Friday, April 27, 2007


So I just heard that it has more or less been decided who is going to be doing the next Ellmann lectures: Umberto Eco.

I really wish our department had a better way of disseminating this information. (I've seen nothing about Natasha Tretheway's Pulitzer come through the grapevine.) Of course, you could tell me that the Eco thing hasn't been solidified yet and that that is why we aren't talking about it. But 2 out 4 Kemp Malone Committee members knew he was coming; what's more, even if it had been solidified, I doubt that we'd have heard much about it.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

web 2.0 video

Michael Wesch, an assistant professor of cultural anthropology at Kansas, has won a "Rave" award from Wired for his video about web 2.0. It is definitely worth a look.

Monday, April 23, 2007

eDoptions for the bookstore

You can now order books for your classes on the computer. The brochure I have says to go to and hit the "Faculty" button. We don't have to mess with paper forms anymore; I plan to use it so I can cut and paste ISBN numbers, titles, etc. from Amazon to the form Follett supplies. Gerri says you still need to tell her about ordering desk copies.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Salary wiki

There's now a wiki where people trade information on what's going on in the job market, and it includes a page where people post information about their starting salaries in English depts.

I don't know if you will find it heartening or depressing, and it's certainly not complete. But now you know about it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Blogosphere plus campus tragedy = farce

I think everyone who reads this (all three of you) knows that I am far from a luddite, and that I think academic blogs are, generally, a positive development of academic life. Even electronic sunshine can disinfect. However, in my spare moments since the terrible events at Virginia Tech, I've scanned the blogosphere, and have been mostly (and often deeply) disappointed. Even the academic blogosphere is set up to mimic the 24-hour news cycle, and that just doesn't leave room for the kind of reflection and assimilation that an event like this deserves. What you generally find -- and please correct me if I'm wrong -- is an entry saying that we should all give some space to mourn, and then another about three hours later commenting on the failures of campus security, the administration, gun control, etc. This extends to multiple sides of the political spectrum, I think. I was so sickened by this example -- in which the author insinuates that everything from co-ed dorms to the English major were to blame -- that I wanted to write something here.

What I think this blogosphere-out-of-control reminds me is how much I value the parts of our profession that are not driven by the digital revolution: the length of classes, the weeks of the semester, the hours required of reading a novel. The academy may be the last place that recognizes that the intelligence, reflection, and judgment necessary to face the violence of everyday life all require duration. We are teaching our students a relationship to time itself that is little in demand elsewhere, and that is also being steadily eroded by both the corporatization of the university and the mass culture of digital technology. I think a real challenge for using technology in the classroom is how to use it in such a way to continue, even cultivate, the experience of duration that has been part of the academic tradition.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Wait for the next DGS... submit a funding proposal to go see Dickens World.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Peer-reviewed blogging?

When I read the Valve (and I'm afraid I have fallen out of the habit), I always think Amardeep Singh is quite smart. He keeps his own blog, but on The Valve recently put forward a proposal to peer-review blog writing so that it be included in tenure review.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Jason Jones shares his experience using wikis in his Brit Lit Survey here. I think it sounds like a really useful tool for a longer class and one with exams....Not that any of us reading this blog were skeptical .