Showing posts from May, 2017

Perceived As....

When trying to explain myself, I sometimes use the term, "perceived as heterosexual."  It's a term that catches people off guard, usually, people that do not fully know me or know that I'm bisexual.  It raises an eyebrow and occasionally, provokes a question about what that means.  

As a cisgender male, I am in a committed relationship with a cisgender female and that is largely what people see.  And from that view, the assumption comes that I am therefore heterosexual.  That's the byproduct of a heteronormative society and part of what is known as bi-erasure.  While I get why this happens, I'm often frustrated by the way it mutes my full identity as bisexual.  That I am attracted to more than one sex is an important piece of my identity; though not the defining piece (I'm not sure, for me, that there is a defining piece of my identity--except maybe learner).  It's added infinite value in my life by acknowledging it and allowing it to shape the adult I…

Review: Advice from a Wild Deuce: The Best of Ask Tiggy

Advice from a Wild Deuce: The Best of Ask Tiggy by Tiggy Upland
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I openly admit that I am biased in reviewing this book because I am close with the actual author (spoiler alert—Tiggy Upland is a pseudonym!). Regardless, I found this book to be a fantastic dialogue on the subject of understanding bisexuality (my own, and others). Upland pulls together the best questions from her advice column to provide a panoramic view of what it means to be a bisexual in the United States in the 21st century. She’s great at taking on personal questions and drawing out the nuance issues present and parsing out specific advice to the person while also connecting the question to the larger tapestry of navigating bisexuality in a culture that still doesn’t appreciate or provide much room for it. What’s more is that Upland’s tone is bemusing, sagely, and engaging. She’s capable of calling out self-deceit in a way that doesn’t turn the reader away but rather endears them to her and to …

Review: Difficult Men: Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution: From The Sopranos and The Wire to Mad Men and Breaking Bad

Difficult Men: Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution: From The Sopranos and The Wire to Mad Men and Breaking Bad by Brett Martin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Martin explores the history of dramatic television in the last two decades, defining it as the third golden age of television. The title refers to the defining feature of this third golden age in that both onscreen in the form of lead characters and off-stage in the form of the rise of the "show-runner" writer is universally male. In tracing the history of many of the most famous and genre-defining shows, Martin shows how the leading characters (Tony Soprano, Vick Mackey, Don Draper, Walter White and others) are men in constant desire of power in a variety of forms and willing to do harm to achieve it. They are contrasted with often more complicated but still flawed creators and writers who are also trying to leave their own mark on the world. Taken together, the book holds up a fascinating mirror to the American culture …

CFP: 4th Call: Teaching Popular Culture

The final reminder, I swear!  The deadline is approaching so be sure to get in your questions and submissions soon!
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 are a fe…

Goals Check-In 2017: 4 Month Mark

March 1 marks the 2-month point into the year and rather than wait until next year to think about my progress (or digress?) from my yearly goals, I thought I'd take a gander at where I am today.  I put forward a good amount of goals for 2017 and well, I'm middle of the ground on progress on some of them and others, not as much.  2016 was a decent year in goal-setting and achieving and I'm hoping this year I will be able to do better. So let's do the run down:  
I recapped where I was 2 months ago.  Now, let's see if where there's been progress:  
Complete a TriathlonWe'll see how this plays out.  I haven't been swimming in months because of other demands and just getting out of the habit.  However, I think as we get to the summer and I'm in a new routine, I still plan to pull one off in August or September.  I'll definitely do one, I would just prefer to do one that I'm maximally prepared for.  

15000 a day120 days and counting.  There have bee…

The PhD Chronicles: Year 1, Officially Done

That's it.  Year one is in the books.  My papers have been submitted and now, it's time to wait for grades and enjoy the three-week break before the summer intensive.  But hey, by July 1st, I'll have 24 credits and that will be 1/3 of the credits to completion of the degree.  So what has this first year been like?

I got what I asked for! I regularly get asked how is the program going.  It's not the most asked question; that goes to "Are you done yet?"  (The answer to that questions is :  "Stop asking me that question; it's a PhD program, community education program on astronomy.") followed by "How much do you have left?" (Another PhD student question no-no.  It's like asking a marathon runner how much he or she has left to run; we hate being reminded on the finish line because it's so damn far away).  However, when asked about the how, my response is usually, "I got what I wanted and now, I'm dealing with it."  I wa…

Review: For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood... and the Rest of Y'all Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education

For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood... and the Rest of Y'all Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education by Christopher Emdin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Edmin's book shows the depths and methods needed to go in order to institute transformative teaching and learning in a classroom that engages all students. He names his approach reality-based pedagogy and its core idea is that it is impossible to teach students if you do not embed their realities into the classroom; altering how one may teach, how power is negotiated, and what it means to demonstrate learning. Clearly from the title, there is a specific context to which he is speaking, but the application of his approach can potentially open up any classroom (e.g. it's easy to imagine how this could play out in a rural environment). He explores his pedagogy through his own triumphs and setbacks as he aims to help his students channel their enthusiasm and interest into productive learning experiences that reflect what he hopes t…

My Current Bookshelf - April 2017

April is a busy month but despite that, I managed to keep my reading going and even finished three physical books.  

Demystifying Dissertation Writing: A Streamlined Process from Choice of Topic to Final Text by Peg Boyle Single
Obviously, there's a particular audience for this type of book (doctoral students), but it is a solid book with some clear and direct tools to use in order to prepare for the path down the dissertation.  I strongly recommend it for students who are about to enter a doctoral program as though I am still finding it helpful, I think having it (and following its recommendations) from the start, I would be in a much better place.  I appreciated how Single's method moves you from ideas to a focus statement to an outline to detailed outline to mini-papers to full-blown work.  Beyond the structural approaches and considerations, Single also drops different hints and hacks that can be helpful for the doctoral student (such as putting a "To-Do" list at t…

The PhD Chronicles: Semester's Endgame

And with that, I finish attending my fifth and sixth class.  I've got papers to write, but they feel under control and will be done soon.  Then, it's three weeks until the next summer session (#2 of #3; yes!).  

It's been about a month since my last post in this series.  I'm feeling better, though the waves of doubt and defeat still resonate with me at times.  I'm glad to be at the end of the semester with some down time.  Some of the other issues have been alleviated (though still waiting on the job front) and so I can feel a bit better as I go into the weekend of paper-writing and finalizing of projects for the end of the semester.  

I definitely withdrew this semester more than last in terms of connecting with the content and with my cohort.  The combined stress of things made it much harder for me to concentrate in class and to apply what I was learning more substantially.  I still feel like I learned a lot.  The course balance was also off this semester in that …

Review: Context: Further Selected Essays on Productivity, Creativity, Parenting, and Politics in the 21st Century

Context: Further Selected Essays on Productivity, Creativity, Parenting, and Politics in the 21st Century by Cory Doctorow
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cory Doctorow continues to impress me and many others with his thoughts on what it means to be a creator in the 21st century. This collection of essays (which you can download for free on his website) brings together a lot of his different works that he's written for his blog and elsewhere about the nature of copyright, open source living, and censorship. At its center are questions about how do we as a culture decide to empower creators new and old and what does it mean to create in a technological world wherein replication can happen without significant costs. Doctorow makes a strong case to move in the direction of openness for all creators, believing that this will be more empowering than limiting. What's also interesting about this book is the ways in which Doctorow illustrates how he is often collaborative with not just other wr…