Countdown to VOICES, presenter profile #5 (Robby Ratan)

This post is the 5th in a series of brief profiles of people who will be presenting their work at VOICES, a first-of-its-kind online conference on using music to teach STEM, on Sept. 27-28, 2017.


Rabindra “Robby” Ratan, an Assistant Professor in Michigan State University’s Department of Media and Information, has been a member of the VOICES organizing committee, and will also be a presenter at the conference. His primary research focus to date has been self-representation in social media — hence his nickname of “Dr. Avatar.” However, his interests also include communication via music, as indicated by a new course he’ll be teaching this fall: “Hip-Hop, Communication & Society.” Rumor has it that the students in this course will be required to attend VOICES. :-)

The title and abstract of Robby’s VOICES presentation are as follows:

I wrote a rap song about the intersection of science and faith — as an added verse to “When the Saints Go Marching In” — which I first performed with a street band at the March for Science in Lansing, MI. In a nutshell, the song argues that science requires faith, just like religion, and that the facts of science are often revised/updated, so dogma (in any direction) is dangerous. I’m not sure exactly what to do with the song … add a beat? update the lyrics? make a music video? move on with my life to other projects? Also, I am curious about how people respond to the song. Are both sides of the philosophical divide slightly offended … as intended? This would be a useful venue for feedback on all these matters. Thanks for your consideration.

Robby is one of over 40 people who will present their ideas, insights, and investigations at VOICES. To have full access to all presenters and their presentations, please register for the conference. It’s only $10!

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