the usual waffle on the plight of English Studies (holiday edition)

Many of the challenges we face in English at UB are not unique. In particular we share them with other public research university English departments who need to think about phd programs. The academic job market is awful, which raises all manner of questions about doctoral education. The STEM and business orientation of our undergrads…

An alternative to plumbing the depths of fascist souls

Many have noted their displeasure/anger with two recent NY Times pieces both by Richard Fauset: the first is a piece of reporting about a particular Nazi/white nationalist, Tony Hovater, and the second is what I think one would call a reflective op-ed follow up to that story. The displeasure/anger stems from the way in which the pieces…

planning for future miseries

I’ve been reading Adam Greenfield’s Radical Technologies as I’m teaching it this week, but watching Bourdain’s Parts Unknown episode this weekend about Pittsburgh also has me thinking along Greenfield’s concerns.  I selected a post title that sounds like it might be the name of a lost album recorded by The Smiths because I couldn’t help developing an affective orientation toward Greenfield that…

partisan politics and the rhetorical capacities of media ecologies

Here’s an idea I’m thinking about developing into something article-length if I can find the right angle. It’s certainly been on my mind a fair bit. Basically it’s about the role of emerging media in the articulation of political identities and communities. At that level, it’s a longstanding topic. I mean we regularly talk about…

Invention, curriculum, and digital humanities

In the humanities’ ongoing struggle to find its way back to wherever the students are (or lead the students back from wherever they are), one of the more written about tactics involves the digital humanities. Basically the premise is that many students are STEM focused, so connecting with more technical matters is a way to…

teaching technical communication again for the first time

As I’ve recounted here, for the last seven years I served as WPA in my department. As a result I was working almost exclusively with graduate students and teaching undergrads only during the summer and then the course was online. So this fall finds me back in the classroom with undergrads for the first time…

near futures of professional-technical communication

Over the last few months I’ve been going through the process of proposing a graduate certificate in digital communication and professional writing. It’s a long bureaucratic slog in the SUNY system but, with fingers crossed, we’ll have full state approval in the next few months. In any case, it certainly has me thinking about what…

the digital cul de sac in rhetoric and composition

I’ve been catching up on some reading this summer and took a look at Courtney Werner’s article in the most recent CCC issue, “How Rhetoric and Composition Described and Defined New Media at the Start of the Twenty-First Century.” She looks at definitions of new media in some 70 articles across four journals: CCC, Research in the Teaching…

Reflections on serving as a WPA

I have served as the director of composition at UB for seven years. Technically I’m still director for another month, but at this point, I’m basically done. In a way it was a strange job for me to do because I have always been and remain something of an abolitionist in relation to FYC, though…

politics, free speech, and academic freedom

Trump on Twitter; Kathy Griffin, Stephen Colbert, and Johnny Depp’s remarks about Trump; academics being threatened or losing their jobs for political statements; academics being threatened or losing their jobs for making racist or similarly inappropriate comments online; conservative speakers having their campus talks either disrupted or cancelled due to security concerns: what do all…