Showing posts from February, 2017

CFP: 2nd Call: Teaching Popular Culture

So the submissions are starting to trickle in so I thought I would take the opportunity to remind people about this CFP!  I am the Chair for the Teaching Popular Culture area for the Northeast Popular Culture Association (NEPCA).  As someone who teaches a course, specifically on popular culture, I am always interested in seeing and hearing what others are doing.  
I also tend to look at the Teaching Popular Culture area as a bit different than the other areas which are research focused.  I see this area more along the lines of providing some professional development, feedback, and reflection around how we employ popular culture in the classroom.  I feel like this is an often under-attended element of popular culture studies: how we meaningfully engage with it with our students.  
Therefore, I'm quite interested in hearing from people and encourage anyone who may teach a popular culture focused course or use popular culture in interesting and useful ways to put in a proposal.  Here a…

Review: Blackballed: The Black and White Politics of Race on America's Campuses

Blackballed: The Black and White Politics of Race on America's Campuses by Lawrence C. Ross
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ross delves deep into the racial politics on campus at a time when many different campuses are coming up against a generation of students who are calling out institutional racism with the resources to capture them and generate national conversations. Ross captures some of the complicated histories that many institutions and college campuses must grapple with and negotiate as more diverse populations arrive on campuses and refuse to be ignored or devalued. One of his most interesting discussions is around campus fraternities and the ways in which they directly and indirectly instill silence and isolation for African American students. It's a timely book that can help campus leaders consider how to improve their campuses and become more welcoming to populations that have historically been outright denied or exiled on campus.

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My first published short-short...

So FunDead Publications is a publisher that started up in Salem and whom I've become familiar with.  They do a regular call for short stories, short-short stories, and other creative works of horror.  I decided I would give writing a short-short story a try and I really liked the experience.  Apparently, they did too as they recently published it.  

Here's the link to the story, be sure to go on over and read it--and thinking about signing up for their newsletter.  They have regular content that's always fun to read, watch, or engaged with (I'm a fan of their weekly polls).  Since it is a short-short story, I won't provide you with a lot of it, but here's the opening paragraph:

"Vicious red liquid seeped from the pages of the closed book and crawled in all directions. I thought about what an interesting predicament this was. I pondered what to do.Let the book bleed out, allowing my inner sadist to feast on the sight. Channel my bibliophile horror and attempt…

Short Story #407: Valley of Dreams by Stanley G. Weinbaum

Title: Valley of DreamsAuthor: Stanley G. WeinbaumSummary: This story follows on the heels of Weinbaum's other story, A Martian Odyssey.  Jarvis, the protagonist along with another crew member, Leroy, a Frenchman, return from being away for a few days and look particularly haggard.  They proceed to share their tale about what has transpired.  They had traveled out to collect the films that Jarvis had left behind.  They encounter a large and mostly abandoned city, where they encounter the alien race that Jarvis met before and even stumble upon Tweel.  Tweel gives them a tour of the space, where they encounter large paintings of the aliens and what look like humans but with elongated noses.  Jarvis and Leroy realized that at some point, Tweel's race had made it to Earth and proved the inspiration for Thoth, an Egyptian god.  Later, they discover the reciprocal relationship between Tweel's people, the Thoth, and the barrelmen from the previous story.  Later, as they leave the …

Review: The Fireman

The Fireman by Joe Hill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hill's new novel is a fun joyride into a post-apocalyptic world in which a new fungus has spread across the world. Once infect, the person develops a golden rash, known as dragon scale, which eventually leads them to burst into flames. Unsure about what to do with them, the government begins to quarantine and eventually kill them as they cause increasing hazards, setting entire areas of the country on fire. Enter Harper, a smart, caring, and pregnant nurse who gets the dragon-scale and is unsure what to do. Her husband believes he knows what best, let them both take a bullet to the head, but she wants to live for the child inside her. Along the way to her decisions, she meets the Fireman, a man that seems to get along with his infection and a whole camp of people who also manage to survive despite being infected. Overall, it's a fun novel and while I don't mean this in a diminutive or derivative way, this novel makes clear that…

My Educational Philosophy...for now

As with my Educational Autobiography, I decided to share my Educational Philosophy (at least as it pertains to higher education).  What follows is what I wrote as a response to the idea of what my educational philosophy at this point in time would look like (when distilled down to 4-5 pages).  

Beyond Access: Radically Unlocking Higher EducationMy goal as an educator, firmly situated in higher education, is to eliminate artificial barriers and increase avenues of support, meaning-making, and respect towards students so that they can effectively understand, impact, and critique society. In the nearly twenty years as a student, instructor and staff (playing all three roles at once many times), my experience, research, and reflection has shown me that the degree to which an institution embraces aspects of radical access goes hand in hand with how well all students thrive in college, are capable of substantially shaping some aspect of society, all while better understanding themselves and …

Review: The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Alexander delivers a brutal and systematic accounting of the ways in which US culture has continued to disenfranchise, alienate, and marginalize African Americans in the 20th and 21st century. Though she starts with the exploration of slave and post-slave society, she traces a variety of policies, practices, and laws within criminal justice on the local, state, and federal level coupled with explorations of public policy, economic policy, business and employment practices, sociological findings, and many other disciplinary research to paint a vivid tapestry of the legal language of colorblindness in many perpetuates drastic proportional inequalities between whites and African Americans in particular but other minorities as well. It's an eye-opening and excruciating look that can be hard to fully accept, especially for those that have never considered such things. She provi…

Short Story #406: The Martian Odyssey by Stanley G. Weinbaum

Title: The Martian OdysseyAuthor: Stanley G. WeinbaumSummary: Jarvis is one among four who are the first to travel to Mars in this classic science-fiction tale from 1934.  He is recounting his tale to his companions after surviving a strange and wild adventure.  While exploring Mars, his transportation fails and he's left trying to get back to his companions across a wide expanse of Mars.  Early in his travails across this unexplored world, he encounters Tweel, a birdlike bipedal who is intelligent and from an advance civilization.  Their ability to communicate is limited but the two work together to make their way across the strange landscape and creatures.  Along the way, they encounter pyramid-creating silicon beasts, semi-sentient grass, dream-beasts, and creatures ceaselessly filling their carts to feed some machine.  Together, Jarvis and Tweel mostly avoid calamity until they disturb the unnatural cavern where the machine sits that the creatures feed.  As the creatures pursue…

My Current Bookshelf - January 2017

Given that January was a month in which I was not in class, it will surprise few that I read a decent amount this month and many of them were phenomenal reads; a great way to start the year!  There were a lot of great books to discuss but I will restrict my posting to just a handful and I'll be curious if anyone can see a theme.   Feel free to ask me about any of them if you're looking for recommendations.

White Like Me by Tim WiseWise's memoir of his own awakening to systematic racism in the United States is a powerful and useful tale for white people to read and reflect on their own experience.  From his early upbringing in the south to his education in New Orleans and early days of activism against the David Duke campaigns in the 1990s, Wise explores the ways in which he has succeeded and failed in being an ally to non-white people.  But what Wise does best throughout the book is to mark with clarity the ways in which the privilege afforded him by being white created opp…