Showing posts from January, 2009

other holiday reads

Nation by Terry Pratchett Nation is a surprise. From a fantasy writer come fantasy masquerading as historical fiction. Despite the many clues that this is a made-up world, there's still something real seeming about the set up, so much so that Pratchett added a disclaimer in the back. The premises are multiple, as is to be expected from any Pratchett romp. But this is a more serious romp than most. The question Pratchett poses is: what if, on the cusp of your initiation into manhood, your entire nation of people, your tribe, were obliterated by a tidal wave? A secondary character is a girl from England who is nearly the only one from a shipwreck to survive. In fact, the ship was washed onto the boy's island, helping to decimate his people's land. As if that weren't enough spoilers... the boy does eventually reconstitute something of his people's rituals, as refugees from other, smaller islands make their way to his island. The girl helps, and poisons some r

Toward an early history of teacher/librarian interactions, cooperation, and professional tensions

When I'm ready to revise Chpt 3 of the dissertation, these sources will provide the educational history background for that lit review: -History of Education in America by Pulliam -The American School, 1642 to 1933 by Spring -Education in a Free Society by Ripa -Pillars of the Republic by Kaestle -How Teachers Taught by Curan I have a conundrum regarding this article-to-be: who is the audience? Is it vindicating or villifying to write about teacher-librarian conflict in the past? I do think it's a worthy antidote to histories that gloss over such professional tensions over jurisdiction, definition, identity, etc. L&CR seems wrong because it's not about cultural records, it's about professional culture. This makes me think Library History might be the venue, but that raises issues that Boyd raised and I haven't yet addressed: how do these early tensions connect to the broader story of the joint section of the NEA and ALA that emerged in 1896? My data is ba

Histories that give context for understanding evolution in children's literature

Here's a brief list of histories that are useful for possible lit review on this topic: The Metaphysical Club by Menand Talks about the influence of Agassiz in America The Post-Darwinian Controversies by Moore Details the various controversies, details being the key word. While the exploration of philosophical divergences could be useful, this focuses more on scholarly differences than on the kind of popular reception that would have influenced children's publishing. Victorian Science in Contect, ed. by Lightman Excellent collection of essays, among them the intro by Lightman and the chapter by Barbara Gates (who elsewhere wrote about Arabella Buckely's affiliations with Lyell and Darwin). Wild Things ed by Dobrin and Kidd On ecocriticism in children's lit. Most promising essay is "'He Made Us Very Much Like the Flowers': Human/Nature in Nineteenth-Century Anglo-American Children's Literature" by Maude Hines. Second most promising is "

Out with the old, in with the new

Today on my NPR most emailed podcast, I heard of a guy who did all 121 possible merit badges in order to become an Eagle Scout. For comparison's sake, regular Eagle Scouts need 21 or so. Now that's overachievement. I think back with nausea on the fights in my home-of-origin around my brother's forced march to becoming an Eagle Scout, forced by my father the devout scoutmaster. All my brother wanted was a chance to be a garden variety underachiever, but no such luck in my house. But he had to get those 21 merit badges to satisfy the ego of the father who raised him. Such are fathers and sons around the globe. Not every father and not every son, but enough to create a spiderweb of displaced dreams. I think of the Liz Phair song about flying into Chicago at night. If I were able to look down from a plane on a globe lighted only by the fathers who have pressured their sons to achieve what they did not in thei