Literary Criticism/Cultural Studies

Announcing the Tobin Siebers Prize for Disability Studies in the Humanities

by Shaun Manning March 26, 2015
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The Tobin Siebers Prize for Disability Studies in the Humanities The work of the late Tobin Siebers has influenced Disability Studies in field-shifting ways since the publication of his prize-winning essay “My Withered Limb” in 1998. His subsequent scholarly publications including the books Disability Theory (2008) and Disability Aesthetics (2010) as well as essays such as “A Sexual Culture for Disabled People” (2012) quickly became pivotal works in the field. Siebers’s work has galvanized new scholarship in relation to questions of representation, subjectivity, and the entry of non-normative bodies into public space, and made the study of disability a central […]

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John Oliver on the NCAA

by Phillip Witteveen March 25, 2015
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In its most recent episode, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver did some muckraking on the controversies of “amateur” student-athletics; as one of his rapid-fire segments, Oliver reported: “Fun fact: The very first executive director of the NCAA stated that he ‘crafted’ the term ‘student-athlete’ in the 1950s, explicitly to avoid worker’s comp for injured athletes. And 60 years later, that term is still working.” That “very first executive director” was Walter Byers, during whose long tenure (’51 – ’87), the NCAA became a multi-million dollar commercial enterprise (with, for example, 68.2 million on the table for televising the NCAA’s ’88 basketball season). In this way, Byers has had a far-reaching influence in […]

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Philip Levine, 1928-2015

by Phillip Witteveen February 20, 2015
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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
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“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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