Archive for the 'happy endings' Category
I love the Amherst faculty’s commitment to educational rather than “edupreneurial” (or edupredatory) values. To be sure, there was the huge issue of institutional mission versus the mission–so far as anyone can figure it out–of these unproven for-profit ventures we call MOOCs:
Some Amherst faculty concerns about edX were specific to Amherst. For instance, faculty asked, are MOOCs, which enroll tens of thousands of students, compatible with Amherst’s mission to provide education in a “purposefully small residential community” and “through close colloquy?”
Then there was the issue of the ill-thought out vision of edX itself, as well as the sheer incompetence on display in edX’s sales approach, compared to the thought that the Amherst faculty had invested:
EdX also tried to sell Amherst by dispatching representatives to the campus over the course of several months. Those trips did not assuage concerns and, at some points, may have inflamed them, according to faculty members.
Adam Sitze, an assistant professor of law, jurisprudence and social thought, opposed efforts to join edX. He said faculty members raised questions that edX “didn’t and in some cases couldn’t” respond to.
“Relative to the internal study of MOOCs that we did, edX was not persuasive,” Sitze said.
Howdy, friends! I’m sorry about the extended blog silence–apparently, several of you have noticed the absence of posts here over the past few weeks, and are maybe a little concerned. Some of you have gingerly emailed me links and ideas for other posts–thanks! But my reasons for not-posting are even more trivial than being out of ideas: too much travel and too many RL command performances = too little time, energy, and/or reliable internet access for me to blog at all. (And then there’s my day job, after all.)
Other bloggers are on the ball. If you’re interested in intelligent commentary on marriage, civil unions, and the circus last week at the U.S. Supreme Court, then go see what Madwoman with a Laptop has to say about her visit to the famous marble steps last week, complete with photos and other interesting links. See also Tenured Radical‘s inaugural post post-Spring Break and her discussion about the economic and cultural privilege it takes for her and her partner to resist marriage while ensuring that they’re economically and legally protected otherwise. Smart stuff.
In any case: I’ll be back on the high plains real soon, and will resume regular posting post-haste. In the meantime: Continue Reading »
I’ve been thinking about marriage today–gay, straight, what have you. Fratguy and I have been in a civil union for 15 years. I think that’s the right term, as we were “married” by a notary (you can do that in Maine), but because we’re an opposite-sex couple, everyone calls us “married,” although neither of us wanted to darken the door of any church in the service of enacting our civil union.
But you get used to this kind of thing when you’re in a straight union–a lot of the time you benefit from other people’s assumptions about you. It means (for example) that you don’t have to carry around your marriage license as proof of your legal relationship. The words “husband” and “wife” really are magic in that respect–I’ve never been asked to prove it. My husband’s agreement about our status suffices.
Sometimes those assumptions are annoying–such as when other people lay their trip about what marriage is on you, and judge your marriage by their standards, not yours. (These assumptions are almost always about the behavior of women in marriages, not the men they’re married to. Men usually benefit from the assumptions people make about them as married men, even if those assumptions are totally wrong.)
In any case, this is all just a windup to direct you to go read Madwoman with a Laptop‘s thoughts on her 29 years with the woman whose wife she will never be, along with a really thoughtful analysis of civil unions, gay marriage, and her very intentional rejection of marriage and wifedom although her state now permits same-sex marriage. Continue Reading »
Taft is an interesting case–being fat certainly didn’t shorten his life (1857-1930) relative to those of his age peers. He lived to the ripe age of 72, when the average life expectancy for people born around 1860 was still in the low forties. (That’s a crude average that probably counts people who died in infancy and childhood, so it’s extraordinarily low. But still–his longevity was pretty impressive.) I’m sure his abstention from both drinking and smoking helps explain his lifespan. Here’s something equally impressive: he was not famous for telling people to “shut up” when they talk about issues that he himself has raised. How would that have sounded in a Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court? (Taft, like John Quincy Adams, went on to a post-presidential career that was more distinguished than his presidency.)
I hope you are all staying nice and warm this New Year’s Eve. I am on Eastern Standard Time, for a change, so I just might stay awake long enough to ring in the new year. . . in Nova Scotia, or maybe Newfoundland. Anyway–stay warm and toasty, wherever you are, and have a happy new year.
My New Year’s Resolution? I want to wear more practical, G-rated clothing. What’s your resolution?
Merry Christmas to those of you who keep the feast; to those of you who don’t, enjoy the short lines at the movies today! Although I am by faith a profane scoffer, I enjoy a little choral music at Christmas time, old-school style. 1441 style, that is: it helps me get in the mood to cook a turkey and toast some walnuts. Here’s the King’s College choir singing The Holly and the Ivy. Continue Reading »
Last week I received this call from Rachel Hope Cleves at the University of Victoria for a special issue of Early American Studies she’s editing on the subject of “Beyond the Binaries: Critical Approaches to Sex and Gender in Early America:”
Deadline for Proposal: 31 January 2013In a 1993 article in Sciences, biologist and historian Anne Fausto-Sterling provocatively argued that human sex could not be neatly divided into two simple categories, men and women. Instead, she recommended a five-part system of categorization, including men, women, merms, ferms, and herms. At the time of publication, Fausto-Sterling’s tongue-in-cheek proposal provoked more criticism than applause, but in the past two decades scholars in a wide range of disciplines, from neuroscience to gender studies, have added evidence to her assertion that binary sex categories are not a biological rule. With a few exceptions, however, historians of early America have been slow to question the binary of man and woman. In the uproar provoked by her proposal, few recall that Fausto-Sterling began her article not with a headline grabbed from the daily papers, but with an historical example dating to 1840s Connecticut.Now, recent work by historians including Elizabeth Reis, Clare Sears, and Peter Boag, indicates a growing attention to the instability of sex in early America. Their studies illuminate the existence and social knowledge of individuals whose bodies, gender identities, and desires defied neat divisions. Moreover, these works provoke questions about the coherence of the binary sex categories that historians assume as foundational. What did it mean to be a woman or a man in early America, if, as Reis points out, in 1764 a thirty-two year old woman named Deborah Lewis could change sex, becoming a man named Francis Lewis, and live for another six decades as an accepted patriarch within his community? How fixed were sex identities in early America? What possibilities existed for the expression of gender identities that stood at variance with embodied sex? What social practices created opportunities for the blending and rearrangement of sex identities? How did hierarchies of race and class destabilize or re-stabilize sex binaries? Should “men” and “women” be understood as variable rather than unitary categories?To encourage these questions, and others like them, Early American Studies invites proposals for essay submissions on the theme of “Beyond the Binaries: Critical Approaches to Sex and Gender in Early America” for a special issue to be published in fall 2014. Continue Reading »
I am so tired of reading books by people whose historical frame of reference is <100 years. (I am not thinking of peer-reviewed histories here. I’m talking about general-interest non-fiction, which is my usual “just for fun” bedside table reading. But I’m of the firm belief that non-fiction should be based on research and grounded in research and a reasonable perspective. Even polemics must be based in fact.) What has my brassiere in a twist now, you may well ask? Continue Reading »