March 28, 2013, 1:10 pm
From the same genre as “The Democrats should throw the 2008 presidential election and make the GOP handle the economic crisis” and “Roe v. Wade actually hurt abortion rights,” we have the New York Times opining that the political success of the gay rights movement may–GASP!–have negative effects:
But momentum in the political world for gay rights could actually limit momentum in the legal world. While the court may throw out a federal law defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman, the justices signaled over two days of arguments that they might not feel compelled to intervene further, since the democratic process seems to be playing out on its own, state by state, elected official by elected official.
The prospect that gay rights advocates may become a victim of their own political success was underscored during arguments on Wednesday over the constitutionality of the…
April 6, 2010, 10:44 am
A great many of the pearls of wisdom in this primer on how to write about Africa and Africans apply to writing about Native Americans and Indian Country.
Take note, young scholars, of how to make the subaltern bleak:
Throughout the book, adopt a sotto voice, in conspiracy with the reader, and a sad I-expected-so-much tone. Establish early on that your liberalism is impeccable, and mention near the beginning how much you love Africa, how you fell in love with the place and can’t live without her. Africa is the only continent you can love—take advantage of this. If you are a man, thrust yourself into her warm virgin forests. If you are a woman, treat Africa as a man who wears a bush jacket and disappears off into the sunset. Africa is to be pitied, worshipped or dominated. Whichever angle you take, be sure to leave the strong impression that without your intervention and your important…
January 20, 2010, 12:01 am
A reader writes in with a rather depressing scenario and a question [editor's note: what follows has been edited to protect the innocent/add a sex scene for SEK]:
There are a number of folks here, young scholars and aging grad students like myself who are trying to figure out the ramifications of a difficult situation so I thought I’d ask.
Here’s the deal: our American Studies [editor's note: at a venerable and outstanding public institution located in the center of the country, "the heartland"] department has been recommended for closure by an “independent task force”. We’re appealing of course, but in a climate where they’ve already added student fees and slashed TA positions right and left, I’m dubious about our prospects. Part of the reason I’m dubious is that some of the problems cited in the evaluation are indeed real problems [editor’s note: including declining applications…
January 14, 2010, 2:13 pm
If you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers. Or maybe we don’t. But you can still try. Send your queries, serious or otherwise, to edgeoftheamericanwest AT geemail DOT com, and we’ll do our best to give you absolutely ridiculous answers.
* Adapted from Lillian Hellman.
January 14, 2010, 11:05 am
A reader writes in to ask what I do about students who talk during my lectures. It’s a good question, as the problem seems to be getting worse the longer I teach. Whether I’m getting more boring (likely), my students are getting more unruly (perhaps), or the classroom culture is becoming more and more like the comments section of Matthew Yglesias’s blog (I doubt it, but maybe), I don’t really know.
As for the question, at the beginning of every quarter I talk to my students about my expectations of them, including my desire that they not talk during lecture. Honestly, I no longer care if they sleep, read, or surf the web. So long as they don’t keep other people in the class from listening to me and maybe learning (I can dream, right?), and so long as they’re somewhat respectful of me, we’re cool. Which is to say, I prefer that they not snore loudly while sleeping or make a big…