Archive for the 'art' Category

September 10th 2013
“We have met the enemy, and they are ours.”

Posted under American history & art

Oliver Hazard Perry by Rembrandt Peale, ca. 1813

Oliver Hazard Perry by Rembrandt Peale, ca. 1813

Today is the bicentennial of the Battle of Lake Erie, 27-year old Oliver Hazard Perry’s unlikely victory over the British fleet in Lake Erie during the War of 1812.  The fact that the commander of the U.S. Navy in Lake Erie was 27 years old is a sign of just how desperate and underdeveloped the Navy was in 1813!  Nevertheless, his confident (and only slightly boastful) statement that “we have met the enemy, and they are ours,” is remembered today, especially by people who live near Lake Erie.  And, it was probably for the best that the Navy got its use out of him while young, as it did with most of its seamen, as he died of yellow fever at the age of 34 in 1819.

You can read more about the battle and its re-enactment on Labor Day this year at The Battle of Lake Erie Bicentennial webpage, complete with a video of the replica of Perry’s ship The Niagra.  (Unfortunately, it’s marred by using that hideously ubiquitous song by “F.U.N.,” which is pretentious and overplayed.)  They’ve set up a Twitter account for the old commodore, and there’s more information about the battle at “The” Ohio State University’s Stone Laboratory, a freshwater research lab on Gibraltar Island in Lake Erie. Continue Reading »

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July 20th 2013
Off to Glacier

Posted under American history & art & fluff & happy endings

Friends, it’s time for me to retreat into one of my nation’s fantastic national parks.  In 2011 and 2012, we did Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Mesa Verde, Grand Teton, and Yellowstone–some of them more than once.  In March, we went to Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, and this summer seemed like a good time to visit Glacier National Park, tagging Grand Teton and Yellowstone again along the way. Continue Reading »

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July 13th 2013
Sexuality and power in recent novels and recent history

Posted under American history & art & Gender & GLBTQ & students & the body & women's history

Oh, professor!

In a review of two recent novels that feature professor-student affairs, reviewer Michelle Dean asks where is the frank discussion of power?  She writes,

The professor-student romance debate similarly breaks down, for the most part, to two opposing views. In one corner you have your Roiphes and your Paglias, who style themselves as revolutionaries for celebrating the power dynamics of the status quo. In the other you have feminists more aligned with Andrea Dworkin who seem to believe one can remove power from relationships entirely.

(Presumably, she meant to write instead “feminists more aligned with Andrea Dworkin who seem to believe one can’t remove power from relationships entirely.  At least, I’ve never read a word of Dworkin to mean that there was any such thing as sexuality without power.  This is a woman who was closely aligned with Catherine Mackinnon, the woman who wrote “man f^(ks woman, subject verb object.”)

So what do these new novelistic treatments of professor-student sexual relationships have to say about them?  Continue Reading »

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July 10th 2013
Wednesday’s post is sponsored by Carhenge

Posted under American history & art & bad language & fluff & local news

Carhenge:  a uniquely American roadside attraction.

Continue Reading »

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June 19th 2013
Where am I? Where the heck are you?

Posted under American history & art & fluff & happy endings & local news

This is a re-posting from 2011, but it explains my recent absence from the blog:

Interestingly, this old home video is pretty accurately descriptive of my week– Continue Reading »

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June 10th 2013
Hard Times, indeed.

Posted under American history & art & European history & jobs & students & technoskepticism & unhappy endings & wankers

“Clearly you need to restrict the dimensions to things that more or less have a right answer or several right answers.”

So says Daphne Koller on the challenges of adapting MOOC technology to teach humanities courses. (Many thanks to Jonathan Rees of More or Less Bunk for alerting me to this story. While you’re there, don’t miss his post on “This is How MOOCs End.”)

What Koller really means is that we need not adapt MOOCs to the humanities. We need to adapt the humanities to the limits and demands of MOOCworld, which operates on the assumption that everything we need to know about student progress and achievement can be effectively measured by essay-grading software and multiple-choice quizzes and exams. Who knew that some people read Charles Dickens’s Hard Times not as a critique of the industrial era and the notion that everything (including education) can be automated, but rather see it as a blueprint for modern educational instruction? Continue Reading »

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June 6th 2013
Good blogging: do you know it when you see it?

Posted under American history & art & fluff & happy endings & publication

Sorry I’ve been out of touch lately–I’ve been enjoying our lovely wet and cool late spring days here on the high plains with my head stuck pretty much full time in the eighteenth century. (And that is awesome! So long as it’s all in books and in my head, and doesn’t involve period costumes and camping out.) Working on the back porch, watching the rose bushes bloom (finally!) and the hollyhocks and herb garden grow is pretty swell (even if it ain’t Italy.)

If you want some bloggy amusement, head on over to Tenured Radical, who is soliciting ideas in the service of answering some reader mail: what makes for a good blog post? How does it differ from academic writing for books and journals? What do you look for, and which posts do you tend to avoid? Let’s share!

Meanwhile, I heard this song last night on David Dye’s World Cafe, and was reminded that there once was a Velvet Underground song that felt like a fun, happy, summer song: Continue Reading »

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June 1st 2013
We’re gonna blog it like it’s 1399! Or, what academic blogging can and can’t do for you.

Posted under art & European history & jobs

Anachronistic image of Chaucer from the 17th century

Go read Dr. Cleveland on the uses of academic blogging, and how in many respects it is like Geoffrey Chaucer’s poetry (only with more profanity, lulz, and kitty-cat videos.  Warning:  he says some nice things about this blog, so file this one under “blogrolling in our time!”  Next thing you know, we’ll be blurbing each other’s books!)

You can’t blog your way to a tenure-track professorship.You simply can’t. Even a gig at IHE or The Chronicle for Higher Education is not enough. That doesn’t mean blogging is not professionally useful to you. It means you need to be clear about what it’s useful for.

Blogging and other social media serve academics by bringing you to other people’s attention and building your professional network. It works largely as publicity for your other work, and it widens your potential audience while strengthening your connections. Continue Reading »

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May 10th 2013
Friday funny: “Divisive gender and quota stuff” is all we do around here.

Posted under American history & art & Gender & happy endings & publication & women's history

Don’t miss the cameo by Elaine Showalter, who appears in this video to restage one of my favorite scenes in American film history. Comedy gold! (Via Sophylou at True Stories Backward.)

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May 6th 2013
Monday round-up: endless semester edition

Posted under American history & art & bad language & book reviews & European history & Gender & Intersectionality & jobs & race & the body & wankers & women's history

You’ve heard of The Endless Summer?  It sure seems to me like this is the Endless Semester.  Maybe it’s all of the snow and slush in April, but more than any other spring semester in recent memory, this one drags on and on.  While I’m desperately trying to lasso this semester and tie it up real good, here are some fun links and ideas to keep you diverted:

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