Favorite Voles

The site has gotten pretty dense and it’s not always clear from titles which posts are more occasional and which more durable. Here are some of the latter, imo. Suggestions welcome.

Scholarship and Practice: Bourdieu, Latour, meaning, ritual, we got a lot done here.

Accepting Limits: A seemingly innocuous short post on an admired quotation erupts in the commentary into an extended reflection on structure, agency, possibilities, limits, ideologies, capitalism, the Tea Party and all sorts of other stuff.

Are teachers like coaches?

Public relations: Reflections on what we expect from relationships and why I blog, as illuminated by G.H. Mead, Marx, and Durkheim.

Teaching (social) theory: The title says it, but the post gets the most hits because of the picture of the robotic macaw I used to illustrate a point about how not to teach theory.

Elective affinities: I had a lot of fun with this one, an analysis of why some people enter into masochistic relationships with ‘difficult’ texts.

Psst: Life’s a bitch. Pass it on.: Some of what I think about having babies, tied to a larger theme about intentionality. Cool arts by Rachel.

Class consciousness in the lumpenbourgeoisie: One of my most-viewed posts, the first in a series reflecting on academic labor in relation to other kinds. A lot of the action is in the comments.

Ninja reading: How I teach students to read.

How to plagiarism-proof your essay assignments: Maybe the most focused and successful statement of my teaching philosophy, such as it is. Gets a lot of hits from students googling how to get away with plagiarism.

25 writers: My response to this meme about influential writers seemed to delight and illuminate some folks.

Steam train revisited: thinking through the Edict of Nantes: An early post on what torturing people slowly to death has to tell us about modernity.

Giving offense: Another early post on what being offended has to tell us about modernity.

Therapeutic history: Why history is harmful and how to fix that. Maybe it’s for the best that this one was ignored.

So You Think You Can Write a Paper: Paper grading, writing and teaching through the lens of tv talent shows.

Words and things, pt. 3: One of a series of posts in which I took on the widespread notion that language creates our reality and that therefore words are a productive sphere of activism.

Words and things pt. 5: Practice of theory: The culmination of that thread, and I managed to never actually mention Foucault once! One of my most regularly-hit posts because of the picture of the garbage barge.

Battle of the sexes: Incredulity toward the metanarratives of sex and sexuality.

Throwing stones: Reflections on the war in Iraq via disputed interpretation of a U.S. soldier acting badly.

Default theories: I’m not really happy with how this post came out, but it’s still a useful concept.

Strategic incompetence: “Strategic incompetence is the art of making yourself more trouble than you’re worth in some area of unwelcome effort.”

Feminism, conditions, Palin: One of a whole series on Sarah Palin, this one brings together a lot of threads.

Wanted: Prof Whisperer: Some thoughts on how to handle less-than-ideal classroom dynamics.

Feelings … whoa-whoa-whoa feelings: On the relations of feelings and analysis.

Death: Some of my thoughts on death and its rituals. A lot of the action is in the comments.


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