Teaching two classes this semester, a graduate class on Derrida (syllabus) and the usual undergraduate class on video game culture (syllabus), this time with 400 students, a new record. I had planned to make a bunch of changes to the undergrad class, eliminating Will Wright as one of my auteurs in favor of someone younger …Continue Reading
So one of the things I’ve been up to that I’m really excited about and proud of is Penn State’s new Center for Humanities and Information, which has just started up this year. The best thing (well, one of the best things) about it is that it spends 95 percent of its budget on people, …Continue Reading
I’ve been terrible about updating the site, but here’s a quick rundown of where I’ll be: Sept 18-19: U of Tampa (about literary worlds) Oct 2-3: Concordia University, Montreal (the new Kant book) Oct 22-23: Norwich University, Vermont (talking about Elements) Nov 5-6: University of Cincinnati (the new Kant book) January 7-10: MLA, Austin (something from …Continue Reading
I’ve been terrible about updating the site, for which I apologize to the three readers out there. Meanwhile, a schedule of talks and travels for Spring 2015: Feb 4-5-6: ACL(x), U of South Carolina Feb 12-14: Berkeley, 5pm on Feb 12, on Kant and the humanities; Sat 13 all day at a conference at Stanford …Continue Reading
Saturday, Nov 15: I’ll be speaking to graduate students in Sociology at Yale (along with real sociologists Elijah Anderson (Yale) and Mitch Duneier (Princeton)) on questions of academic style and writing in and around ethnography. Prepping by reading Howard Becker’s Tricks of the Trade, Elijah’s A Place on the Corner, and John van Maanen’s Tales of the Field. We’ll see …Continue Reading
The fabulous-in-every-way Carla Nappi has interviewed me for the New Books Network. You can listen to the whole thing here.
I’m super excited to be the first director of the new Penn State Center for Humanities and Information. There are visiting fellowships, graduate student fellowships, and faculty fellowships, as well as a bunch of other cool stuff. And a new website!
I actually spoke on this roundtable from a single page of notes, as is my preference; but then I typed up the notes for a friend and so here they are. I only spoke for 6 minutes so I’ve said more below, I think, than I said then… but for whatever reason (probably the same …Continue Reading
The Elements of Academic Style: Writing for the Humanities, now out from Columbia; more or less a guide on how to write literary criticism for graduate students and faculty in literary and cultural studies. Comes free with two jokes about fascists and a picture of a Matryoshka doll.
Remarks I read (much too quickly) at the MLA roundtable organized by Jim English. Feed of Twitter response to the panel here. Some of this drawn from the scale piece, some from remarks on close reading in On Literary Worlds, and some from thoughts leading into the new book, now tentatively titled What Kind of Information is …Continue Reading
For all I know this has been said before, but: the anthropocene is a world-concept. The normal way to understand the Anthropocene is as a historical period, defined more or less as the era when human beings acquire the capacity to affect the ecology of the entire planet, thereby opening the door to mass extinction, …Continue Reading
One of the things I want to do sometimes is to repost stuff from Printculture’s archives, because it tends to be hard to find. Here is a series of discussions on the topic of something I called “leverage,” by which I meant, as Mark McGurl pointed out in the comments, “critical distance.” The conversation that …Continue Reading
Nice article from NY Mag on the psychological and physiological adjustments that come with having lost large amounts of weight. Cultural fantasies of weight loss present a tidy, attractive proposition – lose weight, gain self-acceptance – without addressing the whole truth: that body image post-weight loss is often quite complicated. Perhaps that helps explain why …Continue Reading
So a few months ago I predicted that one day actors would be hired by firms like Coursera to teach MOOCs (because once you don’t have to respond to student questions live, who cares who reads from the script? Might as well be a hottie…). And now one of the leading MOOC firms, EdX, is …Continue Reading
I’m in Seoul for the annual conference of the English Language and Literature Association of Korea, for which I’m one of many interesting keynote speakers (including Ira Nadel, who I started reading in graduate school but had never met, so that’s kind of a thrill). Talk is on “Scale, Data, and the Problem of World …Continue Reading