The Approval Matrix

Name: Lisa Cassidy

Discipline: Literature

Course(s): Bioethics (PHIL 328), Spring 2020

DH Tools: WordPress

New York Magazine has featured its “Approval Matrix” on its back pages for years, and it has become a treasured part of the magazine.  For a sample, see here:

This history of the Approval Matrix was documented by Myles Tanzer in 2014:

The Approval Matrix marks the week’s cultural doings in a Cartesian plane, from highbrow to lowbrow, and from despicable to brilliant. 

My class:  PHIL 328 Bioethics is an exploration of biotechnology, medicine, and ethical theory.  We consider foundational ethical theories, life’s beginnings, life, and life’s ending in the four units of the course.

The project: Using WordPress, we will recreate the Approval Matrix for each of our units (replacing highbrow and lowbrow with hightech and lowtech).  Students would add events in the news (e.g., mandatory measles vaccines) to the Matrix that link up to their own individual (or maybe group?) blog entries (for summary of the news event, references, personal opinions, etc.). 

Students will also use the website to post abstracts from their research papers. 

By the end of term, students should have 4 Approval Matrix entries with related blog posts and their research paper abstract.