Weekend Reads, Late August Edition.

So it’s been a while since I’ve cobbled these together. So: something old, something new.

First off, some fiction:

Then two articles with writing advice:

It’s been years since I taught a class. Back then my students didn’t have smartphones; neither did I. I don’t know what it’s like now being up front, in a world where students surreptitiously (or not) look at their Vine feeds during lectures. I was in graduate school when that first wave of political correctness hit college campuses, but I can’t deny how this gut level of understanding — at least about how words shape perception, in a Sapir-Whorf kind of way — has been largely for the better.

Microaggressions are real, and I comprehend the logic behind trigger warnings, but I can’t help but think the examples mentioned in the article seem cherry-picked for their (to me) extremity. Anyhow, if I were teaching now, this minefield of trigger warnings that the authors describe seems awfully impossible to navigate. I look back on my Anthropology and Asian American Studies syllabi and realize that, if held to these trigger-warning standards, I can only assign the most basic of textbooks. No more readings on Gilbert Herdt’s work on the Sambia; no more Carolyn Nordstrom’s Shadows of War; no more Carlos Bulosan’s America Is In The Heart; no more Jessica Hagedorn’s Dogeaters; no more Ed Lin’s Waylaid; no more R. Zamora Linmark’s Rolling the R’s. Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt, “The Coddling of the American Mind” (The Atlantic)

 

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