Cathy Davidson

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Co-founder, HASTAC; Co-PI, HASTAC, Digital Media and Learning Competition; Distinguished Professor of English and Director of the Futures Initiative, the Graduate Center, The City University of New York (CUNY); Distinguished Visiting Professor at Duke University; Twitter handle @CathyNDavidson

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Cathy N. Davidson is Distinguished Professor of English and Director of the Futures Initiative and HASTAC@CUNY at the Graduate Center, CUNY. Founded in 2014, the Futures Initiative is a new program dedicated to envisioning the future of higher education.  

Davidson previously taught at Duke University for more than two decades, where she held two chaired professorships, the Ruth F. DeVarney Professor of English and the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies. From 1998 to 2006, she also served as Duke University’s (and the nation’s) first Vice Provost of Interdisciplinary Studies. In 2002, Davidson cofounded the Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory (, which is now a network of more than 13,000 scholars, artists, and technologists committed to “Changing the Way We Teach and Learn.” She is co-PI of the HASTAC/John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning Competitions.

She has published more than twenty books, including Revolution and the Word:  The Rise of the Novel in America (Oxford University Press, expanded edition, 2004), The Future of Thinking: Learning Institutions in a Digital Age, with David Theo Goldberg (MIT Press, 2010), and Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn (Viking, 2011). A frequent speaker and consultant on institutional change at universities, corporations, nonprofits, and other organizations, she writes for the Harvard Business Review, Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Chronicle of Higher Education, Washington Post, and Times Higher Ed, among others.

In 2011, President Obama appointed her to the National Council on the Humanities. In 2012, Davidson was named the first educator to serve on the board of directors of Mozilla, and she received the Educator of the Year Award (with HASTAC cofounder David Theo Goldberg) from the World Technology Network.

Davidson received her M.A. and Ph.D. in English from the State University of New York, Binghamton, and did postdoctoral study in linguistics and literary theory at the University of Chicago.

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