• Teaching 2017-18

    So this year I taught the video games class again (300 students this time). Evaluations were ok… not as good as last time, and I think I know why. I basically did more of what some folks liked last time but that meant that the folks who didn’t like it were unhappier. Also got a   …Continue Reading

  • Travel Plans, 2017

    I will be giving talks (on worlds) in Dublin on May 11, and in Munich, probably May 23. Otherwise no conferences or talks planned for the Spring. I will not be attending the ACLA (in Utrecht) or the MSA (in Amsterdam) since I’m going to try to spend the summer working on the Kant book.   …Continue Reading

  • Teaching, Spring 2017

    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

  • Center for Humanities and Information

    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

  • Visits/Conferences Fall and Spring 2015-16

    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

  • MLA: New Theories of the Novel

    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

  • Toward a plural theory of Anthropocenes

    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

  • Critical Distance and the Crisis in Criticism (2007)

    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

  • Recidivism in weight loss

    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

  • Bonus points to the cynical guy

    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

  • ELLAK talk, Nov 8

    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

  • Scott Adams is a strange man

    …with lots of ideas about the future of online education. I suppose by “strange” I mean that his politics (if you look at his blog) operate from a position that imagines itself as entirely apolitical but is nonetheless quite interested in politics. So it produces frequent pox-on-both-houses language, but also pragmatic suggestions for various kinds   …Continue Reading

  • And the MOOC revolution seems to be over

    At least according to this reading of a Chronicle story by Chris Newfield. Short version that both faculty and university presidents agree that MOOCs will have a negative impact on higher ed, and that this opinion is held by people who nonetheless seem open to technological innovation and other kinds of innovation in teaching (so   …Continue Reading

  • How Someone Ends Up In Disability Studies

    … or at least thinking about it. Those of you who know me and my family know that our son, Jules, was born with a very rare genetic disability (known as 9p deletion syndrome). He’s fine, at least medically, though it was no fun for the first three weeks of his life and has on   …Continue Reading

  • The Future of the University: A Vision

    Some people think MOOCs are bad, some people think they’re good (though I know almost none of the latter). But what you really need to know is: what’s going to happen to the university in the next twenty years as a result of innovations in content delivery? Luckily for you I have had a vision   …Continue Reading