* Call for applications: The 2015-16 postdoc seminar at Rice, “After Biopolitics.”
* In the absence of sparrows: the front page story says you’ve been missing since / November 22, 2012. Everything else it doesn’t say. / In the absence of sparrows: you simply wandered off, past the Sunoco, pockets stuffed. / The door to your apartment is open still—
* Together, these forums, initiatives, and spy teams constitute a sustained effort to suppress meaningful resistance to the university’s privatization program by placing strict boundaries on dissent. Policing Civility.
* Elsewhere in campus civility: The Pentagon Is Giving Grenade Launchers to Campus Police.
* Hence I propose that, roughly speaking, one’s privilege level correlates with the likelihood that expressing anger will make people take your concerns more seriously rather than less — or at the very least, that it will prompt a reaction to you as an individual rather than triggering an immediate generalization about your demographic profile. This is one of the most intimate and insidious things about privilege dynamics: even the right to express perfectly natural and justified human emotions can’t be taken for granted.
* The Paris Review interviews Ray Bradbury.
If I’d lived in the late eighteen hundreds I might have written a story predicting that strange vehicles would soon move across the landscape of the United States and would kill two million people in a period of seventy years. Science fiction is not just the art of the possible, but of the obvious. Once the automobile appeared you could have predicted that it would destroy as many people as it did.
They affect us because we realize that if they are monsters it is because we, the adults, have made them so. In them we find everything: Freud, mass culture, digest culture, frustrated struggle for success, craving for affection, loneliness, passive acquiescence, and neurotic protest. But all these elements do not blossom directly, as we know them, from the mouths of a group of children: they are conceived and spoken after passing through the filter of innocence. Schulz’s children are not a sly instrument to handle our adult problems: they experience these problems according to a childish psychology, and for this very reason they seem to us touching and hopeless, as if we were suddenly aware that our ills have polluted everything, at the root.
* As fast-food workers demonstrate nationwide for a $15 hourly wage, and congressional Republicans fight off a $10 federal minimum, little SeaTac has something to offer the debate. Its neighbor, Seattle, was the first big city to approve a $15 wage, this spring, but that doesn’t start phasing in until next year. SeaTac did it all at once. And, though there’s nothing definitive, this much is clear: The sky did not fall.
* Profiles in courage: Obama to delay his big move on immigration until after election.
* Not really how it’s supposed to work: An atheist airman at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada was denied re-enlistment last month for refusing to take an oath containing “so help me God,” the American Humanist Association said Thursday.
* Female privilege is real: Sharks nine times more likely to kill men than women, study says.
* The eight white identities. I’m not 100% clear on the daylight between White Traitor and White Abolitionist, but otherwise it seems to taxonomize approaches to white supremacy I see on the Internet all the time.
* Could it be possible that police departments are lying when they say suspects handcuffed behind their backs are shooting themselves in the chest with hidden weapons that were somehow not found when they were searched? Truly, a bold provocation. Perhaps it will always be a mystery.
* And: you fools: every day is Bill Murray Day.
ENGLISH 3000: Critical Practices and Processes in Literary Studies
Thematic Title: Magic and Literature
Description: This course serves as an introduction to the English major, using literary depictions of magic from William Shakespeare to J.K. Rowling as its organizing principle. We will consider the ways a wide range of authors have taken up magic from a variety of critical perspectives, from feminist and Marxist analysis to genre criticism to postcolonial theory and beyond, as well as consider the possibilities and limits of reading “magic” allegorically. What is the relationship between magic and religion on the one hand, and magic and science on the other? How do stories about magic suggest powerful critiques of Western technologies of power and ways of thinking? Conversely, how do they reinforce our positions as good subjects of democratic capitalism? Why are stories about magic, and fantasy more generally, still largely understood as belonging to children’s literature, even as related speculative genres like science fiction and superheroes have enjoyed a renaissance of “serious” critical attention? For that matter, why does our society persist in raising its children in such magical worlds, only to finally spit them out as adults into this one? This course will help students develop fluency with academic discourses and habits of literary criticism that will serve them in their upper-division courses as Marquette, as well as develop their skills as writers and thinkers in their own right.
Readings will include The Tempest, Doctor Faustus, Arabian Nights, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, The Turn of the Screw, “The Yellow Wall-Paper,” Franz Kafka, Gabriel García Márquez, H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos, J.R.R. Tolkien, Junot Díaz, Nalo Hopkinson, Disney’s Brave and Frozen, Marvel’s Dr. Strange, The Chronicles of Narnia, TV’s Game of Thrones, Dungeons & Dragons, and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
Assignments: two shorter papers, one final paper, weekly forum posts, class participation
* Like C.P. Snow’s two cultures of the humanities and the sciences, a new bimodal view of higher education is becoming increasingly important at the start of the twenty-first century: one that sees the goal of universities as developing “the whole person” and another that sees it as largely or even exclusively in terms of job training. The Two Cultures of Higher Education in the Twenty-First Century and Their Impact on Academic Freedom.
* Academic search season watch: How To Tailor a Job Letter (Without Flattering, Pandering, or Begging).
* Episode 21 of Rachel and Miles X-Plain the X-Men (with Kurt Busiek) is a great look at how Marvel’s sausage is made. Give it a listen if you’re a fan of the comics…
* Steve Shaviro: Twenty-Two Theses on Nature.
* Thirty-two teens escaped from a Nashville youth detention center by crawling under a weak spot in a fence late Monday, and nine of them were still on the run Tuesday, a spokesman said.
* “Duke University seeks a talented, engaged student body that embodies the wide range of human experience; we believe that the diversity of our students makes our community stronger. If you’d like to share a perspective you bring or experiences you’ve had to help us understand you better — perhaps related to a community you belong to, your sexual orientation or gender identity, or your family or cultural background — we encourage you to do so. Real people are reading your application, and we want to do our best to understand and appreciate the real people applying to Duke.”
* Unlike most other states, Wisconsin does not recognize prisoners’ good behavior with credits toward accelerated release. Wisconsin had such a “good time” program for well over a century, but eliminated it as part of the policy changes in the 1980s and 1990s that collectively left the state unusually — perhaps even uniquely — inflexible in its terms of imprisonment. Why No “Good Time” in Wisconsin?
* Now we see the violence inherent in the system: Meet The Guy Who Spent Seven Months Killing Everyone In Fallout 3.
* For the geeks: How Randall “xkcd” Munroe wrote What If?
* Time Travel Simulation Resolves “Grandfather Paradox.” Bah! We need to go back in time and prevent this simulation from ever being devised!
* The arc of history is long, but: HBO has commissioned some sort of new Flight Of The Conchords show.
* And just because it’s gerrycanavan.wordpress.com: Limits to Growth was right. New research shows we’re nearing collapse.
* On April 10th-12th, 2015, UF will be hosting its 11th annual Conference on Comics and Graphic Novels, “Comics Read but Seldom Seen: Diversity and Representation in Comics and Related Media.”
* The Review of Capital as Power (RECASP) announces an annual essay prize of $1,000 for the best paper on the subject of capital as power. Open to anyone who does not currently hold a Ph.D. (including current graduate students).
* So what happened to the GOP, from the time of Nixon to the present, to turn an environmental leader into an environmental retrograde? According to a new study in the journal Social Science Research, the key change actually began around the year 1991—when the Soviet Union fell. “The conservative movement replaced the ‘Red Scare’ with a new ‘Green Scare’ and became increasingly hostile to environmental protection at that time,” argues sociologist Aaron McCright of Michigan State University and two colleagues.
* UIUC will forward Salaita’s appointment to the Board of Trustees after all. Sadly I suspect this is a CYA maneuver after realizing they were in material breach of their contract — though I suppose it’s for the lawyers to decide if they have take-backs on that issue or not.
* From the archives: How Higher Education in the US Was Destroyed in 5 Basic Steps.
* Are domestic airlines making money by fleecing consumers? No! That’s not true! That’s impossible!
* Chinese students aren’t the only ones sought by American colleges looking for students who can afford to pay. Another target: lacrosse players.
But because the sport is popular in prep schools and well-off suburbs, the odds are that many of those lacrosse players are able to afford college on their own. And while lacrosse is growing in popularity for men and women alike, the population of male “full pay” students is in short supply at many liberal arts colleges — and that’s part of why you are seeing more teams in different parts of the country.
Can we imagine a liberal arts degree where one of the goals is to graduate students who can work collaboratively with information/media technologies and networks? Of course we can. It’s called English. It’s just that the information/media technologies and networks take the form of books and other print media. Is a book a distraction? Of course. Ever try to talk to someone who is reading a book? What would you think of a student sitting in a classroom reading a magazine, doodling in a notebook or doing a crossword puzzle? However, we insist that students bring their books to class and strongly encourage them to write. We spend years teaching them how to use these technologies in college, and that’s following even more years in K-12. We teach them highly specialized ways of reading and writing so that they are able to do this. But we complain when they walk in, wholly untrained, and fail to make productive use of their laptops? When we give them no teaching on the subject? And we offer little or no opportunity for those laptops to be productive because our pedagogy is hinged on pretending they don’t exist?
* The professoriate is not the only aspect of the academy that has become adjunctified. Facilities and food services have long been privatized on many campuses, with the result being lower wages. In addition, lower levels of administration are on their way to adjunctification as well.
* These police seemed to see this man as a citizen not an enemy and saw their job as trying to keep the peace and ensure public safety, not fight a war. It makes a big difference.
* GEO, Boeing, Halliburton, Lockheed Martin—not to mention McDonalds, Monsanto, PepsiCo—these are the growth stocks that pay dividends every quarter, the companies so profitable even the Gates Foundation cannot resist them. Guns, sugar, prisons, war: the DOW Jones has worked around the death of Michael Brown. Ferguson exposes an economy where kids are commodities, whether dead or in jail.
* Civil forfeiture watch: Philly family lost house over $40 drug purchase.
From 2002 through 2012, law enforcement in Philadelphia seized more than 1,000 homes, 3,200 vehicles and $44 million in cash, according to data obtained by the Institute for Justice through an open records request.
Those assets provided more than $64 million in revenue to the Philadelphia DA’s office, because Pennsylvania law allows local law enforcement to keep the proceeds from forfeited property after it is seized and resold.
* Red Dawn: Port of Call: Juneau: Fearing a Russian invasion and occupation of Alaska, the U.S. government in the early Cold War years recruited and trained fishermen, bush pilots, trappers and other private citizens across Alaska for a covert network to feed wartime intelligence to the military, newly declassified Air Force and FBI documents show.
* How the Apocalypse would happen if Heaven were a small non-profit. Or an academic department…
* The Cambridge Companion to American Science Fiction has a pre-order page! Open your wallets! Contact your local librarian! Get your Hugo nomination ballots ready!
* Amazing, astounding: The Eaton Collection just got a $3.5 million gift.
* Through its increasing corporatization in the last two decades, the university in the United States has implemented an organizational ideology that has created a climate unfavorable for women faculty. By overvaluing and intensifying managerial principles, the university in the United States has strengthened discursive masculinity and has worsened women faculty’s likelihood of professional advancement. Consequently, the adoption and implementation of managerialism in higher education in the United States is a question of gender equity for the academic profession. Feminist educational scholars have been relatively quiet on the growth of managerialism in the university and its impact on gender equity. In particular, feminist scrutiny of managerialism’s discursive masculinity and its effects on gender equity in the university has been lacking. This conceptual article presents a feminist analysis of managerialism and its implications for women faculty in the United States; it examines how managerial culture and practices adopted by universities have revived, reinforced, and deepened the discourse of masculinity.
* The future’s just a little bit janky: Awesome Home-Built Elysium Exoskeleton Lifts 170 Pounds Like Nothing.
* The arc of history is long, but: Rams Cut Sam, First Drafted Openly Gay Player.
* In four federal lawsuits, including one that is on appeal, and more than a half-dozen investigations over the past decade, colleagues of Darren Wilson’s have separately contested a variety of allegations, including killing a mentally ill man with a Taser, pistol-whipping a child, choking and hog-tying a child and beating a man who was later charged with destroying city property because his blood spilled on officers’ clothes.
* All about how airlines cancel flights. Okay, but listen, I’m still mad.
* Headlines from the Anthropocene: Drought-Stricken California Makes Historic Move To Regulate Underground Water For The First Time. Are You Ready for a 35-Year Drought?
* And a radical communist provocation to shake your delicate sensibilities to the core: Shaking Down the Elderly for Student Loan Debt Should Not Be Allowed.