The 2014 Field School: The Alexandria Waterfront

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The 2014 Field School: The Alexandria Waterfront

The 2014 Field School for Cultural Documentation will take place May 19-June 27. Students will document the Alexandria, VA waterfront before the institution of the new waterfront revitalization plan. I will be blogging regularly about the project and teaching ethnography throughout May and June.

A Survey of University Presses

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An insightful exploration of University Presses.

Originally posted on The Scholarly Kitchen:

Surveying (Photo credit: Wessex Archaeology)

As I announced on the Kitchen a while back, I have been working on a research project in the university press area. Specifically, I have been trying to determine how university presses could sell more books, both print and electronic, directly from their Web sites. There may be several posts to come from this research, but for now I want simply to report what the participating presses had to say about their operations and their aspirations for direct-to-consumer (D2C) sales.

The survey was put into a Web form, which the presses were invited to fill out. Sixty-nine did so, which is a considerable portion of the total press community. The aim of the online survey was to capture specific data; I have been following up with telephone interviews with many of the respondents in order to get at more qualitative information. On the forms…

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The Rooster has come!

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I got my “invite” for a free two week subscription.  

Rick Anderson at the Smithsonian: “Is a Rational Discussion of Open Access Possible?”

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Originally posted on The Scholarly Kitchen:

I was recently invited to give a talk as part of a lecture series titled The Open Access Future, sponsored by the Smithsonian Libraries, the Smithsonian Institution Archives, and the Smithsonian’s Office of the Chief Information Officer. I decided to focus on the issue that has been troubling me most lately: why is it so hard to have conversations about OA that don’t devolve into shouting matches and accusations of bad faith? What has led to this state of affairs, how bad is the problem now, and what can we do to create a more open, inclusive, and reasonable environment for discussion of the complex issues surrounding OA and the economics of scholarly communication generally? I came up with a provocative title (“Is a Rational Discussion of Open Access Possible?”) and delivered the lecture on March 10, 2014. Here’s the archived video of the lecture and of the discussion that…

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Judith Butler Explained with Cats

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Originally posted on BINARYTHIS:

Following hot on the heels of Foucault Explained with Hipsters, here’s JB’s Gender Trouble  explained in Socratic dialogue style. With cats.



All page references from Butler, J. (1990 [2008: 1999]). Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New York; London: Routledge.

Got any more ideas for philosophy/sociology/gender theory you’d like to see explained in comic form? Let me know in the comments below.

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The Academic Writing Thing

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I understand Matthew Pratt Guterl’s argument: academic writing should be deep, complex and nuanced. But he misses an important point about critiques of academic writing: it is frequently laden with jargon and faulty sentence structure. To write about complex issues and ideas does not leave academics with the choice of prose that is either indecipherable or suitable for Twitter. This is the main issue that the critics of “academic writing” is not its complexity, but that is is poorly executed.

Originally posted on matthew pratt guterl:


When Nicholas Kristof, the soft-hearted liberal on the New York Times op-ed page, decided that political scientists had given up on writing for a broader public, a digital avalanche of blog posts, letters to the editor, and tweets, followed. The APSA, Corey Robin, Claire Potter, and basically the entire editorial collective of Jacobin took the man to task for, basically, channeling the laziest version of Tom Friedman. Why, Kristof seemed to be asking, casually leafing through the past few issues of the New Yorker, can’t more people write like Jill Lepore? This is a fine question, but – as Robin points out – it isn’t the right question at all, and it probably isn’t an honest question, either.

Now, just as Kristof’s more recent and weak apologia has been begrudgingly accepted, here comes Joshua Rothman, writing in the New Yorker itself, and asking, with an eye on…

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adjunct community, “Lucy Snowe,” and the trap of adjunct work

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Originally posted on professor never:

A vibrant on-line community has erupted around contingent faculty in the last five years. Articles about adjuncts and the atrophied job market have appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, Slate and beyond. When you add the blogs and Twitter accounts that have popped up everywhere regarding adjuncting, unionization efforts and transition from academic life, it seems a massive snowball has formed over the much troubled village of academe.

Real change may still be far out, so far that I have trouble imagining what it will look like when it finally comes, but the potential for graduate students and adjuncts to build community and organize exists on a large scale.

I am so happy to see this community form. When I worked as an adjunct from 2004 to 2006, I didn’t even know the other contingent laborers at the university where I worked, let alone…

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700 Free eBooks from the University of California Press

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700 Free eBooks from the University of California Press

This is an amazing opportunity to download and read a variety of free books from U of California Press.  There are books of fiction, history, textbooks, poetry and more.  My gift to you, my bibliophile readers.

10 Old Fashioned Dating Habits We Should Make Cool Again

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This has nothing to do with the content of my blog, except that it is a discussion of cultural values during dating. I’m reposting because I like the suggestions.

Originally posted on Thought Catalog:

1. Coming to the door to pick someone up.

I think we’ve all had it with the incredibly unromantic “here” text, and meeting up always seems to be more casual and platonic than the alternative. Of course, meeting someone from online or any circumstance like that would probably be the exception to this rule, but generally: the 30 seconds it takes to get out of a car or cab and knock on the door makes a huge difference.

2. Trying to dress really nicely for a date.

“Nicely” means different things for different people, so I think it’s just a matter of putting effort into how you put yourself together to go out with someone. It’s not about wearing suits and petticoats again, but just realizing that, whether or not we like to accept it, appearance does count for something, and we should do our best to make sure that…

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