Friday, January 7, 2011

What is a Knight Professor?

So I'm reading this article by Michael Pollan at the New York Times because it's a letter he wrote to Obama about the importance of FOOD Policy.

Pollan is obviously one of the "experts" we'd never dare to challenge, as can readily be seen in his articles and books. But, he's also described as the "Knight Professor of Science and Environmental Journalism at UC Berkeley."

I didn't have any more time to spend on this.. did only a few keyword searches and decided to put it up here. The reason I care is because I have made the comment before that academic titles replaced the "Titles of Nobility" FORBIDDEN in in the U.S. Constitution.

And one of the other guys who has this title is "Jack M. Balkin (born August 13, 1956, in Kansas City, Missouri) is the Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School. Balkin is the founder and director of the Yale Information Society Project (ISP)" Notice wiki has no definition of Knight Professor.

Is a Knight Professor a Title of Nobility, someone who has been Knighted by the Queen of England? If it is, then how bloody perfect to give it to someone who specializes in U.S. constitutional law. Especally telling is Balkin's interest in "The Information Society Project (ISP) at Yale Law School is an intellectual center studying the implications of the Internet and new information technologies for law and society.'"

Heh, here's a proposed amendment that never passed:

If any citizen of the United States shall accept, claim, receive or retain, any title of nobility or honour, or shall, without the consent of Congress, accept and retain any present, pension, office or emolument of any kind whatever, from any emperor, king, prince or foreign power, such person shall cease to be a citizen of the United States, and shall be incapable of holding any office of trust or profit under them, or either of them.[3]
And the ONLY place Knight is mentioned under wiki's Titles of Nobility page is under DAME:
Dame (The French term of respect Madame came from the same root. The masculine equivalent of a Dame is a Knight, although a Knight uses the title Sir rather than Knight before his name. Some knights, such as a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter or Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, place their full title after their name)
I sure don't know much about about nobility and titles, as much Tudor history as I read as a young woman, I admit I was always unconcerned because I was confused by what a Baron or a Count was. but obviously Knight isn't a hereditary title. In fact it's so insignificant it doesn't even get it's own description. hmmm... should I look up Knight's Templar? :)

%There ain't nothin' like a dame!"%


Anonymous said...

And what about The Knights of Malta. I think Pat Buchanan is one. SMOM.

Niki Raapana said...

I think I found the source (although I haven't found anything directly tied to knight Professors here):

"Knight Foundation is a nonprofit, section 501(c)(3) philanthropic organization incorporated in the State of Florida since 1990, when it moved from Akron, Ohio."

"John S. ("Jack") Knight and James L. ("Jim") Knight founded the Knight Newspapers. The company merged with Ridder Publications and became Knight-Ridder Newspapers in 1974, which until 2006 was Knight Ridder Inc. John S. Knight died in 1981 and James L. Knight died in 1991. Knight Ridder Inc. was purchased by the McClatchy Co."

From their mission:

"We focus on projects that promote informed, engaged communities and lead to transformational change. We believe that information is a core community need. We want to ensure that all citizens get the information they need to thrive in a democracy and act in their own best interest.

"And we ask, as we evaluate opportunities and grants, "Is this truly transformational?""

Niki Raapana said...

"Across the 26 Knight cities, the Community Partners Program deploys program directors who provide community leadership, seeking big ideas with the potential to transform a community, a system, a network. Each city benefits from the wisdom of a Knight Community Advisory Committee – a panel of local residents offering community connections and guidance on opportunities for funding."

"The Communities Program aims to improve the quality of life in the U.S. communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers."

They have a thing called:

Anonymous said...

Now I'm even more confused. "Knight professor" seems to be short for "Philip H. Knight professor." There are professors with this title at colleges as diverse as Yale, Stanford, and the University of Oregon. However, the only notable person I can find at all with the name Philip H. Knight is the chairman and co-founder of Nike. What the hey?

Anonymous said...

Endowed chairs are usually named after their donors or someone the donor wants to honor. If you give enough money to a college, it will endow a professorship named after you. If somebody named Knight does it instead, the school will endow a Knight professorship. That's what happened here.

Prof. Balkin's chair is named after John and James Knight. It has nothing to do with knighthood, and it is not a title of nobility. Titles of nobility have to be awarded by governments. The Knight Professorship is just a job title awarded by his employer.

Durango said...

After a couple minutes of web browsing I have to agree with Niki from a couple years ago. I saw the same title at the end of a Michael Pollan article and googled "knight professor". The top hit seemed to have the answer as both people mentioned here are listed there:

(Note: The second hit was this blog post so congrats on that!)

Here's the wiki for the organization too: