Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Teaching Great Women in Humanities & Science

Google Doodle Hannah Arendt's 108th Birthday

Today, 14th October, marks the birth dates of four great women of the 19th and 20 centuries: Hannah ArendtMiles Franklin, Katherine Mansfield and Ada Lovelace.
These four women have made a big impact on our cultural life and thought and continue to do so.

Google Doodle Stelle Maria Sarah Miles Franklin's 135th Birthday
Google celebrates today two of them : the 108th anniversary of Hannah Arendt and the 135th anniversary of Miles Franklin
Google on various countries changed doodleson 14 October to mark 108th Birthday of German American political theorist Hannah Arendt. 

In Google Australia homepage, search giant dedicated a doodle for writer Miles Franklin’s 135th Birthday.
Reading on the Internet I knew that there was two doodles celebrating great women writers. A Doodle of Miles Franklin was running on Google Australia. So I wanted to see it. 

From my desk in Portugal I opened a Google search window and found the Doodle of Hannah Arendt
The phrase ‘the banality of evil’ will be forever linked to Hannah Arendt’s name. 

Like Miles Franklin and Katherine Mansfield, Hannah Arendt lived through a horrific time in the world’s history, but Arendt was a target of violence unlike the two antipodean authors.

Some biographic notes:

Portrait of Franklin

  • Miles Franklin:

"Without an indigenous literature, people can remain alien in their own soil."
Miles Franklin
Miles Franklin, a Australian writer and feminist was born in Talbingo, New South Wales on 14 October 1879. Franklin was the eldest daughter of her parents. Brent of Bin Bin, Vernacular, Ogniblat are some other names in which the writer was known.
Novel "My Brilliant Career" is the most famous of Miles Franklin works. It was published in 1901. The Doodle of Franklin depicts image from this novel. Google logo alphabet is also included in doodle in a new style.
Miles Franklin’s, novel, has a unique place in Australia’s literary canon. This is extraordinary for a book written by a woman, first published in 1901, and coming from the pen of a twenty-one year old girl.

My Brilliant Career
Miles Franklin, 1st edition, 1901
My Brilliant Career was filmed in 1979 by Gillian Armstrong. Many theoretical adaptations and television shows also were out based on the novel. 
Other most famous work of Franklin are All that Swagger (1936) and My Carrer goes bungs (1946).

Combining with other writers, Franklin contributed to Australian literature through out her life.
Franklin spent some years in USA and England and returned to Australia where she died on 19 September at the age of 74 in the year 1954. 
After her death many schools and building were renamed to Miles Franklin’s name in her novel My Biggest Career got many awards. 

Portrait Hannah Arendt, 1944
credits: Fred Stein

  • Hannah Arendt:

Hannah Arendt, rather than knowing to be a philosopher, she rejected the label, saying that her work focused on the fact that "men, not Man, live on the earth and inhabit the world" as opposed to philosophy, which she felt focused on “man in the singular.” 

Google doodle Hannah Arendt 108th birthday

Google doodle for Arendt includes her image at center, sketched as if she is in preparation for work, holding a pen in one hand and paper in other hand.

Hannah Arendt is one of the best of 20th Century America’s imported political philosophers, historians, and brooders of contemporary society. Arendt was one of the most influential political writer of her time.

Johanna "Hannah" Arendt was born on 14 October 1906, in Germany. Arendt was born into a secular family of German Jews in Linden (present-day Hanover), she escaped Europe during the Holocaust and became an American citizen. She studied philosophy with Heidegger.

"Men in Dark Times
Hannah Arendt
Direct democracy, totalitarianism, modernity everything included in her works. "Men in Dark Times", "The Human Condition", "On Revolution, On Violence", "The Origins of Totalitarianism" are some of  her works which got great influence among people of the time.
"The Life of Mind", Arendt died before completing this work, posthumously, the book was published by her assistant.
She is best remembered for her book, The Human Condition, which explores the historical development of humanity.

Hannah Arendt
credits: Fred Stein
Hannah Arendt was part of man controversies due to content of her works. One of the main criticism Hannah Arendt faced was for her book Eichmann in Jerusalem published in year 1963. 

Eichmann in Jerusalem 
Hannah Arendt, 1st edition, 1963
"Arendt’s account of the trial of Adolf Eichmann, one of the chief architects of the Holocaust, continues to reverberate today. She sought to understand the darkness that led to the Holocaust by examining the person and the morals of one of its chief instigators and opposed the attempt to dismiss someone who committed such a crime against humanity as aberrant. It was the normality of Eichmann that was so disturbing noted Arendt."
Yvonne Perkins, researcher


In 2012 making the Eichmann trail as theme a film released in Europe named Hannah Arendt by . The movie and cast got many awards after the release.

Hannah Arendt died on December 4, 1975 at New York. She was recognized with Hannah Arendt Prize, every year. 

Many places, asteroids, building and schools are renamed to Hannah Arendt’s name in honor to her after the death. 

Google doodle celebrates the 108th Birthday of the political theorist. Honoring her makes Google users know her and her influence on the politics of the 20th century.

Arendt was an intellectual giant of the twentieth century. There are many articles about her work.


If you teach Philosophy, it will be an important author to introduce to your students to talk about philosophy and history of the second part of the 20th century

Google Doodle Katherine Mansfield 125th Birthday
Today is also  Katherine Mansfield and Ada Lovelace time to include them into school curricum, Literature and Sciences.
Google commemorated Katherine Mansfield with a doodle in 2013 for her 125th birthday. 

Kathleen Mansfield Murry, née Beauchamp in 14 October 1888. In 1917 she was diagnosed with extrapulmonary tuberculosis, which led to her death at the age of 34 in Fontainebleau, France, aged 34.

Katherine Mansfield, 1912

  • Katherine Mansfield:

She was a prominent New Zealand modernist short story writer who was born and brought up in colonial New Zealand and wrote under the pen name of Katherine Mansfield. 

At 19, Mansfield left New Zealand and settled in the United Kingdom, where she became a friend of modernist writers such as D.H. Lawrence and Virginia Woolf.

"She revolutionised the 20th Century English short story. Her best work shakes itself free of plots and endings and gives the story, for the first time, the expansiveness of the interior life, the poetry of feeling, the blurred edges of personality."

Katherine Mansfield
She had a short but productive life. She grew up in Wellington but lived most of her adult life in England where she moved in the same circles as D H Lawrence and Virginia Woolf. 
Katherine Mansfield’s work is regarded as a significant example of modernist literature. 
All three writers – Miles Franklin, Katherine Mansfield and Hannah Arendt – lived outside twentieth century notions of womanhood. 
"Their impact demonstrates that the words from a woman’s pen are just as important, vital and resonant as those from the plumes of men."

Ada Lovelace

Coincidentally today is also Ada Lovelace Day which recognises the considerable achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. 

On my blog, teachers can find interesting posts and resource about Ada Lovelace: Girls in Science (2012) and Ada Lovelace Day in Education : Girls & STEM (2013)


The discussion of new discoveries and a better understanding of the role of women in many different areas of study such as humanities or science, and how these ideas and findings can lead to new markets for humanities and science knowledge are important aims. 

"Through the work of humanities scholars, we learn about the values of different cultures, about what goes into making a work of art, about how history is made. Their efforts preserve the great accomplishments of the past, help us understand the world we live in, and give us tools to imagine the future."

Stanford University

Constantly evolving education at all ages and levels in our ever-changing world is crucial.

"A generation of motivated interdisciplinary young women who are critical thinkers capable of connecting theory and practice with proven experience in conceiving and managing innovative ideas and projects will serve as the backbone for the society of knowledge by integrating and reviving basic and developmental research as well as education at all levels."

The graduate school mentors are to guide the process by providing the appropriate background and filling the gaps where needed through a dialogue with the students rather than through frontal courses.

Girls and women are more and more proving in different situations at school and in business that they are equal to men in the intelligence and capacity.

This begins early in school where girls must be encouraged to access to humanities, science and technology.

The aim is to encourage creativity in the field of humanitiesscience and new technologies and highlight the importance of developing innovative skills at an early age.


To understand how Miles Franklin continues to drive Australia’s literary life, explore the website for the Miles Franklin Literary Award and another significant literary award inspired by her work, The Stella Prize.

Hannah Arendt Prize ; Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy are some important resources as the movie Hannah Arendt by Margaretha von Trotta (2012).

Annie Pfeifer writes about Mansfield’s work on the wiki of the Modernism Lab at Yale University. You can read some reviews of her work at the ANZ Litlovers LitBlog. Read a brief biography of Mansfield on that invaluable New Zealand resource, Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand and The Global Life of Newzealanders

If ever there was a day to remind us of the importance of what can come out of pens and facts/ideas of women, fourteenth of October is indeed the day.

"… Because we need a world with both writing and science... and women excel at both."

Yvonne Perkins


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