Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Historian Stefan Bradley reunites with his folk at SIUE

Listen. Stefan Bradley has been giving talks related to his new book, Upending the Ivory Tower: Civil Rights, Black Power, and the Ivy League (New York University Press). He's presented at Brown University, Dartmouth College, the Brooklyn Historical Society, St. Louis University, and more.  But yesterday, he also took a second to come home, to speak.

[Related: Photo-review of Stefan Bradley's talk @ SIUE]

Bradley and I began our professional teaching careers at SIUE in 2003. So when I realized he would be in the region, I immediately took steps to organize an event for him speak with our students.

I initially envisioned a small gathering -- a chance for Bradley to meet with the guys in my course for first-year African American men. After all, Bradley was crucial to expanding the vision for that program. In the process of organizing, our invitation list got larger and larger.

Bradley showed up and showed out. He read passages from his book and discussed he reasons for folks on the ways black students at elite universities struggled and organized in order to actualize the opportunities of full citizenship and to path the way for countless others.

Most importantly though, he spoke directly to the many students there. He engaged them on ideas and made them aware of their histories and possibilities.

Photo-review of Stefan Bradley's talk @ SIUE
Reminder: Stefan Bradley's Upending the Ivory Tower
Stefan Bradley's Upending the Ivory Tower

Photo-review of Stefan Bradley's talk @ SIUE

Here are a few images from Stefan Bradley's talk at SIUE on October 16.

Haley Reading Group: Emily Temple-Wood’s “It’s Time These Ancient Women Scientists Get Their Dues”

[The Best American Science and Nature Writing (2017)]

Emily Temple-Wood’s article “It’s Time These Ancient Women Scientists Get Their Dues” highlights the multiple women who have contributed to science. The article emphasizes the sexism women have faced in the scientific world, and how they have been silenced or overshadowed.

Temple-Wood’s article was especially enlightening as she works to name and point out the contribution of those women scientists. She provides the life of Hypatia as an example of a woman scientist who became the head of a Neo-Platonist school, a position previously held solely by men (311).

After reading this article, what’s a new view or approach to thinking about women and science that you developed? How in particular did the article shape your new view or approach on the subject?

Haley Reading Group: The Health Effects of a World Without Darkness

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

In her article “The Health Effects of a World Without Darkness,” Rebecca Boyle discusses the sometimes troubling consequences of living in a world where light and lighting matters so much. Boyle explains how apparently advanced countries like the United States depend on lights opposed to how some developing nations depend on darkness. The article raises a range of issues concerning the implications of light in our society and the world.

Boyle discusses the relationship between light and health problems. At one point, the author suggests that "depression, obesity, and cancer" could all be linked to light (52).

After reading Boyle’s article, what are some things concerning light that you will view in new ways? Or, what's something you plan to do differently as a result of reading the article? How did the article shape that new view or behavior? If applicable, please provide a page citation.

Some previous responses:
"In Rebecca Doyle's "The Health Effects of a World Without Darkness", I found it extremely interesting all the effects man-made lights had on animals. Not only does it disrupt the pathway new born sea turtles have to take to get to the sea (47), it also takes a toll on many different bird species, and bats." --Jasmyn K.

"Before reading "The Health Effect of a World Without Darkness," I was unaware of many of the very real issues caused by light pollution. The most shocking health effect, to me, was insomnia being caused by artificial light. "There is a great difference between natural night waking and electronic-induced insomnia" (51). I was originally unaware of the difference. I think it's important that Doyle is drawing attention to the effects of light pollution that can harm us in our everyday lives without us even knowing." --Jada J.

"In 'The Health Effects of a World Without Darkness' Rebecca Doyle expresses her profound thoughts about the use of electronic devices and the effect it has on today's health. Reading this made me realize how much of a correlation electronic devices and health really have." --Kiara C.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Remixing Amiri Baraka's "The Aesthetic," Part 1

Visual remixes by Jordan, Tyreese, and DJ of John Tyler Christopher's Black Panther #1 

A couple of weeks ago, I continued working with Jaylen during at East St. Louis Digital Humanities Club -- an after school program giving high school students chances to work with technology. We had previously worked on a remix of a poem by Adrian Matejka. On October 3, we took a look at Amiri Baraka's short poem "The Aesthetic."

After we listened to the poem a few times, Jaylen added beats. I encouraged him to add a few slight pauses in Baraka;s delivery for emphasis. Next up, we'll work on doing even more with reworking the sounds.

The East St. Louis Digital Humanities Club Fall 2018

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Anthologizing Amiri Baraka

If, for some strange reason, you were like me and decided to trace Amiri Baraka's appearances in dozens and dozens of literature anthologies published over the course of several decades, you'd likely realize or be reminded of just how remarkable his publishing career has been. Over the last few months, I've been working on a project focusing on editors anthologizing Baraka's poetry. I took a look at 120 anthologies, containing his poems, published between 1960 and 2018.

Among many other discoveries, I learned that Baraka's top five most anthologized poems are: "Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note," "An Agony. As Now," "A Poem for Black Hearts," "In Memory of Radio," and "Black Art." I became aware that the largest number of Baraka's poems were reprinted during the 1970s and 1990s, while the fewest number of his poems were reprinted during 1980s and 2010s.

In the dataset I created, there are 136 unique Baraka poems, which in total appear 481 times in all those anthologies. This project confirmed that part of what makes Baraka such an outstanding literary figure concerns his appearances in so many different contexts.

Baraka's been published as a Beat poet, an American Negro poet, a new American poet, a new Black poet, a Black Arts poet, a postmodernist poet, an African American poet, and more. He's been the youngest contributor to a collection and later one of the older. He's been one of the only African Americans in a collection, and he's been in many all-black collections.

A Notebook on Amiri Baraka
A Notebook on Anthologies

Haley Reading Group: Robert Draper’s “The Battle for Virunga”

[The Best American Science and Nature Writing (2017)]

Robert Draper’s article “The Battle for Virunga” focuses on the continuous struggle to maintain and rebuild Virunga National Park. Draper emphasizes the hardships neighboring communities and scientist face when trying to save this national park.

At one point, Draper calls the Virunga National Park “a war zone” (67). This point highlights the tug of war between the scientists’ desire to maintain the life of the National Park and local citizens’ need to survive.

What did you think about the significance and struggles associated with rebuilding the Virunga National Park?

Responses so far:
I really enjoyed this reading because I watched the Oscar Nominated documentary "Virunga" on Netflix and to actually see all this happening visually, was heartbreaking but also inspiring to see the park rangers do all that they can to save their park and the gorillas. --Asher D.

I was struck by the importance that one road could make, and the symbolic meaning of it all. Here, we wouldn't give much thought into the rebuilding of a road, but to them the road meant new beginnings- it meant peace,hope,and rebirth. --Mackenzie C.

Reading this really gave me insight on the problems and immense effort it took to make the park function again. I have personal connections to the " ethnic conflict... that led to the genocide of Tutsis and Hutus" and some of the experiences I have been told are gruesome(67). --Desmond C