Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘ACLA

Tuesday Night Links!

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* In case you missed it, last night I put up my syllabi for the fall, on J.R.R. Tolkien and American Literature after the American Century.

* Mark your calendars, East Coasters: Jaimee Hills reads from her award-winning book How to Avoid Speaking at the Folger Shakespeare Library in DC on October 26. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that preorders are available now at Amazon and Waywiser Press.

* The world’s most popular academic article: “Fuck Nuance.”

That is the kudzu of nuance. It makes us shy away from the riskier aspects of abstraction and theory-building generally, especially if it is the rst and most frequent response we hear. Instead of pushing some abstraction or argument along for a while to see where it goes, there is a tendency to start hedging theory with particulars. People complain that you’re leaving some level or dimension out, and tell you to bring it back in. Crucially, “accounting for”, “addressing”, or “dealing” with the missing item is an unconstrained process. at is, the question is not how a theory can handle this or that issue internally, but rather the suggestion to expand it with this new term or terms. Class, Institutions, Emotions, Structure, Culture, Interaction—all of them are taken generically to “matter”, and you must acknowledge that they matter by incorporating them. Incorporation is the reintroduction of particularizing elements, even though those particulars were what you had to throw away in order to make your concept a theoretically useful abstraction in the first place.

See also: nuance trolling as academic filibuster.

* More ACLA CFPs: Utopia Renewed: Locating a New Utopian Praxis. Innovation, Creativity, and Capitalist Culture.

* Trying to figure out what percentage of instructors are adjuncts is the world’s most dangerous game.

But Thrun and other MOOC founders seem less than concerned about living up to their earlier, lofty rhetoric or continuing that tradition of bringing education to an underserved population. True, they haven’t entirely abandoned their rhetoric about equal access to educational opportunities. But they’ve shifted to what’s becoming a more familiar Silicon Valley narrative about the future of employability: a cheap and precarious labor force. That’s the unfortunate reality of “Uber for Education.”

* Artisanal college. Cruelty free, cage free, farm-fresh.

Aggrieved students find books dangerous; neoliberal administrators say they’re useless. I’d take the former any day.

From Corporate Leader to Flagship President?

Reform Higher Ed? Treat Badmin Like Bankers.

Literary magazines for socialists funded by the CIA, ranked.

* The strategic value of summer.

* Forty years of Born to Run. But you don’t have to take my word for it.

* Fun Home at Duke: 1, 2.

* Meanwhile, in today’s exciting new anti-academic moral panic: UNC’s The Literature of 9/11.

As Murray Pomerance points out, plagiarism is a form of theft, and we don’t steal our own work. On the contrary, we expand its reach, and build on it, thereby making it more relevant as the contexts that produce it change.

UT Knoxville encourages students to use ‘gender-neutral pronouns.’ Washington State University disavows syllabus with ban on certain words.

The Largest-Ever U.S. Gallery Of Jack Kirby’s Comic Art Heads To California.

* And no one talks about it: Barack Obama will leave his party in its worst shape since the Great Depression—even if Hillary wins. More here. I’m an outlier on the progressive side of the fence insofar as I think Clinton might really have to pull out of the race over the emails — so it’s even worse than it seems.

* The cartoon bodies of Mad Max: Fury Road.

How Many Men Did The Golden Girls Sleep With, Exactly?

* The FBI’s surveillance of Ray Bradbury. And the Sad Puppies.

Cold Opening: The Publicity Campaign for Go Set a Watchman.

The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina serves as a reminder that resilience is a function of the strength of a community. Gentrification’s Ground Zero: In the ten years since Katrina, New Orleans has been remade into a neoliberal playground for young entrepreneurs. The Myth of the New Orleans School Makeover.

* Incredible essay by Lili Loofbourrow on her sister’s death by suicide this summer.

* Psychology is bunk.

Žižek Says Thing.

* Against the Anthropocene.

* Whatever happened to DC Comics?

* Being Stephen Colbert.

* The free encyclopedia anyone can edit.

* Tinder as video game.

* Another Samuel Delany interview.

Janelle Monáe Vows To ‘Speak Up’ On #BlackLivesMatter.

* I love dumb stuff like this, when the corrupt screw up and lose: Business owners try to remove all voters from business district, but they forgot one college student.

Cancer cells programmed back to normal by US scientists.

British Library declines Taliban archive over terror law fears.

Upstate New York Secessionists Demand Freedom From City They Mooch Off Of.

* I told you that if there were something beyond the grave, I would contact you.

* RIP, Oliver Sacks.

* Inside Wisconsin’s Slender Man stabbing.

* I confess I am totally stunned by the Jared Fogle case. I thought I was cynical enough.

* The arc of history is long, but at least that Coach reboot has already been cancelled.

* The Racial Politics of Disney Animals.

* Mars by 2039?

* Renaming Denali.

* Why Dolphins Are Deep Thinkers.

Fall In Love with Your Job, Get Ripped Off by Your Boss. Related: workers shouldn’t work for free.

Firstborn Girls Are the Best at Life. Any Zoey could have told you that!

* The law, in its majestic equality, allows rich and poor alike not to clean up their billion-dollar toxic oil spills.

* The New Servility.

* Militarized drones are now legal in North Dakota.

Future Jails May Look and Function More Like Colleges. And, you know, vice versa…

* Never say “unfilmable”: The BBC is going to try to make a show out of The City and the City.

* Declare victory and go home to your panic room: America Has Lost The War Against Guns.

* And some things mankind was just never meant to know: See how easily a rat can wriggle up your toilet.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 1, 2015 at 7:38 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Another Very Busy Couple of Weeks, Another Absolutely Too Long Linkpost

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* ACLA 2016: The 21st Century Novel at the Limit. Feminism and New Generations of Old Media. Aesthetic Distance in a Global Economy.

* And one for NEMLA: Women Authors from the Great War.

Special Issue CFP: Queer Female Fandom.

* You broke peer review. Yes, I mean you.

* Graduate students are employees when that’s bad for them, and students when that’s bad for them.

* Last year, Yale paid about $480 million to private equity fund managers as compensation — about $137 million in annual management fees, and another $343 million in performance fees, also known as carried interest — to manage about $8 billion, one-third of Yale’s endowment. In contrast, of the $1 billion the endowment contributed to the university’s operating budget, only $170 million was earmarked for tuition assistance, fellowships and prizes.

Why financial aid might make college more expensive.

* Scenes from the schadenfreude at UIUC.

* TurnItIn doesn’t even work.

First, Do No Harm? The Johns Hopkins System’s Toxic Legacy in Baltimore.

* SF short of the month: the found footage / time travel narrative “Timelike.” “Suicidium” is pretty good too. Both are very Black Mirror.

* Salon’s Michael Berry interviewed me and a bunch of other SF scholars recently on the greatness of Dune.

* No more fire, the water next time: Ta-Nehisi Coates on Global Warming and White Supremacy.

* Hobbes v. Snoopy.

* Science fiction and class struggle, in Jacobin.

* Precrime comes to Pennsylvania.

* Seven habits of unsuccessful grad students. Job market secrets from the English department at U. Iowa. How to avoid awkward interactions during your tenure year.

* Clinton’s ed plan poised to continue the bad disruptivation of the Obama administration. Yay!

Northwestern Football Players Cannot Form Union, NLRB Rules. Former Berkeley Football Player Sues Over Concussions. UNC-Chapel Hill Reports New Possible NCAA Violations.

* Coca-Cola and the denialists.

* Life extension and prison.

* Abandoned college campuses of Second Life.

Yes, your gadgets are ineluctably engineering your doom.

* What If Stalin Had Computers?

* The NLRB might (finally) shut down the temp economy.

On average, it’ll take four minutes for you to get to the end of this piece, and quite frankly you should be spending those four minutes asleep.

Crowdfunding Is Driving A $196 Million Board Game Renaissance.

* Sesame Street and neoliberalism, but like for real this time.

Why 35 screenwriters worked on The Flintstones movie.

Yes, We Have “No Irish Need Apply.”

* Epigenetics: Study of Holocaust survivors finds trauma passed on to children’s genes.

* Evergreen headline watch: “Michigan Fails to Keep Promise to Native Americans.”

UC Davis workers: “We exposed students to asbestos.”

* Understanding Neal Stephenson.

* The Bucks as case study for the stadium scam. Bucks affiliate the Biloxi Shuckers and their endless tour.

They had no inkling about what was really going on: Gubb was a serial fraudster who made a living by renting houses, claiming to be a tenant, then illegally subletting rooms to as many residents as he could cram in—almost always young women desperate for a piece of downtown living.

How a jerk scams a free quadruple espresso at Starbucks 365 days a year.

* US and Boeing developing a targeted EMP weapon. Looking forward to the surplus sale.

* Another car remotely hacked while driving. If a Cyberattack Causes a Car Crash, Who Is Liable?

How Much Of California’s Drought Was Caused By Climate Change?

By 2100, Earth Will Have an Entirely Different Ocean. You probably can’t undo ocean acidification even if you find a way to pull carbon out of the air.

* The climate hackers.

* The ice bucket challenge may have been a much bigger deal than you thought.

In just eight years, Pinellas County School Board members turned five schools in the county’s black neighborhoods into some of the worst in Florida.

* The bail trap.

* The end of Columbia House.

* An oral history of Six Feet Under.

* Death penalty abolition in Connecticut.

* Being Stephen Colbert.

* Happy Earth Overshoot Day.

* The new Cold War is a Corn War.

* Donald Trump and fascism. This is the moment when Donald Trump officially stopped being funny.

* Writing the second half of the Harry Potter series replacing Cedric Diggory with a Slytherin.

Banksy’s Dismaland.

* Twilight of the Bomb.

* Interactive widget: How to fudge your science.

* Science proves parenthood is a serious bummer.

How We Could Detect an Alien Apocalypse From Earth.

* Who mourns for the Washington Generals?

* Well, it makes more sense than the official story: ‘Aliens prevented nuclear war on Earth’: Former NASA astronaut makes unexpected claim.

* Is Howl the Netflix of podcasts? Watch Earwolf’s user base revolt.

* The kids today and the end of funny. The unfunny business of college humor.

Racial Bias Affects How Doctors Do Their Jobs. Here’s How To Fix It.

* Here comes Star Wars Land.

NBC chairman threatens ALF reboot if Coach reboot is successful. Just give them what they want! Pay anything!

Controlling the Narrative: Harper Lee and the Stakes of Scandal.

* Hell, with same-day delivery.

Locked in Solitary at 14: Adult Jails Isolate Youths Despite Risk.

* I Was a Warehouse Wage Slave.

Mars One Is Still Completely Full of Shit.

A Troll in the Lost City of the Dead.

In 2010, anonymous emails started popping up in the inboxes of Department of the Interior officials. The messages accuse museums across the country of failing to deal with their massive collections of Native American bones. Those remains are there illegally, the emails allege, and should be returned to the tribes to which they belong. They’re all signed “T.D. White.”

* Science proves the universe is slowly dying

* How DC has played Suicide Squad all wrong.

* The law, in its majestic equality, permits both rich and poor to sleep outside.

Dutch Artists Celebrate George Orwell’s Birthday By Putting Party Hats On Surveillance Cameras.

Ancient whistle language uses whole brain for long-distance chat.

* “We’re Fighting Killer Robots the Wrong Way.”

An early YA novel gets lost in the Freaky Friday canon.

* My dad was right! Social Security really is a Ponzi scheme.

Don’t freak out, but scientists think octopuses ‘might be aliens’ after DNA study.

* Don’t bring your dogs to work.

* Today in Wikipedia hoaxes.

* Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal continues to overthink Superman in the best possible way.

Architects are trying to raise $2.8 billion to build this city from Lord of the Rings.

You Know Who Hates Drones? Bears. They love pools though.

* Don’t say it unless you mean it.

* And we shall Truffle Shuffle no more forever.

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Written by gerrycanavan

August 23, 2015 at 10:13 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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It All Makes Sense in Context

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Slide from my presentation today on alterity, utopia, and Christopher Priest’s Inverted World:

Inverted World

CFP: ACLA 2013 – ‘Alterity Beyond Utopia’

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ACLA 2013 (Toronto, ON) – April 5-7, 2013
Seminar: ALTERITY BEYOND UTOPIA
Seminar Leaders: Gerry Canavan (Marquette University) and Ramzi Fawaz (GWU)
Note: You must submit your papers through the ACLA website.

Deadline for proposals: November 1, 2012

Few genres can boast the capacity to position and reposition identities, bodies, worldviews, and material realities more effectively than science fiction. With its capacity to denature our assumed understanding of everyday life – projecting worlds in which emergent sciences and technologies, encounters with alien lifeforms, and transformations in embodied experience potentially unravel present ideologies and social hierarchies – it is no wonder that science fiction has become an important part of left-wing cultural criticism since the 1970s. Despite the flowering of scholarship on science fiction narrative and creative practice, however, contemporary academic practices of science fiction criticism remain deeply beholden to Darko Suvin’s 1972 formulation of SF as a “literature of cognitive estrangement … whose main formal device is an imaginative framework alternative to the author’s empirical environment.” The Suvinian approach to science fiction studies thus refashions the genre around political (almost exclusively leftist) ruminations on utopia, understood in Suvin’s approach as an idealized post-capitalist world.

This panel seeks to trace the heterogeneous political pathways of American, European, and global science fiction to consider science fiction studies and the conceptual category of radical alterity beyond utopia. As a number of cultural critics have recently suggested, the traditional Suvinian approach to SF has often obscured the depth and variety of estrangements that science fiction, and speculative narrative more broadly, engages to critique, reimagine, reinvent, and restructure a variety of assumptions about modern social and political life; indeed, any historical overview of SF production reveals that its political imaginaries far exceed any single leftist vision of utopia. Since at least the late 19th century, American writers, filmmakers, and artists have used the tropes of SF to critique (and offer alternatives to) Jim Crow segregation, the patriarchal assumptions of the nuclear family, and the demonizing of sexual minorities; similarly, Russian creative producers helped revitalize science fiction narratives in the 1920s, and later in the 1960s, by using it as a vehicle to critique the systematic oppressions of a totalitarian communism. In these and countless other examples, SF has served as field of creative possibility for critiquing specific historical circumstances, while positioning readers and viewers within larger global contexts of oppression (not merely capitalist, but patriarchal, racist, imperialist, etc.). In this sense, science fiction might be understood as a genre less defined by a universal utopian strain than its capacity to position and reposition its audience in new identities, alternate histories, and alternative modes of being in the world.

We seek papers that contribute to fleshing out the creative positioning work of SF in a variety of historical and political contexts. What sorts of conceptual possibilities—political, cultural, aesthetic, philosophical, existential, spiritual, libidinal, queer—open up when we consider science fictional figurations of alterity outside the desire for socio-economic utopia? What happens when we treat the literary and cultural productions of SF as a kind of creative positioning project, rather than a utopian projection? What happens when we begin to imagine new systems, and build new worlds, that fit on no conventional cognitive maps? We invite papers that investigate any aspect of the relationship between radical alterity, utopia, and the complex transnational and transhistorical network of interrelated genres variously called science fiction, speculative fiction, and SF.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 19, 2012 at 6:46 pm

Olympics and Anti-Olympics

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In preparation for this month’s ACLA conference, here’s Jules Boykoff in New Left Review on anti-Olympics activism in Vancouver.

The IOC would introduce British Columbians to ‘celebration capitalism’, the whipsaw inverse of Naomi Klein’s ‘disaster capitalism’. From day one, the Olympic party was a full-on budget-buster. The five-ring price tag was originally estimated at $1 billion; by the month before the Games, costs had ballooned to $6 billion, and post-Olympics estimates soared into the $8–10 billion range, with the City of Vancouver alone kicking in nearly $1,000 for every single person in town. The model followed was so-called public–private partnerships, in which the public pays and the private profits. Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson—a New Democratic Party-style liberal—was no exception; when it came to the Olympics, the co-founder of the Happy Planet organic juice company was guzzling the public–private partnership Kool-Aid. 

Vancouver has become a poster city for neoliberal-era gentrification, the gap between rich and poor widening into an abyss. As a measure of what Henri Lefebvre would have called its ‘spatial contradiction’: Vancouver is reputedly the most liveable yet the least affordable global city. In 2010 the median house price was $540,900, while median household income was $58,200. Nowhere is the difference between nouveau riche and old-school poor more glaring than in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside neighbourhood, an 8-by-15-block strip of gritty urban intensity that—outside aboriginal reserves—is Canada’s poorest postcode. Yet the sharp juxtaposition between high ‘liveability’ and dire poverty does not undermine Vancouver’s status on the silver-frosted terrain of global capitalism. Hosting mega-events like the Olympics tends to enhance this status, a massive extra boost for turbogentrification.

ACLA Reminder: “Globalization, Utopia, Film” Abstracts Due Tomorrow

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“Globalization, Utopia, Film” (ACLA, Vancouver, Canada, March 31-April
3, 2011)
DEADLINE: Friday, November 12

This seminar considers the production of narrative in post 1950 cinema as it relates to aesthetically and politically charged questions of globalization and the desires for Utopia. To situate ourselves between these two categories is to take our cue in part from Fredric Jameson’s assertion in “Reification and Utopia in Mass Culture” (1979) that “[A]ll contemporary works of art–whether those of high culture and modernism or of mass culture and commercial culture–have as their underlying impulse…our deeper fantasies about the nature of social life, both as we live it now, and as we feel in our bones it ought rather to be lived.” At issue here is not simply the identification of Utopian tendencies in filmic works that diagnose the state of contemporary capitalism but also the question of how Utopias and theories of global capitalism interact to generate new narrative forms. If contemporary Utopian discourse represents the political obverse of globalized capitalism, could these two categories still somehow imply each other in filmic narratives dealing with globalization or the production of alternative life-worlds? Does Utopia’s persistence in filmic narrative offer support for Jameson’s claim in Valences of the Dialectic (2009) that “the worldwide triumph of capitalism…secures the priority of Marxism as the ultimate horizon of thought in our time”? Where, if anywhere, might the mutual imbrication between Utopia and globalization meet its limits? How might theories of “World Cinema” or investigations of cinematic genres such as noir and science fiction further interrogate this curious co-dependency?

Submit abstracts via the ACLA website, http://www.acla.org/acla2011/?p=816.

Written by gerrycanavan

November 11, 2010 at 3:02 pm