Chad Wellmon


Chad Wellmon is professor of German studies and history at the University of Virginia and author of several books including Organizing Enlightenment: Information Overload and the Invention of the Modern Research University and The Rise of the Research University: A Sourcebook, which he co-edited with Louis Menand and Paul Reitter.

The Limits of Expertise

from The Meaning of Cities, Volume 19, Number 2

A lack of such modesty among experts may partly explain why many Americans no longer trust their institutions.

Whatever Happened to General Education?

from The Post-Modern Self, Volume 19, Number 1

Given its history and the continued strength of its ideals, the university may be the institution best equipped to sustain such an experiment in pluralism and democratic discourse.

The Invention of Philosophy

from The Post-Modern Self, Volume 19, Number 1

The many books and articles devoted to establishing (or attacking) Kant exemplified a genre that exploded around 1800 in Germany.

Better Living Through Bibliotherapy

from Meritocracy and its Discontents, Volume 18, Number 2

Majoring in English, the sales pitch now goes, will help you craft your soul.

Sacred Reading

from Re-enchantment, Volume 17, Number 3

With the rise of humanism and modern critical scholarly practices in subsequent centuries, texts began to be treated as material objects to be fixed and plumbed for meaning.

Uneasy in Digital Zion

from Too Much Information, Volume 17, Number 1

Confusion about our digital technologies and their use is not limited to the masters of Silicon Valley.

Knowledge, Virtue, and the Research University

from The American Dream, Volume 15, Number 2

Training in objective, scholarly techniques would produce particular types of ethical subjects.

More Than a Historical Accident

from The Shifting Experience of Self, Volume 13, Number 1

Whatever their differences, these accounts of a university in crisis shine a bright light on the system that manages the relationship of the university to the broader culture.

Silicon Valley’s Survivalists

The disruptors and innovators promise a future that they have no intention of sharing.

Infernal Machine Collective Manifesto: On the Occasion of the Inauguration

On this inauguration day, we dedicate this platform to finding those positions, to develop the techniques, to find the pressure-points in our media and rhetoric to make sense of our new conditions, technological and political, and to articulate commonalities and goals.

Media Are Elemental: Marvelous Clouds

Welcome to our new blog series: “Media Are Elemental.”

79 Theses on Technology: On Attention

If we conceive of attention as simply the activity of a willful agent, we foreclose the possibility of being arrested or brought to attention by something fully outside ourselves. We foreclose, for example,the possibility of an ecstatic attention and the possibility that we can be brought to attention by a particular thing beyond our will, a source beyond our own purposeful, willful action.

79 Theses on Technology. For Disputation.

Alan Jacobs has written seventy-nine theses on technology for disputation. A disputation is an old technology, a formal technique of debate and argument that took shape in medieval universities in Paris, Bologna, and Oxford in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. In its most general form, a disputation consisted of a thesis, a counter thesis, and a string of arguments, usually buttressed by citations of Aristotle, Augustine, or the Bible.

The Thin Reed of Humanism

It's at the margins of our established ways of engaging our world and ourselves that new ways of seeing and imagining what it is to be human so often emerge.

Compared to What?

What debates and research about the effects of digital technologies on our lives so often lack is historical perspective.

"Where's the Betterness?"

A lot of our society's overblown technophilia goes on fulsome display at Austin's annual gathering of the hip and innovative, South by Southwest Interactive. Jacob Silverman, an independent writer, travelled to the 2013 festival to cover it for the fiercely contrarian review, The Baffler.