Two poems of mine have appeared recently in literary journals:
“Shadows the words” is in this week’s (June 4th) issue of UnLost, a fantastic journal of found poetry that’s openly accessible online. This poem’s an acrostic (certain letters in every line spell a word) and a cento (a poem made wholly of lines from other poems)…so I think that makes it an acrosticento.
And “New patriot love” is in the current issue (#3) of Milkweed Zine, a bold and diverse queer feminist erotic ‘zine based in Toronto. This poem’s a dirty riff on Canada’s flag and national anthem — just in time for Canada’s 150th! 😉
Just a tip for university students in this digital age: it’s always a good idea to name a file that you’re submitting as written work for a course with the following details:
- your name;
- the course number; and
- the assignment name (or keyword).
For instance, instead of submitting an essay as a Word or PDF doc with the file name “Essay 1” try naming the file something like this: “McCutcheon-Essay1-ENGLXXX”.
There are two great reasons to clearly name your assignment files:
1. Doing so will endear you to your instructors — and improve your learning — because you will save them a significant bit of filing work, leaving more time for them to give you meaningful feedback. Put yourself in the instructor’s shoes: An instructor gets dozens, or, in some courses, even hundreds of written assignments from students. If they’re all files that are titled something like “Essay 1,” then the instructor has to open each one just to find out who submitted it. That time adds up, and it eats into the time they would rather spend giving you meaningful feedback, not doing filing and paperwork.
2. Doing so will also protect your claim to your own written work as your intellectual property. Sure, a file name can be easily changed. But no instructor would bother doing so — except maybe to indicate which student submitted it, what course it’s for, and what assignment it is. Putting your name, course number, and assignment keyword(s) in the file name establishes a virtual papertrail that identifies you as the author of a given piece of writing, and protects your investment and your interest, in case any assignments get lost in the inevitable shuffle. (Adding these details to file names also makes them much more easily searchable in computer drives and folders.)
“Stephen Harper as Killer Robot” is my new article in English Studies in Canada‘s just-published special issue on the automated body.
While an article about Harper might seem like a political postmortem, the former prime minister’s popular caricature as a robot speaks to widespread fears about the implications of technology for democracy. These alarming implications have been analyzed recently in tech CEO Berit Anderson’s article “The rise of the weaponized AI propaganda machine.” Anderson’s article is a must-read for appreciating the extent to which digital technology now poses a real and present threat to democracy. Anderson’s article sort of picks up — and dives in — where mine leaves off, as a discussion of how that threat has been growing in Canada for some time now.
Stencil by “myheadhurtsalot” (https://i.imgur.com/JFfG3.png). My thanks to this Redditor for their permission to reprint their image in my article.
“Stephen Harper as Killer Robot” is currently available online via the Project Muse database, but ESC‘s decent open access policy means the article will be publicly available soon, in 6 months to a year (that’s soonish, for academia). But in the meantime, if you want a copy and can’t access Project Muse, leave a comment below, or send me an e-mail at academicalism[at]gmail[dot]com.
in solidarity with #SteFoyMosque;
in outrage at terrorism & the dogwhistle politics stoking hate;
in sorrow with Canada, where #WeAllBelong.
“Montreal is still small enough to have one or two centres, one or two late night centres, and into this funnel is drawn everyone who happens to be up that night or at least a representation of the various groups operating in the night, and groups operating in the night always have a special kind of interest and a special kind of ritualistic atmosphere.
“And into these places, these special places in the city, and Ben’s is one of them, is drawn this very urgent cross section of people who have somehow committed the first rebellious act that a man can perform: refusing to sleep.
“That’s the real rebellion against life and the generative process. That’s the real human idea: I refuse to sleep. I’m going to protest the idea of sleep by turning night into day.
“I’m going to revel and drink and womanize all night and this way I show time, death, the natural process of destruction, decay and regeneration — I show it all with my mind and my will that I, man, triumph. And so they come to Ben’s.”
–Leonard Cohen, quoted in Ladies & Gentlemen…Mr Leonard Cohen (NFB, 1965)
[A thousand thanks to you, Mr Leonard Cohen, for showing us how the light gets in. And for being the light.]
A couple of years ago, during a break in a faculty association meeting, my Athabasca U colleague Bob Barnetson and I got to talking science fiction, and he casually observed that for all its depictions of big business, the genre’s oddly lacking in corresponding images of unions. I told Bob there was a paper in his idea, and voilà, in the current issue of TOPIA, Canada’s journal of cultural studies, you can read the interdisciplinary article we co-wrote on the subject: “Resistance is futile: on the under-representation of unions in science fiction.” Here’s the abstract:
“This article surveys science fiction (SF) since 1980, and queries the conspicuous under-representation of recognizable images of unions in popular SF, which includes, in contrast, numerous images and narratives of corporate business. According to theories of unionism, science fiction studies and Mark Fisher’s theory of ‘capitalist realism,’ the co-authors theorize this pattern of under-representation, and, in the process, identify and analyze a very small but diverse body of SF works from this period that do include images of unions, in ways that range from the symptomatic to the radically suggestive.”
We gave 1980 as a start date for our study because that was about when corporate elite rule (a.k.a. neoliberalism) started to take off, and because that’s why tweets like this make sense:
Research is integrally intertwined with teaching, but it’s not as often that we in academia get to link research as closely with service. This collaboration has been one such welcome opportunity. (And it’s involved our students, too: we’re specifically indebted to the insights and references shared by AU alumna and SF author Heather Clitheroe, who’s reminded me I need check out The Expanse for more evidence of unions in SF.)
On a point unrelated to our subject matter, I also like that our article appears in an issue that both a) marks the debut of Dr. Rinaldo Walcott as TOPIA‘s new editor, and b) pays tribute to the great, late Canadian writer Austin Clarke.
Lastly, if you’re interested in the article, but you or your institution don’t subscribe to TOPIA, you can e-mail me at academicalism[at]gmail[dot]com to request a single copy (because Canada’s educational fair dealing provision in copyright law allows for individual sharing like this).