This book offers a lived defense of liberal education. How does a college professor, on a daily basis, help students feel the value of liberal education and get the most from that education? We answer this question, as professors, each day in the classroom. John William Miller, a philosophy professor at Williams College from 1924-1960 and someone noted for his exceptional teaching, developed one form that this lived defense can take. Though Miller published very little while he was alive, the archives at Williams College hold unpublished notes and essays of this master teacher. In this book, Jeff Frank offers an extended commentary on one of these unpublished essays where Miller develops his thinking on liberal education. Frank develops the idea that presence is central to liberal education and offers suggestions for how professors can become an educative presence for students. The goal of this book is an invitation to other professors who value liberal education to think with Miller about how to develop their own lived defense of liberal education, each day, in their own classrooms. The tone of the book is meant to be invitational, at times even conversational, and the book concludes with some direct suggestions for how professors can live their own defense of liberal education.
In a life full of chaos and travel, Elizabeth Bishop managed to preserve and even partially catalog, a large collection—more than 3,500 pages of drafts of poems and prose, notebooks, memorabilia, artwork, hundreds of letters to major poets and writers, and thousands of books—now housed at Vassar College. Informed by archival theory and practice, as well as a deep appreciation of Bishop’s poetics, the collection charts new territory for teaching and reading American poetry at the intersection of the institutional archive, literary study, the liberal arts college, and the digital humanities. The fifteen essays in this collection use this archive as a subject, and, for the first time, argue for the critical importance of working with and describing original documents in order to understand the relationship between this most archival of poets and her own archive. This collection features a unique set of interdisciplinary scholars, archivists, translators, and poets, who approach the archive collaboratively and from multiple perspectives. The contributions explore remarkable new acquisitions, such as Bishop’s letters to her psychoanalyst, one of the most detailed psychosexual memoirs of any twentieth century poet and the exuberant correspondence with her final partner, Alice Methfessel, an important series of queer love letters of the 20th century. Lever Press’s digital environment allows the contributors to present some of the visual experience of the archive, such as Bishop’s extraordinary “multi-medial” and “multimodal” notebooks, in order to reveal aspects of the poet’s complex composition process.
It is not an accident that American engineering is so disproportionately male and white; it took and takes work to create and sustain this situation. Engineering Manhood examines the process by which engineers of the antebellum Virginia Military Institute cultivated whiteness, manhood, and other intersecting identities as essential to an engineering professional identity. VMI opened in 1839 to provide one of the earliest and most thorough engineering educations available in antebellum America. The officers of the school saw engineering work as intimately linked to being a particular type of person, one that excluded women or black men. This particular white manhood they crafted drew upon a growing middle-class culture. These precedents impacted engineering education broadly in this country and we continue to see their legacy today.
Although numerous disciplines recognize multiple ways of conceptualizing time, Stefan Tanaka argues that scholars still overwhelmingly operate on chronological and linear Newtonian or classical time that emerged during the Enlightenment. This short, approachable book implores the humanities and humanistic social sciences to actively embrace the richness of different times that are evident in non-modern societies and have become common in several scientific fields throughout the twentieth century. Tanaka first offers a history of chronology by showing how the social structures built on clocks and calendars gained material expression. Tanaka then proposes that we can move away from this chronology by considering how contemporary scientific understandings of time might be adapted to reconceive the present and pasts. This opens up a conversation that allows for the possibility of other ways to know about and re-present pasts. A multiplicity of times will help us broaden the historical horizon by embracing the heterogeneity of our lives and world via rethinking the complex interaction between stability, repetition, and change. This history without chronology also allows for incorporating the affordances of digital media.
As jazz enters its second century it is reasserting itself as dynamic and relevant. Boston Globe jazz writer and Emerson College professor Bill Beuttler reveals new ways in which jazz is engaging with society through the vivid biographies and music of Jason Moran, Vijay Iyer, Rudresh Mahanthappa, The Bad Plus, Miguel Zenón, Anat Cohen, Robert Glasper, and Esperanza Spalding. These musicians are freely incorporating other genres of music into jazz—from classical (both western and Indian) to popular (hip-hop, R&B, rock, bluegrass, klezmer, Brazilian choro)—and other art forms as well (literature, film, photography, and other visual arts). This new generation of jazz is increasingly more international and is becoming more open to women as instrumentalists and bandleaders. Contemporary jazz is reasserting itself as a force for social change, prompted by developments such as the Black Lives Matter, #MeToo movements, and the election of Donald Trump.
There is no doubt that the beginning of the twenty-first century was marked by crises of debt. Less well known is that literature played a historical role in defining and teaching debt to the public. Promissory Notes: On the Literary Conditions of Debt addresses how neoliberal finance has depended upon a historical linking of geopolitical inequality and financial representation that positions the so-called “Third World” as negative value, or debt. Starting with an analysis of Anthony Trollope’s novel, The Eustace Diamonds, Goodman shows how colonized spaces came to inhabit this negative value. Promissory Notes argues that the twentieth-century continues to apply literary innovations in character, subjectivity, temporal and spatial representation to construct debt as the negative creation of value not only in reference to objects, but also houses, credit cards, students, and, in particular, “Third World” geographies, often leading to crisis. Yet, late twentieth century and early twenty-first literary texts, such as Soyinka’s The Road and Ngugi’s Wizard of the Crow, address the negative space of the indebted world also as a critique of the financial take-over of the postcolonial developmental state. Looking to situations like the Puerto Rican debt crisis, Goodman demonstrates how financial discourse is articulated through social inequalities and how literature can both expose and contest the imposition of a morality of debt as a mode of anti-democratic control.
Why are vinyl records making a comeback? How is their resurgence connected to the political economy of music? Vinyl Theory responds to these and other questions by exploring the intersection of vinyl records with critical theory. In the process, it asks how the political economy of music might be connected with the philosophy of the record. The young critical theorist and composer Theodor Adorno’s work on the philosophy of the record and the political economy of music of the contemporary French public intellectual, Jacques Attali, are brought together with the work of other theorists to in order to understand the fall and resurrection of vinyl records. The major argument of Vinyl Theory is that the very existence of vinyl records may be central to understanding the resiliency of neoliberalism. This argument is made by examining the work of Adorno, Attali, Friedrich Nietzsche, and others on music through the lens of Michel Foucault’s biopolitics.