Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘pedagogy

Thanksgiving Links!

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* It’s been a time: Health experts monitor ‘tri-demic’ as respiratory viruses spread around US. Colorado River conditions are worsening quicker than expected. Competition between respiratory viruses may hold off a ‘tripledemic’ this winter. Children’s hospitals call on Biden to declare emergency in response to ‘unprecedented’ RSV surge. How long COVID ruined my life, from crushing fatigue to brain fog. About 37% of small businesses, which between them employ almost half of all Americans working in the private sector, were unable to pay their rent in full in October. Parents are buying fewer baby clothes, a sign of deep financial distress. The world’s baby shortfall is so bad that the labor shortage will last for years, major employment firms predict. Chris Hemsworth ‘Taking Time Off,’ Discovered Genetic Predisposition for Alzheimer’s Disease: ‘I’m Going to Just Simplify.’ Et tu, Coca-Cola? Massive flock of sheep has been walking in a circle for 12 days straight in China. The Problem With Letting Therapy-Speak Invade Everything. Inside the violent, misogynistic world of TikTok’s new star, Andrew Tate. A Quarter of Americans at Risk of Winter Power Blackouts, Grid Emergencies. Stock up on bottled water and canned food, official tells Germans. What if We Cancel the Apocalypse? this comic is almost 14 years old and could have been made yesterday

* I’m giving the last “Tolkien Tuesdays” talk at the Haggerty on next Tuesday, November 28, on Tolkien and pop culture.

* A truly obscene trend in higher ed: How Colleges and Sports-Betting Companies ‘Caesarized’ Campus Life.

* ‘A Culture of Disposability’: New School Part-Time Faculty Go On Strike. Never Cross a Picket Line: A Primer for Solidarity in the Academic Workplace. The Academic Wheel of Privilege. The Cruelty of Faculty Churn. The Deadline Dilemma. The gutting of the liberal arts continues.

* Vulture had a nice Octavia Butler cluster this week: The Spectacular Life of Octavia Butler. Misreading Octavia Butler. How to Write Like Octavia E. Butler. The Butler Journal Entry I Always Return To. This one at the Times was beautiful, too, in more ways than one: The Visions of Octavia Butler. And just a few weeks away: ‘Kindred’ Trailer: Octavia Butler’s Time Travel Novel Comes to Terrifying Life.

* The new Science Fiction Film and Television is out, with articles on steampunk, cryonics, domestic violence in Tau and Upstream Color, and Marvel’s Agent Carter. I can’t tell for sure, but from where I am access to all issues of SFFTV is free right now. And so is the fall issue of SFRA Review! And Uneven Futures is almost here!

* Marxist Literary Criticism: An Introductory Reading Guide.

* One of last year’s student papers is already out in Games and Culture: “Go. Just take him.”: PTSD and the Player-Character Relationship in The Last of Us Part II.

* Marvel got trolled into losing one of its best assets to DC permanently. You hate to see it.

* I Don’t Worry About My Oeuvre: A Conversation with John Carpenter.

* I want Picardo back as the Doctor and I don’t really care how they do it. Just don’t let the Picard showrunners anywhere near it and we’re good to go.

* Online Speed Chess as Self-Soothing, Tetris, or Collaborative Troll Art.

* Middle schoolers tackle climate change in a new alternate reality game.

* The Dirt on Pig-Pen.

* The Incredibly Stupid Catastrophe Caused by Sam Bankman-Fried and FTX. Tumblr Blog Linked to Ex-Alameda CEO Explored Race Science, ‘Imperial Chinese Harem’ Polyamory. Queen Caroline. Every Shady Thing Sam Bankman-Fried Has Confessed or Pseudo-Confessed to Since FTX Collapsed. Effective altruism gave rise to Sam Bankman-Fried. Now it’s facing a moral reckoning. Crypto Bro Sam Bankman-Fried Was the Perfect Liberal Hero. Sam Bankman-Fried tries to explain himself.

* Larry David, Tom Brady, Stephen Curry, Other Celebs Sued Over FTX Crypto Exchange Collapse. Larry David was telling you not to buy, you just didn’t listen…

* Billionaires like Elon Musk want to save civilization by having tons of genetically superior kids. Inside the movement to take ‘control of human evolution.’ Jeff Bezos pledges to donate majority of his $124 billion fortune to fight climate change and unify humanity.

* In the end, Yuji Naka, creator of Sonic the Hedgehog, just couldn’t run fast enough.

* Are Trees Talking Underground? For Scientists, It’s in Dispute.

* If you’re keeping score, a guy made a homemade shotgun out of plumbing parts and iced a former PM with it in broad daylight and the Japanese govt is giving him everything he demanded because they realize he had a point. Utterly wild story.

* Federal judge strikes down Biden student debt relief program. What Went Wrong With Biden’s Student Loan Cancellation Plan— And How He Can Make It Right. Joe Biden Is Finally Moving Toward Allowing Bankruptcy to Eliminate Student Debt. Biden Administration Caves To Pressure On Student Debt Bankruptcy.

* ‘A World Cup Built on Modern Slavery’: Stadium Workers Blow the Whistle on Qatar’s ‘Coverup’ of Migrant Deaths and Suffering.

* Thousands were released from prison during covid. The results are shocking.

* The Bike Thieves of Burlington, Vermont.

* Abortion, Every Day.

* New Rules for a New Game.

* Welcome to the Infinite Conversation: an AI generated, never-ending discussion between Werner Herzog and Slavoj Žižek.

* ‘I was ecstatic to be given the opportunity to be there’: Milwaukee student’s poetry takes her to the White House.

* Elsewhere on the Milwaukee beat: The Landlord & the Tenant.

* The Race to Save Fanfiction History Before It’s Lost Forever.

* what is the crime for which the turkey was sentenced to death & the sentence nullified by the US President? & what guarantee do we have that the turkey won’t be executed anyway, as soon as the cameras are gone.

* It’s that time of year. How to avoid gender bias when writing recommendation letters.

* How ‘Andor’ Drew from… Joseph Stalin? I Can’t Fucking Believe How Good ‘Andor’ Is.

* Multiculturalism in Middle-earth: On Amazon’s “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.”

* Yes, but: the comic.

* ‘Doing Nothing’ course helps students build skills to unplug, think deeply.

* Indy’s going to the Moon folks.

* ‘How Did This Man Think He Had the Right to Adopt This Baby?’

* Words Added to the Scrabble Dictionary.

* Might not make my traditional Thanksgiving post this year, so here it is a few days early.

* From the archives: “Utopia, LOL?”

* And in honor of the end of Twitter: one last Twitter roundup.

Written by gerrycanavan

November 22, 2022 at 11:35 am

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Fall Break Links? In This Economy?

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I’ve been very busy! It might not get better anytime soon! But at least I’ve closed all my tabs...

Baldwin: The defunding of public education has accelerated all the public universities’ forays into the realm of what they call “becoming entrepreneurial,” which I described above—land grabs, leveraging tax-free real estate, public-private partnerships, capturing intellectual property, and more. This story has to begin with the Higher Education Act of 1965. That legislation failed to directly fund higher education and instead offered indirect funding in the form of “student assistance” for tuition—a few grants but mostly loans, most of them private. Only through tuition, paid by most students through loans and debt, could institutions receive federal funds. This prompted a drive toward skyrocketing tuitions, the competition for higher-paying out-of-state and international students, and the debt financing of amenities to draw those students, which has created the massive national student-debt crisis. But even more, this strategy of raising tuition, funded through debt, wasn’t enough to offset decreases in public spending. So, at the same time, colleges and universities ramped up their participation in revenue-generating, community-destroying practices.

Written by gerrycanavan

October 24, 2022 at 9:00 am

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new fall course: “Histories of Anti-Capitalism”!

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I’ve got a great schedule lined up for Fall: a special version of my Tolkien course partnering with UWM and linking up with the Haggerty’s “Art of the Manuscript” exhibit, and a grad special topics course called “Histories of Anti-Capitalism.” Here’s a course description — suggestions very welcome!

Other English Fall course descriptions are trickling in here

Course Title: Histories of Anti-Capitalism

Coure Description: “We live in capitalism,” Ursula K. Le Guin once said. “Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art, the art of words.” This course will take a long view of anti-capitalist thought, from the Luddite revolt of the early nineteenth century to the ongoing climate strikes of Greta Thunberg—investigating where resistance to capitalism has flourished and where it has failed, as well as where it has intersected with important trends in feminist, antiracist, anticolonial, LGBTQ+, ecological, and disability activism. We will also explore the speculative literary genre of utopia, and explore how its utopian, quasi-utopian, heterotopian, dystopian, and downright anti-utopian figurations have reflected, inspired, and critiqued the left’s centuries-long struggle against capitalist realism.

Readings: We will consider a wide mix of literary, historical, and critical-theoretical documents of anti-capitalist and counter-hegemonic thought from the last two-hundred-plus years. A final reading list is still being constructed (and very open to suggestions!), but major literary authors could include such figures as Edward Bellamy, Samuel Butler, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Chinua Achebe, Gene Roddenberry, Ursula K. Le Guin, Octavia E. Butler, and Kim Stanley Robinson, and major theorists could include Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, Fredric Jameson, Mark Fisher, C.L.R. James, Frantz Fanon, bell hooks, Vandana Shiva, Enrique Dussel, Donna Haraway, David Graeber, and José Esteban Muñoz, among many others.

Assignments: Final critical paper or creative project; symposium presentation; weekly sandbox posts on D2L; enthusiastic and informed class participation

Carefully Curated Spring Break Links! Definitely Not Too Many!

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Why, I say, oh why, is it so hard to simply serve the concept and write the adventures of a smart, creative and kind-hearted teenage girl with superpowers? What purpose earthly or unearthly is served by making this character an embittered space tyrant?

… I questioned the desire to attribute the worst aspects of human behaviour to characters whose only useful function, as I see it, aside from simply entertaining young people and anyone else who fancies an uplifting holiday in a storybook world far from the grinding monotony of pessimism and disillusion, is to provide a primary-coloured cartoon taste of how we all might be if we had the wit and the will and the self-sacrifice it takes to privilege our best selves and loftiest aspirations over our base instincts. While that great day is unlikely to happen any time soon in any halfway familiar real world, why not let comic book universes be playgrounds for the kind of utopian impulses that have in the past brought out the best in us?

Written by gerrycanavan

March 12, 2022 at 6:38 pm

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Lost in January Links

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* Out now: Extrapolation Volume 62.3 explores the representation of cyborgs in Pat Cadigan’s Synners, care in Gen Urobuchi’s science-fiction, and the critique of Western technoscience in Welcome to Night Vale.
* CFP: Medical Humanities and the Fantastic: Neurodiversity and Disability. CFP: Push: Childbirth in Global Screen Culture.
* Is there a dominant mode of current science fiction? Notes on Squeecore. Portrait of the Author As a Component of a “Punk-Or-Core” Formulation. Science Fiction Is Never Evenly Distributed. The sci-fi genre offering radical hope for living better.

* Science Fiction is a Luddite Literature.
* Notes on the Forum of the Simulacra.

* How To Develop A Planetary Consciousness.
* How climate catastrophe has consumed popular culture. Ride or Die? Mark Bould and the Fast-and-Furiocene.
* Is Geoengineering the Only Solution?: Exploring Climate Crisis in Neal Stephenson’s “Termination Shock.” Neal Stephenson Thinks Greed Might Be the Thing That Saves Us. Coming back from a time of illness: how finance can learn from climate change fiction. Melancholy Utopianism: The Ministry of the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson. We Can’t Just Grow Our Way Out of This Climate Mess.
* Climate Realism, Capitalist and Otherwise.
* Pop culture can no longer ignore our climate reality.
* Marvel Movies Made 30% Of The Total Box Office.
* Nnedi Okorafor on SF through an African Lens.
* The Matrix Resurrections and trans life (and death). Unpacking the Hidden Meanings in The Matrix Resurrections. A Muddle instead of a Movie.

* Games Studies Studies Buddies is such a good podcast and this is an exemplary episode. Like and subscribe!
* Joss Whedon fully burns down what’s left of his career. The Joss Whedon Era: A Look Back.
* Why so much Obama-era pop culture feels so cringe now.
* Have We Forgotten How to Read Critically?
* From lynchings to the Capitol: Racism and the violence of revelry.
* California’s Forever Fire.
* California, Arizona and Nevada agree to take less water from ailing Colorado River.
* The heat stays on: Earth hits 6th warmest year on record. The Oceans Are Now Hotter Than At Any Point in Human History, Scientists Warn. Here’s how hot Earth has been since you were born. The Supreme Court Case That Could Upend Efforts to Protect the Environment. US hit by 20 separate billion-dollar climate disasters in 2021, Noaa report says.
* As Tax Credit Expires, “Huge Increase” in Child Poverty Feared Amid Omicron Wave. How Did We Go From Stimulus Checks to “Go to Work With COVID”?

* The Ticking Bomb of Crypto Fascism. Tech Startup Wants To Gamify Suing People Using Crypto Tokens.
* Family Capitalism and the Small Business Insurrection: The growing militancy of the Republican right is less about an alliance of small business against big business than it is an insurrection of one form of capitalism against another: the private, unincorporated, and family-based versus the corporate, publicly traded, and shareholder-owned.
* Ultras.
* Democrats will have to do more to save democracy from Trump. The January Sixers Have Their Own Unit at the DC Jail. Here’s What Life Is Like Inside. The January 6th Republicans (from Jonah Goldberg no less). Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes charged with seditious conspiracy in Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Isn’t it pretty to think so?
* The Rise and Fall of Latinx.
* Don’t Look Up Is a Terrible Movie. Really bad. I ranted.
* The Jewish Roots of ‘Star Trek’. Why ‘Star Trek’ made San Francisco the center of the universe.
* A Grieving Family Wonders: What if They Had Known the Medical History of Sperm Donor 1558?
* Percentage that would visit the Moon as a tourist, if money were not a factor.
* On the Legacy of Hunter S. Thompson and Gonzo Journalism.
* The end of the pandemic? Study: Omicron associated with 91% reduction in risk of death compared to Delta. Hospitals Are in Serious Trouble. America’s COVID Rules Are a Dumpster Fire. We are the 3.2%.

* School Closures Led to More Sleep and Better Quality of Life for Adolescents. After last year’s learning loss, we need a plan for students with disabilities. Ideology and school closings. Who is this gentleman, Dude?

* The Mangle of Federalism.
* Book bans in schools are catching fire. Black authors say uproar isn’t about students.
* Becoming Martian.
* Last Year’s Longest Strike Just Ended in Victory.
* Yale, Georgetown, Other Top Schools Illegally Collude to Limit Student Financial Aid, Lawsuit Alleges.

* Dismissive Incomprehension: A Use of Purported Ignorance to Undermine Others.
* This Is the Way the Humanities End.
* A professor welcomed students to class by calling them ‘vectors of disease to me.’ He has been suspended.
* These Tenured Professors Were Laid Off. Here’s How They Got Their Jobs Back.
* So you want to work in academic publishing.
* As Afghanistan’s harsh winter sets in, many are forced to choose between food and warmth.
* US inflation reached 7% in December as prices rise at rates unseen in decades.
* Bernie Sanders says Democrats are failing: ‘The party has turned its back on the working class.’
* A simple plan to solve all of America’s problem.
* Sea Power, ‘Disco Elysium’, and the importance of being miserable.
* HBO’s Station Eleven Surpasses the Novel.
* Oh boy, they’re finally rebooting Quantum Leap.
* I’d never known this: Schrödinger, the Father of Quantum Physics, Was a Pedophile.
* Wes Anderson’s next sounds like another mistake.
* Haruki Murakami’s Monopoly.
* ‘Invincible’ Animated Series Sparks Profits Suit Against Robert Kirkman.
* What Elmo’s Viral Moment Tells Us About How Parents Watch Kids’ TV.
* A people’s history of the Beatles logo.
* If you want a vision of the future.
* Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park Is a Terrible Masterpiece.
* The Wire as copraganda.
* BEHOLD! MEGA-MANHATTAN!

* The Strange Literary Puzzle Only Four People Have Ever Solved. And welcome to the Wordle century.

New Year, New Pandemic Links

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* Brace for Omicron. Wisconsin COVID-19 case counts matching levels not seen since November 2020. Omicron is spreading at lightning speed. Scientists are trying to figure out why. Where are hospitals overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients? Look up your state. After Vaccines: Where Covid Death Rates Have Risen. Omicron Is Pushing America Into Soft Lockdown. “Things will likely get worse, experts warn.” As Omicron Looms, These Colleges Will Start Their January Classes Online. Junior year. You don’t say. In this Midwestern diner, patrons are sticking with coronavirus.

* The pandemic killed so many dialysis patients that their total number shrunk for the first time in nearly half a century.
* Flood of Creative Works Enter the Public Domain on Jan. 1.

* Absolutely beautiful, don’t even care if it’s true.

* How Will the History Books Remember 2021?
* Retired general recommends wargaming potential coup scenarios. That’s just prudent!
* America’s Electoral Future. What elections?
* Redistricting is Going Surprisingly Well for Democrats. Oh, honey.
* The Twitter Putsch. The Big Lie.
* John Roberts, Democratic hero. Joe Biden Has Been Very Good for the Military-Industrial Complex.
* Milwaukee ranks 2nd in poverty level among top 50 most-populated cities in U.S.
* Non-Mortgage Household Debt in the United States, 2003-2022.
* Fast-Moving Wildfires Burn Hundreds of Homes in Denver Area. ‘We Are in a Climate Emergency.’
* ‘The Fuse Has Been Blown,’ and the Doomsday Glacier Is Coming for Us All. The climate apocalypse is real, and it is coming. The trap of climate optimism.

* We stan.
* We’re preparing for apocalypse wrong — and that could make things even worse. What The Marvel Movies Don’t Say About The End Of The World.

But taken together, at the 100,000-foot level, the fact that each property is basically about someone doing what they were doing anyway, then having to deal with some new iteration of surreal but familiar external forces invading, and never having any time to really think about what it all means because the next thing is already happening, as it turns out — now that we really do live in a notable historical period of continual surreal events that could make you question the foundations of society — everyone has to continue doing what they were doing anyway when the world is ending, and you’ll never have that much time to think about what it all means because the demands of the next thing will be upon you.

What does it feel like when the world ends? It just feels like aliens invading until something else happens.

* The Subversive Playfulness of the ‘The Matrix.’The Matrix Resurrections’ captures the real crisis of our post-truth era. ‘The Matrix Resurrections’ Is the Anti-sequel Sequel. The Matrix Resurrections is a messy triumph. Too many movies right now are “about trauma.” The Matrix Resurrections actually does the work. Why trans fans connect to ‘The Matrix’. On the Matrix Resurrections. Blank Check. Even Neo Can’t Log Off.

* Another person discovers the terrible truth about jazz in the Star Wars universe.
* The case against the trauma plot.
* Placement games were 2021’s most calming trend. Black Games Studies.
* LARB’s top-ten most-read of 2021.
* The Radical James Baldwin.
* The End of Neoliberalism in Chile?
* Space Colonists Will Likely Resort to Cannibalism, Scientist Says. Henry Kissinger: AI Will Prompt Consideration of What it Means to Be Human.
* Routine Maintenance: Embracing habit in an automated world.
* Why am I being hurt?
* The Judge Rotenberg Center, a Massachusetts school, still uses electric shock therapy to punish disabled students. How can an entire field of mental health accept this as fine?
* Death Drive Nation.
* I’m older than Frasier. I’m older than Cliff Claven.
* Behold: Star Trek: Coda.
* What are you doing? Listen to Man Bites Dog.
* And the news just gets worse: Exercise necessary for older people later in life, study says.

Spring 2022 Courses!

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Marquette’s English department has put up its course descriptions for the spring, which you can find here: https://www.marquette.edu/english/courses-offered-spring-2022.php

Here are mine!

ENGLISH 4762/5762: Neuroscience and Literature
101 TuTh 9:30-10:45 Professor Gerry Canavan

Course Title: Disability and Narrative

Course Description: From the Shakespearean soliloquy (famously credited by Yale’s Harold Bloom with “the invention of the human” as such) to James Joyce’s stream-of-consciousness narration, and beyond, literature has long been fascinated by the inner workings of the mind, and the so-called “cognitive turn” in literary studies of the 2000s created a vast subfield devoted to understanding these representations with more specificity and in more detail. Marquette’s new “Neuroscience and Literature” course, included in the Cognitive Science interdisciplinary major, draws on this critical archive to explore how literature understands consciousness, particularly in the way literature has posited disability and neurodivergence. Narratives about disability follow predictable and often quite hurtful patterns, typically centering compulsory optimism around concepts like “cure” and “inspiration,” or else fixating on inexorable decline—but emerging narratives about neurodivergence also register the efforts of social and political movements to expand awareness about the lives of people whose minds and brains are not neurotypical, and to change social structures, especially in education and medicine, in order to improve the quality of those lives. In literary terms, representing neurodiversity raises questions such as: What narrative strategies do writers use to represent various ways of perceiving the world? What are autistic voices, or amnesiac voices, Tourettic voices, sociopathic voices? Do these differ, and in what ways, from so-called neurotypical voices? How do fictional voices compare to autobiographical ones? How does centering neurodivergence impact the way we tell and understand stories? Modules in the course will pair scientific and therapeutic writing with literary examples that center the lived experiences of disabled people. 

Readings: The final reading list is still being developed, but this semester’s reading list will likely focus on autism, Huntington’s disease, addiction, and depression. Readings will be balanced among fiction, memoir/nonfiction, popular science writing, and literary and philosophical theory around disability studies. Interested students are invited to contact the instructor in advance of registration to discuss material that will be studied in the course.

Assignments: Enthusiastic class discussion; two papers and one final project; online discussion posts; presentations 

ENGLISH 4717/5717: Comics
101 TuTh 11:00-12:30 Professor Gerry Canavan

Course Title: Comics as Literature
Fulfills English Major Requirement:  Post-1900
Discovery Tier: Cognition, Memory, and Intelligence

Course Description: This course surveys the history and reception of comics and graphic narrative since 1945. We will explore the history of the comics form from its origins to the present moment, watching as the medium shifts from a predominantly American, predominantly male fixation on the superhero towards an increasingly popular international art movement crossing gender, class, and ethnic lines. What are comics today, and who are they for—and why, as Thierry Groensteen has pointedly asked, are comics still in search of cultural legitimization? As in previous instances of the course, we will consider science fictional and superheroic comics alongside high literary novels and confessional autobiographies to gain a full understanding of the medium and its possibilities. In addition to studying comics as literary scholars, along the way we will also consider alternative modes of comics reception, including the great comic book panic of the 1950s, the underground “hippie” counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s, film and television adaptation, and Internet fandom today.

Readings: I will poll the class for their particular interests once registration is done but core texts I have taught in this course in the past include Warren Ellis and John Cassady’s Planetary; Mark Millar and Dave Johnson’s Superman: Red Son; G. Willow Wilson, Jacob Wyatt, and Adrian Alphona’s Ms. Marvel; Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead; Art Spiegelman’s Maus I and II; Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home; Chris Ware’s Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth and Building Stories; Ben Passmore’s “Your Black Friend”; Marjane Satrapi’s The Complete Persepolis; David Mazzuchelli’s Asterios Polyp; Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon’s Daytripper; and Richard McGuire’s Here. I am, of course, always open to suggestions of new texts.

Assignments: Enthusiastic class discussion; two papers and one final project; online discussion posts; presentations

Written by gerrycanavan

October 26, 2021 at 8:18 pm

Brand New Semester, Same Old Pandemic

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I’ve finally beaten my syllabi into shape for the semester:

ENGLISH 3241: “Crafting the Short Story” (my summer/J-term lit/creative writing hybrid, now in person!)

ENGLISH 4716/5716: “Classics of Science Fiction” (featuring Slaughterhouse-Five, The Female Man, Kindred, Ted Chiang, The Fifth Season, and a NCAA-style tournament to determine which 1980s SF movie we’re going to watch instead of reading Neuromancer)

Comments and suggestions welcome, as always!

Written by gerrycanavan

August 29, 2021 at 6:19 pm

Just Another Monday Morning, Just Another Set of Monday Morning Links

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Monday Morning Links!

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Thursday Links!

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* Call for Papers: Trans-Indigenous Science Fictions. CFP: Activism and Resistance at the London Science Fiction Research Community. And don’t forget about the mini-ICFA in October!

* In a lousy year, Phil Wegner’s Invoking Hope was something that made me feel really good about the work I do, and gave me hope for the possibilities of the university (despite its managers). Read my review at Ancillary Review of Books!

* On the other side of things: The Hopeless University: Intellectual Work at the end of The End of History.

* The New Republic has another review of the Butler LOA volume.

* Science Fiction & … Economic Crisis! with Sherryl Vint, Hugh O’Connell, and Malka Older.

* While I’m recommending stuff: my 21C students loved Zadie Smith’s 2020 mini-memoir Intimations — it was their favorite book of the semester — and I’ve had great fun playing Clank: Legacy and Scooby Doo: Escape from the Haunted Mansion with my third-grader lately.

* I also wanted to buy every game listed in this fun YouTube study of Tomb of Horrors, because I’m just that game-crazed right now.

* Gloomhaven sequel Frosthaven will change to address cultural bias.

* Teen Vogue: Colleges are right-wing institutions.

Conservatives continually cite statistics suggesting that college professors lean to the left. But those who believe a university’s ideological character can be discerned by surveying the political leanings of its faculty betray a fundamental misunderstanding of how universities work. Partisan political preferences have little to do with the production of academic knowledge or the day-to-day workings of the university — including what happens in classrooms. There is no “Democrat” way to teach calculus, nor is there a “Republican” approach to teaching medieval English literature; anyone who has spent time teaching or studying in a university knows that the majority of instruction and scholarship within cannot fit into narrow partisan categories. Moreover, gauging political preferences of employees is an impoverished way of understanding the ideology of an institution. To actually do so, you must look at who runs it — and in the case of the American university, that is no longer the professoriate.

* To whit. Exhibit B.

* new demographic cliff just dropped

* First the U. of Vermont Announced Cuts. Then Enrollment Spiked. Now What?

* North Carolina schools are re-segregating. A Wisconsin county completely loses its shit at the very idea of equality.

* The shocking MOVE bombing was part of a broader pattern of anti-Black racism.

* Can Climate Fiction Writers Reach People in Ways That Scientists Can’t?

* Cory Doctorow has been having some 🔥🔥🔥 threads on Twitter lately: 1, 2, 3…

* The Secret Life of Deesha Philyaw (or, why we need university presses).

* How Much Money Do Authors Actually Earn?

* Krakoa as libertarian haven. A Clockwork Orange and #MeToo. Fear of a Black Superhero. Putting an animated series on the blockchain seems like a Rick and Morty bit, doesn’t it? Apparently the Brontës all died so early because they spent their lives drinking graveyard water.

* For some Navy pilots, UFO sightings were an ordinary event: ‘Every day for at least a couple years.’

* Ominous: Alien life looks more and more likely. Catholics are ready.

* Africans in Space: The Incredible Story of Zambia’s Afronauts.

* The Strange Story of Dagobert, the “DuckTales” Bandit.

* Colson Whitehead and Margaret Atwood Discuss The Underground RailroadThe Handmaid’s Tale and the Challenges of Adaptation.

* Randall Kennedy and Eugene Volokh have the case for allowing the use of the n-word and other slurs in the classroom.

* they say your first Amazon order defines your future

* Now you’re just being rude.

* Dick Van Dyke at 95.

* When you’re cancelled, you’re cancelled.

* At only $20,000/month, you’d be a fool NOT to rent it.

* Just 12 People Are Behind Most Vaccine Hoaxes On Social Media, Research Shows.

* How the world missed more than half of all Covid-19 deaths. Is this the end?

* Meet the Nun Who Wants You to Remember You Will Die. No, I don’t think I want to!

* The Darkness.

* Decolonization is not a metaphor. Imperialism: A Syllabus.

* But on the miracles and wonders beat: 1st Group Enrolled in Trial of uniQure’s AMT-130 Gene Therapy for Huntington’s Disease.

Thursday Night Links!

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Drastic as the decision may seem, particularly given that Pokémon cards aren’t the only things people wait in line for hours to buy, it comes days following a fight in a Brookfield, Wisconsin Target’s parking lot in which four people attacked a man, who then pulled his legally-owned gun on his assailants, prompting them to flee before later being arrested by the police. Target’s decision also comes just weeks after the company implemented new policies to curtail people camping out overnight at their stores. Beyond telling people not to line up like this, an alleged note to employees asked them to consider calling the police in order to force people to disperse.

Emergency Tab Closure Post – 2.9.21

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As Tolkien observed in an essay of the late 1950s, even Sauron’s motive was initially to attain a form of political utopianism: “He loved order and coordination, and disliked all confusion and wasteful friction.”46 As many characters are hopeful utopians in their political orientation, any opposition to this standard soon becomes a radical alternative: “It is wisdom to recognize necessity, when all other courses have been weighed, though as folly it may appear to those who cling to false hope.”47 In this scheme, the utopian-political becomes the conventional, while the utopian-ontological becomes the radical; indeed, the latter’s radicality derives not from making different political choices but different personal ones. This is no clearer than in the case of Faramir who, unlike his brother Boromir and father Denethor, will not allow himself to be tempted by the Ring:

I would not take this thing, if it lay by the highway. Not were Minas Tirith falling in ruin and I alone could save her, so, using the weapon of the Dark Lord for her good and my glory. No, I do not wish for such triumphs.

In these positive characterisations, with their exemplary portrayal of heroic subjective values, we can identify aspects of Levitas’s argument for a utopianism of the wholeness of being and human flourishing. As Levitas suggests, many utopias do their work by advocating better ways of being rather than by illustrating better forms of social organisation.

Could This Be the Last of the Great American Linkposts?

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This has been a really difficult month/semester/year/decade and it’s causing me to rethink the way I do these linkposts. For the next bit of time, at least, I’m really going to pull back and try to highlight only those things that I really think deserve attention; for this one in particular that means tossing out basically everything going on with Trump and Biden and the political situation of the United States more generally. Suffice it to say: everything is very bad! And now, this:

Written by gerrycanavan

October 30, 2020 at 4:29 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Friday Night Links!

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UPDATE: oof.

* ICYMI: Grad School Vonnegut #14: Happy Birthday, Wanda June! This one is Aaron’s “Vonnegut and Africa” episode.

* CFP: Utopia and Tabletop Games. CFP: NeMLA 2021 Creative Session, “Speculative Figures and Speculative Futures: Our Uncanny Postapocalypse.”

* Two core pieces of Watchmen criticism from my Watchmen class this week: “Panelling Parallax: The Fearful Symmetry of William Blake and Alan Moore” and “The Forgotten Story of Watchmen’s Unsung Hero.” The second one comes via my pal Jacob Brogan, who was kind enough to shoot some ideas about Watchmen, Higgins, and auteurship with me back and forth the other day.

When I ask Damon Lindelof, showrunner for the upcoming HBO series Watchmen, about John Higgins, his mind goes straight to the Beatles. “John Higgins remains one of the unsung heroes of Watchmen,” he says. “Certainly Moore and Gibbons were John and Paul, but Higgins was George and Ringo combined, and his striking colors reinvented the genre every bit as much as Alan’s words and Dave’s pencils.”

Higgins was indeed a hero of the graphic novel that Lindelof’s show riffs on, having been the man who did the coloring for the book. That makes him one of only three collaborators who created the Watchmen comic, along with writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons, and he is indeed underappreciated, even by the book’s supporters. But even that bold analogy isn’t enough: It’s more as if Beatles fans assumed the band consisted only of John and Paul and didn’t even know George and Ringo existed, much less that they created music of their own.

Let’s Stop with the Realism Versus Science Fiction and Fantasy Debate.

Wisconsin’s daily COVID-19 case count breaks record again, tops 2,500. They had to rescale Marquette’s COVID Dashboard today. Outbreak Stresses Town-Gown Relations in Wisconsin. Millennials and Gen Z are spreading coronavirus—but not because of parties and bars. Laughin’ and a-runnin’, hey hey. Skippin’ and a-jumpin’.

* Huge, if true: The United States is backsliding into autocracy under Trump, scholars warn.

* Federal judge temporarily blocks USPS operational changes amid concerns about mail slowdowns, election. The U.S. Commerce Department has announced it plans to block downloads of the Chinese-owned social apps WeChat and TikTok, beginning on Sunday. “The Trump administration argued against a challenge to its 2020 census plans by saying the Constitution requires a count but does not say it must be accurate.” Bill Barr’s Titanic Lack of Self-Awareness. Independently of Trump and this presidency, William Barr, his henchmen, and his Federalist Society supporters represent a powerful threat to the fundamental values of liberal democracy. The Department of Education as Right-Wing Troll.

* Only going to get worse: NYPD Crushes Tiny Anti-ICE Protest With Overwhelming Force And Bloody Arrests.

* The U.S. Is on the Path to Destruction.

Friends And Family Members Of QAnon Believers Are Going Through A “Surreal Goddamn Nightmare.” It Makes Perfect Sense That QAnon Took Off With Women This Summer. Meet the families torn apart by toxic cable news. The Toxic Slime Will End Us.

Where Is Biden’s Ground Game?

* All roads lead to 269-269.

* Ugh, Tatiana Maslany is great casting for She-Hulk. I thought I was done with these!

* Academic freedom in action: U of T law school under fire for opting not to hire human-rights scholar after pressure from sitting judge. Search for new director of U of T law faculty’s International Human Rights Program leads to resignations, allegations of interference.

* On Quitting Academia.

* BLM and the University of Chicago English department. I had some thoughts about this (blessedly left out of the article) the other day (and again the next morning).

Big Ten announces football returning Oct. 23-24. No confidence at the University of Michigan.

The Black Community in Indianapolis has been left reeling — as shocking and disturbing details released in the last 24 hours have emerged regarding a disgraced activist exposed for posing as a Black Woman. This one has exciting estate fraud on the side.

* Restaurants need a bailout. The Big Corporate Rescue and the America That’s Too Small to Save. Inequality Robs $2.5B from American Workers Each Year.

Russia’s space agency chief declares Venus a “Russian planet.” Quick, someone wake up Rachel Maddow!

* When overwhelmed unemployment insurance systems malfunctioned during the pandemic, governments blamed the sixty-year-old programming language COBOL. But what really failed? Meanwhile, in Wisconsin: Tony Evers firing DWD Secretary Caleb Frostman over unemployment claim backlog.

The battle over dyslexia.

* Pedagogy corner! The Moment Is Primed for Asynchronous Learning.

Dallas school district apologizes for assignment describing Kenosha shooter as ‘hero.’

* Anti-maskers and whiteness.

Reprogramming a Game By Playing It: an Unbelievable Super Mario Bros 3 Speedrun.

The Boys confronts real American Nazis better than most comic-book stories.

* Songs of Love and Hate: “Layla” and Martin Scorsese’s ‘Goodfellas.’

* Patrick Blanchfield goes deep into the Call of Duty storyworld in my menchies.

What happened when I decided to bet against the Dow—and the financial services industry tried to stop me.

* And it’s not all bad news: the sequel to one of the best Metroidvania games I’ve played in years is out on the Switch. And I’ve been loving Baba Is You, too! It’s a golden age for video games. AND NOTHING ELSE.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 18, 2020 at 6:14 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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