Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All
Sunday, November 01, 2015
Observations While Grading HU-mon Papers
I've been grading papers for a few days, with much more to come, I'm afraid. The paper deadline for both my courses was the same, and so it has been an avalanche. I grade very slowly, not punitively, I hope, but papers tend to bleed commenter's ink by the time I'm through. I do like the occasion a paper provides to really find my way inside a person's thinking process, and I like to respond in kind with comments that feel conversational and encouraging rather than interrogative. An odd thing I've noticed in this batch I'm grading now that I cannot say I remember seeing before is that several students have been using the word "human" where before they might have used "individual," "person," or "character" in their argumentative readings... "Humans respond defensively to such attacks," "she expressed her need for support as a human," "human cultures are always changing," that sort of thing. Is this generational cohort tapping into a newly flourishing vein of humanism or specifying human personhood out of an aborning awareness of nonhuman personhood? I'm not sure, but the truth is the references feel oddly clinical and alienated to me -- but maybe that's just me being a clueless Old about it. For all I know this is just some meaningless fluke anyway. Are there any other teachers among my readers noticing this quirk lately? I must admit, the moment I see it I find myself reading these papers to myself in a Ferengi accent.