Syllabi & Design


I've been trying to rethink my syllabi this term by focusing on their design (which, understandably enough, has clarified their content).So for my Junior and Senior level Art History class (which will cover complicated, interrelated issues each session), I tried to come up with a design that uses visual hierarchy…

Note to David Foster Wallace


 I found this photocopy of a note I wrote on the outside of a box I sent to David Foster Wallace. There was a copy of Giorgio Agamben's Potentialties inside, for which he wrote back thanking me. NOTE: This contains a gift, and only a gift, for DFW's edification and…

The Assistant Professor's Nightmare


My niece's pre-lecture jitters reminded me of this poem by Ronald Wallace:The Assistant Professor's Nightmare I'm giving the Faulkner lecture as usual, all the pencils nodding their heads in astonishment: Wallace is brilliant, Wallace is wise. My sure voice filling their notebooks up when back row, aisle three, Kevin McGann,…

The Cut Sublime


Came across this taxonomy in The Annotated Alice: The Cut Direct: staring at an acquaintance and pretending not to know him or her The Cut Indirect: pretending not to see someone The Cut Informal: feigning in an activity that directs your attention elsewhere, such as tying a shoelace The Cut…

Something Will Emerge


Gerhard Richter on starting a painting:  "[my expectation is] that something will emerge that is unknown to me, which I could not plan, which is better, cleverer, than I am."from the 2003 edition of the anthology Art in Theory: 1900-2000, edited by Charles Harrison & Paul Wood.

Something from Nothing


 The composer John Cage said of Rauschenberg’s white paintings that they were “airports for lights, shadows and particles,” hues and shadows that arose not as an expression of the artist’s inner self, but from the way spectators’ own movements interacted with the seemingly blank canvas. This is about as far…

The Wooster Telamons


 My sweetie is rereading a book that was a favorite of mine in high school: Lord Foul's Bane by Stephen Donaldson. I liked it so much that one of the reasons I went to the College of Wooster (aka C.O.W.) was that Donaldson was a graduate.There's a passage in the…

Down the Rabbit Hole


My partner Liz claims that you never forget your first Hamlet. I think the same thing is true with the first work of philosophy with which you fall in love.  I was a late bloomer in this regard. I’d had a long flirtation with philosophy: a philosophy minor in college,…