All posts by Ryan Cordell


Remembering the 2013 Boston Marathon with the Our Marathon Archive

5ee847e668198e774022be574d3716b2Today marks the one-year anniversary of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings and subsequent events that shook the city of Boston. I teach at Northeastern University, blocks from the Marathon’s finish line, and many of our students were directly affected by those events: they were participating in the race, they were helping in the medical tents, they were cheering on friends and family, or they lived in buildings that were evacuated during the tense days following the bombings. Some of our students…


Weekend Reading: Hoping for Spring Edition


Temperatures are finally rising above freezing on a regular basis in New England, which means that—despite everything—spring may finally be coming. That doesn’t have anything in particular to do with this weekend’s reading, but I do hope you can read in some warmth and spring-like comfort.

  • Let’s start with some fun and stimulating reading. First, if you don’t subscribe to the RSS feed of Rebecca Onion’s The Vault blog at Slate, do so now (and if you don’t know how to subscribe to an RSS feed,

On Taking the Train


I will start by acknowledging two things:

  1. This post is distinctively American, in that I will wax on about train travel as if it’s a discovery rather than an obvious fact about how people traverse the world

  2. The suggestion at the heart of this post is far more feasible for those who live along the East Coast corridor or other pockets of the US with extensive train networks, though I’m learning that Amtrak’s network is more extensive than I realized only a few years ago. When I lived in Green…


What’s Your Favorite Presentation Remote?

100526326_6cc1e34113_bA few days ago a friend wrote me to ask what my favorite presentation remote is for classes and conference talks. He was considering the Kensington Wireless Presenter Pro but assumed I might have a stronger recommendation. However, while I love to use remotes when giving a talk—I prefer to wander rather than stand still behind a podium—for some reason I don’t actually own one of these devices. Amy Cavender has recommended a set of tools by DeMobo which allow her to control presentations from her…


Mind the Gap (Between Graduate Training and Professional Requirements)

11241552515_1044aaefae_bThis post will come out on February 20, one day after digital humanities scholars across the U.S. will have submitted grant proposals to the NEH’s Implementation Grant program. Unlike much humanities work, the digital humanities often require, like the sciences and social sciences, grant funding. This is perhaps a necessary evil. Large-scale digital projects require a range of people with particular technical expertise, and so require funding at a different scale than the individual archival pro…


Writing 20 Minutes Every. Single. Day.

5137407_004032c9e6_bYou might think that after writing a dissertation, I would have pretty good writing habits. Well, you might think that if you were not also an academic and familiar with the continuous obstacles that challenge regular writing. Contrary to political posturing that claims academics only work during the hours they literally sit in a classroom—”only a few hours a week!”—a host of other duties fill our days—preparing for classes, advising undergraduates, supervising graduate students, reviewing o…


Save Money on Electronics Accessories with Amazon Basics

If you’ve bought electronics recently—as in, over the past few decades—you’ve likely experienced salespeople trying to upsell you on expensive cables. And you may have bought in: after all, if you’re spending significant cash on a new, high-definition television, surely those platinum-plated Monster cables are worth the investment? Except, well, not so much. It turns out that if your HDMI cable isn’t defective—if it works—then it works as well as it’s going to work, whether you paid $5 or $50 f…


Weekend Reading: Post-Conventions Edition

I know not all ProfHacker readers (or writers!) are historians or literary scholars, but the academic blogosphere in the past week has certainly been shaped by the fallout, good or bad, from the annual MLA and AHA conferences. I’ve collected some of the pieces I found most compelling or interesting from that bunch:

  • In “An MLA Story,” Lee Skallerup Bessette mediates on important questions about family, adjuctification, labor, and the academic profession. The piece is both moving and challenging…

Weekend Reading: Back to School in a Polar Vortex Edition

Odysseus_26_October_2011-1Hopefully by the time this is published temperatures will have inched closer to normal for most ProfHacker readers, but I’m composing it on a very, very cold day in Boston (and it’s much colder elsewhere). In any case, our spring semester has started under very un-spring-like conditions. Here are some of the pieces I’ve found most stimulating for the new semester:


What’s in Your Favorite Teaching Kit?

This summer I had the great fortune to attend the Rare Book School in Charlottesville, Virginia and learn much more about material book history, one of my research interests. While there, a few of the instructors discussed building a classroom kit for teaching the history of the book. For that particular subject area, a kit might include pieces of type, a composing stick, a printer’s wood block, a line of linotype, or pages printed using different techniques. Though these might seem like rare it…