imagination

Radical professionalism (2b): … but it can be about imagination …

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This is education

IMG_9957Today is the anniversary of the death of Ken Campbell, anarchist polymath genius.

Reader of everything. Writer. Performer. Creator. Stand up comedian, speculative fictioneer, improviser, paranomasiac, marvelling revelling adventurer in existence.

Public outreach educator and life-long learning experimenter in ways beyond the wildest imaginings of Proper Professionals in these fields before they or these fields even existed. The next time you consider using words like “innovation,” “innovative,” “innovator”: have some respect. Think first. Check with reference to Ken. If philology provides a theoretical meaning, it is Ken who provides—incarnates—a reference-point for lived active practice.

As we academics start the new year, welcome new students, and train new graduate-student Teaching Assistants, please consider giving half an hour of your time to Ken; from whom one can learn more, and more deeply, in that time than in a year’s worth of Professionalisation Training Programmes by Proper Education Specialists.

I miss Ken.

I love this video and hope you do too. May watching Ken again become an annual ritual, a commemoration to bring in the academic new year.

(TW: Contains death and diddling, and Latin and love.)

New course (January 2018): #mdvl310d – MARVELS

See also: UBC Medieval Studies Program & its brochure

MEDIEVAL STUDIES 310D
Topics in Medieval Studies
“Marvels”
(3 credits)
2017 Winter Term 2
January-April 2018
Tuesday & Thursday 2:00-3:30 p.m.
Dr Juliet O’Brien
Department of French, Hispanic and Italian Studies
juliet.obrien@ubc.ca

Description
Wonder. Delight. Awe. Joy. Imagination. Marvellousness (mirabilis, merveille, merveillos) (more…)

Literary warm-up exercise for stretching imaginative muscles / un exercice d’échauffement littéraire : l’imagination au pouvoir

Margins and marginality are wonderful, as are their transgression and subversion and any play with them. But, as all wearers of glasses know, frames can be fun too.

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This is a piece about frames and framing. Updates seem to be turning it into an illustrated prosimetrical short story about liminality and its horrors. Which was unexpected and is weird. Blame the uncanny conjunction of borders and walls in the news, UBC, bande dessinée, Guy de Maupassant, and Marguerite Porete. (more…)

On reading, writing, & commentary

PROLOGUE

The original title of this piece is “Criticism & commentary,” but it’s really about reading and writing as harmoniously-integrated activities within the larger whole that is a literary continuum and polyphonic collective; uniting all participants in a living textual network.

Premises and provisos: It views commentary as one of the core and ancient literary/communicative forms, along with story-telling and translation; with story-telling as the living beating heart of this human trinity of curiosity, criticism, and creativity.

It uses literature in its broad sense to extend to “any object that can be read, seen, interpreted” and reading in the broad / Barthes sense to include perception by any of the senses, with “making sense of” as its purpose, and an interpretation translated into expression via any of the senses.  This piece sees literature as synonymous with communicative expression. Not as one kind of communication, but the other way around:  what passes in other (non-literary) fields as “communication” is a more or less appropriately human, or humanly-appropriate, kind of literature. All writing has a right, duty, and responsibility to be beautiful, imaginative and innovative, and critical and creative. All writing can and should be literature. 

What follows below is the current version, for students who are reading and writing, from MDVL 301A : European Literature of the 5th to the 14th centuries – “The Liberal Arts”Its base was the version used in MDVL 302: European Literature of the 14th to the 16th centuries – “Criticism” (UBC, Faculty of Arts, Medieval Studies Programme, AY 2011-12 Winter session term 2) + a couple of upates (ex. on plagiarism and style guides). It’s one of the oldest pieces on this present blog; its most ancient archaeological layer (writing resources) is from a now-deceased previous site, “The Rose of the Romance” (2003).

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“The tree of life”
Gua Tewet, Borneo
(c. 10,000 years ago)

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Of field-work & marriage

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Medievalising Modern French & hope


An admission: I don’t really like exams, and I really don’t enjoy having to invigilate them as that means watching people suffer. Here at UBC, in lower-level undergraduate courses we are stuck with obligatory final exams worth at least a certain percentage of the final grade (and another percentage for work done under controlled conditions, be that as exams or in class). I’d rather that exams, like much else, were more like the image above. And less black-and-white; more green, with birdsong… (more…)

Work in progress: rereading / #medievaltwitter #seriousacademic kindness

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It may be a symptom of midlife crisis. Perhaps I should worry. On the other hand, there’s already plenty to worry about without adding any artificial worries to one’s burden.

I’ve been thinking about the past.  (more…)

Un nouveau cours @UBC en janvier 2017 !

affiche pour le cours
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On plagiarism

UPDATED 2015-10-30

Or, It’s That Time Of Year Again (2, or whatever number we’re up to).

imageMy FREN 101 students have their first Big Scary Written Composition assignment coming up. These are for the most part absolute beginners, with some false beginners, and they have now had six and a half weeks of French. So they’re ready for the Big Scary stuff: being beaten with a big stick and having the Fear of God put into them about The Perils Of Plagiarism.

Plagiarism sucks.

We all know it sucks because it’s theft, lazy, mean, horrible, despicable, immoral or amoral, insulting, reprehensible, and generally makes anyone who is themselves a maker of things prone to fits of pique, unhealthy stress, and the physical agony of resisting the atavistic urge to punch perpetrators.

It sucks less obviously because The Fear discourages students from any form of reference, and encourages their Academic Spirit Guides and other Learnership Leaders to give students assignments that suck because they’re either all about citation (with extreme examples in courses on “academic writing,” whatever that is) or they try to avoid it altogether.

All three Styles of Suck force an ugly unnatural divide between student writing and reference to others in a way that is bad for writing, reading, thinking, and intelligent being.  (more…)