Duke University Linguistics Program

    Cathy N. Davidson
  • Cathy N. Davidson

  • John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies and Ruth F. Devarney Professor of English
  • English
  • Room B196, Bay 5
  • Campus Box 90403
  • Phone: (919) 684-8471
  • Homepage
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Overview

    Recently appointed by President Obama to the National Council on the Humanities, Cathy N. Davidson has published more than twenty books, most recently Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn (Viking Penguin 2011) and The Future of Thinking: Learning Institutions in a Digital Age (with David Theo Goldberg , MIT Press 2010). Cathy Davidson co-directs the Ph.D. Lab in Digital Knowledge and holds two distinguished chairs (Ruth F. DeVarney Professor of English and the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies). She served as Duke’s first Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies and helped to create the Program in Information Science + Information Studies and the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience. She is a cofounder of the global learning network HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Advanced Collaboratory), with over 10,000 members. HASTAC administers the annual $2 million HASTAC/MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning Competitions and has awarded and mentored some 150 Connected Learning projects in over twenty countries. A past president of the American Studies Association and former editor of American Literature, Davidson served for eight years Duke University's first Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies where she helped to create numerous programs that spanned the campus, including the Program in Information Science + Information Studies, the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, and the John Hope Franklin Center for International and Interdisciplinary Studies. Cathy Davidson has won many awards and prizes as an author and educator. Now You See It: How Technology and Brain Science Will Transform Schools and Business for the 21st Century (Viking, 2011) was named a "top 10 science book" of the year by Publisher's Weekly, and, since its publication, Davidson has given more than eighty presentations and workshops on its core message about new modes of attention, learning, and in Canada, Australia, the UK, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Thailand. A frequent speaker and consultant on institutional change at universities, schools, corporations, science and technology centers, and non-profits around the world, she writes for Harvard Business Review, Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Washington Post, Times Higher Ed, and many other publications in the U.S. and abroad. In July 2012, she was named the first educator on the six-person Board of Directors of the Mozilla Foundation. In October 2012, she and HASTAC cofounder David Theo Goldberg received the Educator of the Year award from the World Technology Network in recognition of their "visionary contribution to science and technology in education." Davidson blogs three or four times a week on learning, technology, collaboration, and other topics. She is currently working on a book on higher education reform and another on the philosophical, historical,psychological, aesthetic, narrative, and political ramifications of the open architecture (and other affordances) of the Internet and the World Wide Web.
  • Specialties

    • Science and Literature
    • Critical Theory
    • Other
  • Research Summary

    New Media, History of Technology, American Literature
  • Research Description

    Cathy Davidson has published numerous books, including Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn (Viking, 2011); The Future of Thinking: Learning Institutions in a Digital Age (with David Theo Goldberg, MIT Press, 2010) ; Revolution and the Word: The Rise of the Novel in America (Oxford, 1986; Expanded Edition 2004), Reading in America: Literature and Social History (Hopkins, 1989), The Book of Love: Writers and Their Love Letters (Pocket/Simon and Schuster, 1992), Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji: On Finding Myself in Japan (Dutton/Penguin, 1993; New Edition with Afterword, 2006, Duke U Press), and, with Linda Wagner-Martin, The Oxford Companion to Women's Writing in the United States (1995) and The Oxford Book of Women's Writing in the United States (1995). In collaboration with documentary photographer Bill Bamberger, she also wrote Closing: The Life and Death of an American Factory (Norton, 1998). She is General Editor of the Oxford University Press Early American Women Writers series, past President of the American Studies Association, and past editor of American Literature. She was Duke University (and the nation's) first Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies from 1999-2006, and is co-founder of the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke. She is also the co-founder of HASTAC ("haystack"), the Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory, an 8000+ network of digital visionaries committed to new forms of learning and education. She serves on the Board of Advisors to the John D. and Catherine MacArthur Foundation "Digital Media and Learning" initiative. Her current research interests include Olaudah Equiano and the controversy over origins, a MacArthur Foundation monograph and collaborative online publication on "The Future of Learning Institutions in a Digital Age" (with David Theo Goldberg), and a study of the culture and neurobiology of "knowing" and attention. With Goldberg, Davidson is co-PI of the HASTAC/MacArthur Digital Media and Learning Competition. She is also the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies. President Barack Obama nominated her for a six-year term on the National Council on the Humanities, which began in July 2011, after confirmation by the U. S. Senate.
  • Education

      • Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters,
      • Northwestern University,
      • 2005
      • Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters,
      • Elmhurst College,
      • 1989
      • Postdoctoral study,
      • Linguistics and literary theory,
      • The University of Chicago,
      • 1975
      • Ph.D.,
      • English,
      • State University of New York at Binghamton,
      • 1974
      • M.A.,
      • English,
      • State University of New York at Binghamton,
      • 1973
      • B.A.,
      • Philosophy and English,
      • Elmhurst College,
      • 1970
  • Recent Publications

      • Davidson.
      • "Why Education Demands a Paradigm Shift."
      • Public Culture
      • (2013)
      • .
      • C.N. Davidson.
      • "“Changing Higher Education to Change the World,” Series of 8 Articles,."
      • Fast Company
      • (Spring-Fall 2012)
      • .
      • C.N. Davidson.
      • "“Strangers on a Train: A Chance Encounter Provides a Lesson in Complicity and the Never- Ending Crisis in the Humanities,."
      • Academe: Magazine of the American Association of University Professors
      • ((September 2011).)
      • .
      • C.N. Davidson.
      • "“Humanities and Technology in the Information Age,”."
      • The Oxford Handbook of Interdisciplinarity..
      • Ed. Edited by Robert Frodeman, Julie Thompson Klein and Carl Mitcha.
      • 2013.
      • C.N. Davidson.
      • Now You See It: How Technology and Brain Science Will Transform Schools and Business in the 21st Century (Penguin Paperback, 2012).
      • 2012.
  • View All Publications
  • Postdoctoral Students

    • David Sparks
      • 2013 - present
    • Patrick Jagoda
      • 2009 - present
  • PhD Students

  • Teaching

    • ISIS 640.01
      • HISTORY/FUTURE HIGHER EDUCATIO
      • Smith C106
      • W 03:20 PM-05:20 PM