All’s Noisy on the Eastern Front

and really I’m only “east” if you ignore the fact that Canada goes really far east.

This semester is really kicking my ass. I use that phrase advisedly. Every semester beats me up, but this one is special because I have insisted on doing more of what I want to do on top of what I have to do. Which is a lot.

Highlights include:

–A total redesign of COMS 210–now entitled “Introduction to Communication Studies.” One of my TAs has described the course as “intense” and indeed it is. Lots of new material, new lectures, some tough readings (preface through page 18 of Boudieu’s Distinction were due today and it’s a 1st year class), and new approaches to assignments and testing. The reaction from students is quite intense as well. I’ve seen tons of undergrads in my office hours already, which is great. My sense is that there are a bunch of people really into it — I’m already seeing some very creative thinking by some students — and a few people who expected something easier (as in, “it’s okay to like TV” or “why media are bad”) who are either freaking out or about to. Oh, and I threw my back out in lecture Monday dancing with perhaps too much enthusiasm to Justin Timberlake. I assure you it was strictly for pedagogical reasons. But with enough drugs and heating pad time I feel like a new man again today.

–My usual administrative duties. Feh.

–A course in the Business School called “The Treble Cliff: Remonetizing Digital Music” which is a big interdisciplinary collaboration between Music, Business, Law, Engineering and Computer Science. I got brought on at the last minute which means I have to miss a bunch of classes because my Tuesdays and Thursdays are full of prior engagements, but two of my students are in there. It’s basically a bunch of interesting people from around campus and some experts from the music industry coming in to talk about the impossibility of making money in the current environment.

–Talks talks talks. Last Friday Will Staw and I did a sort of “conversation” thing moderated by André Habib, a doctoral student at Concordia. It was for the Centre de recherche sur l’intermédialité, and will apparently go up on their website at some point. We are talking around two recent essays and Benjamin’s classic “Work of Art” essay. Friday I’m giving a talk on a panel at Concordia on Guitar Hero. Later in the term, I’m off to Carbondale, Chicago, Columbia and then have another Concordia gig. We’re also going to be in Seattle for 8 days doing research and getting away.

–Guests guests guests. Lisa Gitelman arrives tomorrow. We’ve got John Durham Peters and Georgina Born in the same week in March. And countless others coming through.

–My grad students have organized a working group, which is really cool.

–I will not let go of the mp3 book. Every day that I can, it gets at least an hour at the beginning of the morning. But good lord it hurts some days and as a result I’m working on rec letters and or class prep well into the evening. But not writing hurts more.

–I’m trying to do less on email. And my rss reader says “262” right now. And I’m behind on my reviewing like you wouldn’t believe. I would like to neglect this blog less, though.

–I am reading the Gazette’s cheesy Hyperlife series with interest.

Okay, Carrie’s off the phone. I’m going to hang out with her now.

2 replies on “All’s Noisy on the Eastern Front”

  1. John Durham Peters, score! I really liked Courting the Abyss–I didn’t know you (meaning, one) could do academic writing that way. Or get it published, at any rate. Good luck with your semester.

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