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Happy birthday to ankh_hpl and dqg_neal, and happy early birthday to xerum525, jagash, and nightlywanderer. May all of you enjoy many happy returns of the day!

FYI, Here's a list of where I'll be when in the next couple of weeks...

Where I'll Be When

Sunday, February 27
Unitarian Universalist Church of Catawba Valley
My Talk: "Lasting Lessons of the Trail of Tears"

Friday, March 4-6
StellarCon 35
My schedule:

4pm: Podcasts, Finally Getting Respect? (I'm moderating this panel)
5pm: 10 Rules About Writing

12pm: 13 Dooms (Dystopias and Post-Apocalypses)
4pm: Tony Ruggiero's Quick Write

10am: Harry Potter Retrospective
11am: Signing


I've also got my teaching schedule lined up for the near future. This summer I'll be offering an undergraduate/graduate cross-listed course:

"The American and the Frontier: Is the U.S. Exceptional?"

Is the frontier really a key ingredient to American identity? Where did the idea of "American exceptionalism" come from, how has it influenced U.S. culture and policy, and what does it imply for the future of the country? By exploring key romantic images of the ideal American across time from the colonial era to the present [such as Explorer, Pioneer, Highwayman/Cowboy, Policeman (of home and/or of the world), Spy, and Astronaut] in rhetoric, fiction, film, and music, this course will consider "American exceptionalism," who is included and excluded by this concept, how it may be a limited and problematic idea, and what “the frontier” might be in the twenty-first century.

In Fall 2011, I'll be offering both an undergraduate and a graduate version of my Harry Potter course:

"Harry Potter and His Predecessors"

This course discusses the ancestors to the Harry Potter phenomenon, examines the specific works and traditions that inform the Harry Potter universe, and, most importantly, considers why the Harry Potter books and films are so popular today. In the process, students analyze 1) how the young readers' fiction of a given historical period prioritizes certain lessons, values, and enduring questions; 2) what this tells us about the way a culture conceptualizes childhood in a given era and how this changes across time; and 3) how the lessons, values, and enduring questions of fantasy texts (literature, film, and even fan-created works) can educate consumers as well as reinforce and/or subvert the mainstream status quo. This course takes both a theoretical and historical approach to popular culture in general and J.K. Rowling’s works in particular.

The day is ending,
The night is descending;
The marsh is frozen,
The river dead.

Through clouds like ashes
The red sun flashes
On village windows
That glimmer red.

- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, "Afternoon in February"


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 23rd, 2011 02:10 pm (UTC)
Hey, cool, we'll be Quick-Writing together! See you then!
Feb. 24th, 2011 12:16 pm (UTC)
That will be awesome! I look forward to it.
Feb. 23rd, 2011 03:25 pm (UTC)
Any plans to come to New England this year?
Feb. 24th, 2011 12:18 pm (UTC)
I don't, unfortunately, though I'd love to do so. I always keep my eyes open for an opportunity, though, so hopefully one of these days soon, I'll make it back up there!
Feb. 23rd, 2011 03:30 pm (UTC)
Teaching schedule? But you're a professor. :P
Feb. 24th, 2011 12:16 pm (UTC)
LOL! Crazy, innit? ;P

Edited at 2011-02-24 12:16 pm (UTC)
Feb. 26th, 2011 11:09 pm (UTC)
HP course Fall 2011
Hi, Amy. Check out Colin Manlove's book "The Order of Harry Potter" which does a lot of comparison with earlier children's lit. Also, you might be interested in an article Colin wrote for the St Austin Review magazine on the changing perspectives about death from the Victorian writers to Harry Potter.
Mar. 3rd, 2011 03:01 pm (UTC)
Re: HP course Fall 2011
Oh yes, I'm familiar with his work! Very good material. Thanks for the reminder.
Mar. 6th, 2011 06:27 am (UTC)
You have a very busy week.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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