Daniel Ewert | Meeting New Faculty

Friday, Feb 23, 2024
Juilliard Journal
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Meet some of the recent additions to our faculty.

Milwaukee native Dan Ewert, an assistant professor of liberal arts and history, holds a bachelor’s from Yale and a master’s and a PhD from Princeton. Before graduate school, he worked as an investigator for public defender agencies in Brooklyn and New Orleans, where he helped advocate for hundreds of clients in criminal and immigration cases. He also worked as an educator at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum and the Museum of the City of New York, and his academic research examines how techniques like fingerprinting connect the history of the carceral state, workplace discrimination, immigration, and social movements. At Juilliard he’s teaching College Writing; Foundations of Knowledge; Society, Politics, and Culture; and History of Technology and Social Change, 1800 to the Present.

Advice for students

It can be easy to feel overwhelmed by college, and figuring out how to balance obligations while taking good care of yourself is part of what you are here to learn. But remember to also let yourself enjoy how special and wonderful this time in your life can be. College is a rare opportunity to sample the breadth and depth of human understanding, to ask yourself what kind of person you want to become, and to learn how to productively engage with people who have life experiences and perspectives different from your own. The small class sizes at Juilliard mean you get to do this in close conversation with each other and with faculty members who genuinely value teaching. This is a kind of experience that relatively few people in the larger sweep of human history have been able to enjoy, so let it transform you and use what you develop here with care and responsibility.

Juilliard teaching highlight so far

The final assignment in my History of Technology course asks students to curate and present a miniature museum exhibition about an aspect of technology of their choosing, a difficult task that requires them to navigate scholarly research with both rigor and creativity. My students more than rose to the challenge, using this assignment to ask profound and nuanced questions: How are our social identities transforming amid the rise of online platforms and the availability of technologically mediated body modification? Do virtual technologies alleviate or deepen inequalities produced in the material world? How is the role of the performing artist changing now that generative artificial intelligence is capable of making art? What is the role of democracy in shaping technologies, and who has the responsibility to regulate them? 

One of the most inspiring parts of being a professor is seeing students take this kind of initiative in their own learning and use intellectual tools from the course to critically engage with relevant challenges in the world around them. I’ll be thinking about this group of students’ final presentations for years to come.