A peek behind the curtain of academia. Danny and two of his colleagues, Dr. Jessica Jost-Costanzo and Christopher Burlingame, deliver conference papers at the 2017 Pennsylvania College English Association conference at Indiana University, Pa. The panel was about trigger warnings, safe spaces, and the teaching of violent comic books. Danny's paper applies Lionel Trilling's moral anxiety to his experience teaching Alan Moore's Jack the Ripper book, From Hell. Burlingame explores the possibilities for teaching critical thinking through Fight Club II. Jost-Costanzo, talks about Art Spiegelman's Maus and her own experiences encountering disturbing literature. Each brief paper (about 15 minutes each) engages with the ongoing controversies around political correctness and the college campus.
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Link to the panel's accompanying slide show.
In many ways, this episode continues the line of inquiry established in the show's very first episode on "Vocation." Danny is joined by Todd Pedlar and Drew Van'tland to discuss Matthew B. Crawford's great 2009 book Shop Class as Soulcraft. A searing investigation into the degradation of work, Crawford's book provides our trio with a lot to talk about. How does Marx provide a language to describe the ways that work has been stripped of dignity? What are the implications of this process for both blue and white collar work? Why don't we teach industrial arts in school anymore? What is an ethical approach to labor? A few pop culture references thrown in as well: The Office, anyone? These and many more issues, plus a lot of fun.
Link to an early, essay version of the book, by Crawford, for The New Atlantis