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personal news (publishing and teaching)

Publishing News
It is done. I have signed on the dotted line and agreed to write a new book for Greenwood (my previous books for the press are here). I have long wanted to write a biography, and my editor kindly gave me my choice of subjects in their new Native American series. I chose Tecumseh (see also here); my Tecumseh: A Biography should be out in early 2008.

(And though this isn't the reason I chose Tecumseh as my subject, it just so happens that my grandfather lives in Tecumseh, Oklahoma.)



Teaching News
In other news, my semester begins on Thursday. I will be teaching two sections of the First-Year Seminar ("Ways of Knowing"). My sections are "Ways of Knowing Today By Imagining Tomorrow," in which we follow science fiction from Mary Shelley through Serenity, considering the different definitions of "science" in science fiction, and how each approach yields insights about what it means to be human.

I am also teaching one upper-division liberal studies science fiction class, "The History of the Future," which covers a little over a century of Western history through science fiction from Verne and Wells to the present. This is one of my favorite courses, and I suspect it's probably the last time I will teach it "as is," since the freshmen taking my First-Year Seminar soon will be far enough along in their studies to take this if they so desire, and I don't want any overlap in the material from the courses. (There already is quite a difference in approach between the two.) Luckily, there is plenty of excellent writing from which to choose, so changing my assigned readings will not be a problem!

It looks like next semester my upper-division class will be "Harry Potter and His Predecessors"; this time I may be experimenting by offering the entire course online. I've done a good deal of work with online pedagogical techniques, and all of my classes have a significant online component, but this would be my first course to be online entirely. I am quite excited by the possibility of having a "virtual Hogwarts" seminar experience!

And that, my friends, is all of my news! Thanks for reading.


"The present is never the present," Sam said. "It's layered with persistent pasts."
- George Zebrowski, Macrolife

Comments

( 41 comments — Leave a comment )
clara_posts
Aug. 21st, 2006 01:45 pm (UTC)
My sections are "Ways of Knowing Today By Imagining Tomorrow," in which we follow science fiction from Mary Shelley through Serenity, considering the different definitions of "science" in science fiction, and how each approach yields insights about what it means to be human.

Ooh, that sounds interesting. I miss teaching HE. I have to give a much broader focus.

This makes me think too. I often have discussions with people in which I assert that Star Wars is less science-fiction and more science-fantasy. I don't think it fits with a pure definition of sci-fi. Where do you stand in this one?
eldritchhobbit
Aug. 23rd, 2006 11:57 am (UTC)
I have been thoroughly enjoying Star Wars on Trial, which includes an entire section on this, argued by science fiction authors/specialists. I tend to think that the first three (A New Hope-Return of the Jedi) blend elements of each, but err on the side of fantasy, with only cursory nods to the conventions of SF. With the addition of the midichlorian phenomenon in The Phantom Menace, though, the scales get tipped the other way, and the Force becomes less a mystical religion and more a function of cellular processes (not good SF, but SF). Still, if I'm pressed to explain if the franchise is SF or fantasy, I tend to answer, "Yes." :)
clara_posts
Aug. 23rd, 2006 12:16 pm (UTC)
Oooh, I'll have to order that book. Definitely.

My main argument away from SW as sci-fi is that sci-fi, as you say, is bound up in being human and is generally about a human living in a dystopian or utopian society and having to come to terms with it. SW is located in a seperate galaxy a long time and geographically far,far away from ours, with it's own rules and mores and, as such, is more fantasy. I think. Not that I'm an expert mind ;oP
eldritchhobbit
Aug. 26th, 2006 07:08 pm (UTC)
I suppose it comes down to definitions in the end. I don't mind the fact it's in the past or distant geographically, since the series includes humans and makes nods to plausibility (no one travels by magic, but by engine-driven ships that require fuel and maintenance, and the Force is generated by living things and accessed via a symbiotic biological arrangement). Even if the technology or biology isn't well explained, the "what if?" speculation is given at least the veneer of plausibility by those nods to mechanisms instead of enchantments. I can see the other side of the argument very well, though.
tuilelindowen
Aug. 21st, 2006 02:06 pm (UTC)
All of these subjects fascinate me. Your love of what you do is so evident in all your posts. I would so like to know more about the online course if it comes to be.
eldritchhobbit
Aug. 23rd, 2006 11:58 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for your kind words! You've made my day. :) I'll definitely post more about the Harry Potter online course when I have more details. Thanks for your interest!
estellye
Aug. 21st, 2006 02:19 pm (UTC)
Which leaves me only one question. Do I have to register as a student to do a paid audit of your course if you offer it online?

Congratulations on the biography of Tecumseh. That should be a project to sink your teeth into!
eldritchhobbit
Aug. 23rd, 2006 11:59 am (UTC)
Thanks so much! I'm extremely excited. :)

I'm not sure about all the particulars re: the online Harry Potter course. I'll post an update as soon as I know more. Thanks for the excellent question. I'll check it out!
carpdeus
Aug. 21st, 2006 03:34 pm (UTC)
Dayum... i wish I had my Tecumseh script
<a darkened stage on the outdoor drama... the crowd settles down and the narrator comes out of the loud speakers>Te-cum-seh! Na kuwe fada udawa. Tecumseh.
It's been years since I've seen it and I probably have messed up the Indian transliteration but it's a powerful view.

If you're coming up to see it (probably not since the season is almost done and you've got a deadline) but if you do come to see the show let me know, I'd love to have a reason to both meet you and see the show again ;)

Of course, living in Ohio, we were taught Tecumseh's tale in American History. I truly think his is a story to rival Arthurian legend, complete with the resurrection being delayed but still, perhaps, possible.

If you need a proof reader, I volunteer!

Josef
eldritchhobbit
Aug. 23rd, 2006 03:47 pm (UTC)
Re: Dayum... i wish I had my Tecumseh script
Thanks for the kind words! I've been thinking that I needed to get up there for a performance. If it turns out that I do, I'll be sure to get it touch. It would be so terrific to meet you!
eldritchhobbit
Aug. 23rd, 2006 03:48 pm (UTC)
Re: Dayum... i wish I had my Tecumseh script
PS. I actually have time to catch it next year, too, before my manuscript is due, so even if I don't make it before the show closes this season, I can try again.
carpdeus
Sep. 8th, 2006 02:25 pm (UTC)
Re: Dayum... i wish I had my Tecumseh script
On a related note, I was going back through old LJ entries (I'm editing some of the tags) I came across this one on Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa from 2003.... and are you familiar with Michael Longcor's song, "When Tenskwatawa Sings"?
wellinghall
Aug. 21st, 2006 06:01 pm (UTC)
Well done on the book deal. Thanks, too, for sharing your other news.

(I've just started The Magic Ring, BTW).
eldritchhobbit
Aug. 23rd, 2006 02:27 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for your kind words! I hope you enjoy The Magic Ring. :)
syredronning
Aug. 21st, 2006 06:23 pm (UTC)
Congratulations on the book deal :))))) Sounds very interesting.
eldritchhobbit
Aug. 23rd, 2006 12:00 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!
melissagay
Aug. 21st, 2006 06:55 pm (UTC)
This is great news!!!!!! Congratulations! :) :) :)
eldritchhobbit
Aug. 23rd, 2006 12:00 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! :) I appreciate it!
ithildyn
Aug. 21st, 2006 06:59 pm (UTC)
Great news!
eldritchhobbit
Aug. 23rd, 2006 12:00 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much!
mackiedockie
Aug. 21st, 2006 07:22 pm (UTC)
Excellent news about the book deal! Great good luck in the researching and writing.

Your classes sound very interesting. So many SF writers to choose from; Doc Smith to Cordwainer Smith to Cordwainer Bird *g*.

Harry Potter's predecessors--intriguing. LeGuin's Ged? Andre Norton's Witchworld books? Hastur? Or are those books set too far away from the Muggle underpinnings that anchor Harry's universe? Interesting.
eldritchhobbit
Aug. 23rd, 2006 03:56 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for your kind words! :)

Choosing the SF readings is always wrenching. There are so many things I want to include! We talk about some we don't read; the formal class readings begin with H.G. Wells and go through M.M. Buckner, but students also choose a novel (from a list I've created) for semester-long projects, and they present their analyses at the end, so that's another way students are exposed to works they don't read.

In the Harry Potter class, we read essays on literary theory by some of the fantasy greats - George MacDonald, G.K. Chesterton, J.R.R. Tolkien, and C.S. Lewis - and criticism on the Harry Potter series, as well as the series itself, and then the students do projects on ancestor texts from Lord Dunsany to Philip Pullman. LeGuin is on the list, as are authors like Nesbit, Wyke-Smith, L'Engle, Cooper, Jones, Patterson, Kay, etc. Your suggestions are great - I'm taking notes. :) Thank you!
beledibabe
Aug. 21st, 2006 07:37 pm (UTC)
Oh, Tecumseh! That should be fascinating!

::adding it to my future reading list::
eldritchhobbit
Aug. 23rd, 2006 12:00 pm (UTC)
*hugs* Thanks so much!
jasonbsizemore
Aug. 21st, 2006 11:07 pm (UTC)
Hey, good news on the new book. Way to go, Doctor Amy! :)
eldritchhobbit
Aug. 23rd, 2006 12:00 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much, my friend! :)
magicwondershow
Aug. 21st, 2006 11:33 pm (UTC)
man, if only i could have stomached notre dame. and research. and stats... you're the professor i WANTED to be.

congrats on the new book deal. very cool.
eldritchhobbit
Aug. 23rd, 2006 03:40 pm (UTC)
*huge hugs* You know, the academy needs more good folks. And graduate schools are still there... *looks hopeful* Thanks so much for the wonderfully kind words. I really appreciate it.
fungus_files
Aug. 22nd, 2006 12:50 am (UTC)
Very good news on the book deal! Hurrah! They scored when they got you on board.

And you get to choose your topic, too. Man, you know you've arrived. Do you think Routledge wants me to write about the various formations of fried dough in this world and their potential for intercultural understanding? Diversity and Donuts: The Hole Story :)
eldritchhobbit
Aug. 23rd, 2006 03:57 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! I'm stoked.

I want to read your Diversity and Donuts (mmmm, doooooonuts!) book. I think you need to make it a priority. Routledge would be foolish to turn that down!
dracschick
Aug. 22nd, 2006 01:07 am (UTC)
Congrats and good luck to you...........
I have finished my first novel this summer and now, I'm searching for an agent.
eldritchhobbit
Aug. 23rd, 2006 02:23 pm (UTC)
Re: Congrats and good luck to you...........
This is super-exciting! Congratulations and best wishes to you.
dracschick
Aug. 23rd, 2006 07:17 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much........
I do appreciate your well-wishes:)
dracschick
Aug. 22nd, 2006 01:08 am (UTC)
PS
Hope you have a productive semester!
eldritchhobbit
Aug. 23rd, 2006 02:23 pm (UTC)
Re: PS
Thanks so much! :)
valancourtbooks
Aug. 22nd, 2006 04:28 am (UTC)
...teaching a course on Harry Potter? sounds like my dream job! let me know if you want to trade ;)
eldritchhobbit
Aug. 23rd, 2006 02:22 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I've taught it several times before - we go back to Dunsany, and read all kinds of good things (including essays by MacDonald, Chesterton, and Tolkien) - and the students are always super-motivated and enthusiastic. Lots of work, but lots of fun, too.
theladyrose
Aug. 22nd, 2006 07:18 am (UTC)
I wish I could be taking some of those classes! The upcoming book sounds fabulous-I'll have to keep an eye out for it when it's published :D
eldritchhobbit
Aug. 23rd, 2006 02:21 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I really appeciate your kind words. :)
agentxpndble
Aug. 25th, 2006 04:33 pm (UTC)
Squee! More books! Congrats!

Yeah, damn... Wish I could take all your classes too...
eldritchhobbit
Aug. 26th, 2006 07:02 pm (UTC)
*huge hugs* Aw, thanks so much! :D
( 41 comments — Leave a comment )

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