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
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
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"