Research Taxonomies; or, Things that from a long way off look like flies.

  [Borges] quotes a ‘certain Chinese encyclopaedia’ in which it is written that ‘animals are divided into: (a) belonging to the Emperor, (b) embalmed, (c) tame, (d) sucking pigs, (e) sirens, (f) fabulous, (g) stray dogs, (h) included in the present classification, (i) frenzied, (j) inumerable, (k) drawn with a very fine camelhair brush, (l) et cetera, (m) having just broken the water pitcher, (n) that from […]

You have chosen…wisely? Textbooks for Almost-Surveys

Last month, I wrote about my decision to walk the fine line between survey and seminar in my upcoming American Crises module. Having decided upon my six crises, I now turn my attention to finding the one, indispensable, utterly comprehensive, miraculously accessible, precisely focused and all-around perfect textbook for the module. Having taught surveys of American History for many years, […]

Towsey’s Reading the Scottish Enlightenment: Books and their Readers in Provincial Scotland, 1750-1820

Much like those he studies, Towsey’s book is worth reading twice. Containing engaging narratives alongside meticulously collated evidence, the author succeeds in striking a rare balance between two very different forms of academic discourse. The book is separated into two thematic sections. The first, separated into source-defined chapters, details the distribution of Scottish Enlightenment texts […]

Spoon-feeding or Setting a Good Example?

For new staff, especially post-doc or adjunct teaching staff, inheriting a module can be a deceptively time-consuming process. Even if you know the subject you will be teaching very well, the amount of administration required to adjust and streamline an inherited module guide can be daunting.A few years ago, a colleague of mine began teaching, […]