Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Poet Charles Reznikoff Reading ‘Holocaust’

Prof. Abraham Ravett: CD of Poet Charles Reznikoff Reading ‘Holocaust’

Filmmaker and Hampshire College professor Abraham Ravett’s latest creative project — a CD of poet Charles Reznikoff reading Holocaust — took more than three decades to bring to completion.

Holocaust CD cover

Ravett made the audio recording in Reznikoff’s New York City apartment in December 1975, the same year that Black Sparrow Press published Holocaust and shortly before Reznikoff died.

Holocaust is largely based on translations from the Nuremberg and Eichmann trials. Read in the clear, aged voice of the great Objectivist poet, the recording captures the poem as an aesthetic object rather than feelings or thoughts, making the images it contains all the more haunting. Eighteen sections are entitled by opening testimony content, such as “One of the SS men…,” “The state is to get hold…” and “The bodies were thrown out quickly... .”

Listen to excerpts from Holocaust, read by poet Charles Reznikoff >>

read the rest of the story at

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Sunday, January 09, 2011

cities rise and fall

How nice to find a city something to blog (re-purpose) for places, among other functions, also designated citylit destination ~ all the more so when I'm behind on posting. All MLA'd out too, without even attending. Appropriate for places along the way though, all those LA images, plus irresistible "MLA in LA" (aka "MLALA") inspired juxtapositions ~ Academy in Hard Times, End of the Univeristy as We Know (and other examples of the genre), The Day of the Locust and so on.

From Lapham's Quarterly, a special issue on The City. From City Journal, Victor Davis Hanson on the destiny of cities: Throughout history, forces both natural and human have made cities rise and fall; Asian megacities, free and unfree: How politics has shaped the growth of Shanghai, Beijing, and Seoul; and Brandon Fuller and Paul Romer on cities from scratch and a new path for development. From THES, a review of The Just City by Susan S. Fainstein; and a review of City Life by Adrian Franklin. There is a growing understanding that it is actually “love” that will be the prime force in the future economy of successful 21st century cities. The 30 most dynamic cities on Earth: Which metropolis is leading the world out of the recession? The answer is Istanbul — and the rest of the list is equally surprising. Mario Polese on seven reasons why big cities matter more than ever. Ross Perlin on ten megacities of the near future. What makes a city grow and thrive, and what causes it to stagnate and fall? Geoffrey West thinks the tools of physics can give us the answers. Tom Vanderbilt on how a planned highway can change a city, even if it never gets built. A new era for the city-state: Joel Kotkin on the New World Order. An article on predicting the climate-changed city of the future. An innovator in every apartment: Conor Friedersdorf on how cities should unravel their pre-digital regulations.

... time enough tomorrow (or whenever the rest of the convention post-mortems roll in) to blog collected observations and links.

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Thursday, January 06, 2011

Every Professor an Entrepeneur?

Testing for formatting and whether suitable for blogging by email


Every Professor an Entrepeneur?

    • What if all college professors were forced to be higher-education entrepreneurs, with salaries pegged to the number of students they attract to their classes? That's the model recently proposed by a Texas professor
      • All professors and lecturers would receive a base "living wage" of $30,000 plus benefits. Beyond that it would be up to the professors themselves to generate a "tuition-based bonus" for themselves consisting of 50 percent of the tuition income generated by students enrolled in their classes, "up to a maximum of 320 students (960 student hours)." All instructors would be allowed to teach up to eight classes a year.
        • Professors with ultra-large classes could hire teaching assistants---but the money would again have to come out of their salary bonuses
          • a strict grading curve
            • Professors whose grades deviated from the curve would lose their bonus for every student whose grade exceeded the curve
              • some college instructors would make out very well
                • allow professors to keep whatever externally funded research grants
                  • Not so fortunate would be most humanities instructors---but hey, isn't that what most of us want?
                    • undergraduates---who would flee those classes even faster if they didn't satisfy distribution requirements that would be eliminated under the Publius model.
                      • tenure would also be gone
                        • overpaid and underworked faculty are not the sole reason---or even a significant reason--for the ever-escalating college costs that have generated a tuition inflation rate that over the past three decades has outstripped general inflation rate by a ratio of up to 2-1
                          • there are a few problems with Publius' analysis.
                            • the real culprit is bloated campus administration
                              • over the last two decades colleges and universities "doubled their full-time support staff while enrollment increased only 40 percent,"
                                • Even the 50 percent increase in the net number of full-time faculty over the past 20 years is somewhat misleading
                                  • according to an analysis of Education Department data by the American Association of University Professors, adjunct professors both part-time and full-time accounted for 43 percent of college and university teaching staffs 20 years ago; today they account for nearly 70 percent
                                    • colleges themselves have already figured out on their own how to lower instruction costs drastically, and have done so quite ruthlessly
                                      • without trimming their ever-escalating overall costs one whit.
                                        • tenure as a two-edged shield that often protects conservative faculty members
                                          • Second, the entrepreneurial professor model, with its rewards for attracting large numbers of students to successful entrepreneurs' classes, could very well backfire as an effort to encourage an infusion of conservative thought
                                            • into campuses along with the free-market ethos
                                              • The strongest objection to Publius' model, however, is its cynical (perhaps understandably so) implicit assumption that the humanities are irredeemable and that all humanities scholarship is worthless
                                                • In short, there wouldn't have been a classics department
                                                  • much of what passes for humanities scholarship these days is jargon-saturated junk---but some of it isn't.
                                                    • universities aren't meant to be entrepreneurial entities, even if some free-market thinking can help them operate more efficiently. They're more like opera companies or museums: entities that cater to niche interests in learning. They sponsor scholarly research that is valuable but could not exist if they had to pitch themselves on a purely commercial basis to a wide swathe of people. This was something that Leland Stanford understood, for he declined to run his university in the way that he ran his railroad.
                                                      • One place to start would be getting rid of the administrative frills that have turned college into a lifestyle, not a place of learning. Now that would save some money.

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                                                        Monday, January 03, 2011

                                                        Name That Weird Invention!

                                                        Life surrounds us with weird inventions and practices. Some we become so accustomed to that they no longer seem weird ~ normalization. I'll spare you extended references structuralism and Gombrich on the visual arts.

                                                        It’s time for the Name That Weird Invention! contest. Steven M. Johnson comes up with all sorts of crazy ideas in his weekly Museum of Possibilities posts. Can you come up with a name for this one? The commenters suggesting the funniest and wittiest names will win a free T-shirt from the NeatoShop. Let your imagination run wild, and good luck!

                                                        Somehow this also reminds me of Mountainair Moments. What would you designate as the oddest / weirdest structures, practices, stories, etc. about Mountainair? If unnamed, then go wild naming it. Yes, we have no free T-shirts today. Sorry about that...

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