Thursday, August 25, 2011

The New Yorker article about the Dickens Universe

Here is the article in the New Yorker magazine describing the Dickens Universe in Santa Cruz. Of interest to all who might consider going next year.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Dickens Universe Project, Santa Cruz

I just came back from the week-long Dickens Universe proj

ect at the University of Santa Cruz where I co-taught a graduate workshop with Elsie Michie from Rice University. The Universe is an annual event, supported by an academic consortium, of which TAU is a member. Each year a Dickens novel is chosen and a slew of lectures, talks, workshops and events is organized around it. This year the novel was "Great Expectations" and the details of the program can be found at the link attached.

My general impression is that the Universe is trying too hard to be all things to all people. The audience is very mixed: academic, semi-academic (high school teachers and students), and non-academic (Dickens lovers, mostly retirees). It is inevitable that some events, such as the daily Victorian tea and the Grand Ball, cater to the non-academics who pay the bills. In fact, this makes for a fun atmosphere. But the plenary lectures suffer from trying to be both accessible and scholarly and sometimes being neither.

This said, the workshop I taught was very exciting. The graduate students, from several universities in the US, were good (almost as good as our own!). And I also participated in a professional workshop on Victorian science, which was renamed an "intellectual spa" in the spirit of the Universe.

Santa Cruz itself is caught in a time warp, with a bunch of superannuated hippies preaching universal love and smoking organic pot. But the coffee-shops are good and the boutiques even better.

The novel for next year is "Bleak House", my favorite. So I suppose I could put up with more Victorian teas.

Monday, August 8, 2011

CFP for NeMLA - Apocalyptic Projections

I think this might be interesting

NeMLA March 15-18, 2012, Rochester, NY, U.S.A.

Apocalyptic Projections in Sci-Fi and/or Fantasy Literature for 2012 and Beyond

This panel provides an opportunity to explore the ramifications of the 2012 doomsday prophesiers on cultural behavior as witnessed within the genre of science fiction literature and cinema. The term apocalyptic may include any means of total or near-total destruction, whether it is caused by humans, aliens or Nature. Papers analyzing the role apocalyptic sci-fi and/or fantasy have played and continue to play in literature, cinema, theater and other aspects of culture will be the main emphasis of this panel. Focus can be on apocalyptic visual arts and cinema, but written literature is also appropriate.
Please send e-mail abstracts of 250-300 words in MS Word to Annette M. Magid, SUNY Erie Community College .

Deadline: September 30, 2011
Please include with your abstract:
Name and Affiliation
Proposed title for your paper
E-mail address
Postal address
Telephone number
A/V requirements (if any; $10 handling fee with registration)

Visit the website at Http://

Stanford's Introduction to Artificial Intelligence Course

Okay, this is just too cool not to share. Standford is offering a free, internet-based course on Artificial Intelligence:

Have a great summer everyone!