Tag Archive for literature

Happy (research) birthday

Six years ago – give or take a week or two, I can’t remember when the semester started – I found one of the great intellectual loves of my life. I suppose I often think of the real birth of my research life as being tied to my actual birthday: it was at some point around the…

Coming ’round full circle

I took the first week and a half of winter break to go on one of my every-nine-months-or-so gaming binges – doing the media consumption equivalent of gorging one’s self during the holidays on delicious treats with little thought to anything or anyone else (or your waistline). I played through Tales of Xillia, having played about 3/4s…

Giving pleasure, not a political lesson

Well, the Star Wars comic has proved shockingly popular; I’ve been keeping up on both where it’s going & the sorts of discussions its been stimulating with great interest. I’ve actually been pleasantly surprised that there’s been a lot of delight (and trying to figure out where the references are coming from), versus generalized grousing about shanzhai culture in…

“As if our old companions have returned in a dream”

Academia is funny business: I’m sure there must be other jobs that train you for a relatively long period of time & then dump you out for your actual training after you’ve secured employment, but I can’t think of any. My first semester as a real, live professor was fascinating and frustrating and wonderful and awful…

Every bad movie is bad in its own way

I try very hard (and think I largely succeed) in not being that kind of historian: you know, the one that can’t let historical “fact” go enough to enjoy what’s supposed to be entertainment. Yes, I look askance at random insertions of historical events in films or games – I haven’t (nor will I ever) played Bioshock…

“Unfortunately China is very hard to change”

I just finished my second week of school as an assistant professor, and while there is a lot of new happening in my life right now on all fronts (particularly professionally), I’m traversing a lot of relatively well known ground in my two courses. I haven’t gotten to the fun bits of my introductory course on…

Dreaming of the far horizon

Fair warning: this is rough and addled; I’m in a particularly manic phase of writing/research of my dissertation, which has spilled over into all sorts of areas of my life. But it usually manifests in the desire to write something – anything – other than my dissertation, and read something – anything – other than…

In summer, it is the nights that are most beautiful

In summer the nights [are most beautiful]. Not only when the moon shines, but on dark nights too, as the fireflies flit to and fro, and even when it rains, how beautiful it is! (Sei Shōnagon, The Pillow Book, trans. Ivan Morris) Summer in Shanghai is draining – it’s hot and very humid, and it…

The cosmos is a weiqi board. A fair one, dammit.

Kris Ligman had a nice piece over at Pop Matters on class and games (RPGs, more specifically) – the class-blind, wonderful lands of opportunity that they are: Is there any ludonarrative dischord greater than the capitalist, white, middle-class attitudes of unrestrained play coming into conflict with issues of class and race so utterly failed by…

Recharging the batteries

So I’ve had the occasion – thanks to a visit from family – to completely set aside work for about two and a half weeks & just relax.  One thing I’ve found since starting grad school, lo those many years ago, is that “relaxation” is sort of a misnomer for what’s going on when you’re…