Last month (in March), I was asked to be interviewed for a feature in the graduation issue of Graceland’s alumni magazine, the Horizons. They needed 500 words, so, as is my habit, I gave them 1500. Below is the full, unedited version. Now that the semester (and year two on the tenure track) is wrapping up, I’m delighted to have been forced to take time out for reflection on teaching at Graceland. How long have you been teaching at Graceland, and tell me a bit about how you came to be here? This is my second year at Graceland and, thus far, I think I’ve avoided the dreaded “sophomore slump.” The Humanities Division hired me on in the spring of 2015,[…]

Note: I wrote this “welcome” blog post to my TU Dortmund  students  for a course on Anarchism in America, March 2014. I think a lot about work. Thinking about work is an important part of my jobs, all of my jobs. Practitioners of “cultural studies” are self-reflexive about methods, disciplines, and canons; the best teachers interrogate lesson plans and classroom decisions to no end; and graduate students waver precariously between the roles of apprentice, colleague, and professional, with a variety of tasks — including research, writing, teaching, networking, professionalizing —  attending our every waking thought. I am grateful that today’s lesson returned me to Emma Goldman’s “Anarchism: What it really stands for,” an essay that already saved my life twice in graduate school.[…]

Note: I wrote this “welcome” blog post to my TU Dortmund  students  for a course on The New York Poets, March 2014. I admitted in our first meeting that this is a new kind of course for me. I have never taught a class committed entirely to poetry or to the twentieth-century. My other offering this term, a cultural history of anarchism in the United States, is much more typical (that is, if I’ve been around long enough to have a “type”). I entered a graduate program in literature with an uneven bundle of interests: Walt Whitman, Marx/Hegel, labor history, and not making a fool of myself. I’ve come to love poetry, but it was a long, stubborn struggle. Sure, I was “a Whitman guy,”[…]