Recent posts

Summer Writing

1 minute read

My spring semester ended more or less three weeks ago, in a rush of meetings and grading and packing and etc. We hit the road a few days later, driving ourselves and a carload of stuff to Montreal, where we’re spending the summer. I took a week off to settle in, but then plunged headlong into all...


less than 1 minute read

It’s spring break here at MSU, and never in the history of spring break was a spring break more needed.1 I’ve spent the week digging into book revisions that I’d been dragging my heels on, mostly out of fear that I didn’t know what I was doing. That I had no authoritative position from which to b...


less than 1 minute read

Someone on Mastodon linked to this Cory Doctorow piece on Exxon’s 50-year lie about the recyclability of plastics, saying that they were only surprised how far back the lie went. And it brought to mind a conversation that has haunted me for almost that long.

Our Leadership Practice

less than 1 minute read

Wrapping up Madeleine Shaw’s The Greater Good today, a fantastic book that provides a wealth of practical advice for anyone who wants to create a project, an organization, or a company that has as its goal transforming the world. Near the end she describes


less than 1 minute read

We had super overripe bananas, and I had seen a recipe, and so I got it in my head to make a banana cake. I am not a baker, so this is a rare event.


less than 1 minute read

It’s slowly dawned on me that one of the things I do when I’m overwhelmed or stressed or unhappy is tinker with my computer. I’ll suddenly find myself with the urge to install new software or move to a new system for managing my to-dos, or I’ll decide it’s time to learn how to use a static site g...

Trauma and Resilience

2 minute read

I joined the faculty of the College of Arts & Letters at Michigan State University in July 2017. In the five and a half years since we have experienced the gradual uncovering of one of the worst sexual abuse scandals in national history. We’ve had a president and a provost ousted as a result ...

Annual Review

5 minute read

As I sat down to write my annual review narrative, on a Friday afternoon in February, I was struck by the realization – not for the first time in my career – that my work has taken a very strange turn. I sat down expecting to have to write something along the lines of “the administrative parts of...

Keep in Touch

1 minute read

Almost thirteen (13) years ago, I was president of the Phi Beta Kappa chapter at Pomona College. As such, I was supposed to give an address to our new initiates during graduation weekend, but a couple of weeks before the event, I discovered that I had irremediably double-booked myself; I was goin...


less than 1 minute read

For several years now, I’ve used reveal.js to build slide decks for my presentations. The primary appeal has been the ability to write new talks in Markdown and push them online with a minimum of overhead. I’m now literalizing that a bit by moving my collected presentations from their prior hosti...