Humanities

Monday Missive – July 24, 2017

Summertime – When I hear the word summertime, I immediately think of the song “Summertime” from the opera Porgy and Bess.  It is one of the most covered songs in the history of recorded music, but my favorite rendition is the the duet version by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong.  I just listened to it as I started writing this Monday Missive, and it seems perfect to me in every possible way.   However, I also like the versions by Billie Holiday...

Monday Missive – July 10, 2017

Bastille Day, Jules Verne, and Revolutionary Power of Science Fiction — The French celebrate Bastille Day on the 14th of July, just ten days after Americans celebrate Independence Day.  Both holidays are rooted in revolutions, and both commemorate the efforts of brave people who took stands against monarchies.  Bastille Day commemorates the storming of the Bastille, which occurred in Paris on July 14, 1789.  The Bastille was a fortress-like prison where opponents...

Monday Missive – July 3, 2017

Canada 150 — Canadians celebrated their nation’s 150th birthday this past weekend. This event prompted me to think about the English Department’s associations with our neighbor to the north. Three of our colleagues immediately came to mind: Balaka Basu, Alan Rauch, and Becky Roeder.

Balaka has conducted extensive research on Lucy Maud Montgomery, the author of Anne of Green Gables. Montgomery is widely recognized as one of Canada’s most well-known...

IASPM-International Monday Keynote Talk

I’m giving the opening keynote at IASPM-International this Monday the 26th June. Here’s the full text of the talk....

Monday Missive – July 17, 2017

United We Teach — Every summer I teach an intensive graduate seminar called Children’s Literature Award Winners in which I cover the most recent winners of some of the major awards in the field of children’s and young adult literature.  Among the awards that I regularly cover are the Coretta Scott King Award, which recognizes outstanding children’s books by African Americans, and the Printz Award, which recognizes outstanding books for young...

99.99% of Humanity Will Burn in Hell Forever, and Ever, and Ever…

When I was growing up in the Cambellite/Stone “Churches of Christ” one of the ongoing discussions among my college age missionary minded friends at Abilene Christian College (now University) was whether or not those who had “never heard” the gospel of Christ, and thus had had no chance to respond and be “saved,” would somehow be [...]...

revised intro for my chapter on new materialism

Back in 2014 I started working on this book chapter about feminist new materialism. I was trying to figure out what’s at stake in new materialist theorists’ widespread adoption of acoustic or acoustic-like metaphors: resonance, vibration, diffraction, etc. Here’s the......

Monday Missive – June 26, 2017

Synergy — There is something magical about synergy, for it defies the basic mathematical expectations associated with addition.  The dictionary defines synergy as the “interaction of two or more agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.”   This type of synergistic magic happens on occasion in the English Department.  Two examples just took place this month.

Three members of the English Department recently...

Ring Them Bells! The True Gospel according to Bob Dylan

There are many “Gospels,” many Gods, many Lords, and many Christs. The challenge is sorting them out. Paul refers to “my gospel” and warns against those who “preach any other gospel” than his. Most readers of the New Testament have the impression that references to  “the Gospel” are generally and evenly distributed throughout the various [...]...
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