Kembrew McLeod, whose book Creative License: The Law and Culture of Digital Sampling (with Peter DiCola ,Jenny Toomey, and Kristin Thomson) will be out in 2011,
writes an essay for The Atlantic about the need to change our laws
regarding music sampling. An album like Public Enemy's seminal Fear of a
Black Planet (1990), which sampled dozens of songs, would lose $5 an
album if forced to comply with today's rules. McLeod believes the
cumbersome and expensive laws are greatly inhibiting creativity. He advocates a move to a "blanket license" system like the one ASCAP uses to allow radio stations, bars, and live venues to broadcast music. McLeod has just made a documentary about these issues called Copyright Criminals. He is Associate Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Iowa.
In the news, we read about flights all over Europe delayed by striking British Airways
flight attendants, but in popular culture, people seem to long for the old days. We all know not to call them "stewardesses" anymore, right? Apparently not, according to a new reality show on the CW network called Fly Girls. The show follows five Virgin Atlantic flight attendants who share a "crash pad" in Los Angeles. In one scene they roll their eyes at who call them "air hostesses," but reviewer Hank Steuver believes overall the show reinforces old stereotypes of "airheads" in the air. The New York Times Magazine focuses on fashion rather than hard work and safety, with a slide show of Delta uniforms over the last sixty year. For insight into the history of flight attendants, check out Kathleen Barry's Femininity in Flight. Barry traces the evolution of their glamorized image as ideal women and their activism as trade unionists and feminists, helping us to understand both the struggle of the British Airways crews, and our own nostalgia for the bygone era of beautiful young women in chic dresses.
Congratulations to Todd C. Shaw, whose book Now Is the Time! Detroit Black Politics and Grassroots Activism, has won the National Conference of Black Political Scientists's W.E.B. DuBois Distinguished Book Award. In Now Is the Time!, Shaw, Associate Professor of Political Science and African American Studies at the University of South Carolina, delves into the political strategies of post–Civil Rights Movement African American activists in Detroit, Michigan, to discover the conditions for effective social activism.
Timothy Stoltzfus Jost, author of Health Care at Risk: A Critique of the Consumer-Driven Movement, has been busy commenting on health care reform. Most recently, he offered the New York Timessome quotes. "If you lose your employer-related insurance, you will be able to move
seamlessly into the exchange," he said. Jost also recently appeared on C-Span, NPR (speaking about the abortion issue), and in the San Diego Union-Tribune, where he answered readers' questions about the health care debate. As to whether he can now take a break because we're done talking about health care, Jost has this to say: "No. As soon as the law is signed, Republicanswill begin campaigning to repeal it. But I believe once it is
fully implemented in 2014, Americans will wonder how they ever lived
The Chronicle Review examines the new Walt Disney Family Museum, which opened in October in San Francisco. The museum's focus on a single person makes it unusual, reporter Randy Malamud writes. He interviews Nicholas Sammond, author of Babes in Tomorrowland: Walt Disney and the Making of the American Child, 1930–1960, who says the museum does not challenge Disney's self-creation narrative, in which the founder is "an American genius, a born tinkerer and inventor, like Henry Ford or
Thomas Edison," with a dash of "the qualities of Horatio Alger
(entrepreneurial determination) and Abraham Lincoln (humble origins and
hard work)." The museum will also have an archive, but scholars Malamud interviews seem skeptical that they will have complete access to its treasures. Disney is protective of its corporate image, and much scholarship, including Sammond's book, sometimes presents a bit too much complication for them. Still, Malamud concludes, "the museum energizes the fascinatingly charged scholarly debate that the
Disney phenomenon has provoked, shaking the worn, staid, sometimes
cynical images we have of Disney and his empire, bringing to them
renewed color and motion."
President Obama may have canceled his trip to Indonesia, but a number of events to honor his mother, S. Ann Dunham, proceeded without him. Dunham lived in Indonesia for many years while she did her field work for her dissertation, and Indonesians remember her fondly. On Thursday, March 18, a seminar on Dunham's life and work featured her dissertation adviser, Alice Dewey, and other former colleagues. The Jakarta Post interviewed a number of her acquaintances about her legacy and her influence on President Obama. Her close friend Julia Suryakusuma, a writer, reviews Dunham's book Surviving against the Odds: Village Industry in Indonesia, in today's Jakarta Post. Suryakusuma says the book "is a fascinating and important scholarly piece of work. It's also a
good reminder that Ann not only had sharp intellect, but was a
perfectionist too, and a hard-working one at that. Her work is
extremely well documented, with hard statistical data making the book
extremely detailed and well informed."
Congratulations to Kathryn Bond Stockton, whose book The Queer Child, or, Growing Sideways in the Twentieth Century, is a finalist for a 2010 Lambda Literary Award in the category of LGBT Studies. The awards ceremony will be held in New York City on May 27. Stockton's book was also just reviewed in Lambda Book Report. Reviewer Michael Amico writes, "Kathryn Bond Stockton’s richly incisive intellectual history The
Queer Child, or Growing Sideways in the Twentieth Century reveals a
parallel tract of the literary imagination. Her compelling, and vitally
important, contribution to our understanding of how society juggles,
sometimes successfully and often provocatively, the ideas of queerness
and childhood proves that these ideas have literally formed one another."
New South Wales, Australia is the first government to allow a person to register their sex as "Not Specified." Norrie, a transgendered person, tells the story to The Scavenger, saying "Those concepts, man or woman, just don't fit me, they are not my actual
reality, and, if applied to me, they are fiction. At 48 years of age,
I'm less inclined to just humour other people's delusions about gender
and try and conform to one of their expected options." In her book Fixing Sex: Intersex, Medical Authority, and Lived Experience, Katrina Karkazis writes about the difficulty of assigning sex to some children. The book examines controversies over intersex from the perspective of doctors, parents, and intersex people. The decision to allow Norrie not to specify a sex on government documents could herald the start of a more compassionate attitude toward people who do not fit neatly into the male/female dichotomy.
Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition, and Culture celebrates ten years of publication in 2010.
Founded in 2001 by Jennifer L. Holberg (Calvin College) and Marcy Taylor (Central Michigan University), Pedagogy grew out of the editors’ realization, while they were writing program administrators in graduate school, that there was a lack of theoretically informed scholarship with which to train their teaching assistants. The field’s need for a journal in this area was recognized by the Council of Editors of Learned Journals, which named it “best new journal” in its first year of publication. The journal’s intention of facilitating discourse around teaching in English studies has been realized through a devoted readership and a considerable number of submissions.
“It is gratifying to see that there really is a hunger for critically-inflected approaches to teaching,” says Holberg. “Marcy and I feel privileged that Pedagogy has become a site where conversations across the field of English can take place. We are thankful for all the support from our board, at the Press, and within the profession that makes this possible.”