Disrupting Student Labor in the Digital Humanities Classroom

Text of my talk “Disrupting Student Labor in the Digital Humanities Classrom” on March 11, 2016 at Rice University.

Abstract: Crowdsourcing labor and crowdfunding capital are two pillars of the new innovation economy. While these models have worked well for projects ranging from citizen science to music production, bringing crowd-think into the academy, and particularly the classroom, can be ethically fraught. Digital humanities pedagogy involving students contributing to faculty projects or producing durable work products is particularly vulnerable to abuse and misuse. Based on my contribution to the forthcoming Disrupting the Digital Humanities collection, I will offer a critique of these practices and offer ideas on how to avoid ethical pitfalls. Continue reading “Disrupting Student Labor in the Digital Humanities Classroom”


Obama’s Children’s Book

obama, of thee I sing, children's book
Of Thee I Sing, President Obama's children's book

Children’s books have played an interesting role in the history of the American presidency since Mason Weem’s Life of Washington (1800), which introduced several apocryphal tales about the first president (the cherry tree: myth) and was abridged for the children’s book market soon after publication. Presidential pets and presidents themselves have been the subjects of kid’s books, and first ladies and presidential children have often dabbled in the genre. And who can forget the stunning role The Pet Goat played in 2001? Continue reading “Obama’s Children’s Book”

Clockwork Angel’s "readerly heroine"

Check out Cassandra Clare’s guest post on Novel Novice about some of the literary preoccupations of Tessa, the heroine of her forthcoming novel Clockwork Angel, book one of her new Infernal Devices series.

It’s exciting for an early Americanist like me to see works like Maria Cummins’ The Lamplighter (1854) and Susan Warner’s The Wide Wide World (1850) mentioned in a contemporary YA novel. Clare even mentions E.D.E.N. Southworth’s Hidden Hand (1859, 1888) as a personal favorite that didn’t make it into her novel. Continue reading “Clockwork Angel’s "readerly heroine"”

Quotable Quotes #4

“Oh, the unconscious misery, the dullness, the loneliness of the child who does not care for reading! No one pretends that a book is the only open sesame to knowledge, for we learn a thousand things by other means: by first-hand observation, by the cares and responsibilities of existence, through skill in handicraft, through creative work of any sort; but the book, the dear, enlivening, enchanting, stimulating, informing, uplifting book, is the most faithful of all allies, and, after human friendship, the chief solace as well as the most inspiring influence in human life.”

Kate Douglas Wiggin. My Garden  of Memory: An Autobiography. (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1923), 31.