Posts Tagged ‘Tolkien’
* 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.
* 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.
* 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.
* 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 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.
* 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.
* Firstborn Girls Are the Best at Life. Any Zoey could have told you that!
* 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.
I’m really excited about this one. Here’s the day-by-day schedule…
Big thanks to Ben Robertson, Robert Tally, and Tim McMahon for sharing their Tolkien syllabus, and to Brian Kenna for talking a few things through with me when I needed it. (UPDATE: Thanks also to Robin Reid, who had some great ideas for additions.)
GENERAL COURSE PLAN
WEEKS 1-2: TOLKIEN’S CREATIVE PROJECT
WEEKS 3-4: THE HOBBIT
WEEKS 5-7: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING
WEEKS 8-10: THE TWO TOWERS
WEEKS 11-13: THE RETURN OF THE KING
WEEKS 14-15: THE SILMARILLION
|M||Aug. 31||FIRST DAY OF CLASS|
|W||Sep. 2||“On Fairy Stories” [D2L]|
|F||Sep. 4||“Leaf by Niggle” [D2L]|
|M||Sep. 7||LABOR DAY HOLIDAY—NO CLASS|
|W||Sep. 9||Brian Attebery, “Is Fantasy Literature? Tolkien and the Theorists”|
|F||Sep. 11||Guest lecturer Brian Kenna on Tolkien’s biography and war service|
|M||Sep. 14||The Hobbit, chapters 1-4|
|W||Sep. 16||The Hobbit, chapters 5-6
original “Riddles in the Dark” chapter (D2L)
|F||Sep. 18||The Hobbit, chapters 7-9|
|M||Sep. 21||The Hobbit, chapters 10-14|
|W||Sep. 23||The Hobbit, chapters 15-19|
|F||Sep. 25||The Hobbit (whole book, plus film adaptations)
J.R.R. Tolkien, “The Quest for Erebor”
John D. Rateliff, “The 1960 Hobbit”
|M||Sep. 28||The Fellowship of the Ring, Book One, foreword, prologue, and chapters 1-3|
|W||Sep. 30||The Fellowship of the Ring, Book One, chapters 4-7|
|F||Oct. 2||Tom Bombadil
The Encyclopedia of Arda: “Tom Bombadil” [Web]
Lord of the Rings Wiki: “Theories about Tom Bombadil” and linked pages [Web]
|M||Oct. 5||The Fellowship of the Ring, Book One, chapters 8-12
FINAL PAPER GUIDELINES DISTRIBUTED
|W||Oct. 7||Library Day #1—Meet at Raynor Library|
|F||Oct. 9||The Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, chapters 1-5|
|M||Oct. 12||The Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, chapters 6-8|
Unfinished Tales: “The History of Galadriel and Celeborn” [D2L]
Robert Tally, “Galadriel, Witch-Queen of Lórien” [Web]
|F||Oct. 16||The Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, chapters 9-10|
|M||Oct. 19||The Two Towers, Book Three, chapters 1-4|
|W||Oct. 21||The Two Towers, Book Three, chapters 5-7|
|F||Oct. 24||MIDTERM BREAK|
|M||Oct. 26||CONFERENCES—NO CLASS|
|W||Oct. 28||The Two Towers, Book Three, chapters 8-11
Robert Tally, “Song of Saruman” [Web]
|F||Oct. 30||The Two Towers, Book Four, chapters 1-4|
|M||Nov. 2||The Two Towers, Book Four, chapters 5-10|
Robert Tally, “Let Us Now Praise Famous Orcs” [D2L]
Richard K. Morgan, “The Real Fantastic Stuff” [Web]
N.K. Jemisin, “The Unbearable Baggage of Orcing” [Web]
|F||Nov. 6||Library Day #2—Meet at Raynor Library|
|M||Nov. 9||The Return of the King, Book Five, chapters 1-6|
|W||Nov. 11||The Return of the King, Book Five, chapters 7-10
Robin Reid, “Light (noun, 1) or Light (adjective, 14b)? Female Bodies and Femininities in The Lord of the Rings”
|F||Nov. 13||CONFERENCES—NO CLASS
POST FINAL PAPER PROSPECTUS ON D2L AND COMMENT ON AT LEAST TWO OTHER STUDENTS’ PROSPECTUSES
|M||Nov. 16||The Return of the King, Book Six, chapters 1-3
Sean Crist, “Could the Eagles Have Flown Frodo into Mordor?” and responses
|W||Nov. 18||The Return of the King, Book Six, chapters 4-7|
|F||Nov. 20||The Return of the King, Book Six, chapters 8-9
David M. Craig, “ ‘Queer Lodgings’: Gender and Sexuality in Lord of the Rings.”
|M||Nov. 23||The Return of the King, appendices
J.R.R. Tolkien, “The Epilogue” [D2L]
J.R.R. Tolkien, “The New Shadow” [D2L]
|W||Nov. 25||THANKSGIVING—NO CLASS|
|F||Nov. 27||THANKSGIVING—NO CLASS|
|M||Nov. 30||The Silmarillion: “Ainulindalë,” “Valaquenta,” and Quenta Silmarillion, chapters 1-5|
|W||Dec. 2||The Silmarillion: Quenta Silmarillion, chapters 6-12|
|F||Dec. 4||The Silmarillion: Quenta Silmarillion, chapters 13-19|
|M||Dec. 7||The Silmarillion: Quenta Silmarillion, chapters 20-24
J.R.R. Tolkien, “Notes on Motives in The Silmarillion” [Web]
|W||Dec. 9||The Silmarillion: “Akallabêth” and “On the Rings of Power and the Third Age”|
|F||Dec. 11||Michael Saler, “The Middle Positions of Middle Earth”
LAST DAY OF CLASS
|F||Dec. 18||FINAL PAPERS DUE BY 1 PM|
* The Madison Journal of Literary Criticism interviews my friend Ramzi Fawaz about his exciting new book on the X-Men in the 1970s: The New Mutants.
* Whatever happened to Gary Cooper: You’ve heard of women’s studies, right? Well, this is men’s studies: the academic pursuit of what it means to be male in today’s world. Dr. Kimmel is the founder and director of the Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities at Stony Brook University, part of the State University of New York system, which will soon start the first master’s degree program in “masculinities studies.”
* The fire next time: The Pension Crisis at Public Universities.
* The Clinton plan for college. This summary leaves out all the awful disruptivation and neoliberalization stuff that will be part of any actual plan, so it sounds great.
* Widespread use of private email revealed a day after Wise resigns. The Revelations in Phyllis Wise’s Emails. Legal experts react. It’s so bad the board is going to vote on whether to pull her $400,000 golden parachute.
* Comic book movies and the forgotten art of the ending. You heard it here first!
3% takes place in a world where most of the population lives in “Hither”: a decadent, miserable, corrupt place. When people reach 20 years of age, they go through the “Process”, the only chance to get to “Thither” – the better place, with opportunities and promises of a dignified life. Only three percent of the applicants are approved by the Process that will take the applicants to their limit, putting them in terrifying, dangerous situations and testing their convictions through moral dilemmas.
* Point: They clearly should have let Max Landis write Fantastic Four. Counterpoint: The Fantastic Four Are Jerks.
Natalia’s tweet became a whole great blog post on modernism, childhood, and tech.
* Prison-industrial-wildfire complex: Nearly half the people fighting wildfires wreaking havoc across California are prison inmates.
* Sandernistas would do well to reflect on one thing. In a few months’ time, Sanders’s campaign will be gone. He will not win. … But Black Lives Matter, or rather the movement with which it has become synonymous, isn’t going to go away. And it is far more important to America’s long-term future. A useful corrective, I think, though my intuition remains that this is one brand of underpantsgnomism competing with another for underpants-gnome supremacy.
* Diseases of the twenty-first century: Foot Orgasm Syndrome.
* This could actually be interesting: Harvard Professor Larry Lessig To Explore Democratic Presidential Run.
* Because you demanded it: Werner Herzog’s Ant-Man.
* And while the lion still remains at large, Milwaukee remembers its polar bear.