Your Soundbite Pleased me Greatly: Commonplacing in the Classroom

For my third soundbite-related post, I’d like to talk some pedagogy. This semester I’m teaching a course on copia, which in some ways would seem to be the opposite of sound-biting.
Copia is about abundance, variety, superfluity, excess, accumulation—words not normally associated with soundbite culture. The latter conjures very different terms: truncation, abbreviation, superficiality, redundancy, speed, spin. Continue reading

Myth in the Classroom 3.0

Since I’m awash in grading, I’d like to wrap up the semester with a meditation on final projects and cultural studies. I asked my ENGL 1101 students to create websites that perform a cultural study of a chosen artifact of American culture in terms of its relationship to race and technology. Overall, I think the assignment went quite well. Students appreciated the opportunity to share their ideas with an audience beyond me and even beyond their fellow classmates. And they especially enjoyed playing around with Dreamweaver, html, and iWeb. (Or so they tell me in their reflection papers.) An additional enticement was that they got to select artifacts of American culture that were important or relevant to them, including the Ford Mustang, the iPhone, and the NFL.

The greatest challenge students faced when making their arguments about these artifacts, though, was to bridge the issues of race and technology. Most of their websites ended up devoting one page to race and one to technology and not tying them together… Continue reading

Notes from National Women’s Studies Association

Normally, I would sit down to write a blog of this sort saying I’d “just returned” from a particular conference.  However, that language doesn’t really work this year as I was lucky enough to move to Atlanta just before this year’s National Women’s Studies Association annual conference.  This year it… Continue reading

Reflections on Digital Media Archaeology: Excavating Definitions

In this article I wish to reflect at more length on the topic of “archaeology of digital media,” which happens to be the topic of discussion this week for the weekly Digital Pedagogy Seminar for first-year Brittain Fellows. Although many literary scholars are certainly well-versed in historical approaches, myself included,… Continue reading