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rhetorical questions & the thinkable life

Salman Rushdie is credited with having observed: "One of the extraordinary things about human events is that the unthinkable becomes thinkable." Rhetoric, as an intellectual pursuit, explores the power and force of communication, in all the many shapes and colors it comes in. For me, rhetorical questions lie on the boundary between the unthinkable and the thinkable: the space where culture and communication and the practical and the aesthetic mix in messy glory.

Not really glowing about ‘Glow’: Feisty analysis in under 250 words

March 30, 2018

It’s Friday and I’m feeling a little feisty, so I thought I would kick off a visual analysis / media critique series. As an academic, a lot of what I do is boring, long, and involves words like concatenation. Way too much work for a Friday. Instead, I thought I would offer a pithy (the …

Writing, inspiration, and productivity: Or, why I needed really expensive file folders

January 16, 2018

I’m not sure how other people find inspiration, but mine apparently comes in the shape of pretty, overpriced file folders and a redesigned writing area. I’ve been dragging my feet for a couple years now on finishing my book manuscript. I’ve worked on pieces of the project, but somehow getting it all together just hasn’t …

Interior of St. Agnes Church, decaying old building, ruin porn

The Carcass of the American Dream: Ruin Porn, Still Life, and Architectural Decay

January 14, 2018

Detroit is a city marked by the moldering carcass of the industrial American dream. Once the site of monuments to the power of production, Detroit is now famous for the decay of historic buildings. The ruins of Detroit, captured by photographers, frame the carcass of the American dream in striking photographs. That so much of …

Setting the stage for active learning: The “why to” and “how to” of an interactive syllabus

August 14, 2017

  I came across a blog post the other day with a pretty piece of typography touting: Great teachers don’t teach content, they teach people. Perhaps I was  having a tough day with the school year looming like the sword of Damocles, but I couldn’t help rolling my eyes. It’s a lovely sentiment, but how …

clothes laid out on a floor

GAP’s answer to women’s stalled academic careers: Get cute

June 12, 2017

A couple of weeks ago a promotional email advertising GAP professional wear for women crossed my path. The ad brought to mind fake reviews for an infamous PhD Costume on Amazon. In my favorite ‘review’ for the sexxxy PhD costume the author writes: “Like all lady Ph.Ds, I frequently ask myself: ‘How could I be …


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