Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Haley Reading Group: "Phineas Gage, Neuroscience’s Most Famous Patient"

[The Best American Science and Nature Writing (2015)]

By Rae'Jean Spears

Sam Kean’s article, “Phineas Gage, Neuroscience’s Most Famous Patient,” gives a background on the life of Phineas Gage. Phineas Gage injured the frontal lobe of his brain while working on a railroad and became a legend in science. Gage’s injuries have contributed to modern scientific advances concerning the development and use of certain areas of the brain.

An especially interesting part of the Kean’s article is Harlow’s almost obsessive fascination with Gage and his injury. What makes his interest in Gage especially interesting is that he never took credit for his role in Gage’s recovery, simply stating that “I dressed him, God healed him” (137). Harlow was interested in Gage’s overall wellbeing, not just using him as an interesting topic to discuss.

After reading Kean’s article, what are your thoughts about Harlow’s lifelong involvement with Gage? Please provide a page number citation.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Digital Humanities Club: Week 5

We took a step back on February 14 with our ongoing editing. Well, we took a different direction. We had been blending audio from Amiri Baraka and Malcolm X with instrumental music. For this session, however, we decided to work with only the voices, making changes. It was continued experimentation, minus the music.

The guys were initially a little unsure about what it meant to proceed without music, since that's been the routine. However, as we continued working and talking throughout the session, students began seeing the value of trying out new approaches. We had not, it turns out, done enough to play with the special effects.

The East St. Louis Digital Humanities Club Spring 2018

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Haley Reading Group: “Solar, Eclipsed”

[The Best American Science and Nature Writing (2016)]

By Cynthia A. Campbell

Charles C. Mann’s article “Solar, Eclipsed” focuses on India’s increasing emission of greenhouse gases. Mann illuminates coal as an energy source vs solar energy. Ultimately, the article speaks to the danger of India’s continued use of coal as a power source (without pollution control) which could lead to an environmental disaster.

Mann’s discussion of the Jharia coalfield was especially enlightening. At one point, Mann notes that “It has been on fire, calamitously, since 1916” (182). This point indicates that the environment has been compromised by harmful levels of carbon emitted for a century.

After reading Man’s article, what was one point concerning emissions control that you found especially interesting? Briefly explain why and provide a page number citation.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Anna Holmes's "Black With (Some) White Privilege"

Barack Obama, Halle Berry, Jordan Peele, Megahn Markle

In a New York Times article "Black With (Some) White Privilege," Anna Holmes wrote about successful people who are biracial. She notes that she had compiled "a list of every child I could think of who had a black parent and a white parent and was born between 1960 and the mid- to late 1980s." Given the lists of people based on birth year that I've compiled, what Holmes did intrigued me. Her questions about the possibilities of  partial white privilege were also important.

Holmes mentions several biracial people throughout her article, but I decided to arrange the mentions here chronologically.

Barack Obama (b. 1961)
Halle Berry (1966)
Mariah Carey (1969)
Adrian Fenty (1970)
Mat Johnson (1970)
Tracee Ellis Ross (1972)
Jason Kidd (1973)
Ben Jealous (1973)
Derek Jeter (1974)
Amy DuBois Barnett (1974)
Rashida Jones (1976)
Jordan Peele (1979)
Alicia Keys (1981)
Meghan Markle (1981)
Lolo Jones (1982)

Holmes indicates that the Supreme Court decision for Loving v. Virginia gave way to an increase in interracial marriages.

At one point in her article, Holmes mentions colorism, which, she writes, "places black people in an uncodified but nevertheless very real hierarchy, with the lighter-skinned among us at the top." She also presents excerpts Ta-Nehisi Coates's writing on Obama. Coates pointed out that "Obama’s early positive interactions with his white family members gave him a fundamentally different outlook toward the wider world than most blacks of the 1960s had.” Further, Coates observes, that the former president's view of the world, which was "born of literally relating to whites, allowed Obama to imagine that he could be the country’s first black president.”

Birth Years & Age Matters

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Digital Humanities Club: Week 4

On February 7, we continued working with audio compositions based on clips by Amiri Baraka and Malcolm X. They guys are mostly experimenting, and we've been pushing them to learn more about the possibilities for audio editing.

I took some time to listen in on Gaige, one of our undergraduate team leaders, and Louis, one of our high school students, talking to each other about the audio composition. Before producing the work, Gaige gave Louis some pointers to consider. And at intervals, during the editing process, Gaige gave pointers.

At the same time, Louis was prompted to explain what he was trying to do and why. He obliged by talking through what he was up to as he worked on the composition.

The East St. Louis Digital Humanities Club Spring 2018

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Coverage of American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Ok, here's some of the coverage on Tayari Jones's latest novel, An American Marriage. The book is also an Oprah Winfrey book club selection.

• February 10: Jones uses wrongful incarceration to explore ‘An American Marriage’ - Chris Vognar - Herald & Review
• February 9: Tayari Jones' Novel Featured as an Oprah Book Club Pick - Spelman College
• February 8: ‘An American Marriage,’ by Tayari Jones - Meredith Maran - San Francisco Chronicle
• February 8: If I Can’t Cry, Nobody Cries - Abigail Bereola - The Paris Review
• February 8: It’s Time For Tayari Jones - Bim Adewunmi - BuzzFeedNews
• February 8: Tayari Jones crafts an essential love story - Leah Greenblatt - Entertainment Weekly
• February 8: An American Marriage review - Kerryn Goldsworthy - Sydney Morning Herald
• February 7: Q&A with Tayari Jones - Thomas Gebremedhin - The Wall Street Journal
• February 7: Interview with Tayari Jones - Brandi Megan Granett - Women Writers, Women's Books
• February 7: University of Iowa grad Tayari Jones' book chosen for Oprah's Book Club - The Gazette
• February 6: A Marriage Upended, a Life Destroyed - Stephanie Powell Watts - New York Times
• February 6: Winfrey Picks Novel 'An American Marriage' for Book Club - AP - New York Times
• February 6: Tayari Jones: By the Book - The New York Times
• February 6: Oprah Winfrey reveals her next book - Jocelyn McClurg and Erin Jensen - USA Today
• February 6: “An American Marriage” by Tayari Jones: Oprah’s new book club pick delivers - Erin Keane - Salon
• February 6: Oprah's Book Club: "An American Marriage" - CBS News
• February 6: New Oprah pick 'An American Marriage' is brilliant, timely - Patty Rhule - USA Today
• February 6: Oprah's new book club pick is Tayari Jones' 'An American Marriage' - Michael Schaub - LA Times
• February 6: Injustice and Intimacy in Jones’s “An American Marriage” - Tina McElroy Ansa - LA Review of Books
• February 6: Oprah announces new book club pick - Megan Byrd - Newsday
• February 6: Winfrey picks novel 'An American Marriage' for book club - Hillel Italie - Beaumont Enterprise
• February 6: Winfrey picks Jones’ “An American Marriage - Rosalind Bentley - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
• February 6: Jones Writes About People with Problems, Not Problems with People - Jennifer Baker - Electric Lit
• February 6: Tayari Jones interviewed by Maya Payne Smart - Kirkus
• February 5: The B&N Podcast: Tayari Jones - Barnes & Noble
• February 5: Q & A with Tayari Jones - The Authors Guild
• February 5: Tayari Jones' New Book Is an Epic Story of the Ties of Marriage - Lisa Shea - Elle
• February 3: 'An American Marriage' is strong, moving novel by Tayari Jones - Holly Silva - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
• February 2: Eavesdropping helped me write An American Marriage - Tayari Jones - The Sydney Morning Herald
• January 31: Powell's Q&A: Tayari Jones, Author of 'An American Marriage' - Powell's
• January 31: Everyfolks: An American Marriage - Zakiya Harris - The Rumpus
• January 30: Oprah's newest book club pick - Ron Charles - Washington Post

• November 12: An American Marriage - Kirkus

Coverage of books, authors & special topics

Haley Reading Group: :Into the Maelstrom

[The Best American Science and Nature Writing (2015)]

By Rae'Jean Spears

“Traditionally researchers have attributed the rapid Artic warming to local drivers such as the loss of ice and snow. In other words, the Artic is generally seen as the victim, not the perpetrator” (157). Eli Kintisch, author of “Into the Maelstrom,” states this in explaining the overall message of the piece: how Jennifer Francis’ research on climate change is different than all scientists who have come before her.

This quotation is interesting because nature is usually never blamed for Earth’s conditions, especially things such as global warming. For Jennifer Francis to be such a young scientist, she is challenging how esteemed scientists have done things for centuries.

After reading Kintisch’s article, what’s an uncommon assertion that scientist Jennifer Francis made? In what way was it different from things you have previously heard in your science classes? Please provide a page citation.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Collegiate black men, rap courses, and active participation

The excited, active participation of collegiate black men in the rap classes I offer stands out to me. There are few black men English majors at my university, and relatively few take the classes offered by the English department. And when they do, they are hardly leaders. That's not the case in my rap classes.

I've regularly offered classes on rap music for several years now, and I've noticed that black men are among the most outspoken students in the classes. They have strong opinions about the artists we cover. They offer suggestions of various artists not covered on the syllabi, and they regularly debate each other and me about assessments of rap songs and rap history. I've learned so much based on the guys' presence and contributions over the years.

The first time I offered one of the rap courses, a black woman student approached me at the end of the term and noted that she was a senior and had never seen black men take such an active role in their classes at the university. What is it about our regular American and African American literature classes or college courses in general that prevents black men from taking such an active role? Or, maybe the question is: what is it about a rap class that inspires active participation from black men?

I wish there were more conversations in the field on what it takes to get black men more involved in African American literary studies, and what turns young brothers off. Such conversations might assist us in gaining more information on learning interests and student capabilities.

Collegiate Students
A notebook on rap music, hip hop