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What Is Gamergate, and Why? An Explainer for Non-Geeks

I’ve been following the frustrating slow burn that is #Gamergate for some time. I’m planning to introduce it in my online Video Game Culture and Theory class this January. This ground-level introduction will help add context to the mayhem. Until recently, you might have lived a life blissfully unaware of the online #Gamergate movement. But last week, computing giant Intel pulled its ads from an independent game-development site thanks to…

Chilling Dawn's treatment of the Poe story.
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The Masque of the Red Death, by Edgar Allan Poe

So, who else is taking advantage of current events and assigning “The Masque of the Red Death”? Are we thoughtful educators? Shameless opportunists? Both? (The disease Poe describes is more sudden than that caused by the ebola virus.) No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its Avatar and its seal—the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp pains, and sudden dizziness, and then…

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Weaving: Breathing: Thinking: The poetics of Emerson’s Nature

Text derives from texere, which means “to weave” and “to construct.” As Emerson states later in the essay, nature weaves texts: “A life in harmony with nature . . . will purge the eyes to understand her text . . . so that the world shall be to us an open book . . . ” (CWI 23). As Emerson writes later in “Goethe,” “All things are engaged in writing…

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Writing for the Godless: Flannery O’Connor on Dogma, Belief, and the Difference Between Religion and Faith

I’m not teaching her time period this term, but I usually throw in some Flannery O’Connor whenever I can. One of the most extraordinary meditations on religion and the role of spirituality in society comes from beloved author Flannery O’Connor, whose writing blended her Catholic faith with strong secular themes of ethics and moral philosophy, and nowhere does her singular spirit shine more luminously than in The Habit of Being:…