Academic Freedom, Except When I Disagree

Former AAUP president Cary Nelson had some things to say about the case of Steven Salaita, recently fired from UIUC for criticizing Israel on social media. Since Nelson is known as one of the staunchest defenders of academic freedom against right-wing bogeymen like David Horowitz, one might have expected him to rush to Salaita’s defense. Alas, the mask has slipped, as Nelson’s commitment to academic freedom has proven less strong than his desire »

Say "No" to Dave Heineman for NU President

Current Nebraska governor Dave Heineman is trying to shoehorn himself into the University of Nebraska presidency. Here are six reasons why Heineman should not become the next NU president. 1. He is unqualified Heineman has no advanced degrees. Having graduated from a military college in 1970 doesn’t qualify him to oversee a multi-campus university system which includes a medical school and hospital (UNMC), a major research university (UNL), and two comprehensive universities (UNK, UNO) »

MOOCs and the Masses: Big Data and the Question of Access in Online Teaching

Much of the heat and light generated by recent conversations about the crisis in higher education has been forced through the prism of the “MOOC” (Massively Open Online Course). This has been especially the case during the last year, as the trade press has provided daily click bait to MOOC proponents and opponents alike. Rather than restate the various arguments for and against MOOCs, I want to focus on the Utopian claims made by the »

Nineteen Principles for Literary Criticism

Below you’ll find my liberal translation of Roberto Schwarz’s satirical “19 princípios para a crítica literária.” Reading this, for me, creates a contrast between, on one hand, strikingly familiar and seemingly universal traits of bad criticism and, on the other, rather remote-sounding and dated critics and paradigms. For my generation, Wellek is lost in the dim mists of 1970s lit-crit seminars, Wolfgang Kayser is unknown, and Todorov is just . . . well . . . old. I suppose »

Museum Cuba

The Pope’s recent visit to Cuba has unleashed a storm of commentary and claims from the usual quarters. Conservatives in Miami are angry that the Pope didn’t meet with dissidents. The Castro government is undoubtedly happy about the Pope’s condemnation of the US trade embargo, but less pleased with his comments about Marxism. But even this can’t bother Cuban officials much. After all, Fidel himself declared in 2010 that the “Cuban »