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I am posting this as a benchmark, not because I think I'm playing very well yet.  The idea would be post a video every month for a ye...

Monday, April 29, 2024


 Would you do this for $2,500 a semester?  ($5,000 a year).  It seems like a lot of work.  Getting 20 faculty members to come to an event is asking a lot.  You'd be essentially putting an event together every 3 to 4 weeks. To me it seems absurdly over-ambitious, even the pay were twice that.  Maybe I just lack energy.  

Call for Dean’s Fellow for Research Growth


Position Description:


We are seeking a dynamic and organized individual to join our team as the Dean’s Fellow for Research Growth at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. This position offers a unique opportunity to spearhead research events aimed at fostering collaboration, innovation, and interdisciplinary dialogue among faculty members. 


Further Details:


This role centers on convening 12 collaborative and informative research gatherings annually. Each event will revolve around a specific research theme determined in consultation with the College leadership team, Dean's Research Advisory Committee, Chairs and Directors, and feedback from the College faculty. For instance, a meetup could spotlight Artificial Intelligence, drawing interest from faculty across various disciplines within the College and professional schools. Other themes might encompass Ethics, Quantum Technologies, Cancer, and Community-Based Research, among others. These 12 gatherings will cover distinct topics, offering a diverse platform to catalyze research discussions within the College and beyond.


The overarching objective is to bring together individuals with shared interests in specific topics or themes, aiming to foster interdisciplinary conversations and collaboration, secure external funding, generate novel research concepts, and co-author publications. Essentially, the aim is to facilitate meaningful connections among researchers working on similar topics across campus, transcending the traditional silos that exist within our academic environment.


Key Responsibilities:


  • Organize and lead 12 research networking events per year (6 per semester), each focusing on a different timely, important, and impactful research theme. 
  • Collaborate with College staff to coordinate and facilitate 2-hour meetings for each event.
  • Actively identify and invite experts from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, as well as professional schools, including the Medical Campus, relevant to each event's theme.
  • Promote events to faculty to ensure a diverse and engaged participation, aiming for at least 20 faculty members in attendance at each event.
  • Facilitate introductions and discussions during events, allowing faculty members to showcase their research areas, propose collaboration opportunities, and discuss potential funding avenues.
  • Foster an environment conducive to networking, brainstorming, and the exchange of ideas among participants.
  • Identify emerging research ideas, areas, and researchers in need of additional engagement, and document those requiring follow-ups by the Dean’s Office. Deliver regular informal updates to the Dean’s leadership team and submit an activity report at the end of each semester.     



  • Faculty appointment in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
  • Enthusiasm for promoting interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation in research.
  • Strong organizational skills.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, with the ability to engage and motivate diverse groups of individual

Saturday, April 27, 2024

Some thought experiments

 Take seriously the idea that music and poetry are closely related, in the sense that they have common origin and elements; don't take that as an arbitrary or forced relationship at all. What consequences flow from this supposition? 

Take the ineffability trope seriously, not as some  bogus cop-out. Writing about music is genuinely difficult. Many books about music don't really address music at all, etc.... 


Friday, April 26, 2024


 We voted for faculty union, 850 to 132.  It is a convincing percentage, and nobody I know of is saying openly that they voted against. Now comes the bargaining. Wages is the big issue: he have lost ground to inflation and earning less than 10 years ago (on average). Benefits are ok, I suppose. The other thing would be job security. The Board of Regents can authorize the Chancellor to fire people due to financial reasons, and that has occurred at other Kansas Regents' institutions.   

We have high attrition rates. I haven't left because I lack administrative experience to be hired as chair, while not being a big star or following trends in research. 

There are multi-million dollar construction projects, like a total overhaul of football stadium. We have lots of newish buildings, and some old elegant ones, but it seems that buildings are not so important, if we can have school for a year from our couches at home, as we did.  

They make noises about paying market rates for faculty and staff... Needless to say there are deans and vice-chancellors who are not suffering financially.  

Friday, April 19, 2024

Dream of Acting

 I was acting in a production of El público.  I hadn't memorized my lines, and so had to read from a script; was trying to justify this to myself. (Maybe nobody will notice!). But I lost my place in the script and was also thinking that I was not a good actor in the first place. It seemed to be a dream about arrogance. Since I am a Lorca scholar I didn't bother memorizing, or even looking at the play, before hand.  

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Table of Contents


Misunderstanding Lorca

1.     Introduction: Lorca and Me 

2.     Toward an Intellectual Biography

3.     The Death of the Subject

4.     Is Bodas de sangre a Work of Fiction? 

5.     Lorca and Flamenco: The History of a Misunderstanding 

6.    Teaching Receptivity 

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Anderson Cooper

 It is not "ironic" that Salman Rushdie was attacked with a knife while defending free speech. It is the opposite of irony, whatever that is called. It is a "rhyme."  

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Misunderstanding Lorca

 I have a book that will either be called Understanding Lorca or Misunderstanding Lorca

The first title seems misleading; the second, too facetious. 

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Lorca's supposed giving up of poetry

 "After 1930, Federico García Lorca moved almost entirely from poetry to theater so as to engage audiences directly... "

Labanyi, Jo; Delgado, Luisa Elena. Modern Literatures in Spain (p. 167). Polity Press. Kindle Edition. 

I think the "almost" is doing a lot of work there. Since Lorca only lived until the middle of 1936, we have barely a half decade, with three major poetic works: Llanto por ISM, the sonnets, and the Diván. Then the six Galician poems (maybe a minor work), and some uncollected poems. It is true that the balance shifts from the 20s, when Lorca wrote Cante jondo, Canciones, Suites, Poeta en Nueva York. 

Also, Lorca remained interested in his "impossible" theater to the end. It is not true that he simply wanted to "engage audiences." 


 "Gamoneda’s 1977 Descripción de la mentira (Description of a Lie) merged ethics and aesthetics in everyday language. He would continue to write about the intersections of personal and collective concerns (love, family, aging, rural depopulation, immigration, economic need) throughout the democratic period, including Blues castellano (Castilian Blues, 1983; written in the 1960s but ..." 

Labanyi, Jo; Delgado, Luisa Elena. Modern Literatures in Spain (p. 272). Polity Press. Kindle Edition. 

I noticed this because, well, if you know about something, then you will see mistakes very easily. For example, if you read a newspaper article about something you know very, very well, then it will be inaccurate, in most typical cases. But this means that you cannot trust the same newspaper about things of which you are ignorant. 

Gamoneda's language in DDLM is not "everyday," but highly baroque. The idea of merging ethics and aesthetics is meaningless, without any added context, and a list of themes does nothing to explain why Gamoneda is a significant poet. It is confusing to say that he is writing during the democratic period a work that he had already written before. 

Probably the book as a whole is good, even though it happens not to be good on every page. It purports to be a cultural history, and covers languages other than Castilian. Perhaps, trying to do too much, it is going to be inadequate in many areas, not even mentioning, say, the most influential Spanish poet of the latter part of the twentieth century, José Angel Valente. 

Doing it well or doing it at all

 Increasingly, I think it more important to do something in the first place, and let *doing it well* be secondary. This works for all hobbies in which the ego can be put to one side: birdwatching, piano playing, running, drawing, cooking. Of course, there is some implicit idea of being  better at it, trying out new recipes. There is a minimum floor of competency, in that food must be more or less tasty. There is satisfaction in improving, but it isn't even necessary. 

It applies as well to meditation, where doing it is the significant thing, and being better at it is the result of doing it without trying to be better. The egoism of  being better at it is counterproductive. 

With scholarship, since I know I can do it well, I need to just do it *at all* and the results will follow. I have no doubt that it will be good, because I have done it in the past and have not lost the ability.  The ego involved should be a quiet confidence, not a worrisome insecurity. 


The corollary of all this is that not doing it at all means that this part of your life does not exist. Someone who does not cook at all is not cooking well. 


 An article in New York Times makes fun of grammar peeves, etc... How they are kind of silly.  

The comments are people complaining about their own grammar peeves.  


 Manuel Machado writes that between cante jondo and other forms of flamenco there is as distance as between "Baudelaire ... y el pueblo." 

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Ode to Awkwardness

An ode to something graceful would be natural, so to get at awkwardness we would think about something endearing in its youthful joy, or shy and stuttering, attractive but not in a conventional way. An obstacle overcome. Awkwardness depends on grace, in the same way that asymmetry presupposes symmetry. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

The paper is cheap...


The paper is cheap; the font is ugly;

the binding looks flimsy; there are some smudges on the back cover.

This book might be brilliant, 

for all I know;

it is written in a language I do not know. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2024


 I have a critique of Lawrence Kramer's critique of ineffability.  ("Oracular musicology"). It seems to me that music really is ineffable, and that there is a good reason for the trope.  I think it is rooted in the very structure of musical language, which seems to be saying something, but we don't / can't know what it is saying, exactly. It is a language with phonology, prosody, syntax, punctuation, but without determinate semantic meaning. It has semantics, but not of a determinate kind.  So the romantics invented the trop of ineffability for music (previously a trope applied to mystical experiences).  But they did so because music is like that.  Kramer wants to eliminate ineffability because he wants to talk about musical meaning in a more determinate way.  Odd for a postmodernist!  

Monday, April 1, 2024

The music paradox

 The idea is that music suggests the existence of a different world, a world where such as thing like music existed. But, since music exists in our own world, then this other world is not truly other: it is our own, after all. But we have to go through these particular steps to get to the realization that music exists in our own world, because music suggests the existence of a different world, a world where such a think like music existed. But, since music exists in our own then the other world is not truly other: it your own, after all, But we have to go through these particular steps to get to the realization that music exists our own world, because music suggests the existence of a different world, 


 Some women I know were talking about Elizabeth Strout the other day.  I downloaded one of her books on kindle, and I think I have serious allergy to middle brow earnest realist fiction.  To me, it's not well written at all. Some of it is just flat, but then there will be a purple patch or a misconceived simile.  This is a wildly successful writer who has shows and movies made of her work. 


 There is something else I'm trying to track down: Kenneth Burke notes at one point that the rain dance is done right before the rainy season begins. It is not that people believe, naively, that the dance causes the rain; instead, the dance is a ritual preparation for the coming showers.  

We might think there are many kinds of magical thinking. Other people's behavior manifests itself as magical, from our perspective, but our own kind of magic is invisible to ourselves because it is integrated into our behavior and thought patterns in a seamless way.  

[Update: I've found a reference to Wittgenstein's critique of James Frazer along these lines.  I'm not sure if Burke makes the same critique or if I was misremembering.  Burke does talk about Frazer as well.  The idea is that the Western mind talks about rain dance as a kind of cause effect relation, but its real meaning is "let's celebrate the beginning of the rainy season."].