Practicing Intellectual, Evidence-based Disagreement

This is what a busy literature seminar on evidence-based disagreement looks like. I’ve asked the students to pair up to create a 2-3-minute podcast that demonstrates they can participate in a respectful, evidence-based disagreement over Poe’s “The Raven.” I asked each student to introduce the other student’s position, and to do so respectfully, without caricaturing or demeaning the ignorant or evil jerks whose opinions or values or life experiences dare…

Imagine, if you will, a Shakespeare course / Propos’d in blank verse like the Bard would write

Verses Proposing a New Course: “Shakespeare in Context” You’ll pick a modest count of Shakespeare plays– Say, five. Three weeks to each you’ll dedicate. One context week, one week on text, and next One week to multi-modally create A research paper, podcast, monologue, Or supercut of twenty diff’rent Lears Who curse their sixty daughters’ cruel hearts. Professional and student actors we will hear, In stagings mounted locally. What’s more, We’ll screen some films that Shakespeare’s paths re-tread: “Shakespeare in Love,” “Forbidden Planet,” “Ran,” And “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are…

Scientists Trace Society’s Myths to Primordial Origins

Ancient cultures from Africa to Asia to the Mediterranean share core myths such as the animal pursued by a hunter who is transformed into a constellation, or a sculptor falling in love with a statute that comes to life, or a clever hunter outwitting a monster who keeps animals in a cave. This Scientific American article describes a method to trace the origin of stories through waves of human migration…

Ode to Huckleberry Finn, Dec’d

(Inspired by Emmeline Grangerford, Dec’d.) Girls, take his cold dead hand and kiss The knuckle – very thin, And bid adieu and ballyhoo Poor Huckleberry Finn. And was it prowling cannibals Or adversary’s sin That spilled the flood of crimson blood Of Huckleberry Finn? O hear my sad, sad words of woe (As I more clement wax) And mark! His brain was cleft in twain By yonder guilty axe! What…

Crowther’s Adventure: Tough Memes to Squash

Will Crowther, an RPG-er, created the first text-based adventure game for computers Colossal Cave Adventure in 1975.6 When Don Woods developed it into Adventure in 1976-1977 he added the Tolkienian elements of trolls and elves. —Helen Young, Journal of Tolkien Research Well, yes, but Crowther had already started with the Tolkenian elements of underground dwarves, magic, and a call-and-response interface that invokes the spirit of riddles in the dark. The…

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Rip Van Winkle

Certain it is, that he was a great favorite among all the good wives of the village, who, as usual with the amiable sex, took his part in all family squabbles, and never failed, whenever they talked those matters over in their evening gossipings, to lay all the blame on Dame Van Winkle. The children of the village, too, would shout with joy whenever he approached. He assisted at their…