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23 March, 2017

LMC colleagues win Georgia Tech innovation/teaching awards

Great news to report:
...that our own Nassim JafariNaimi is the winner of the Georgia Tech CTL/BP Junior Faculty Teaching Excellence Award. This award highlights the excellent teaching and educational innovation that junior faculty bring to campus. 
...that our own Jillann Hertel is the winner of the Georgia Tech Innovation in Co-curricular Education Award. This award honors full-time general faculty of any rank who increase student learning outside the traditional curriculum and help Georgia Tech achieve its strategic goal of graduating global citizens who can contribute to all sectors of society. (And Jillann was also featured in The Whistle as Technological Humanist)
Nassim and Jillann will be honored at the Annual Faculty & Staff Honors Luncheon on Friday, April 21. Thanks to both of them for confirming that LMC contributes to GT excellence in innovation and teaching.

19 March, 2017

Medievalism: Key Critical Terms now in paperback!

Elizabeth Emery and I published the original version in 2014, and now the volume is finally out in paperback.


13 March, 2017

Medieval Studies and the Ghost Stories of M.R. James

Happy to have been involved in the review process for Patrick Murphy's new book, Medieval Studies and the Ghost Stories of M.R. James, for Penn State UP.

Here's what I wrote, and I recommend the book to all students of medievalism: “There are some seminal studies that have shed light on the genesis and development of medieval studies: Ulrich Wyss’s work on Jacob Grimm, Tom Shippey’s on J. R. R. Tolkien, and Michelle Warren’s on Joseph Bédier. Patrick Murphy’s book completes these other studies by telling the story of M. R. James, a fascinating medievalist forefather working at the exact moment of transition from English antiquarianism and extra-academic medievalist enthusiasms to a medieval studies almost entirely exclusive of writers, artists, and musicians. Murphy’s meticulously researched narrative provides ample proof that both enterprises, the creative and the scholarly reception of medieval culture, should not be viewed as mutually exclusive but richly symbiotic.”

10 March, 2017

Sewanee Medieval Colloquium: Borders of the Academy

Sewanee Medieval Colloquium's plenary roundtable on: Borders of the Academy: Medievalisms Academic and Popular (Co-sponsored by the International Society for the Study of Medievalism):
Brantley Bryant, Sonoma State University
Mallory Ortberg, Slate
Kim Zarins, Sacramento State University
Chair, Richard Utz, Georgia Institute of Technology
As a bonus, Valerie Johnson, collaborator and former LMC Brittain fellow, was at Sewanee, too.

01 March, 2017

25 February, 2017

Festschrift for Helen Cooper reviewed in Medievally Speaking

Meg Pearson recently reviewed Andrew King and Matthew Woodcock, eds. Medieval into Renaissance: Essays for Helen Cooper (Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2016) at Medievally Speaking

Professor Helen Cooper, the author of vital texts ranging from the recent Shakespeare and the Medieval World to her groundbreaking book, Pastoral: Mediaeval into Renaissance, consistently forces literary scholars to rethink and even reject labels of periodization for the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. This collection in her honor, a lovely thank-you note to Professor Helen Cooper from her former research students, so recreates the exciting entanglements and continuities of Cooper’s own work that even organizing a review of the essays is challenging. The richly researched offerings may focus on a topic or a trope, but they are also constantly engaging in periodization and genre and reception as well.... 

18 February, 2017

The possibility of failure as an acceptable risk...

Georgia Tech recently honored Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter with the Ivan Allen Prize for Social Courage. During the panel discussion that preceded the ceremony, I learned that Atlanta's Carter Center has the following brilliant phrase in its mission statement: The Center addresses difficult problems in difficult situations and recognizes the possibility of failure as an acceptable risk. And one of its other stated goals is "to wage peace."

13 February, 2017

Medievally Speaking reviews: Shaw, Saint Joan (Bedlam)

Kevin J. Harty recently reviewed: George Bernard Shaw’s Saint Joan performed by Bedlam at the McCarter Theatre Center, Princeton, NJ.

Bedlam is known for staging multi-part plays using only four actors to play all the required roles—in this case Andrus Nichols as Joan, and Eric Tucker (who also directs), Edmund Lewis and Tom O’Keefe playing more than two dozen different characters and changing roles multiple times often in mid-sentence.  The result is mesmerizing theatre that trusts Shaw’s often problematic text to tell the story of a character whose life and legacy have always been the subject of, to use current parlance, alternate facts, and whose trail and execution were based on both extraordinary rendition and false equivalencies, and fueled by nationalism and its attendant concerns. Why do Shaw’s Saint Joan today? The answer is simple: the play’s relevance to contemporary events is more than apparent without even the slightest stretch.... READ FULL REVIEW

04 February, 2017

Medievally Speaking reviews: Woods, The Medieval Filmscape

Our most recent review for Medievally Speaking: Erin Lee Mock on: William F. Woods.  The Medieval Filmscape: Reflections of Fear and Desire in a Cinematic Mirror. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2014. 

Writing about “period” film as “period film” is rife with difficulty as William F. Woods admits in The Medieval Filmscape: Reflections of Fear and Desire in a Cinematic Mirror.  Beyond the question of period itself, all studies of genre or subgenre present the problem of “quality,” and the “medieval filmscape” does so more than most.  A responsible scholar must attend to a variety of texts which include, to use Rick Altman’s term, the “semantic” elements of that genre, including many films which are frankly terrible.  Simultaneously, most scholars who undertake subgenre study do so to argue for its critical function.  Woods manages this problem structurally and through one major metaphor (the mirror), which is his greatest strength.  READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE

03 February, 2017

First LMC Salon event: Race and Media in the Post-Obama Era

Thanks to all for a great first Salon event, an outcome of our discussions in our LMC Diversity Working Group. Although some of us decided to participate in the student protest (apparently the first on GT's campus for many, many years, we had 21 participants, staff and faculty, and we shared our views and observations on "Race and Media in the Post-Obama Era." No publishable deliverables really, except for tips about how we deal with the current situation and the role of the media inside and outside our classrooms. Some suggestions emerged: Perhaps we should create a common reading list for LMC to help each other be inclusive of questions of race, gender, disability, etc., in our teaching and other interactions? And perhaps we might read certain texts, all of us, and discuss them together, so that they might become part of a community of inclusive practices for ourselves and for our students?
The picture shows Karen Head (LMC; and member of Diversity Working Group) and Colin Potts (IC), who were included in GT's recent Diversity Narratives project. More of the pix are at: http://sdie.gatech.edu/transformative-narratives/

30 January, 2017

Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage

I am thrilled to be a guest at the reception honoring Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter as the recipients of the 2017 Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage on February 17. Proud that Georgia Tech honors "the power of their partnership, which has enabled a lifetime of social courage."

28 January, 2017

PhD Alumnus Andy Quitmeyer gets his own show on the ScienceChannel

Andy Quitmeyer (LMC Digital Media PhD, 2015) is "out there" again, and in more than one way. He has his own show, "Hacking the Wild," on the ScienceChannel. Winner of the Ivan Allen College's Legacy Award, he is now demonstrating how digital technology jives with nature.

Karen Head recognized with Teaching Award

My School continues its reputation as a top unit in the area of teaching and learning at Georgia Tech: Our own Karen Head, Director of GT's Communication Center and Editor of the Atlanta Review, is a recipient of the 2016 Class of 1940 Course Survey Teaching Effectiveness Award. Congrats, Karen!

26 January, 2017

Medievally Speaking reviews: Metzler, Fools and Idiots?

Lauryn Mayer just reviewed Irina Metzler. Fools and Idiots? Intellectual Disability in the Middle Ages. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2016, for Medievally Speaking:

While both the figure of the court fool and that of the medieval madman have been the subject of numerous publications, research on medieval perceptions of intellectual disability has been relatively neglected. As Metzler notes in her introduction, “the overarching interest of historians has been in the more glamourous acquired madness rather than folly or idiocy” (2). Interest in the topic has also been hampered by the all-too-prevalent construction of the Middle Ages as simple, primitive, or childish, a place where intellectual disability would be inherently less visible among the populace, or by excessive caution in applying modern diagnostic criteria to a pre-modern phenomenon. Moreover,... READ FULL REVIEW HERE

25 January, 2017

24 January, 2017

Live Virtual Reality Concert

Singularity: A Future Reality Sound is more than Atlanta's first Live Virtual Reality Concert open to the public. It is a conceptual night of music performance focused on the emotions, themes, and interactions of technological singularity. Presented in three movements, the experience traverses the various complex relationships set to unfold should a point of technological singularity be realized. These movements focus on The Self, Society, and Nature. The night will begin with an introduction my wonderful colleague, Lisa Yaszek, LMC Professor and a past President of the Science Fiction Research Association. For more information on the event and to secure tickets, click here.

21 January, 2017

Living Building Project

Happy to join Georgia Tech's Living Building Project Academic & Research Council. The Living Building Project is meant to be a cornerstone for a new series of investments at Tech over the next decade which will rapidly accelerate progress in the Southeast’s regenerative building movement, and serve as an incubator for advancing new ideas related to interdisciplinary thinking on sustainability and the environment. The process and the product will promote Institute goals and priorities connected to sustainability through design, construction, outreach, educational and research opportunities and elevate new goals and priorities through collective learning and knowledge development. My contributions will probably be mostly related to the area of academics and research, but I will learn lots of new and exciting things in the process.

20 January, 2017

Gwen Ottinger this year's LMC Distinguished Alumna


Very proud that my colleagues have selected Gwen Ottinger this year's LMC Distinguished Alumna:


Gwen Ottinger, Associate Professor in the Department of Politics and the Center for Science, Technology, and Society at Drexel University, received bachelor’s degrees in STaC and Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech, and a Ph.D. in Energy and Resources from the University of California, Berkeley.  Her book, Refining Expertise: How Responsible Engineers Subvert Environmental Justice Challenges (New York: NYU Press, 2013), was awarded the 2015 Rachel Carson Prize for a work of social or political relevance by the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S), and she is the recipient of a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation.  Focused on the dynamics of expertise in environmental justice controversy and policy, Ottinger’s work has three main aims: to characterize the disconnects between experts and communities’ understanding of environmental quality; to envision more environmentally just approaches to science and technology; and to develop and test information technologies for community empowerment.  Her current project, in collaboration with engineers from Carnegie Mellon University and residents of Bay area refinery communities, makes real-time air monitoring data accessible to community members via an interactive website.


The official ceremony will be on April 12 at Atlanta's Academy of Medicine.

18 January, 2017

Asked and Answered? The Diversity Question

For a long time, I have been collecting observations during interviews for chair and dean positions, and so here are the ones on what often turns out to be most pesky question during such interview processes, the question about "diversity." I was inspired to write the piece by the wonderful participants in my School's Diversity Working Group. I dedicate the essay to them. And HERE IS THE LINK to the piece at the Chronicle of Higher Education.