In many of my classes — most often Grad classes and those dealing with the materiality of the book — I have an exercise where I bring in a stack of monographs, journals, collections of essays, annuals, articles, notes, and reviews. I line them up willy-nilly in front of the class and have my students put them in order of credibility. After much shuffling and discussion, I have them rationalize their decisions. Then I “grade” the class’ choices, re-ordering the books from most credible to least. The exercise teaches students how to evaluate a book or publisher, how to look for the editorial apparatus, how to figure out what a note is versus an article without the context of the journal (much like electronic access). This class (Popular Print Culture) did it the first day and did a pretty good job. But every year I include at least one Edwin Mellon Press book as one of the red-herrings.
Well, the following article is all about how academics evaluate publishers — and the dangers of doing so. This was reblogged from Ted Striphas’ The Late Age of Print FB page, which is well worth liking.
I include it here since it is so topical for this class, which deals with “reading” into the material aspects of print so as to extrapolate about their cultural position and/or machinations.
Six new student blogs posted on “External” forces in Print Culture. More coming…
Students: make sure that you incorporate suggestions from the CommentPress site before posting on your blogs. If you were one of the ones who had tech probs, I still expect you to use CommentPress so I can give you quantitative feedback.
I’ve gone ahead and set up the Peer-Review page via CommentSite. I’ve linked it to the menu, but you can also find it here.
I’ve sent out invites to each of you making you “authors” for the site. This should give you both posting and editing capabilities. If not, let me know (again, I can’t see your interface).
I’ve also posted an old blog entry from another site that we can play with editing/commenting on. This will do until you start posting your own blogposts. And please do this. As I said in class, if everyone uses this feature, I will let “final” posts be due by class rather than Sunday, but this necessitates rolling class posts throughout the week. Please make sure that you subscribe to both the CommentPress page and the Home page so that you are updated when people post and comment.
Here we have the first blog entries for LIT5018. Please take time to read and comment on them before class, especially since we’ll be letting these dictate class discussion tomorrow. Pay attention to not only content, but aesthetic differences between sites. How did your classmates imagine the assignment different than you did? Which blogs were most informative, effective, personal, or fell short?
I also expect feedback for the authors BUT this feedback MUST be constructive, critical, and questioning. I don’t want to see any “Cool” or “Good Job” or “I really liked…” (unless followed by “but…”). Later in the semester we’ll be transitioning to CommentPress, which shall be much more intensive and “work-shoppy,” so get used to giving and accepting constructive feedback. Finally, please don’t wait until the last few minutes before class. Get crackin’.
You can download a .pdf of the contextual article at
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