Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Haley Reading Group: Elizabeth Kolbert’s “The Big Kill”


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

Elizabeth Kolbert’s article “The Big Kill” concentrates on New Zealand’s troubles with invasive mammals diminishing native fauna, which endangers native birds and kiwi. Kolbert raises the issue of exterminating some mammals for the purposes of conserving native wildlife, and how human migratory patterns throughout history have led to some mammals being brought to different parts of the world. She explores the large task of eliminating invasive species, since humans will continue traveling and shipping goods from country to country, thus leading to invasions from various mammals.

Kolbert’s focus on humans hunting and killing invasive mammals to protect native wildlife and New Zealand’s national identity was fascinating or alarming, depending on your point of view. What did you think? How did the article enhance or reshape how you thought about what it means to protect wildlife? Please provide a page number citation, where necessary.

Haley Reading Group: Michelle Nijhuis’s article “The Parks of Tomorrow"

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

Michelle Nijhuis’s article “The Parks of Tomorrow” discusses the way scientists have attempted to maintain the Assateague Island National Seashore. Nijhuis lists the multiple laws and tactics used to preserve the seashore as unimpaired.

Nijhuis states that although there were laws placed to ensure the seashore was further unimpaired, they did not address “the reality of human-caused climate change” because doing so was political and therefore off-limits for Park Services (134). This assessment of the Park Services leads to the articles point of the seashore maintaining a beautiful appearance but an unhealthy environment.

What's was one of the human-caused climate changes affecting the seashore that stood out to you most? Briefly explain why.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Amiri Baraka's five most anthologized poems



Back in July, when I wrote about Amiri Baraka's three most anthologized, I based my findings on a dataset of 50 anthologies. I now have a dataset of 120 anthologies, published between 1960 and 2018, that include Baraka's poems. The larger number of collections caused a shift in the poems that represent Baraka's most frequently reprinted poems.

Among the anthologies I consulted, Baraka's five most anthologized poems are:
• "Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note" (31 times)
• "An Agony. As Now." (31 times)
• "A Poem for Black Hearts" (23 times)
• "In Memory of Radio" (20 times)
• "Black Art" (19 times)
A substantial increase of anthologies in my dataset led to important changes in my findings.

One reason that "An Agony. As Now" appears as much as it does it because I include multiple editions of some anthologies. The editors of those books tend to use the same Baraka poems over and over again. The Heath Anthology of American Literature for instance continuously includes "An Agony. As Now." 

Notice that those top 5 poems were all published prior to 1970. That reflects a pattern with the overall dataset where editors primarily publish Baraka's early poems. Indeed, 63% of Baraka poems that appear in anthologies were first published before 1980.

Although he was an active and prominent force , continually producing new work for more than 50 years, Baraka is often, though not always, represented by poems he composed during the early phase of his career. That's not uncommon. Langston Hughes's "The Negro Speaks of Rivers," Gwendolyn Brooks's "We Real Cool," and Margaret Walker's "For My People," for instance, are among their early and most anthologized works as well.

Nonetheless, given that editors regularly highlight Baraka's shifts in politics, poetics, and names, it stands out to me that editors so often reprint his LeRoi Jones poems.

Related:
A Notebook on Amiri Baraka

Friday, September 14, 2018

Digital Humanities Club: Week 1



For our first session of the semester, on September 12, we worked with graphic design using Pixlr. We're picking up where we left off last semester in some respects.

Right now, we're mostly warming up -- learning and honing techniques -- as we begin developing exhibits and other projects.

Over the next few weeks, we're working on visual remix projects, where we provide alterations to book covers and comic book covers. This past Wednesday, we began playing around with covers for Black Panther and books by the science fiction writer Octavia Butler.


Related:
The East St. Louis Digital Humanities Club Fall 2018

Fall 2018--Haley Reading Groups



This semester, two of our Haley Reading Groups are covering The Best American Science and Nature Writing (2015) edited by Rebecca Skloot and two of our groups are covering The Best American Science and Nature Writing (2017) edited by Hope Jahren.

Group 1
• September 19 - Elizabeth Kolbert’s “The Big Kill” (163 – 178)
• October 3 - Amy Maxmen’s “Digging Through the World’s Oldest Graveyard” (179 – 190)
• October 17 - Rebecca Boyle’s “The Health Effects of a World Without Darkness" (43 – 54)
• October 31 - Kim Todd’s “Curious” (273 – 281)
• November 14 - Sarah Schweitzer’s “Chasing Bayla” (225 – 243)
• November 28 - Barry Yeoman’s “From Billions to None” (297 – 305)
• December 5 - Reflections

Group 2
• September 26 - Elizabeth Kolbert’s “The Big Kill” (163 – 178)
• October 10 - Amy Maxmen’s “Digging Through the World’s Oldest Graveyard” (179 – 190)
• October 24 - Rebecca Boyle’s “The Health Effects of a World Without Darkness" (43 – 54)
• November 7 - Kim Todd’s “Curious” (273 – 281)
• November 14 - Sarah Schweitzer’s “Chasing Bayla” (225 – 243)
• November 28 - Barry Yeoman’s “From Billions to None” (297 – 305)
• December 5 - Reflections

Group 3
• September 19 - Michelle Nijhuis’s “The Parks of Tomorrow
• October 3 - Robert Draper’s “The Battle for Virunga”
• October 17 Emily Temple Wood’s “It’s Time These Ancient Women Scientists Get Their Dues”
• October 31 Kathryn Joyce’s “Out Here, No One Can Hear You Scream”
• November 14 David Epstein’s “The DIY Scientists, the Olympian, and the Mutated Gene”
• November 28 Chris Jones “The Woman Who Might Find Us Another Earth”
• December 5 Reflections

Group 4
• September 26 - Michelle Nijhuis’s “The Parks of Tomorrow”
• October 10 - Robert Draper’s “The Battle for Virunga”
• October 24 - Emily Temple Wood’s “It’s Time These Ancient Women Scientists Get Their Dues”
• November 7 - Kathryn Joyce’s “Out Here, No One Can Hear You Scream”
• November 14 - David Epstein’s “The DIY Scientists, the Olympian, and the Mutated Gene”
• November 28 - Chris Jones “The Woman Who Might Find Us Another Earth”
• December 5 - Reflections

Related:
Haley Reading Groups

The East St. Louis Digital Humanities Club Fall 2018


This semester, I extend my work with the East St. Louis Digital Humanities Club--an extracurricular program. The participants in the club -- a graduate student, undergraduates, and high school students -- will work on graphic design, audio mixes, and public exhibits. The goal is to be interest and expertise in technology.

[Related: The East St. Louis Digital Humanities Club: Fall 2017 and Spring 2018]

Fall 2018: Summaries of activities:
Week 1: September 12
Week 2: September 19
Week 3: September 26
Week 4: October 3
Week 5: October 17
Week 6: October 24
Week 7: October 31
Week 8: November 7
Week 9: November 14
Week 10: November 28
Week 11: December 5

--------------------------
This after-school DH club is an outgrowth of our larger Digital East St. Louis, a collaborative project between SIUE's STEM Center and the IRIS Center. The project is supported by a National Science Foundation ITEST grant. The project is directed by STEM Center director Sharon Locke, and involves Jessica DeSpain, Liza Cummings, Georgia Bracey, and Matthew Johnson.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Brief Publishing Timeline of Lion Forge's Catalyst Prime Comic Books



Here's a brief, necessarily incomplete timeline of Lion Forge's Catalyst Prime universe.

2015
• Joseph Illidge does freelance editorial work for Lion Forge.

2016
• Summer: Illidge named senior editor of Lion Forge

• October: At New York Comic Con, Illidge announces the launch of Catalyst Prime

• December: Launch of Catalyst Prime twitter account, which teases materials from the new universe.

2017
• February 2: Coverage: Lion Forge rolls out Catalyst Prime line with ‘Superb’ - Heidi MacDonald - The Beat

• February 17: Illidge publishes article about "How Dwayne McDuffie was 'a catalyst' for diversity in comics."

• May 3: Catalyst Prime Noble #1 is released.

• May 6: Catalyst Prime: The Event one-shot is released free of charge for Free Comic Books Day. It is written by Christopher Priest and Illidge, illustrated by Marco Turini and Rosado, and colored by Jessica Kholinne.

• June 14: Catalyst Prime Accell #1 released.

St. Louis, Chicago, and American Violence statistics


The sociologist Patrick Sharkey and some of his colleagues recently launched a project American Violence.org, which provides information and statistics on the numbers of murders in the U.S. As noted on the site, "the project is designed as a public resource that will make data on violence accessible to public officials, journalists, researchers, and the public at large, allowing users to visualize and analyze trends in violence at multiple geographic levels (neighborhoods and cities) and over different timeframes (month to month, year to year, decade to decade)."

The site is really useful for refuting inaccurate claims about violence in American cities, like when Donald Trump claimed that the murder rate was the highest it has been in 45 years. The American Violence site offers specific information about the numbers of  murders and the murder rate per 100,000 people in cities. The site contains data from 1990 - 2017.

That 27-year period allows for considerations of violence over an extended period of time, which is important. In an interview with City Lab, Sharkey noted that, "The most common mistake in interpreting trends in violence is to focus on very short timeframes of a few months or a year, instead of considering the bigger picture of how violence is changing over long periods of time and in different places across the country. We wanted to start by simply describing how urban violence has changed over the short-term and the long-term."

I live in St. Louis and work in southern Illinois, where the majority of my black students are from Chicago. Thus, I've been inclined to think quite a bit about violence in those two cites. The American Violence site gives me even more perspective, as I now get specifics on what has occurred over decades, rather than just recent times.

Here's a look at St. Louis:


And Chicago:


While we're far more likely to hear about violence in Chicago in national news, St. Louis deserves more attention than it's received. I'm curious on what led to the drop in murders in Chicago and how that could be replicated in St. Louis.

In coming weeks, I'll take more looks at the American Violence site and jot down a few notes.

Related:
Gun Violence