On April 1st, 2022, I defended my dissertation, “Atmospheric Media: Computation and the Environmental Imagination,” and became a doctor. Below is the text of the talk I gave at the top of my defense, which explores the project’s argument, context, and next steps.
I am supposed to be writing my dissertation. I am supposed to be working on the fourth and final chapter (although second structurally), currently titled “Techniques of Aerology.” It is supposed to be a close reading of four pieces of electronic literature and media arts that engage atmospheric data in some capacity. It is supposed to use the frame of “media technique” to perform these close readings. It is supposed to be a relatively fun and easy chapter to write, the one that was most in my wheelhouse when I proposed the dissertation, and which draws from prior articles and essays I’ve written.
This past year, I began the process of looking for post-graduate work. More specifically, I faced The Market, the year-long competitive process of attempting to secure gainful employment as a college professor. Like the vast majority of graduate students, adjunct instructors, independent researchers, and early-career faculty who try their hand at The Market, I didn’t succeed. Given that I’ve used this blog to reflect on career milestones and points of transition, I want to do the same for this first—and final—year on The Market.
Earlier today, a friend asked me how I write. Not like, existentially or anything (although it’s a challenge these days!), more my workflows for writing. Since they’re not the first to ask this, and since I went ahead and wrote it up for them, I thought I might as well post it on here for anyone else interested in workflows that incorporate plain text, citation integrations, and open-source software.
stop the clocks
It is long past time to abolish time. I have felt this strongly for a few years now and the pandemic’s askew, endless, perilous temporality has only convinced me further of this. And so, on a Sunday evening, a time once characterized by a far better writer than I as “the long dark tea-time of the soul”, I have decided finally to make good on my repeated threats to write preliminary notes for a manifesto for the abolition of time.
My wife and I often joke that a sign of our ultimate compatibility is that our longest, most protracted, knock-down-drag-out fights have always been about copyright. Nothing specific about the topic lends us to feel this way, but rather that out of all the things to get in a tiff with one’s spouse about (neither of us are lawyers), that’s the one? I usually occupied the anti- side and she the pro-, although over time we’ve more or less dropped the argument because it stopped being all that interesting to fight over after a certain point.
When I wrote “Against Cop Shit” back in February, I did so because I was angry about how many educators prefer to assume adversarial relationships to their students rather than to treat them as equal participants in the project of classroom education. Little did I know that the occasion of a global pandemic would give cover to whole new genera of cop shit, and today I saw a post on Twitter that sufficiently broke me such that I felt compelled to Blog Through It:
NB: This abstract was most recently updated in November 2020. I keep it regularly updated as my project progresses. Check the revision history for this page (linked at the bottom) if you’re interested in past iterations.
Thesis: abolish cop shit in the classroom.
The best game of 2019 is called A Short Hike. In it you play a small bird-person on an island in Canada, populated by other small bird-people and also some mice-people and turtle-people and really just a whole host of animal-people. Your objective is to take a nice short hike to the top of the mountain in search of cellphone service, because you’re waiting on a call from your mom. It looks like this: