College of Arts and Letters

The Reinventing Civil Defense project is housed in the College of Arts and Letters (CAL) at the Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, New Jersey, USA (with the collaboration of the School of Engineering and Science). The Stevens Institute of Technology is an engineering school, founded in 1870, and sits on the top of Castle Rock Terrace, overlooking the Hudson River and New York City.

Aerial photograph of the Stevens Institute of Technology.
Aerial photograph of the Stevens Institute of Technology (buildings in the middle of the photograph), overlooking the Hudson River.

The College of Arts and Letters encompasses Stevens’ work in the humanities, social sciences, and the arts. It puts strong emphasis on interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary work and thinking, and many of its faculty work at the intersections of humanistic and technical topics. CAL’s Dean Kelland Thomas holds dual degrees in both music and computer science, as an example, and is equally comfortable as a researcher into artificial intelligence and as he is a talented jazz saxophonist.

CAL is small, with only around 50 faculty in the entire college covering a diverge range of research interests. This means that there is unusually close proximity between different disciplines: on one floor of our building, the offices down the hallway include historians of science, political scientists, a sociologist, psychologists, a medical anthropologist, and professors of creative writing and literature, among others. In another part of the building are musicians and sound engineers, visual artists, a digital sculptor, a video game developer, and philosophers.

The Reinventing Civil Defense project fits well within CAL, not only because two of its PIs are faculty there, but because it embodies the commitment to truly interdisciplinary research on complex questions that involve the intersection of significant social, humanistic, and technical components.