Peace in Our Time!

This morning’s newspaper headlines the N. C. General Assembly’s last minute power grab to limit the already restricted powers of Democratic Governor-elect Roy Cooper. The Republicans are defending their actions, saying the Democrats “did it first” 20 and 40 years ago. Colin Campbell reports: “House Bill 17, which legislators approved Friday, would limit the number of state employees the governor can hire and fire to 425. The current limit is 1,500 and was increased from 400 around the time Republican […]

Make America Think Again

I haven’t posted on this blog in months. Now that Mom’s gone and Dad’s remarried, I get an occasional urge to write, but lack the urgency. …until this week, when the triumph of Trump convulsed me from low-grade anxiety to a fever pitch of terror and sadness. On Tuesday, November 8, 2016, I went to bed at 9:50 pm, unable to watch what already appeared inevitable. I tossed and turned in bed, my feet cramping. I tried to reassure myself that more than 50% of […]

On MindFULLness

Experts argue that we don’t read online: we skim, scan, or surf. This is mostly true for me. I prefer a book to a webpage, especially if I want to get absorbed in what I’m reading. When I read online, I have a harder time staying focused. My sabbatical project is an attempt to design a digital environment that can sustain close and deep reading. I’ve found a few websites that give me hope that it’s possible. One of the […]

Favorite books for summertime reading

It’s summertime, so my blog productivity has slowed as the thermometer inches into the 90s. Davidson College asked for Summertime Reading Picks, and since I managed to come up with a few, I thought I’d post them here to generate the specter of activity. But don’t be confused by Cassatt’s lovely pastel drawing (left): the books recommended here are not suitable for reading aloud to small children! Irene Nemirovksy, Suite Francaise. A historical novel that was interrupted by history, Suite Francaise […]

The Fountain of Bakhchisarai

  We saw “The Fountin of Bakhchisarai” at the Mariinski Theater in St. Petersburg, a ballet based on an 1823 narrative poem by Pushkin. The ballet debuted in 1934 in the same theater, which was then called the Kirov (and St. Petersburg was called Leningrad).  Alison, Mark, and Shaw have already posted vivid descriptions of the opulent theater and the gorgeous ballet. I’m adding on in an attempt to capture a thought-provoking conversation with Alison the next day. One of the great benefits of traveling with Davidson professors […]

Women and Self-Fashioning in Moscow

  Amanda had warned us that women in Russia tend to dress up and dress fashionably. When we first got to Moscow, I didn’t notice the difference, because I was distracted by the wide variety of fashion, ranging from elegant dresses to jeans and even shorts. I couldn’t detect any dress code. But the more I people-watched, the more I was struck by the care and attention the women devoted to fashion and grooming. The high standards were most clear […]

“Everybody is wrong”

  In the weeks prior to our trip to Russia, the political crisis in Ukraine was front page news.  US coverage of the tensions between Russia and the Ukraine led me to believe that: Most Ukrainians desired independence from Russia. Aside from right-wing hard-liners, most Russians were (secretly) aghast at Putin’s despotic machinations (even if they are afraid to admit it publicly). Russians were as preoccupied with the East-West conflict as we were, if not more anxious and dismayed. Now […]

Microaggressions and the Need to Know More

Microaggressions are in the news, nationally and locally. In a recent New York Times piece, “Students See Many Slights as Racial ‘Microaggressions,’” Tanzina Vega describes microaggressions as “the subtle ways that racial, ethnic, gender and other stereotypes can play out painfully in an increasingly diverse culture.” The concept isn’t new. It was developed in the 1970s by Dr. Chester M. Pierce, a professor of education and psychiatry at Harvard University, to describe the “subtle, cumulative miniassault that is the substance of today’s […]

2013 Holiday Letter (Digital Edition), by Matt Churchill

    December 2013 PO Box 2143 Davidson, NC 28036   Dear friends and family, ‘Tis the season of college applications, and our children are nestled all snug at their laptops, while visions of essay prompts dance in our heads: What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you see the word “Future”? Suzanne’s Answer: Tense. But I reject that pessimistic attitude.  When I see the word, “Future,” I think: Digital Age. And in that spirit, I offer this […]

Fecturing: the female equivalent of mansplaining?

I was introduced to the term “mansplain” by a colleague who posted a Facebook link to Academic Men Explain Things To Me. This Tumblr blog is a repository for anecdotes and complaints from academic women who have been the recipients of patronizing, infantilizing, or downright rude behavior from their male colleagues—that is, “mansplaining.” According the Urban Dictionary, “mansplain” means: delighting in condescending, inaccurate explanations delivered with rock solid confidence of rightness and that slimy certainty that of course he is right, because he is the […]