Monthly Archives: May 2009

Ponies Can Be Allocated Directly

Greg Mills and Jeffrey Herbst argue that it’s time to resume aid to Zimbabwe to help out the unity government. The problem here is that while almost everyone would like to help Morgan Tsvangirai and his allies “soft-land” the Zimbabwean … Continue reading

Posted in Africa | 3 Comments

What’s Distinctive About Africanist Historiography?

Swarthmore has an elaborate system of Honors seminars. The basic premise of the system is that third and fourth year students participating in the system take four small, intensely focused double-credit seminars, three in a major subject, one in a … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Africa, Swarthmore | 6 Comments

The Pursuit of Happiness

This is a good summary of the current state of work on the experience of happiness, and its implications for homo economicus and public policy based on assumptions that people are rational utility-maximizers. Makes an interesting companion to this article … Continue reading

Posted in Domestic Life, Miscellany | 3 Comments

Never Happened

Oh, well, if the truth is going to get our soldiers into trouble, by all means, let’s airbrush it out of existence. Why stop with photographs? Let’s shred all remaining records from the last eight years. We clearly need a … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 5 Comments

Figgleton v. Ditchens

So recently there was a good bit of blogging reaction to the public disagreement between four of the most tendentious intellectuals on planet Earth: Stanley Fish, Terry Eagleton, Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. All four of them are prone to … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 15 Comments

It’s a Trap

So. This Star Trek film? It’s pretty goddamn excellent. It’s sort of like the second time that a good play gets performed and the new casting is better than the old casting, the new staging is better than the old … Continue reading

Posted in Popular Culture | 27 Comments

The Laptop in the Classroom

Our Lady of Scathing Online Schoolmarmery forgive me, but I don’t think I will be banning laptops in my classrooms in the near-future. The case against classroom laptops is that they encourage students to divert their attention from class, either … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Information Technology and Information Literacy | 35 Comments

Nobody Expects the Black Swans?

I liked The Black Swan better than John Holbo and much of the Crooked Timber commentariat. But I completely agree with a lot of the criticisms. The book itself is not a good read because Taleb gets so caught up … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Miscellany, Production of History | 4 Comments

Why Can’t You?

I had a fun conversation with a student this week who had a number of challenging questions about issues to pose to me. The question I’m still knocking around: if academic cultural critics understand expressive culture so expertly, why can’t … Continue reading

Posted in Academia | 17 Comments