Sunday, April 05, 2009

Presidential Demeanor

Some great observations about the Obamas' visit to London, and what Europe's response to the way the President and First Lady carried themselves suggests about USA-EU relations.

This essay will be useful when teaching students about class (in)visibility (Obama shaking the police officer's hand a 10 Downing Street) and Bourdieu's concept of habitus.
"The other thing that she [Mrs. Obama] rose above was Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip: Honey, we shrunk the royal family. If ever we needed a totemic image of the merits of a republic over a monarchy, this was it."

"The truth is that the French have never really got over being dumped at the altar of the “special relationship.” It should have been them. It was after all, the French who gave you the Statue of Liberty and the keys to the Bastille and who think Jerry Lewis is funny. What did the English ever give you? Muffins and a burnt White House."
Joking aside, it's true: the French are unfairly dumped on in the US. I suspect it has a lot to do with military-related issues, e.g. De Gaulle pulling France out of NATO's military (but not political) structure and evicting NATO forces from the country. So, I'll want to supplement this essay with reading about economics and social mobility. Given many Americans' proclivity for ill-informed patriotism, students need to know that it's more likely for a person born poor to move out of poverty in France than it is in the US. 

But as this piece to suggests, America should feel proud about their First Family. 

(Now, if only the Obama administration would listen to Paul Krugman...)

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

HUIN305: Week 10

Hello all:

Just a reminder that HUIN305 will be meeting tomorrow, Wednesday March 4, at 10:15.

A number of you are preparing literature reviews and/or annotated bibliographies. Please send these and any and all new material that you have concerning the progress you're making on your projects out by this evening.

I'd like tomorrow's session to run like a true graduate seminar, i.e. with everyone providing comments on and constructive criticism about each other's projects.

For that to happen, you'll need to get your documents circulating in time for everyone to read them. In your email you might include questions or ideas that you'd like us to take up during the meeting. If there are materials to download from the course "My Space" that can't be send as attachments, let us know.

Also, I encourage you to familiarize yourself with the Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory (HASTAC) website and group. Take a look at some of the project descriptions posted on the site; they might provide useful models or inspiration. As you write your proposals and eventually your research, you might think of this scholarly community, and/or some of the digital humanities sub-groups affiliated with the site, as one of your target audiences. In fact, you might be interested in joining the organization and, once your practical project is nearly compete, posting information about it there.

I suspect the HASTAC network would be pleased to have more members from outside North America, and through the forum you might just make some valuable professional contacts.

Finally, please bring an extra hard copy of your paper for me to keep.

See you in the a.m.