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Classes

Mapping the Field

Graduate Elective
Maps reveal, delineate, verify, orient, navigate, anticipate, historicize, conceal, persuade, and, on occasion, even lie. From the earliest spatial representations in cave paintings and on clay tablets, to the predictive climate visualizations and crime maps and mobile cartographic apps of today and tomorrow, maps have offered far more than an objective representation of a stable reality. In this hybrid theory-practice studio we’ll examine maps as artifacts, as texts, as media; and mapping as a method useful in the social sciences, humanities, arts, and design. We’ll explore the past, present, and future – across myriad geographic and cultural contexts – of our techniques and technologies for mapping space and time. In the process, we’ll address various critical frameworks for analyzing the rhetorics, poetics, politics, and epistemologies of spatial and temporal maps. Throughout the semester we’ll also experiment with a variety of critical mapping tools and methods, from techniques of critical cartography to indigenous practices to sensory mapping to time-lining, using both analog and digital approaches. Students are encouraged to use the course, which will be supported by a skilled cartographer teaching assistant, to supplement their fieldwork, to develop their own thesis / dissertation projects, or to advance other personal research and creative pursuits. Course requirements include: individual map critiques; lab exercises; and individual research-based, critical-creative “atlases” composed of maps in a variety of formats.

Spring 2021 Class Website

Categories
Publications

On McLuhan

[On McLuhan] in Peter Bexte and Martina Leeker, eds., Medium / McLuhan (meson press, 2020): 52-3.

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Publications

Field [in Uncertain Archives]

“Field Archives” in Nanna Bonde Thylstrup, et al., eds., Uncertain Archives: Critical Keywords for Big Data (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2021): 227-34.

Categories
Presentations

Fluttering Codes: A Cultural History of the Spit Flap

 

On November 23, 2020, the University of Pennsylvania’s Workshop on the History of Materials Texts hosted a “Writing on Objects” roadshow, and I shared “Fluttering Codes: A Cultural History of the Split Flap Display”; my presentation starts at around 22:00

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Presentations

On Care and Repair in Community Tech

On October 13, 2020, I spoke with Rachel Coldicutt about care, repair, and maintenance in community tech, as part of their Community Tech Fellowship interview series

Categories
Publications

Glimmer: Refracting Rock

“Glimmer: Refracting Rock,” LA+ 12: GEO (University of Pennsylvania, 2020)

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Publications

Purity and Security: Towards a Cultural History of Plexiglass

Purity and Security: Towards a Cultural History of Plexiglas,” Places Journal (December 2020).

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Blog

Letters of Recommendation

I’m usually happy to write letters of recommendation for students who’ve taken – and meaningfully engaged in – at least one of my classes, and who, if they’ve been out of school for a while, have kept in touch at least periodically. I also often write letters for colleagues and professional collaborators. I can typically handle sets of letters for about 12 or 15 individuals each semester — so if I have to decline your request, it might be because I’m already maxed out!

Why do I need to set these limits? Because writing a strong, customized letter that concretely describes your unique talents and qualifications is a time-intensive process. And writing multiple letters is cumulatively demanding – particularly every fall, as undergrads apply for grad school, as Master’s students apply for PhD’s, and as both my PhD advisees and my colleagues apply for jobs. I write bespoke letters for each candidate, and the writing process – which involves closely reviewing your past work and future plans – typically takes me about two hours. If you’re applying for graduate school or a prize or fellowship, I’ll also typically invest time in reviewing and offering feedback on your statement of purpose and / or application. And tweaking the application letter for each position – sometimes eight to twelve different schools for a PhD applicant, or a few dozen universities for a prospective faculty member – and navigating their idiosyncratic application systems, takes time. In all, I dedicate an average of six or seven hours to each candidate. This is why it’s hard for me to simply “squeeze in” last-minute requests.

I ask that you please help me help you by doing the following:

  • Request your letters as early in the semester as possible. If you wait until close to your deadlines, I’m likely already fully committed to supporting other students!
  • Roughly a month before your first deadline, please share with me a spreadsheet listing: (1) the programs or opportunities you’re applying for; (2) a couple words on why each program appeals to you, what specific faculty you’d like to work with, what institutional resources you’d be eager to take advantage of, etc., so I can try to work those details into each letter, if possible; (3) links to where I can find more information about the program; (4) if applicable, particular addressees (e.g., do I address my letter to the chair of the search committee?); (5) instructions for my letter submission (e.g., will I receive an email prompting to upload my letter via the university’s application management system, which is typically the case; do I email the search committee chair; do I upload to Interfolio?); and (6) my letter deadline for each school / position. At this time, please also send me (1) a copy of your cv / resume; (2) a draft of your statement of purpose and/or cover letter; and (3) a brief description of the projects you’ve completed in my classes. I’m happy to provide feedback on both the cv and statement, if it would be helpful.
  • Because particular seasonal letter of rec deadlines typically fall within a few (super-busy) weeks of one another, things can get very overwhelming — especially when I’m submitting eight or ten letters for each of 12 different students, many of whom are applying to some of the same schools. With 100+ letter request emails hitting my inbox all at once, it’s possible for mistakes to happen.
    …..Thus, I strongly prefer to take care of each applicant’s letters in one sitting – i.e., I’d ideally upload all eight or ten or [?] of your letters in one fell swoop. I ask that you please register me in each university’s application systems (roughly) simultaneously, so I receive all the notifications on the same day. Please confirm this date with me at least a week in advance, so I can block out time for you, and schedule your “upload session” around those for my other advisees.
  • And please check back in after you’ve heard about the status of your applications!

Thank you! [Image: Wax Seal, via Wikimedia]

Categories
Presentations

Purity and Security: A Cultural History of Plexiglass

Invited Speaker, “Purity and Security: A Cultural History of Plexiglass,” “The City as Environmental Mediation,” Material and Visual Culture Seminar, Centre for Digital Anthropology, University College London (virtual), November 2, 2020

Categories
Presentations

Urban Auscultation: ABC Radio

“Urban Auscultation,” Interview with Jonathan Green, Blueprint, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (October 31, 2020)