went on to take an MA and a PhD in linguistics at the University of Reading, specialising in variationist historical dialectology and associated attitudinal matters. Subsequently he spent many years as a lecturer (professor) and researcher in linguistics in Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia. While in Australia, Mark combined his professional activities with his broad based interest in skepticism to become one of the few ‘skeptical linguists’ around; he was linguistics consultant to Australian Skeptics and now occupies similar roles in the equivalent British organisations. He has authored several books and many articles and reviews on various aspects of linguistics; and he has recently completed the first-ever general skeptical survey work on fringe linguistics (forthcoming).
Jenna Marie Griffith is a graduate student in the Department of Visual Studies at the University at Buffalo (SUNY). Her research explores the intersection of fin-de-siècle visual culture and gender studies with scientific and psychological theories. She has a strong interest in nude and erotic painting, photography and film and evolutionary biology and psychology. Yes, together. Jenna teaches courses in Western art history and theory, has been published in gallery catalogs and graduate journals, appeared at Dragon*Con’s Skeptrack and hunted El Chupacabra in Puerto Rico. Jenna enjoys visiting art galleries by herself to contemplate the myriad disparate lives inside and outside the frames when not pursuing the perfect cupcake.
The “Shakespearean Facepalm” logo was designed by our friend Akhenaten, who you could say is awesome.