Literary Criticism/Cultural Studies

Philip Levine, 1928-2015

by Phillip Witteveen February 20, 2015

Philip Levine passed away over the weekend, on Saturday the 14th. His poetry was recognized with two National Book Awards, a Pulitzer, and with an appointment as a U.S. poet laureate. Levine was one of the first (and most prominent) poets to really put his hometown, Detroit, into verse. He found a plainspoken language to mourn with, to give pause, to join rafters in his native mise en scène—a language to tell stories of people just getting off the graveyard shift. He started writing poetry when he was only thirteen. In Levine’s work, there was always a way of recognizing aspects of the everyday as poetry; in […]

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New York Times columnist David Carr passes away

by Shaun Manning February 13, 2015

The media world mourns the passing of David Carr, the forward-thinking media columnist at the New York Times. Carr, 58, died Thursday evening after collapsing in the Times newsroom. Shortly before his unexpected death, Carr moderated a panel at the New School on Citizenfour with director Laura Poitras, journalist Glenn Greenwald, and whistleblower Edward Snowden. Video of the discussion is available at the Times’ TimesTalks site. Carr established himself as a respected and thoughtful culture writer and media analyst, and was “an early evangelist” for social media, according to his Times obituary. His weekly Media Equation column was an especially valuable resource for […]

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The World of Childhood

by Phillip Witteveen February 11, 2015

“For centuries, in Western civilization,” says Ellen Handler Spitz, “children were not really understood to have an inner life at all. Nobody paid attention really… childhood was seen as a preparatory stage of life for adulthood. Children were dressed as little adults—and what they produced when they were little was of no interest.” Spitz, the author of Illuminating Childhood, was recently featured on CBC Radio One to discuss this: the scientifically under-specified “inner life” of children: the locus of Spitz’ own research in aesthetics and psychology. Dr. Spitz’ work—and the whole radio hour—are really the same response to the puzzling nature of childhood. Psychologically, childhood is […]

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Remembering Tobin Siebers

by Carolyn Darr February 5, 2015

Renowned scholar and disability studies theorist Tobin Siebers passed away January 29 in Ann Arbor. His long and distinguished publishing record included the field-defining books Disability Theory (2008) and Disability Aesthetics (2010), six other monographs, four edited collections, and a memoir, Among Men. MLive reports that Siebers, Professor of English and Art and Design at the University of Michigan, will be honored at a memorial service on February 6 at 2 p.m. in the ballroom of the Michigan League.  

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Tzachi Zamir on His Philosophy of Acting

by Phillip Witteveen February 4, 2015

Tzachi Zamir is a professor of philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. After a Ph.D. of pondering the nature of things, his accidental experiences with amateur acting led him to ponder the nature of performance. Zamir is the author of the first systematic philosophy of theater, Acts. This is not the first time he has tackled less-traditional philosophy, actually, having written about subjects from Shakespeare to vegetarianism to animal rights. Nowadays, though, in the interstices between professional philosophizing, he’s been taking classes, and working in rehearsal for a production of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” The Israeli newspaper […]

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