Sunday, October 30, 2005

Quizilla in the Classroom 2: Realms of American Memory Assignment

If I teach our second semester "Advanced Strategies for Rhetoric and Research" first-year comp class next term as I think I will be, I'm planning on refocusing my "practices of memory" theme I used last time to "practices of social memory." One assignment I plan on using is a reworking of the "Traveling Photo Exhibit" in Cindy Selfe's "Taking up the Challenges of Visual Literacy" chapter in Wysocki et. al.'s Writing New Media: Theory and Application for Expanding the Teaching of Composition. In this assignment, we'll be using Pierre Nora's notion of les lieux de memorie to create a "Realms of American Memory" exhibit.

First, for those of you who need it, a brief definition. According to Nora, les lieux de mémorie must be material, symbolic, and functional: that there must be a physical object or actual event, that it must have symbolic meaning, and that that meaning must be understood by a large number of people (18-19). While French les lieux de mémorie include such things as the monarchy, the Revolution, and the Arc de Triomphe, Nora explains that even concepts a historical generation can be a site of memory because it represents an actual group of people (the material) whose experiences, events, and values we've come to be associate with them (the functional), and we can refer to a particular historical generation as a way of representing the experiences, events, and values we associate with them (the symbolic) (19).

So, in this assignment, each group will be asked to choose an American lieu de mémorie, an American realm of memory, such as, for instance, the Washington monument or the American Civil War or the Declaration of Independence or Route 66 or Disneyland or slavery. For the exhibit, they'll need to:
  • Create a poster board exhibit of 10-20 images representing their realm of American memory.

  • Create a two or three-page Curator's Commentary that introduces to a college audience the concept of social memory and, in particular, the idea of realms of memory; explains their exhibit's particular theme as a realm of American memory, and discusses, in a general way, how the images they include serve as particular places or sites within their larger realm of memory.

  • Create a card for each image that identifies the image, contextualizes it as a place of memory, and documents the source of each image.

So, how might Quizilla play a role in all this? Now, having written all this, I'm not so sure this is the best way to use it, but I had been thinking that each group could create a "What American Realm of Memory Are You?" quiz to help decide what their realm of memory will be and the ways they want to represent it. They could narrow down their topic to a short list of potential realms and by working out a quiz that includes each of their possible realms, they'll brainstorm the meanings of that realm of memory. Or, conversely, I could have each group create the answers for their realm, but that would require coordination as it would require cross-group interaction to develop a set of questions and responses that, when put together, made sense.

Work cited
Nora, Pierre. "Between Memory and History: Les Lieux de Mémorie." Representations 26 (1989): 7-25.

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The flaming jack-o-lantern, part 2

Much fun was had at the fire last night, and it wasn't nearly as crowded on my patio as I thought it might be as 1/3 of those invited didn't show up, which is rare for one of our hot dog and marshmallow roasts.

Any way, inspired by, I did soak the roll of toilet paper in lamp fuel for about 20 hours, and the flaming jack-o-lantern, which was really a jack-o-torch, was impressive. As promised, here are pictures.

This first one was taken using a flash: . That's my garage in the background, and to give you an idea of the size of the pumpkin and flames, each paving stone is 18 inches square and the walkway is 45 inches across.

Here are a couple of pictures taken without the flash:

And here are some pictures of the aftermath:

First, the view from the outside:

and a close up of the inside

You can see the whole set of jack-o-torch pictures.

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Quizilla in the Classroom

After seeing the Quizilla quiz "What Kind of Postmodernist Are You?" on Dr. B's Blog and then taking it, I got to thinking about using Quizilla with my literature class.

In short, I thought about an assignment in which students, individually or in groups (I think groups might work better), were asked to analyze characters or sets of texts by creating quizzes like "What Early in Orcadia Character Are You?" or "What Edna St. Vincent Millay Poem Are You?" or "What Kind of Byron Poem Are You?" Or, for the purposes of my class since we're using Rob Pope's The English Studies Book, "What Kind of Theoretical Position and Practical Approach Are You?" or "What Kind of Common Topic Are You?"

Obviously, the students would have to select a set number of options, be it five or six characters from Early in Orcadia, five or six Millay poems, or five or six types of Byron poems, etc., and then define that set in ways which would let them write a series of questions to create the quiz. I'd suggest that a good quiz would go beyond the literal text. For instance, a question such as "You spend lots of time thinking about how to reach the shiny places across the sea?" (Hands in Early in Orcadia) or "You long for your half-sister lover?" (Byron's poems), but ought instead to be more creative. Hands, for instance, could have been the headman of his village but wasn't interested in the responsibilities, such as resolving disputes, nor did he really desire the benefits, such as being the first to eat cooked meat. So, one question for the Early in Orcadia quiz might be based on activities each of the characters don't like to do and equate those activities to modern professions. The question itself might be "What profession would you least want to enter?" and the answer that would score for Hands might be "Legal."

I could see this sort of activity working in a number of courses, rhetorical and literary theory, obviously, but even for composition courses. Writing a good quiz would in itself require a number of rhetorical issues and could lead to some good discussion, and off the top of my head, I could see it being useful for audience awareness, or to explore the assumptions inherent in various claims.

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Saturday, October 29, 2005

Multimedia Critique, Design, and Theory by Isabel Pedersen

Steven Krause found this largely annotated bibliography on multimedia. Posted here for future refernece.

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Internet Library Keynote "Shifting Worlds"

Lee Rainie, founding director of the Pew Internet & American Life Project, gave the keynote at the Internet Librarian 2005 conference.

All of you are here today because you know what I know ... that new tools of communication and information dissemination have profound economic and social consequences. For instance, there is overwhelming evidence that after new technologies enter mainstream culture:

*The role of experts and information gatekeepers is radically altered empowered amateurs and dissidents find new ways to raise their voices and challenge authority.

*Attempts by those in power to censor activity and choke off neew avenues of commerce inevitably bring a wider libertarian backlash. [more]
via Depraved Librarian


The flaming jack-o-lantern project has begun

We're having what may be our last fire party of the year, where friends come over and we roast hotdogs and marshmallows over our fire pit. While St. Louis winter temperatures vary enough that it will be warm enough again to sit outside after dark for hours without being bundled up enough to make it unpleasant, knowing that the weather will be cooperative long enough in advance to make plans will become increasingly difficult.

The weather's going to cooperate tonight. While I expected it to be in the lower 50s and was worried we might be in the mid 40s, the forecast kept getting warmer as the week progressed and we're now supposed to be in the upper 50s at 7:00 pm tonight. And in a nod to the fact it's not summer any more, rather than serve cold beer, we're serving beer cheese soup and hot spiced cider. At some point I need to get an iron fire poker so I can make mulled Guinness. I could just make it, but according to the traditional Irish cookbook I picked up years ago, plunging a red-hot iron poker into a pint of Guinness creates a flavor that can't be recreated by other means.

Having been inspired by, I've put a roll of toilet paper in a bowl of lamp fuel last night and I'm going to give the jack-o-torch a try. Before my in-laws left in September, they'd brought us a large pumpkin grown in the RV park where they'd been staying in Edwardsville, IL, so we've got a pumpkin large enough to hold a flaming roll of toilet paper. Assuming that lamp oil is an acceptable substitute for kerosene, I'll post pictures of the flaming jack-o-lantern in the next couple of days.

And in case you've been wondering, the grass seed has sprouted. Unfortunately, as all of our backyard that isn't patio is week old grass, we don't have a whole lot of room to spread out tonight.

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CompFAQs is a Wiki site, an extension of CompPile, meant to be a space for collaborating on answers to questions we pose regularly as writing teachers and as administrators of writing programs.

CompFAQs CompFAQs features topics in college composition that repeatedly attract questions yet to which a substantial body of answers are available. CompFAQs does not aim to give all the answers, just to provide an ongoing base of reliable information and a fund of resources. It hopes to serve as a convenient source to which to refer people with the questions.


Friday, October 28, 2005

40 years ago today...

The year was 1965. The Beatles topped the charts. President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act. The first commercial satellite was launched. And, St. Louis held its breath as the final section of the Gateway Arch was put into place. More
Not being a native to St. Louis, I hate being asked what people should see while they're here. I really don't have many suggestions, but one of my regular ones is the Arch and the Museum of Westward Expansion, which is underneath it.

Read more about the Arch at the National Park Service's Arch History and Architectural Info and Wikipedia.

Image from Wikipedia.

Civilization IV

Sid Meier has been my favorite game designer since I first bought and played Pirates! in 1989 after I retired my old Apple II+ for a Mac Plus. It was, however, when I first played the original Civilization on a friends PC that I realized Sid Meyer was a game designer I wanted to keep an eye on, especially in those lean years of Mac gaming. I loved Colonization and Civilization II, greatly enjoyed the narrative of Alpha Centari, and have spent far too little time with Civilization III. And now, today, I learn that Civilization IV was released this month. I'll be a while before they port it over the Mac, but I'm thinking my poor 400 MHz G3 iMac won't be able to handle it.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Intertextuality as memory: A few half-thoughts

Skimming through my Ong Collection notebooks looking for information so I can make a cross-reference, I stumbled upon this:

From Peter Vandenberg's "Intertextuality" in Keywords for Composition Studies (ed. Paul Heilker and Peter Vandenberg. Portsmouth: Boynton/Cook, 1996. 128-131)
According to Bazerman, an intertext is a 'strategic site of contention... the site at which communal memory is sorted out and reproduced, at which current issues and communities are formed and dynamics established pushing the research front toward one future or another' (194). For Bazerman, any given field's intertext is 'built upon a series of containments,' resulting in 'a literature set apart from other discussions, a literature following its own questions and listening to its own special evidence and arguments' (12)."
Clearly I'd written this down because it deals with memory, and I'd even noted "good for practices of memory" in my notebook, but I'm wishing I had more context now. In some ways, the idea of referring to or citing one text in another as memory is just plan obvious. At the same time, however, one must be thinking about the role of memory, about the practices of memory, about written texts as artificial memory, to make this connection. More significant for me, however, is Bazerman's equation of intertextuality to communal memory. Too few people think of texts as memory or even realize the Classical and Medieval understanding of memoria thought of written texts as artificial memory. Bazerman's clearly thinking along these lines.

As a practice of memory, for intertextuality to work one must first know the reference and then be aware that the reference is being made, although if one knows a reference is being made, one can try to find out what the reference is to. In terms of contemporary composition and citation, clearly contextualization works to help the audience get the reference. That said, this need for contextualization, while a traditional practice, is tied to the affordances and constraints of (late) print culture/logic.

Consider, for a moment, this practice of contextualized citation in print culture, with the citation in chirographic culture on the one hand and digital culture on the other. Although I'm sure we can find examples of contextualization in Western chirographic culture, a good deal of citation just quotes or paraphrases respected authorities without comment. The words of the cited authority stands in for those of the current author. On the other hand, as is increasingly becoming the case, digital culture increasingly just links to a citation and lets you follow the reference if you wish (see, for instance, Jacob Nielson's complaint against unspecified linking in blogs and a discussion of it (and other issues in Nielson's article) at Collin vs. Blog.

It's also worth noting that linking in digital culture works through apposition and juxtaposition in much the same way apposition and juxtaposition work in oral tradition. (This is not to say that they work in the same way. Linking assumes that there is a text which one can explore if they wish, and the "appositive style" of oral tradition assumes that the audience knows not just what the reference is to but that this reference will invoke a set of shared assumptions, emotions, and knowledge.

Work cited by Vandenberg: Bazerman, Charles. Constructing Experience. Carbondale: SIUE Press, 1994.

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Brunanburh fought in Scotland rather than England

The Scottish newspaper The Herald reports that the tenth-century Battle of Brunanburh was fought in Scotland rather than in England.
The battle which historians regard as England's greatest may have been fought on Scottish soil, it is claimed.
The location of the tenth-century battle of Brunanburh has long been considered one of history's greatest unsolved mysteries.
It was there that Athelstan, grandson of Alfred the Great, destroyed the combined armies of the Scottish king, Causantin mac Aeda, Owain, king of Strathclyde, and the Viking king of Dublin, Anlaf Guthfrithson, to confirm his supremacy over the land.
However, research shows that the site of the bloody battle of Brunanburh was in Dumfriesshire and not in England, as most accounts of the battle have proposed.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Endless Hybrids blog

Librarian Jeff Barry muses on "digital libraries, new media, narratology, and game studies" at Endless Hybrids: Libraries & the Remix Culture. It looks like a blog to keep an eye on.

How labels shape our attitudes toward violence

Jessica Giles, an Vanderbilt University psychologist, has found that noun labels such as "murderer" are much more rhetorically effective than phrases like "someone who commits murder":
"Noun labels have a powerful influence on our thoughts and beliefs about others. In the criminal justice system, potential jurors who repeatedly hear a defendant being called a 'strangler' in the press might be more likely to support a death sentence for that defendant," Giles, assistant professor of psychology in the Vanderbilt Peabody College of Education and Human Development, said. "That these labels might also be used to manipulate, inflame or prejudice the general public is of substantial interest in light of recent political rhetoric concerning 'terrorists' and 'evildoers.'"

Giles' recent research found that both children and adults are more likely to have a negative, fixed view of people described with a noun, such as "evildoer" or "murderer," than a person described as "someone who does evil things" or "someone who commits murder." Giles presented the research at the meeting of the Cognitive Development Society in San Diego Oct. 21.
While Giles' research and her conclusions are geared toward public policy and childhood development, there's much to think about here for those teaching rhetoric and composition, both in terms of understanding how to influence your audience (and the ethics involved) and in terms of style (naming agents, reducing wordy phrases, using emphasis, using specific language, etc.).

via CogNews


Papers on videogames

The Academic Advanced Distributed Learning Co-Lab offers a number of papers on videogames, many on videogames/simulations and education.

via Kairosnews

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NCTE statement on free and open source software

Bradley Dilger's started a wiki page for work on a proposed NCTE statement on free and open source software.

At C&W 2005, one of the town halls ended with a charge to write a position statement encouraging the use of free and open source software (FLOSS) in education. This wiki installation is designed to facilitate that development.

This effort can be considered a part of (or connected to) "Open Source Opens Thinking," the initiative to support the use of FLOSS with workshops, web sites, and other materials.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Time's "All-Time 100 Novels"

Time magazine has published a list of their "All-Time 100 Novels" in which "Time Critics Lev Grossman and Richard Lacayo pick the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to the present."

One could always argue about the content of such lists, but lists like this are inherently subjective and, really, not worth arguing about. Don't like their choices? Make your own list. And, one might wonder, why only novels since 1923? Why 1923, unless it's an issue of public domain-not public domain, and that's an odd way to choose a cut-off date. Well, odd for anyone except a major media company.

All that aside, what I like about the list is that it's not scared of science fiction and fantasy, or of graphic novels. One might expect novels like Slaughterhouse-Five, 1984, and even The Lord of the Rings, but this list includes Neuromancer, Snow Crash, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Ubik, and even Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons' The Watchmen.

via Jerz's Literacy Weblog

Collin Brooke's "Mirror, Mirror on the Web"

Collin Brooke has written a piece for Inside Higher Ed on making CCC Online more than just an online mirror of the print journal, in having it be a digital complement to the print text, and how his role as an active blogger informed this process:
But it's more than that. Although the quantity and quality of writing that I read online almost certainly differs from the scholarly reading I do, I would argue that the biggest change is that I practice reading differently. And this is a truth that, traditionally, disciplines in the humanities have been slow to accept. We are still prone to thinking of technology as something added to what are already substantial professional duties, instead of conceiving of it as a way of approaching those duties differently.

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New Journal: Digital Humanities Quarterly

At Matthew G. Kirschenbaum's blog I saw an announcement for the new journal Digital Humanities Quarterly, and I thought I'd pass it on.
Welcome to Digital Humanities Quarterly (DHQ), an open-access, peer-reviewed, digital journal covering all aspects of digital media in the humanities. Published by the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations(ADHO), DHQ is also a community experiment in journal publication, with a commitment to:

  • experimenting with publication formats and the rhetoric of digital authoring

  • co-publishing articles with Literary and Linguistic Computing (a well-established print digital humanities journal) in ways that straddle the print/digital divide

  • using open standards to deliver journal content

  • developing translation services and multilingual reviewing in keeping with the strongly international character of ADHO

DHQ will publish a wide range of peer-reviewed materials, including:

  • Scholarly articles

  • Editorials and provocative opinion pieces

  • Experiments in interactive media

  • Reviews of books, web sites, new media art installations, digital humanities systems and tools

  • A blog with guest commentators

Materials published in DHQ will appear as soon as they are ready, with quarterly announcements marking each new issue. The inaugural issue will be announced in March 2006.
Submission guidelines

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Monday, October 24, 2005

Jack-o-lanterns done right

As a kid, I liked to make my jack-o-lanterns gruesome -- one year I stuck a knife and squirted ketchup around the wound. Ghosts and ghouls and other monsters we're supposed to be cute, so, I thought, why should jack-o-lanterns? Today, my jack-o-lanterns are much more tame, but the appreciation for gruesome jack-o-lanterns hasn't left, which is why I'm loving
Extreme - Pumpkin carving at its wildest!

At what point did the carving of pumpkins turn into a "cute" event? When did boys stop carving pumpkins and moms start? Where did we lose touch with one of the years coolest events?

Today we will seize back this ritual. Today is the day we throw away those safe, cute carving tools. Today. We will buy a big, ugly, pumpkin so large one man cannot lift or move it. Today. We will carve that sumbitch into something ugly and plop it on the front porch. October 31st we will light it brightly enough to give visiting children suntans.

Pumpkin carving is reborn.

Welcome to where strange pumpkins, pumpkin patterns, and alternative pumpkin carving techniques are developed and demonstrated for you. Pumpkin carving will never be the same.
Be sure to check out the video of the kerosene soaked toilet paper jack-o-lantern. We're going to have a Halloween weekend marshmallow roast and I may just have to try this.

via Depraved Librarian

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TechNotes worth noting

I'm glad to see that TechNotes has gotten back into the swing of things now that the academic year is well into full swing (really, they've been at it for a while). Some articles I think worth noting include:
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Sunday, October 23, 2005

CFP: Computers & Writing Online 2006

The 2006 Computer and Writing Online call for papers is out.
Computers & Writing Online 2006: Making Knowledge on the Digital Frontier

February 6 to 28, 2006

Proposals Due: 30 November 2005

We are pleased to announce Computers & Writing Online 2006: Making Knowledge on the Digital Frontier—a conference for all educators. This conference occurs completely online and complements the face-to-face conference that will be held in May at Texas Tech University. Read more at

Note that this is the online confernece, not the on-site conference, also to be hosted by Texas Tech, which will meet in May. I expect the on-site cfp to be out soon.

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Otlet's index card database

Almost a month ago, Johndan posted two entries on Paul Otlet's 1934 plans to create a mechanical index card database. I've wanted to read the article, muse on it, and post something insightful, but for now, but it's clearly not high on my to-do list at the moment. So, instead, I'm just posting here remind myself this all exists for when I return to "Memory and the Art of Database."

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After creating Montage-a-google, several people wrote to me suggesting I make a game based on the same technology. Montage-a-google is a simple web app that uses Google's image search to generate a large gridded montage of images based on keywords (search terms) entered by the user. Guess-the-google reverses this process by picking the keywords for you, the player must then guess what keyword made up the image - it's surprisingly addictive.

Good for a few minutes of amusement. Maybe useful for thinking about the mnemonic functions of databases or the logic of new media or something. Or maybe not. Something to think about later. Matt Barton found the game while while musing on Steven Johnson's claim in Everything Bad is Good for You that Google is the way our generation learns about itself.

via Kairosnews

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Saturday, October 22, 2005

Bosworth-Toller Anglo-Saxon Dictionary MacOS X app

David Finucane has created a searchable version of Bosworth-Toller's Anglo-Saxon Dictionary available for download as Mac OS X application. Preliminary reports on ANSAXNET are positive. With the University of Toronto's Dictionary of Old English only up to F, the Victorian era Bosworth-Toller is still the most comprehensive Old English dictionary available. I so could have used this when I started working on my dissertation. It would have made my semantic-field study chapter so much easier.

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Visual Rhetoric Resources

In a post on integrating a visual rhetoric assignment in his "Writing, Style, and Technology" course, Steve Krause has compiled a short list of useful visual rhetoric resources, which include The Visual Rhetoric Portal, a Visual Rhetoric Bibliography, and the U. of Iowa Department of Communication's Visual Communication-Visual Rhetoric webliography.


Teaching Gutenberg

The Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin offers the site Teaching Gutenberg. In all, an excellent site which focuses on two themes, "The Invention" and " Books Before and After the Gutenberg Bible."

The Invention
Just what did Johann Gutenberg invent? What need in society was he addressing with this invention? How did he adapt existing technology for a new use?

This theme focuses on what is known about how Gutenberg printed the Bible, why he chose a Bible for his first large-scale printing project, what the book looked like when first printed, and what is unique about the Ransom Center's copy.
Books Before and After the Gutenberg Bible
When and where did writing begin? What were the tools and materials that ancient and medieval writers used? What were the innovations in reading and writing? What changed with printing?

This theme focuses on the technology and materials of writing from 3000 BCE to 1450 CE, from cuneiform tablets to medieval illuminated manuscripts. It then traces the social and cultural impact of printing technology upon the late medieval European world.
The site also offers a number of learning activities for K-12 students.

via Matthew G. Kirschenbaum

Cross-posted to Notes from the Walter J. Ong Archive.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

A random collection of mini-posts; Or, why I'm not blogging much and what I'm doing to try to make up for it

Tossing the job search into the mix of dissertation, teaching, Ong Collection, house husband, and graduate student who still learning how to say no, I'm not finding much time to blog or read other blogs, though I did catch up on some blog reading as I ate my lunch today.

If you read regularly, you know I don't blog the personal or mundane much, but:

Last week my wife and I decided we were not going to overcome the hard-packed Missouri clay in which our backyard lawn tried to eek out its difficult existence, and we rented a roto-tiller and ripped the hell out of the yard. I then covered the tilled clay with sand left over from when we put in a patio, and roto-tilled the sand into the clay so we've now got something resembling soil. We then put down and raked new grass seed that should do well in the conditions we have, and covered it all with hay.

Brendan of the Digital Sextant was in town for a conference this weekend and we met for lunch on Sunday and had lots of good conversation.

We donated to our local public radio station today so we're once again members in good standing.

The new season of South Park starts this Wednesday. My wife went to high school with Matt Stone (they didn't know each other), and both Matt Stone and Trey Parker were at the University of Colorado when we were, and a friend tried to convince me to go to the auditions they held for Alferd Packer: The Musical. I didn't. Any way, I've been watching South Park since it began and, occasionally, they still toss in Boulder jokes.

I was unable to resist buying and reading Terry Pratchett's Thud! but I have, so far, kept myself from buying and reading Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys (I think it's because Thud! is a much shorter and quicker read). I did, however, see MirrorMask the first week it opened.

I've decided that when I go to rework my MLA 2005 presentation into an article, it needs to stop being "Holt's Who's Afraid of Beowulf? and Pratchett's The Last Hero: Comedic Fantasy and the Reception of Old Norse Literature" and become "Conan and the Victorians: Heroic Fantasy and the 19th-Century Reception of Old Norse Literature" (yes, the title is intentionally echoing Andrew Wawn's The Vikings and the Victorians: Inventing the Old North in 19th-Century Britain). But before I get to that, I'll probably finish off "Memory and the Art of Database," “Technology is not a Genre: Media Dynamics and the Historical Perspective" (I'm still not happy with this title), "“Ruminations on Medieval Memoria: Memory, MOO, and Composition," and "'Swa begnornodon Geata leode': Beowulf as Traumatic Memory.” But I need to finish the dissertation first, and with the pieces for Constructing Nations, Reconstructing Myth beginning to trickle in and all of them due in June, I expect my first post-dissertation project should be editing the collection. More on this later. I haven't talked about it much because I haven't wanted to jinx it, but it's real and its awesome, and our magical, efficient European publisher expects to have it out in early 2007 if we have it to them early fall 2006.

And, lastly, when my wife and I went to see MirrorMask, we finally visited and ate at St. Louis' famous Blueberry Hill. Knowing that we'll be leaving St. Louis in the next year or two, we've been thinking about what we haven't yet done here, like go to one of Chuck Berry's monthly performances at Blueberry Hill.

And as a teaser, I promise to post my dissertation abstract once I finalize the version I'll be sending out with my applications.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

AHDS Guides to Good Practice

The Arts and Humanities Data Service offers a number of Guides to Good Practice digital projects in Archaeology; History; the Performing Arts; Literature, Language and Linguistics; and Visual Arts. Their guides are available online and some as print texts as well. From their site:
The AHDS publishes a series of Guides providing the arts and humanities research and teaching communities with practical instruction in applying recognised standards and good practice to the creation and use of digital resources. Some of the Guides focus on methods and applications relevant to humanities disciplines, such as history, archaeology, visual arts, performing arts and textual and linguistic studies. Others address those areas which cross disciplinary boundaries.

All Guides identify and explore key issues and provide comprehensive pointers for those who need more specific information. As such they are essential reference materials for anyone interested in computer-assisted research and teaching in the arts and humanities.

Titles include:


Wednesday, October 12, 2005

For my CCCC 2006 RNF talk "The Orality-Literacy Debate and Academic Error"

From Fr. Ong's MLA 1984 presentation on literacy studies, given in the panel "What is Literacy Theory," which exists as a 5 page double-spaced typescript (handwritten revisions are blue):
It is certainly crucial that the study of literacy, and of orality-literacy contrasts, be familiar to those working in the history and theories of education, cognitive-development psychology, psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics, rhetoric and--most especially--logic and metaphysics, theology and biblical studies, general semantics, communications, and political socialization, not to mention technological development in Third World countries as well as marketing in these countries (James Hauf has recently delivered an important paper at an international convention on the misapprehensions all too evident in the high-technology marketing in oral cultures.). But, perhaps most urgently of all, teachers of basic writing need knowledge of literacy or orality-literacy studies. They need them to understand many of their students' present difficulties but also to understand themselves and the work that they are [page break] engaged in." (2-3)
For a while now, I've been working under the assumption that literacy studies and orality-literacy studies are not the same thing, and that the "orality-literacy" wars of the mid-1980s were the result of assuming that these two closely related and overlapping fields were in fact one field.

It seems, from the handwritten revisions, that Ong wanted to make this point too, though as the orality-literacy wars weren't in full swing yet, it's not a point that gets foregrounded. Maybe he would have foregrounded it more if he'd known what was on the horizon. Maybe he was too much in the mix and its the 20 years of distance that lets me make this observation. Either way, he appears not to be comfortable with just literacy or just orality-literacy contrasts but seems to suggest that both exist together but separate from each other.

Cross-posted in more detail at Notes from the Walter J. Ong Archive

The typescript is in Scholarship: Personal Bibliography: Texts of Talks: Folder 22.

Archives | | | Walter Ong | Walter J Ong | Walter J Ong Archives

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

CFP: Computers, Literature and Philology (CLiP) conference

Via the Digital Medievalist Community mailing list. Please note that I am not affiliated with the conference. Please see their web site for contact information.

The 7th Computers, Literature and Philology (CLiP) conference:
'Literatures, Languages and Cultural Heritage in a digital world'

Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London, UK
Thursday 29 June - Saturday 1 July 2006

The international Computers, Literature and Philology (CLiP) conference has taken place at a variety of European universities since the first conference in 1998. The initiative for the first seminar was taken by literary scholars who were not only aware of the importance of new technologies for the humanities, but also of what the humanities had contributed to the creation of digital culture in general and to the content of the Internet in particular.

The discussions at CLiP conferences focus on the integration of Philology and Information Technology. In this context, 'Literature' and 'Philology' are to be understood in more general terms. 'Literature' means all sorts of texts (spoken, written, hypertext etc.), which may also contain images, sound materials, graphs etc. 'Philology' means the scholarship devoted to these texts from diverse perspectives. The theoretical and practical questions posed by the creation of digital materials and the integration of Philology and media technologies are debated. The implications for research and teaching are examined and current projects in the field are presented.

This conference can best be seen as a three-day seminar, in that there are no parallel sessions, there is as coherent an academic focus as possible and the participation of young scholars is actively encouraged. One of the key objectives of CLiP is to open an independent humanities computing space specifically - although not exclusively - dedicated to the emerging humanities computing communities in the fields of study that are relevant to the Romance languages areas.

CLiP conferences approach these issues from a multicultural European perspective and aim to foment international collaboration in research and teaching as a result. These discussions are part of the international debate about the discipline of Humanities Computing which is happening at the interface between the Humanities and Information Technology. The participants are also interested in the exchange of ideas, methods and techniques with scholars from outside Europe.

We welcome submissions that discuss any aspect of the interface between languages, literature, cultural heritage and Information Technology.

Suitable topics for proposals might include:

  • literary and linguistic research including:

    • text encoding systems;

    • digital publishing;

    • digital editions;

    • digital philology;

    • text analysis;

    • text corpora;

    • linguistics, particularly corpus linguistics;

    • new media approaches to the field

  • multingualism and multiculturalism

    • access of cultural heritage in a multilingual environment;

    • theoretical and practical treatment of issues related to multilingualism and multiculturalism;

    • the development of standards/guidelines and generic digital approaches, particularly those appropriate to multilingual and multicultural contexts

  • education and training

    • the impact of computing on education and training from a multilingual and multicultural perspective;

    • the specific role of technology in languages

  • humanities computing as a field

    • critical evaluation of the role and impact of new technologies on the humanities and its wider social significance;

    • the role of humanities computing in fomenting interdisciplinarity;

    • international policies for humanities computing;

    • humanities computing from a global perspective

Submissions may be of two types:
  1. Papers. Abstract submissions should be of 500-1000 words. The duration of each paper will be 20 minutes. Submissions are peer-reviewed.

  2. Posters/demonstrations. These will consist of poster presentations or demonstrations of software and will also be peer-reviewed. They will typically be appropriate for those seeking to demonstrate current projects and other work in progress. Posters will be displayed throughout the conference in a central area to ensure maximum opportunity for feedback/discussion with other delegates. Proposals for posters/software demonstrations should be submitted as short abstracts of no more than 250 words.

A prize will be awarded to the best poster.

We anticipate that a limited number of bursaries will be available for young scholars who have their paper or poster submission accepted. The deadlines for application for bursaries is January 30, 2006.

Submissions may be in Spanish, Italian, German, French or English.

Presentations may be given in the language of the accepted abstract. If the language is not English we strongly recommend the use of slides in English to facilitate comprehension. If the language is English, we strongly recommend the use of slides in one of the other languages named above.

The deadline for paper and poster submissions is December 8, 2005. Presenters will be notified of acceptance by February 27, 2006

The conference website is at:

Please see website for versions of Call for papers in other languages.

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Book to get: Memory Practices in the Sciences

I saw Geoffrey C. Bowker's forthcoming book Memory Practices in the Sciences in a MIT Press catalog and I'm posting it here to keep the book in mind. From the MIT Press web site:
The way we record knowledge, and the web of technical, formal, and social practices that surrounds it, inevitably affects the knowledge that we record. The ways we hold knowledge about the past -- in handwritten manuscripts, in printed books, in file folders, in databases -- shape the kind of stories we tell about that past. In this lively and erudite look at the relation of our information infrastructures to our information, Geoffrey Bowker examines how, over the past two hundred years, information technology has converged with the nature and production of scientific knowledge. His story weaves a path between the social and political work of creating an explicit, indexical memory for science -- the making of infrastructures -- and the variety of ways we continually reconfigure, lose, and regain the past.

At a time when memory is so cheap and its recording is so protean, Bowker reminds us of the centrality of what and how we choose to forget. In Memory Practices in the Sciences he looks at three "memory epochs" of the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries and their particular reconstructions/reconfigurations of scientific knowledge. The nineteenth century's central science, geology, mapped both the social and the natural world into a single time package (despite apparent discontinuities), as, in a different way, did mid-twentieth-century cybernetics; both, Bowker argues, packaged time in ways indexed by their information technologies to permit traffic between the social and natural worlds. The sciences of biodiversity today, meanwhile, "database the world" in a way that excludes certain spaces, entities, and times. We use the tools of the present to look at the past, says Bowker; we project onto nature our modes of organizing our own affairs.

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Monday, October 10, 2005

Cthulhu Pumpkin Carving Contest

I came across this while posting a comment to Mike's Cthulhu Mythos riff and just had to share. Chaosium, publishers of the RPG Call of Cthulhu and much Cthulhiana, is sponsoring a Cthulhu pumpkin carving contest:
It's no secret that Halloween is one of our favorite holidays. This Halloween, we thought it would be fun to let all of you knife wielding cultists show us just what you can do to a hapless pumpkin.

Send a picture of your Cthulhu Mythos Themed jack-o-lantern to to enter our first annual Call of Cthulhu Pumpkin Carving contest. The winner will receive a copy of our next release, Miskatonic University. All swell images will be posted here on our website.

There are of course, some rules.

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Lost and Found in Cyberspace

Dennis G. Jerz has already linked to and quoted my favorite passage from Matthew Kirschenbaum's "Lost and Found in Cyberspace," so let me quote from another passage:
In terms of challenges to future historians, Donadio cites Steven Kellman who has just written a new biography of Henry Roth; he suggests, rather indisputably, that “Our understanding of the Constitution . . . would be quite different if the thoughts about it exchanged by Jefferson, Madison and Monroe had vanished into the electronic ether.” True enough. But there’s nothing inherent in the technology that makes email especially susceptible to vanishing into the electronic ether. On the contrary, as Oliver North and other malefactors have found out, the stuff is remarkably pesky and hard to expunge. A single email message may leave traces of itself inscribed on a dozen different servers as it makes its way across the network, a potential for proliferation that is further exacerbated by backup services at each site. While I don’t mean to minimize the very real technical challenges in the realm of digital preservation, it’s worth remembering that email and other textual forms have it easier than with other media since often we’re dealing with ASCII and XML rather than binaries and proprietary formats.
Kirschenbaum is one of my favorite scholars of the materiality of digital texts and well worth keeping an eye on.

Cross-posted to Notes from the Walter J. Ong Archive.

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Sunday, October 09, 2005

"You Still Goggle? That is So Last Week"

According to professional researcher Mary Ellen Bates, the general public's reliance upon Google as the search tool means that we often find what's popular rather than what we really want or need, which shouldn't really come as a surprise:

Because many of our clients use only Google, they are actually being left behind in terms of search technology. Google is dumb: it places so much trust on its relevance ranking in its presentation of search results as a simple list of Web sites. Users don't have access to suggestions of alternate concepts or terms or all the tools that other search engines provide. Our clients are placing too much reliance on the first ten results they get from what they consider to be the best search engine out there. It reminds me of what happened when we Baby Boomers, raised on Chef Boy-Ar-Dee Beefaroni and Jell-O corned beef salad loaf, finally encountered- you know-real food. "Wow, you mean we can fix food that has real taste and texture?"

What this means for us info pros is that, when we introduce our clients to all the sophistication of a high-end online service or enterprise search tool, we have to remember that they often do not have any context within which to evaluate it. They are accustomed to looking at search results that were cutting edge three years ago. The new search tools that are available do require more work for the user. Rather than just rely on the first page of search results, you are encouraged to look at some of the suggested modifications. Do you want to narrow your search of "solar energy" to "photovoltaic cells"? Would you like to limit your search to the appropriate category within the Open Directory Project? Would it be useful to just start with a few good Web-liographies compiled by nonprofit organizations? Or perhaps would you like to tweak just how crucial each aspect of your search is?
Often, finding the most popular sites isn't what I want.
The whole article, "You Still Goggle? That is So Last Week," is available at RedNova.

via Depraved Librarian


Friday, October 07, 2005

Of wikis and email: Resources for teachers and students

For Teachers New to Wikis, brought to you by Joe Moxley, MC Morgan, Matt Barton, Donna Hanak
For Teachers New to Wikis provides evolving information on how to incorporate wikis into your classroom. Whether you are a first-time or frequent user of wikis, we invite you to contribute ideas, information, and insights regarding wikis and their value as a collaborative, public writing tool. To contribute, simply select edit, insert your additions or revisions, and then, if you wish, add your name to the Contributors list.

via Rich Rice

How to e-mail a professor, brought to you by Michael Leddy at Orange Crate Art. As with Dr. B., Steven Krause, and Brendan Riley, I think much of the advice is solid and worth sharing with students.

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Thursday, October 06, 2005

cWa/MAWPA Conference, Oct. 27-28, 2005

Colloquium on Writing Assessment A Missouri Initiative
19th annual meeting

Mid-America Writing Program Administrators 2nd annual meeting

Thursday & Friday
October 27 & 28, 2005

Saint Louis University

Co-hosted by Saint Louis University and Fontbonne University

Many Modes, Many Audiences: New
Directions for Writing Programs and Writing Assessment

Thursday, Oct 27 - Saint Louis Room, Busch Student Center, 3rd Floor

11:00 - 1:00 cWa & MAWPA Executive Board meetings (separate)
12:00 - 1:00 Registration & Social Hour
1:00 - 1:10 Welcome: Vincent Casaregola, SLU, & Nancy Blattner, Fontbonne University
1:10 - 1:20 Setting the Stage for this Conference: Donna Strickland, MAWPA, & Marty Townsend, cWa
1:20 - 2:15 Keynote: Gail Hawisher, University of Illinois
The Challenge of Multimodal Composing
2:15 - 2:30 Refreshment break
2:30 - 3:30 Sequential Presentations
Claire Lamonica, Illinois State University, Reconceiving FYC & Communication 101 as a Year-Long Sequence
Deborah Scaggs, SLU, FYC Portfolio Assessment at SLU
Nancy Blattner, Fontbonne University, Vice President and Dean for Academic Affairs, Assessing the State’s General Education Criteria for Written Communication: Problems and Possibilities
3:30 - 3:45 Refreshment break
3:45 - 4:45 Sequential Presentations
Missy Nieveen-Phegley, Southern Illinois University, Class, Computers, and the Composition Student
Mary McMullen-Light, et. al., Kansas City Metropolitan Community Colleges, Electronic Portfolios
4:45 - 6:00 Break
6:00 - 7:00 Social Hour with Cash Bar
7:00 - 8:00 Dinner
8:00 - 8:30 Poetry Reading: Paul Acker, Saint Louis University

Friday, Oct 28 - Saint Louis Room, Busch Student Center, 3rd Floor

8:00 - 8:45 Continental Breakfast
8:45 - 9:45 Featured Workshop: Darsie Bowden, DePaul University
Speaking, Writing, Presenting to a Nervous Public: Public Relations and the WPA
9:45 - 10:00 Break
10:00 - 11:00 Sequential Presentations
Pamila Webb, University of Tulsa, Issues of Praxis in Writing Centers
11:00 - 11:30 cWa & MAWPA Business Meetings (separate)
11:30 -12:00 Closing Plenary: Open Forum
The Continued Future of the cWa / MAWPA Collaboration


The registration fee of $70 includes Thursday night dinner, Thursday and Friday refreshments, and conference materials. Deadline for registration is Friday, October 21. A limited number of on-site registrations will be accepted. Send your check, made out to the “Department of English,” and this form to

Deborah M. Scaggs
Writing Program Assistant Director
Saint Louis University
Department of English
3800 Lindell Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63108
(314) 977-3018

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How Tradition Works

In his blog Wormtalk and Slugspeakthe other day, Michael Drout made reference to his in-press book How Tradition Works: A Memetic Poetics of the Anglo-Saxon Tenth Century.


Tradition shapes every facet of cultural production and change, but there exists no effectively descriptive theory of tradition that explains how traditions are created, constituted, modified and recognized. This book remedies this lack by showing how traditions are created and how they persist. Traditions are replicating entities that use human minds to copy themselves. They therefore can be studied using Darwinian theory, and in this book I have applied these methods (often called "memetics," the study of "memes," developed by Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett and Susan Blackmore) to the study of a sophisticated culture: the revival of learning and literature in England in the tenth century known as the Benedictine Reform.

While other authors have used Darwinian theory to examine hypothetical Pleistocene hunter-gatherer societies or elements of popular culture, How Tradition Works applies, tests, extends and revises meme-theory by engaging with the complexities of history and culture. In the book I show how the flowering of culture in the tenth century can be traced to the reliance by Anglo-Saxon monks upon unchanging written rules (the Rule of St Benedict and the Regularis Concordia) which provided a level of stability (tradition) upon which the monks were able to build a new English culture. The different ways traditions replicate and mutate are illustrated by Benedictine ideas and styles escaping from the restricted environments of the monasteries and spreading, like an epidemic, through the wider culture. Meme theory here not only explains how such a small minority were able to exert vast influence, but it uncovers previously hidden links between seemingly disparate texts and cultural practices.

Valuable for specialists in evolutionary theory and memetics, Anglo-Saxon studies, and scholars interested in Oral Traditional Theory, How Tradition Works provides researchers with new methodological tools as well as showing how these tools can work to untangle the intricacies of cultural change and stasis.

I can't wait for the book to come out and think it would have been really useful for my dissertation.

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Monday, October 03, 2005

Writing Software: Writerly

I've barely glanced at Writerly, a collaborative "web word processor," but it looks interesting enough to at least check out when I have more time. According to their web site

You can:

* Upload Word documents, HTML or text (or create documents from scratch).
* Use our simple WSIWYG editor to format your documents, spell-check them, etc.
* Invite others to share your documents by e-mail address.
* Edit documents online with whomever you choose.
* View your documents' complete revision history and roll back to any version.
* Publish documents online to the world, or to just who you choose.
* Download documents to your desktop as Word, HTML or zip.
* Post to your documents to your blog.

Currently while its in beta, the service is free. They state that they plan on keeping the basic service free.

Via Nano Nano

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Call for Proposals to Host Computers and Writing Online 2007

The CCCC Committee on Computers in Composition and Communication (7Cs)invites all interested institutions to submit proposals to host Computers and Writing (CW) 2007 Online.

As many of you know, each year we have a fantastic face-to-face CW conference and each year a separate, online conference is held. If you would like to propose to host the Online 2007 CW conference, please visit our website at

Because we are in the midst of revising the proposal process, please ignore the deadlines on the web page for proposing to host CW 2007 online. Please note that the online conference need not follow the models of the past either in timing or in format. And we can offer any team expert advising in the timing or in format. And we can offer any team expert advising in the form of past online chairs and team members.

The Online CW conference team would put together a website along with synchronous and/or asynchronous venues for online scholarly interaction over a period of time before the onsite conference in May or June 2007.

Steps for Proposing:

1) Look over the website:

2) Submit a statement of intent by sending an email to Michael Day as soon as possible.

3) Complete and submit an application by March 1, 2006. The application format may be found at

Useful Links:

Computer and Writing Online Conference Organizers Selection

Statement of Intent Information

Application Guidelines

Computers and Writing Site: NEW!

For reference, you may wish to look at past Computers and Writing Online conference websites; however you do not need to follow past conference formats or timelines.

Past CW Online Conference websites

CW Online 2005
CW Online 2004
CW Online 2001
CW Online 2000
CW Online 1999

Please direct all inquiries about hosting the online conference to Michael Day.

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