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Showing posts from April, 2017

Review: Grit: Passion, Perseverance, and the Science of Success

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Grit: Passion, Perseverance, and the Science of Success by Angela Duckworth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Duckworth's book has gotten to be pretty popular by now and it's no wonder given the topic and her means of exploring it. The first challenge of this book is that the reader is likely to be constantly comparing their experience to those in the book and wondering about their level of grit. That's ok--just let it happy. But more importantly, Duckworth's book provides a range of ways of understanding what grit is and how it can be developed in everyone. It's a powerful book to help us think differently about what it is that we look for in developing youth as well as how we foster better outcomes for everyone. If you are looking for a way to understand some of the ways in which we as humans can do great things or want a better sense of how one can improve their approaches for self development or development of others, this would be an ideal book to start with.

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The PhD Chronicles: Dissertation Journal #4

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So while I had hoped to work that this journal regularly, that clearly hasn't been the case.  Oh well, there are so many hours in a day/week, right and when you're juggling full-time work, part-time work, a PhD program self-care, and social time, somehow, such things just don't happen as they should.  But that doesn't mean I'm not still trying to think about it and jot down ideas here and there.  

This June, we start the process of developing what is likely to become our dissertation and have had our first few meetings with the professor that will be ushering us into the process during the semester.  Based on those meetings, I feel like I'm in a good place.  He gave us a set of questions to write about and reflect based upon what we think we currently want to do and so that will be the crux of this journal entry.  

However, in taking after a good friend and mentor of mine, I'm going to start to make this an open process where people are invited to comment and…

Review: Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better

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Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better by Clive Thompson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thompson dives into the ongoing debate about how technology is impacting humankind with a fascinating look at how the relationship between humans and technologies tends to improve and enhance outcomes in many different ways. He doesn't negate that technologies has limitations and can make things more complicated (e.g. we can now record everything but find nothing), but there are many more areas that he argues well that technology enhances life and meaning for people from the way we play games to how we understand and approach education to how it improves our ways of communicating. It's not necessarily a particularly better book than many of the other ones out there that make similar arguments but it does introduce some different research and materials than what's been said.

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Did you enjoy this read? Let me know your thoughts down bel…

Review: Pedagogy of the Oppressed

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Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

For those not in the realms of education or social justice, you may not have stumbled upon this book. But for those interested in such subjects (as well as politics, cultural studies, criminal justice, etc), then this is one of those essential classics. Freire's theoretical and complex book may come in well under 200 pages, but it's still an intellectual journey. Reading and processing it reminds me of reading Foucault's History of Sexuality Volume 1; I might have had better luck learning the native language it was published in and then trying to read the book. It's dense but particularly chapter's two and three (there are only four chapters), I found to be the most useful. Basically, Freire explains a way to reconsider how teaching and learning is done at a time and in a place where teaching was entirely one-directional and more part of a system of regulating minds than encouraging actual growth. His …

My Current Bookshelf - March 2017

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Another month, more books!  We know that's how it goes here and I've had some really fascinating reads as well as one, painfully-bad read (FYI: Cop Under Fire; easily assuming worst book of the year in my book for numerous reasons; I won't be reviewing it because I'd rather not give it any more attention than it deserves, but you've been warned).  I feel a bit behind with reading this year in terms of how many books (just over 40) for the first 3 months of the year, but there's little I can do about that given the program.  Oh well!  So let's get cracking!
Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi If there is a single book that can structurally explain how racism permeates the history and mythology of the United States, then Kendi's book is if not the book, then certainly a contender (having not read all of them, I cannot say, but having read many books on race, this one is among the best).  Kendi trac…

Review: Asking for It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture and What We Can Do about It

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Asking for It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture and What We Can Do about It by Kate Harding
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In many ways this is a brutal book for many people. For victims of rape and sexual assault, it confirms and explains what many of them have gone through in a culture that pays mere lipservice to victims of such violence. For those who have never been directly involved, it's an eye-opening exploration into how many of us are likely to be complicit in sexual violence in our culture. But equally important, it's an eloquent and strong critique that gives victims and allies the means of which to see the pernicious assumptions about sexual violence in our culture and to call it out when we see it. Harding's accessible prose, wit, and drawing out of the different aspects of American society that create a rape culture blend together so well that the reader is left speechless. It's one of those reads that I feel that everyone should read and even if it people disag…

CFP: 3rd Call: Teaching Popular Culture

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More CFPs are coming and I'm getting quite excited!  Here's another reminder for those looking to submit something!
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 …

The PhD Chronicles: And Sometimes, You Feel It

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Note:  Please remember that these posts are dated one year from when they are composed.  They represented my thoughts, reflections, and feelings in the time of writing.  These may not necessarily reflect my current thoughts or may just be a means of flushing out my thoughts to get a better view.  

Well, we'll call this post a processing post.  I spent all day in class yesterday, trying to focus but not succeeding.  It's a busy and chaotic week in which besides actively job searching (thinking and planning for interviews, interviewing, submitting applications, etc), teaching, working and the PhD program, I also had to unexpectedly care for someone.  To be clear--I'm more than happy to care for family and friends--without a second thought.  That said, it doesn't mean it doesn't put added stress into one's life when you welcome someone into your home for several weeks who has limited mobility (and I can only imagine how stressful and challenging it is for that pers…