A few days after Aaron Swartz’s suicide — in part triggered by the prospect of a 35-year prison sentence for making a big stash of scholarly journal articles available to the public for free (!) — it is appropriate to think about what is wrong with the state of academic publishing today.
Here’s a for instance: I got an email today about a new issue of the journal Third Text: Critical Perspectives on Contemporary Art and Culture. It’s a special issue on “Contemporary Art and the Politics of Ecology.” It looks great: 16 articles, totaling 170 pages, of theoretical writing, analysis, and conversations between artists, scholars, and activists from around the world. I’d love to read it and to recommend it to my students, who are studying the intersections between art, ecology, politics, and activism.
As I prepare to teach a course in the spring called “Media Ecologies and Cultural Politics,” I’m weighing out the benefits and risks of opening the course to an online audience.
This would involve sharing the syllabus online (though not the readings themselves, which would have to be purchased or “found” elsewhere) and moving some of our discussions to a public blog, as opposed to using the password-protected, registered-students-only Blackboard software (which many courses at this university now use).
It’s not an online course, and much of the class would still take place in a formal classroom setting. But my hope is that the public dimension could enrich class discussions both by allowing others (around the world) to participate to some extent, and by making our public conversation more accountable and potentially more meaningful. Seems to me that a commitment to open-access education calls for this sort of thing.
When applying for a promotion — which generally means applying for Associate Professor status “with tenure,” or applying for Full Professor (the top of the heap) — an academic must use any tactics available to make a case for the value of his or her scholarly work.
In the good old days, at most institutions, this might not have taken much. In the humanities, a fairly common bar for getting tenure was having published a scholarly book; for full professor, a second one. But academic book publication is in transition and no longer as simple as it used to be. And peer-reviewed journal articles, still the standard in the “hard” sciences, are not going away; publish-or-perish remains the rule. View full article »
I blogged about this part of the California coast the last time I was out here, and my thoughts there have worked their way into my talk here. The talk lays out a Peircian-inspired approach to thinking about moving images, and specifically images of the earth and its cosmic environment (black void, or otherwise) as found in movies like 2001, Solaris, Contact, Melancholia, and others.
No, not really… But the Chronicle of Higher Ed has an interesting piece on leading panpsychist philosopher David Skrbina called The Unabomber’s Pen Pal. It turns out that Skrbina has been corresponding with Ted Kaczynski as part of his study of the philosophy of technology.
With just enough distance to sense that I miss it already (in a brain-body hangover kind of way), but not enough for this to be taken too seriously, I offer some morning-after thoughts on the Nonhuman Turn conference.
1. It was a tremendous gathering of forces, of people doing valuable work with ideas, with knowledge-building practices and critical interpretive and reframing strategies (some of them novel and experimental, some of them simply variations on what academics do). For all that was said (at the end) about how washed-out the academic conference format is, this one was actually a very well-scaled meeting, making possible the kinds of conversations and connections that a larger conference would preclude. It was well run, technically savvy, and enjoyable. Remarkable in many ways.
Bogost’s talk not being streamed (by his request).
Ian Bogost, “The Aesthetics of Philosophical Carpentry”
A talk about philosophy and the objects of which it’s made, in 12 parts (first 11 are pretend)
I. Enjoying This Presentation
II. The Things We Do: Airport tarmac. Philosophers in a lecture hall not unlike an aircraft approaching the runway. Multiple dancer airport performances. Air traffic controllers and graduate students. We do the things we do. Questions, comments. Thank you for flying.