Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘exotic pets

The Lives of Animals, Part Two

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My capstone students and I have come up with the post-Spring-Break schedule for my The Lives of Animals course. Trying to incorporate all the major areas of interest in the room, we sort of orbited around a couple major overlapping segments: animals in captivity (March 29-April 7) shading into animal fantasy (April 5 and April 7) and animal cognition (April 7 and April 12) shading into Kurt Vonnegut’s apocalyptic anticipation of the Anthropocene, Galápagos (April 14 to the end of the course):

Mar. 29 Kathy Rudy, “Where the Wild Things Ought to Be: Sanctuaries, Zoos, and Exotic Pets” [D2L]

possible trip to the Milwaukee Zoo or Jo-Dons Farm

Th Mar. 31 John Berger, “Why Look at Animals?” [AR]

Randy Malamud “Zoo Spectatorship” [AR]

T Apr. 5 Blackfish

Finding Nemo and Finding Dory


after class: Résumé Doctor and Interview Bootcamp! Details TBA

Th Apr. 7 Blackfish and Finding Nemo discussion continues

Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson and Susan McCarthy, “Grief, Sadness, and the Bones of Elephants” [AR]

T Apr. 12 Tim Flannery, “The Amazing Inner Lives of Animals” [Web]

Daniel Dennett, Kinds of Minds (excerpt) [D2L]

Marc Bekoff, “Wild Justice and Fair Play: Cooperation, Forgiveness, and Morality in Animals” [AR]

Th Apr. 14 Kurt Vonnegut, Galápagos, chapters 1-18
T Apr. 19 Kurt Vonnegut, Galápagos, chapters 19-34
Th Apr. 21 Kurt Vonnegut, Galápagos, whole book


I’m pretty excited for this.

New Spring 2016 Course: “The Lives of Animals”

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I’ll be teaching two courses in the spring: a second run of my “Magic and Literature” gateway to the major and a senior capstone called “The Lives of Animals.” The first isn’t changing that much from last year, but here’s the description of the latter…

ENGLISH 4997/5997

Course Title: The Lives of Animals

Course Description: We are currently living through a historical moment that many scientists have begun to call “the Anthropocene”: the moment when the activities of human beings become visible in the geological and climatological record of the planet, recognizable many thousands or even millions of years hence. These activities unhappily coincide—and, to an overwhelming extent, have directly caused—what appears to be the beginning of the sixth mass extinction event experienced on Earth since the first evolution of life. The extinction and endangerment of huge numbers of animal species—as well as new research in biology, genomics, and cognitive science that have utterly blurred the once-clear, once-reliable distinction between “human” and “animal”—now calls on us both intellectually and ethically to reconsider the exclusion of animal life from consideration in human political and cultural institutions. This course seeks to answer that call, serving as an introduction to the interdisciplinary scholarly work in the ecological humanities that is increasingly grouped under the heading of “animal studies.” It will also intersect with fervent debates currently raging about the status of animals in the United States and around the world, including contemporary debates about zoos and aquariums; vegetarianism and medical testing; habitat preservation; and even the potential legal personhood of chimps, gorillas, dolphins, and other higher-order mammals. It will, in addition, serve as the research capstone to your English major experience at Marquette, affording you the academic tools and the creative space to independently develop a project of significant literary-critical scholarship on the troubled and troubling figure of “the animal,” exploring some of the different ways animals have been taken up as a problem by writers and thinkers working in multiple historical periods, media, genres, and literary-cultural forms.

Readings: Will be partially determined collaboratively in our initial class meetings by your interests, but will include key philosophical, scientific, and documentary texts about animal consciousness and “animal personhood,” as well as literary texts drawn from a list including Aesop’s Fables; Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels; J.M. Coetzee’s The Lives of Animals; the Planet of the Apes franchise; Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?; Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves; the short fiction of Octavia E. Butler, Margaret Atwood, Leo Szilard, Sofia Samatar, and James Tiptree Jr.; Lauren Beukes’s Zoo City and Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials; and Disney films about animals like The Lion Kingand The Jungle Book.

Assignments: reflective personal statement, annotated bibliography, major research paper, conference-style presentation, weekly forum posts, class participation

Wherein a Former Academic Blogger Emerges from Book Jail, Weary and Bleary-Eyed, to Discover He Has 300 Open Tabs

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* I had a short interview with the writing center journal Praxis go up this week: “Working Out What’s True and What Isn’t.”

* Can Faculty Deal with Policy Drift? A List of Options.

We know what happened next. After 2008, this paradigm has made it easier for governors and legislatures to cut and not restore, since it established a “new normal” that defined down the limits of reasonable budget requests.  The results have been predictable.  A recent report concluded that “forty-seven states — all except Alaska, North Dakota, and Wyoming — are spending less per student in the 2014-15 school year than they did at the start of the recession.”

* University Bureaucracy as Organized Crime. An addendum.

Now That We Have Transformed Our Institutions to Compete with the University of Phoenix, It’s on Life Support.

* Academic Freedom among the Very Serious People.

If Colonialism Was The Apocalypse, What Comes Next?

* Digitizing the fanzine collection at the University of Iowa’s science fiction collection.

* Samuel Delany and the Past and Future of Science Fiction.

An Astrobiologist Asks a Sci-fi Novelist How to Survive the Anthropocene.

* Ursula K. Le Guin on China Miéville’s latest.

* “City of Ash,” by Paolo Bacigalupi. Part of a “cli-fi” series at Medium alongside this essay from Atwood: “It’s Not Climate Change, It’s Everything Change.”

19490141502_c48e8b967b_o* Modernist — really, brutalist — sandcastles.

* Early reports are calling Fantastic Four the worst superhero hero movie of all time. Grantland elegizes. Josh Trank points the finger.

* Steven Salaita has won a major victory against UIUC, on the same day that Chancellor Phyllis Rise resigns (to a $400K resignation bonus) amid the revelation that she misused her private email to secure his firing.

Fired University of Akron painter spills the details of president’s $951,824 house remodel. Meanwhile, on the other side of town…

Bullying, I propose, represents a kind of elementary structure of human domination. If we want to understand how everything goes wrong, this is where we should begin.

* The Problem We All Live With.

* This is the sort of adjunct-issue reporting that always frustrates me: it seems to me that it is engaging with the issue entirely on an emotional, rather than structural, basis, in the process more or less accepting entirely the think-like-an-administrator logic of forced choices that paints every laborer as the enemy of every other.

Refusing to foreground the actual monetary costs of academic labor in the current economy is a kind of grad-student gaslighting, and a form of abuse.

Why Your Rent Is So High and Your Pay Is So Low.

* The art of the rejection letter. Personally I think the only thing that is ever going to approach “universally acceptable” here is a very short “We’re sorry, but the position has now been filled.”

* Shoutouts to my particular demographic: A paper forthcoming in the Journal of Marketing Research identifies a segment of customers, dubbed the “harbingers of failure,” with an uncanny knack for buying new products that were likely to flop.

India’s Auroville was envisioned as an international community free of government, money, religion, and strife. It hasn’t exactly worked out quite as planned.

* Students under surveillance.

Instead of a multiple-choice test, try ending the semester with one last, memorable learning experience.

Nevada is the uncanny locus of disparate monuments all concerned with charting deep time, leaving messages for future generations of human beings to puzzle over the meaning of: a star map, a nuclear waste repository and a clock able to keep time for 10,000 years—all of them within a few hours drive of Las Vegas through the harsh desert.

The Point of No Return: Climate Change Nightmares Are Already Here.

Startups have figured out how to remove carbon from the air. Will anyone pay them to do it?

California Has Lost the Equivalent of an Entire Year’s Worth of Rain.

* Ghost Town Emerges As Drought Makes Nevada’s Lake Mead Disappear.

The Bureaucrats Who Singled Out Hiroshima for Destruction.

* Going to give this effort a C-: Environmental Protection Agency Dumps a Million Gallons of Orange Mine Waste into a Colorado River.

Jimmy Carter: The U.S. Is an “Oligarchy With Unlimited Political Bribery.”

Here Are the Internal Documents that Prove Uber Is a Money Loser. How Uber hides behind its algorithm.

iTunes Really Is That Bad.

* “You May Know Me from Such Roles as Terrorist #4.”

There have been 204 mass shootings — and 204 days — in 2015 so far.

Vermont Struggles With Renewables.

Eight Years After Student’s Unjust Expulsion from Valdosta State U., $900K Settlement Ends ‘Barnes v. Zaccari.’

Doug Williams used to give polygraph exams. Now he’s going to prison for teaching people how to beat them.

* Elsewhere on the legal beat: Lawyer seeks trial by combat to resolve lawsuit.

* Fitbit as confession.

No Charges For Two Officers Who Backed False Version Of University Of Cincinnati Shooting. Alabama officer kept job after proposal to murder black man and hide evidence. How a philosophy professor with ‘monklike tendencies’ became a radical advocate for prison reform. Univ. of California Academic Workers’ Union Calls on AFL-CIO To Terminate Police Union’s Membership.

* Instapundit is terrible, but I think he’s right about jury nullification. More here.

* Campus police, off campus. How the 1960s created campus cops.

* The Milwaukee Bucks boondoggle makes Last Week Tonight.

* Transportation research group discovers 46% of Milwaukee’s roads are in poor condition. I hope it studies the other 54% next.

* The Milwaukee Lion could be an escaped exotic pet rather than a wandering cougar.

MarshallProj_2015-Aug-07* Milwaukee cops are going to GPS-tag cars rather than engage in high-speed pursuit.

* Milverine: Behind the Brawn.

* Chomsky in Jacobin.

Watch what happens when regular people try to use handguns in self-defense.

* Tressie McMillan Cottom: “I Am Not Well.”

* Good kids make more money. Bad kids make more money. Losers make more money. So that should clear it up.

* Game of the weekend: Ennuigi.

* House of Picards.

* Vox interviews Bernie Sanders.

* Two centuries of Chicago’s rivers being super gross.

* On Clinton and Cosby. Speaking of which, my hiatus also covered the amazing New York Magazine spread of the accusers.

* On the other side of things, there’s this from Freddie deBoer, on sexual assault accusations and the left.

* Gambling! In a casino! Wealth doesn’t trickle down – it just floods offshore, research reveals.

* Gasp! Middle class parents use ‘glass floor’ to ensure their children succeed over poorer peers, report finds.

* What could explain it? Millennials Who Are Thriving Financially Have One Thing in Common.

At 12 years and 9 months, she remains the youngest girl ever executed in the United States.

* I shared What Happens One Hour After Drinking A Can Of Coke last week, now I’m duly shamed.

* Science ain’t an exact science with these clowns: When Researchers State Goals for Clinical Trials in Advance, Success Rates Plunge.

* Is fat a sixth taste?

What on Earth is Fake Cream Made Out Of?

Man born with “virtually no brain” has advanced math degree.

* Chaos on the Bridge: When Gene Roddenberry Almost Killed Star Trek.

A fucking interesting history of swearing on television.

* The prisoner’s dilemma as pedagogy.

* Class and free will.

Dystopic stories are attractive. They appeal to a readership that feels threatened — economically in an age of downward mobility, and politically in an age of terror. But we need to be asking what kinds of stories about living and working with media these influential narratives offer. How do the stories orient young peoples to the potential power and danger of media use? What kinds of literacy practices are sponsored in them?

Kids in the Aftermath: Katrina in Young Adult Fiction.

The Cherry’s on Top: Celibacies and Surface Reading.


* …there is a profound link between literature and evil.

* A brief history of Tijuana Bibles.

Man Creating Women’s-History Museum Decides Last Minute to Make It Serial-Killer Museum Instead.

Are you holding your own daughter back? Here are 5 ways to raise girls to be leaders.

* The cutthroat world of competitive bagpiping.

* The arc of history is long, but it bends towards degoogleplusification.

The long, repressed history of black leftism.

* The austerity delusion.

* Clickhole has the series bible for Breaking Bad. Amazing how much the series changed from its original conception.

* Also at Clickhole: 7 Words That Have No English Translation.

* A dark, gritty Little Women reboot.

* Another scene from the dark, gritty Subway reboot.

* A delightful pitch for a Matrix prequel.

* There is hope — plenty of hope, infinite hope — but not for us.

* The future looks great: Facebook patents technology to help lenders discriminate against borrowers based on social connections.

* Woody Allen finally found a way to characterize his relationship with Soon-Yi Previn that’s even more sickening than “the heart wants what it wants.”

Twitter Asks: What if Hogwarts Were an HBCU?

* #FreeJudyGreer.

* #FreeBritneySpears.

* #BanCarAlarms.

* Do people start off crazy, or just end up that way?

What’s it like to be a top Magic: The Gathering player?

How do you plan on spending the $1 tax cut WI Republicans gave you?

* Everyday evil.

* Review is back. Life is sweet again. Four and a half stars.

* PS: Andy Daly and Paul F. Tompkins interview each other in honor of the occasion.

When your self-driving car crashes, you could still be the one who gets sued.

* And don’t even get me started on what happens if your robot umpire crashes.

* The World Turned Upside Down, or, The Folly of Man Exemplified in Twelve Comical Relations upon Uncommon Subjects.

* The latest in Twitter’s executives working overtime to destroy it.

* Decadence watch: KFC’s new chicken bucket is also a Bluetooth photo printer.

* Decadence watch: Solitaire now has in-app purchases.

* statementofteachingphilosophy.pdf.

* Say goodbye to Jon Stewart the Adam Kotsko way.

* Because you demanded it! Soviet-era erotic alphabet book from 1931.

* And you don’t have to take my word for it! That ‘Useless’ Liberal Arts Degree Has Become Tech’s Hottest Ticket.


Written by gerrycanavan

August 8, 2015 at 2:32 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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