17 February 2019, 10:06

My dean Chris Long recently invited me to talk about Generous Thinking with him on his podcast, the Liberal Arts Endeavor. It was a great discussion, and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity.

Behind the Will

I am honored that my colleagues in the College of Arts & Letters asked me to talk a bit about digital humanities and the role that it might play in reorienting the university toward the public good. We had a rather long conversation, more of which is represented in the full story, but they wisely edited me down into a pithy (and beautiful; thanks, Pete!) minute-thirty:

I’m grateful for the opportunity to think out loud a bit — and particularly just as Generous Thinking drops — about the ways the various pieces of my work work together.

The Interface

Yesterday afternoon, I taught my first new class in almost nine years.

Seriously, nine years. At the end of the Spring 2010 semester, I went on sabbatical, and then I joined the staff of the MLA. And while I did teach here at MSU last spring, it was a very different experience; I co-organized a proseminar that brought in a lot of colleagues from around campus to help guide a group of graduate students in thinking about the potential role of digital technologies in their research.

This semester, it’s just me and my students, with my syllabus — the first new syllabus I’ve put together in almost nine years! — to guide us.

I’m pleased with the syllabus, and excited by the students, and looking forward to seeing where it all leads us. But it’s funny to arrive at this point in my career feeling like a novice again.

Not least in thinking about how to structure our in-class engagements. We meet once a week for three hours — a format I never felt terribly good at, even when I was teaching consistently. It’s an enormous stretch of time, one that has to be broken up into smaller chunks in order to keep us present and invested and on-task. But at the same time, with the book-a-week structure of the semester, it’s important to ensure that we give each text the full range of attention it requires.

If you have strategies for ways to structure sessions of three-hour seminars, I’d be most grateful to hear them. In the meantime, I’m pondering ways of maintaining the excitement of the semester-long narrative within the close-up work of each week’s conversation…

10 December 2018, 17:22

I’m working on a big piece of writing that’s had me a bit paralyzed, both because there seem to be too many unknowns as yet and because the stakes of this particular piece of writing — a report! — are enormously high. Over the last couple of days, though, I’ve started making some progress, which is great; now what I mostly need is distraction-free time in front of a computer, which AHAHAHAHAHA.