Anything can give up its life…

So much reading to do. So much writing to do. My brain is throbbing. I’m in the process of putting some things together though. After a week spent updating some walking tour material, I am back to making headway on the dissertation. Some new articles are in the works and will be posted by the end of this week.

In the meantime…a poem from Sun Ra: The Immeasurable Equation: The Collected Poetry and Prose

Anything can give up its life
Why don’t you give up your death?
Why don’t you do something different
Something that was never done before?
So that the universe will know you’re here?
So you can stand and speak to the universe
And say “Here I am!
I am just like you:
Endless, Immeasurable, Eternal, Impossible”

The universe has shown you the way

Go out and look at the stars
They’re always around
Go out and look at the sky
It’s always there
Go out and look at the sun
In the morning
It’s always here.
Why do you have to go?
Why should you leave the stars
And the sun and the moon
And the universe all alone?

Academic Affairs: Higher Education in Popular Culture

This is the start of a blog I’ll be doing for the GC Advocate.  I’ll cross-post the articles that get posted there:


Wel­come to “Aca­d­e­mic Affairs.” I am start­ing this blog with a sim­ple idea in mind: the sto­ries that we tell about aca­d­e­mic life can shape and influ­ence the way that all of us (aca­d­e­mics and non-academics alike) think about the place of higher edu­ca­tion in our soci­ety. Here at The GC Advo­cate we already have great reportage on some of the most press­ing issues in higher edu­ca­tion. In the past two months we’ve had arti­cles about the ongo­ing strug­gle to pre­serve pub­lic edu­ca­tion here in the CUNY sys­tem, arti­cles about the teach­ing job mar­ket for PhD’s through­out the nation, and cov­er­age of the recent stu­dent strikes in Puerto Rico, just to name a few exam­ples. I’d like to come at the topic of higher edu­ca­tion from a dif­fer­ent angle. I believe that those of us with a vested inter­est in higher edu­ca­tion have to make the case for its impor­tance by telling com­pelling sto­ries about what the acad­emy means to us and what place we think the acad­emy should have in a plu­ral­is­tic, demo­c­ra­tic society.

This is an out­growth of my dis­ser­ta­tion project, which is on aca­d­e­mic nov­els. Now I’ll be the first to admit that this sounds rather nar­cis­sis­tic and elit­ist. It is per­fectly rea­son­able to assume that aca­d­e­mic fic­tion is only about the insu­lar, closed world of ivory tower aca­d­e­mic life. And yes, there are many nov­els in the genre that amount to lit­tle more than bour­geois come­dies of man­ners set in uni­ver­si­ties, and who gives a flip about that? How­ever, there are also aca­d­e­mic nov­els that look beyond this enclosed world of the uni­ver­sity, and I am most inter­ested in the nov­els (and films) that draw con­nec­tions between the uni­ver­sity and the world beyond it. In the May 2010 issue I shared my Top 10 list of aca­d­e­mic films. I’ll be con­tin­u­ing with that theme by writ­ing short arti­cles about some recent films and nov­els that depict aca­d­e­mic life, while also revis­it­ing some older works that I think are still rel­e­vant to things that are hap­pen­ing now.

I hope you will enjoy this col­umn and I hope that you will be encour­aged to chime in and share your own ideas and make this a col­lab­o­ra­tive project.