Spring Semester 2016

January 5, 2016

I’m eager to begin another semester at the University of Pittsburgh. This spring I am teaching three classes: Seminar in Composition (ENGCMP 0200), Reading Poetry (ENGLIT 0315), and Introduction to Critical Reading (ENGLIT 0500). I have taught all three courses before and enjoy each one. Seminar in Composition is a newly redesigned course on the campus novel and the syllabus can be found on my Academia.edu page. I’d be happy to send along the syllabi for the other classes to interested parties, which tweak previous versions. (Among other texts, I’m eager to return to Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves [2000] in Introduction to Critical Reading, and quite excited to read Claudia Rankine’s Citizen [2014] in Reading Poetry). I have again decided not to do any class blogs this semester. For the blogs of previous classes, see the category “Teaching” to the right.


Fall Semester 2015

August 27, 2015

I’m eager to begin a new semester at the University of Pittsburgh. This fall I am teaching a number of classes: Narrative and Technology (ENGLIT 0399), Introduction to Critical Reading (ENGLIT 0500), and Postmodern Literature (ENGLIT 1350). I have taught all three courses before and enjoy each one. The syllabus for Introduction to Critical Reading can be found on my Academia.edu page and I’d be happy to send along the others to interested parties, which tweak previous versions. I have decided not to do any blogs for any of my classes this semester, partially as an experiment, but also because I am trying to limit how much time I spend in front of a screen. For the blogs of previous classes, see the category “Teaching” to the right.


Many April Links: Catching Up

April 10, 2015

Another semester is coming to a close, and I finally have a chance to sit down and sort through the backlog of links that have been piling up over the past few months. So, with no further ado, links.

 

Nuclear, Environment, Ruins

Thomas Erdbrink, “Iran’s Leaders Fall Into Line Behind Nuclear Accord.”

William J. Broad, “Hydrogen Bomb Physicist’s Book Runs Afoul of Energy Department.”

John R. Bolton, “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran.” Um, no.

Douglas Birch and R. Jeffrey Smith, “South African Nuclear Cache Unnerves US.”

“South Africa Rebuffs US Attempts to Take Over Its Nuclear Material.”

Jon Greenberg, “The Odd Reality of Iran’s Centrifuges: Enough for a Bomb, Not Power.”

Charlie Jane Anders, “Nanotech Could Make Nuclear Bombs Much, Much Tinier.”

Andreas Malm, “The Anthropocene Myth.”

99% Invisible, “Ten Thousand Years.”

Emma Haslett, “Raycats and Earworms: How Scientists Are Using Colour-changing Cats and Nursery Rhymes to Warn Future Generations of Nuclear Danger.”

Jonathan Waldman, “The Rustiest Place in America.”

Jonathan Franzen, “Carbon Capture.”

Michael Schaub, “Jonathan Franzen ‘Miserably Conflicted’ About Climate Change.'”

Book trailer for Liam Sprod‘s Nuclear Futurism; The Work of Art in the Age of Remainderless Destruction (Winchester, UK: Zero, 2012).

 

National Security State and US Politics

Andrea Germanos, “Noam Chomsky: Edward Snowden a True Patriot Who Should be Honored.”

John Oliver on surveillance.

Amy Chozick and Maggie Haberman, “Hillary Clinton to Announce 2016 Run for President on Saturday.”

 

Economics

Vitalik Buterin with Sam Frank, “Decentralized Autonomous Society.”

Christina Pazzanese, “Explaining Capital.”

 

Hyperarchival

Julie Edgar, “A Rich Library of African-American Poetry Goes Digital.”

 

Literature and Culture

Mark Sussman, “Smarter.”

Adam Kotsko, “On the Perfunctoriness of House of Cards.”

Cory Doctorow, “How Heinlein Went From Socialist to Right-Wing Libertarian.”

Alexander R. Galloway, “Something About the Digital.”

Tom McCarthy, “The Death of Writing: If James Joyce Were Alive Today He’d Be Working for Google.”

Natalie Shapero, “Cold Comfort,” review of Lines the Quarry, by Robin ClarkeVestigial, by Page Hill Starzinger, and Go Find Your Father / A Famous Blues, by Harmony Holiday.

Jonathan Gatehouse, “America Dumbs Down.”

Lauren Oyler, “The Weird, Sexy, Touching Emails of Writer Kathy Acker.”

Charlie Jane Anders, “First Gorgeous Look at Mark Z. Danielewski’s New Series, The Familiar!”

Richard Hill, “The Internet vs. Democracy,” review of Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism Is Turning the Internet Against Democracy, by Robert W. McChesney.

Peter McDonald and Patrick Jagoda, The Portal | The Sandbox.

Sam Kriss, Game of Thrones and Marxist Theory.”

Leigh Gallagher, “The Suburbs Are Dead–And That’s Not a Good Thing.”

Mark Bittman, “Why Not Utopia?”

Javier O’Neil-Ortiz, “Inferiority Complex: On Black Mirror.”

Lawrence Berger, “Being There: Heidegger on Why Presence Matters.”

Ian Bogost, “Videogames Are Better Without Characters.”

Chay Close, “All Videogames Are a Joke.”

Spencer Robbins, “Wittgenstein, Schoolteacher.”

Jessica Saia and Sierra Hartman, “What Our Office Learned Working Naked for One Month.”

Kevin M. Kruse, “A Christian Nation? Since When?”

Black Metal Theory.

David Itzkoff, “Trevor Noah to Succeed Jon Stewart on The Daily Show.”

Footnotes (podcast on comic book series).

Snap Judgment, “The NeverEnding Story.”

Michael Idov, “The Movie Set That Ate Itself.” (An oldie, but goodie on Ilya Khrzhanovsky’s ambitious failure of a filmic megatext.)

The Brontosaurus is back.

Daniel Krupa, “The Emotional Storytelling of Everybody’s Gone to Rapture.”

“What if Wes Anderson Directed X-Men?”

“Marx Madness.”

Jason Schreier, “You Can Play Pac-Man on Google Maps Right Now.”

Jon Stewart knees a professional wrestler in the junk.

And the cast of Twin Peaks begs David Lynch to come back:

 

Humanities and Higher Education

Janet Napolitano, “Higher Education Isn’t in Crisis.”

Terry Eagleton, “The Slow Death of the University.”

Colleen Flaherty and Kaitlin Mulhere, “Day of Protest.”

Carmen Maria Machado, “O Adjunct! My Adjunct!”

Fareed Zakaria, “Why America’s Obsession with STEM Education Is Dangerous.”

Stephanie Saul, “NYU Professor Is Barred by United Arab Emirates.”

Laura McKenna, “The Unfortunate Fate of Sweet Briar’s Professors.”

Leonard Cassuto, “The Problem of Professionalization.”

Plugs, Play, Pedagogy, “Teaching with the Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives.”


Robin Mackay’s “A Brief History of Geotrauma”

February 14, 2015

I have been working on Reza Negarestani‘s Cyclonopedia: Complicity with Anonymous Materials (2008) and I ran across this fascinating introduction to Negarestani by Robin Mackay that I cannot help but share. The work below is tilted “A Brief History of Geotrauma, or: The Invention of Negarestani.”


Spring Semester 2015

December 31, 2014

I am looking forward to a fun, productive, and challenging spring semester at the University of Pittsburgh. I’ll be teaching three classes: two sections of Narrative and Technology (ENGLIT 0399; class blog here) and a course that is being offered for the first time, Interactive Literature (ENGLIT 1001; class blog here). I owe Mark Best considerable credit for Interactive Literature as I drew many ideas about organizing the course from the design of his initial proposal.


Immersive Pedagogy: Teaching Videogames In and Out of the Classroom

November 13, 2014

digitalbrownbag

As part of the Digital Brown Bag Series, a series of talks on various ways one might incorporate digital tools into their teaching and scholarship, tomorrow, November 14, from 12:00 – 1:00, I am giving a presentation on “Immersive Pedagogy: Teaching Videogames In and Out of the Classroom” at the University of Pittsburgh in room 435 of the Cathedral of Learning. Here’s a brief description of what I will be addressing:

Teaching videogames present a number of pedagogical challenges and possibilities that are not involved with teaching more traditional media objects. Many things can go wrong when teaching videogames: they can (and do) frequently break down or are incompatible with certain machines; they are hardware dependent, thus limiting the games that can be included in a syllabus; they are actionable rather than passive—they need to be played—meaning that students with less familiarity or skill with videogames can struggle. But videogames also open up a number of pedagogical avenues that are unavailable to other media: they can be radically immersive, collective, and social, reconfiguring the classroom into a virtual space that can extend significantly beyond the physical boundaries of traditional instruction; they provide new ways of looking at and interacting with media objects in the classroom, promoting new pedagogical methods of critical engagement; and they are, inevitably, fun, inviting students to participate in what I call “critical play.” This presentation will discuss some of the logistical, critical, and theoretical challenges presented by teaching videogames, how these challenges might be addressed, and some exciting pedagogical possibilities that are opened up by bringing videogames into the classroom. The presentation will conclude with an interactive demonstration of how one particular videogame, The Stanley Parable (Galactic Café, 2013), might be taught. (This talk largely reflects my experiences teaching Narrative and Technology.)


Many September Links

September 17, 2014

As predicted, I have been quite busy indeed and have not had a chance to post anything over the past couple of weeks. A bunch of fascinating stuff has been happening, a bunch of interesting books are coming out, etc., so I’m sad that I’ve been remiss in my duties. Hopefully this large batch of links will make up for that.

 

Apocalypse and After

George Dvorsky, “Have Humans Already Conquered the Threat of Extinction?”

Or not. Graham Turner and Cathy Alexander, “Limits to Growth Was Right: New Research Shows We’re Nearing Collapse.”

One of the first reviews of Naomi Klein’s new book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate.

Jessica Corbett and Ethan Corey, “5 Crucial Lessons for the Left from Naomi Klein’s New Book.”

Eric Holthaus, “New Study Links Polar Vortex to Climate Change.”

Eugene Thacker on Radiolab.

And who knows where to put this one: Alison Flood, “Margaret Atwood’s New Work Will Remain Unseen for a Century.”

 

Hyperarchival

Matt Frassica, “The Revolution Has Been Digitized.” The digitization of the modernist “little magazine.”

Randy Kennedy, “Digitizing Warhol’s Film Trove to Save It.”

Glen Fleishman, “An Algorithm to Figure Out Your Gender.”

Patricia Hernandez, “Meet the Guy Who Spent Seven Months Killing Everyone in Fallout 3.”

Tatiana Danger, “Drone Discovers Abandoned Renaissance Faire Deep in Virginia Woods.” (I’d been wondering where I misplaced my Renaissance faire.)

Nicholas Carr, “The Manipulators: Facebook’s Social Engineering Project.”

History and Economics

Hector Tobar reviews The Half Has Never Been Told.

Tim Cassidey, “Historians Who Look Too Much.”

 

International

Masha Gessen, “The Dying Russians.”

Slavoj Žižek, “ISIS Is a Disgrace to True Fundamentalism.”

Michael Muhammad Knight, “I Understand Why Westerners Are Joining Jihadi Movements Like ISIS. I Was Almost One of Them.”

The Atlantic has a bunch of striking pictures in “Afghanistan: The Long Withdrawal.”

 

Literature and Culture

“Pittsburgh Poet Terrance Hayes Named MacArthur Fellow.”

Jonathan Arac, The American Jeremiad after Thirty-Five Years.”

And indeed, Common-Place 14, no. 4, has a whole roundtable on Sacvan Bercovitch‘s American Jeremiad.

Andrew Culp, “From the Decision to the Digital,” a review of Alexander R. Galloway’s new book, Laruelle: Against the Digital.

Alex Ross, “The Naysayers: Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, and the Critique of Pop Culture.”

James Wood, “Soul Cycle,” a review of David Mitchell’s Bone Clocks.

The Los Angeles Review of Books interviews William T. Vollmann.

An interview with Ben Lerner at The Believer.

Alexander Norcia reviews Ben Lerner’s 10:04.

Dwight Garner reviews 10:04 in “With Storms Outside, Inner Conflicts Swirl.”

Another 10:04 review: Christian Lornetzen, “Back to the Present.”

And another. Joe Fassler, “Envision the Novel Like a Museum.”

Tiffany Gibert reviews Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven.

On the scourge of “creativity”: Joshua Rothman, “Creativity Creep.”

Thomas Pynchon’s edits to his Simpsons script.

Chris Rodley, “Post-structuralism Explained with Hipster Beards.”

Matt Uford, “People vs. the NFL.”

Adam Atkinson and my colleague at Pitt, Dawn Lundy Martin, both have poems in issue 45 of Evening Will Come: A Monthly Journal of Poetics in its “NSFW” special issue, edited by the incomparable Lara Glenum.

My friend Rachel Nagelberg has work in issue 5 of Impossible Voice.

My friend David Letzler has a new essay in Hypermedia Joyce Studies: “Redundancy, Modernism, and Readers’ Expectations: An Experiment in Joyce Prediction.”

 

The Gaming Controversy

TNI Syllabus: Gaming and Feminism.”

Ian Williams, “Death to the Gamer.”

David Auerbach, “Gaming Journalism Is Over.”

Patrick Miller, “Why I’m not a ‘Gamer.'”

Daniel Carlson, “The Insidious Rise of the Blockbuster Videogame.”

Peter Frase, “Gamer’s Revanche.”

And a roundup of the explosive month in videogames.

 

(Digital) Humanities and Higher Education

Brian Lennon, “The Eversion of the Digital Humanities.” A review of The Emergence of Digital Humanities by Steven E. Jones.

Lee Skallerup Bessette, “This Is Not an Essay.”

Malcolm Harris, “Not for Teacher,” a review of Dana Goldstein’s The Teacher Wars.

Debra Leigh Scott, “How Higher Education in the US Was Destroyed in Five Basic Steps.”

Jeffrey L. Butler, “The Two Cultures of Higher Education in the Twenty-First Century and Their Impact on Academic Freedom.”

Former Pitt teacher Cathy Day, “The Magic Building Where English Majors Work: Making Sense of Creative Writing’s Job Problem.”

Christy Thornton, “Students at the Barricades.”

Amanda Ann Klein, “Understanding Your Academic Friend: Job Market Edition, Part II.”

Mark Follman, “Idaho Professor Accidentally Shoots Himself While Teaching Class.”

And Mallory Ortberg, “Every Type of Email College Students Send to Their Professors.”


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,443 other followers