Memory and Installations

by Dr Davis on November 25, 2014

Ewing, Margaret. “The Unexpected Encounter: Confronting Holocaust Memory in the Streets of Post-Wall Berlin.” Rhetoric, Remembrance, and Visual Form. Eds. Anne Teresa Demo and Bradford Vivian. New York: Routledge, 2012. eBook.

“visual cues offer the first indication of a site’s significance” (Ewing)

“the installations trigger memorial operations in the mind, thereby facilitating a personal assimilation of history” (Ewing)

“perception of the site shifts in the experience of the artists’ interventions” (Ewing)

These three quotes seem to offer implications for conventions, though the author is specifically talking about transitory art installations.



Research On-going

by Dr Davis on November 24, 2014

The paper for RCMF has been sent off. In that case you might be wondering, why are there still posts here?

There are a few reasons.

The first reason, and originally the only reason, is that I had additional notes, which I had failed to put into my computer. I had read the works and I like having the notes all in one place, so TCE works for that for me. (So does Evernote and iCloud and Dropbox, but ever since my hard drive crashed with all my data on it, I am way more concerned with keeping my things in multiple places.)

The second reason is that I have come up with some other ideas for papers related to the topic I was working on.

Thanks, Heather, for the CFP, the accepted abstract, and the opportunity to write the chapter. Hopefully it will be close enough to perfect for some R&R and then publication. Especially, though, I want to say thank you for giving me a way to incorporate another thing I love to do as part of my work–and the possibility for other publications because I now have ideas related to it.

An interesting thing is that for one of the papers I want to write, I may need to learn to program. (That will be an interesting challenge. I’ve been married to a programmer for years and have never felt motivated to learn to program, limiting myself to basic HTML years ago when the apps wouldn’t do it automatically.) One thing is that the paper format I want to be able to do and need to program for is also related to the way I had envisioned doing a digital story four years ago. If I can figure out how to do that, I can do both.

For an example of the kind of “look” to the work I am talking about, you can look at Jesse Schell’s website. Schell is the guy who wrote The Art of Game Design, which has influenced my work in my classroom.


Landscape and Memory

by Dr Davis on November 24, 2014

steampunk_icon_for_Safari_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d4zhax0Hammer, Andrea. “Memory Lines: The Plotting of New York’s New Military Track.”
Rhetoric, Remembrance, and Visual Form. Eds. Anne Teresa Demo and Bradford Vivian. New York: Routledge, 2012. eBook.

“any landscape—as a continually unfolding story and vast mnemonic device, a living, shifting repository of marks, lines, and erasures that “speak” of past lives, past events, past cultural myths and meanings”
This applies, I think, to the experience of a convention.

To understand landscape = “to carry out an act of remembrance” (Tim Ingold qtd. in Hammer)



Visual Form and Memory

by Dr Davis on November 23, 2014

steampunk_icon_for_Safari_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d4zhax0Vivian, Bradford and Anne Teresa Demo. “Introduction.” Rhetoric, Remembrance, and Visual Form. Eds. Anne Teresa Demo and Bradford Vivian. New York: Routledge, 2012. eBook.

“To remember in late modernity is to store, send, or retrieve content” (Vivian and Demo)

“resources of personal memory training represent contemporary self-help equivalents to the classical ars memoriae” (Vivian and Demo)

“internet search thus provides a suggestive juxtaposition between contemporary technologies of memory and the classical art of memory” (Vivian and Demo)

“Associations between memory and visual phenomena supply the common denominator between these apparently antithetical paradigms of memory” (Vivian and Demo)

“the ancient memories were trained by an art which reflected the art and architecture of the ancient world” (Frances Yates qtd in Vivian and Demo).

“To remember, then as now, is to see.” (Vivian and Demo)

“generate valuable insights concerning not only how memories may be seen in visual form but also how visual forms constitute noteworthy material sites of memory” (Vivian and Demo)

“visual media can efficiently and reliably hypostasize the putative contents of memory” (Vivian and Demo)

“we presume an ability to mechanistically retrieve either part or all of our memories through some form of sight” (Vivian and Demo)

“visual artifacts materially facilitate practices of remembrance” (Vivian and Demo)

“contemporary artists routinely demonstrate the power of visual forms to evoke compelling senses of memory… dramatizing its personal, cultural, and technological variability” (Vivian and Demo)

“memory is profoundly informed by visual media, through rhetorical dynamics: visual and memorial forms coalesce according to the ways in which practices of interpretation, argumentation, or communication assign shared meaning” (Vivian and Demo)

“The relevant rhetorical question is why material intersections among images and memory sometimes succeed and sometimes fail as persuasively wrought depictions—or sightings—of the past” (Vivian and Demo)

“visual memory can ironically precede corporeal experience” (Vivian and Demo)



Comfort Books

by Dr Davis on November 22, 2014

I attended a presentation at FenCon in September on comfort books, titled “Too Close for Comfort.” I was thinking about the talk, remembering my own contributions to the discussion during the Q&A and went looking for my notes. Apparently I never put my notes up here about the panel, but I did have my “paper” version. I decided to post my notes, as I think it is an interesting topic.

speaker reading speechPanelists:
Michelle Muenzler (cookie lady)—short story author, book with agent
J. Kathleen Cheney—1902 alternate history, Portugal, book
Rob Rogers–mediator
Michael Ashleigh Finn—short story author, working on superhero pastiche, consultant to Dresden Files comic books
Kim Antell—playwright, artist, trying to break into novels, ArmadilloCon chair

Climbing with BooksComfort books = comfort books for eyes
What drives the phenomena? Why do we like?

Kim= anxiety, need something to calm me
Michael= same thing

Michelle= not anxiety, a little sad or really tired, you want something familiar

Kathleen= less pressure when you are reading a book you’ve read, you don’t have to finish the chapter, you don’t have to be worried, don’t have to stay up all night, maybe read just your favorite scenes… You don’t have to work at it. It’s easy.

Michael = read into the opposite that, Elephant book by Prachett, couldn’t find it, fell asleep looking for it

Can it be a style and not a book you’ve already read?
Kathleen = Yes. Can be a romance novel, pretty darn predictable. That is one of the attractions of the romance novels and watching romantic comedies. You’re in a safe relationship with it.

Kim = That’s why I don’t watch romantic comedies.

Michelle= I read picture books like that.

Michael= Want Tarantino to come out with romance novel.

Rob= cozy mysteries too, Nero Wolfe, Miss Marple, etc.

Kim = I heard romance pop-up novel. That would be brilliant!

study-books-computer-illustration-bigWithout naming the book, please tell me some of the characteristics.
Kathleen = esp w books read before, scenes between principals, like reading the dialogue, will skip the action scenes and read the dialogue, lots of dialogue. Sometimes this is not available in sf. I want to read the personal interactions.

Michelle = lean toward strong emotional scenes, makes me cry, already have the buildup in my head so I can go to middle or last third…

Rob = doesn’t work for me

Michael = stress hormones are in tears, when release them…

Rob = like this emotional impact, then do that

Kathleen = romantic comedies have “all hope is lost” moment about 2/3s of way through. You have this scene. You watch it. You cry. You’ve released your stress.

Michael = Read on Friday so will have 2 days to recover.

Michael = read at conversational speeds, and at bad age for reading, do a lot of audio books. For the audio books, it’s the reader. Sometimes the voice is the deal. If you have good wordsmithing in the novel, then it’s even better.

Kim = reading disability, can’t read large descriptions, need conversation; I choose books that feel more human. I’m weird. Grew up in RCC household in Houston. No one in family like me. Comfort to read about people like me.

Rob = another wrinkle for me, kind of like playing an old song, reminds me of a time when things were calmer, I can go back to that. Outside of SFF I go for Nero Wolfe, Dick Francis. Ties me back to a different time.

Michael = comedic aspect, but plays on heart and brain strings; laugh, laugh, make think, laugh, laugh, make think

reading-illusWhat specific books or authors do you read for comfort?
Michael = Pratchett

Kim = The Sapphire Rose, well-written siege, romance, adventure…
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, high school read, Douglas Adams made me feel good.

Kathleen=sff, Martha Wells’ Fall of Ile-Rien trilogy, I love Tremaine so much. Madeline L’Engle first three novels in Wrinkle, Elizabeth Mansfield’s Regency Romances—like her better than Georgette Heyer…

Kim = I do read Regency Romance, but only the good ones.

Michelle = favorite Peter S. Beagle’s books—Innkeeper’s Song, The Last Unicorn… When I moved away from home, my mom was McCaffrey fan. But she had two extra books, so I took her extra copies. And her copy of The Hobbit. Linnea Sinclair is another author I like.

Michael = according to Romantic Times I’ve been reading romance forever, Lois McMaster Bujold… Tolkien didn’t write for reading, but for laying down a mythos.

Rob = David Eddings, Robert Aspirin, Anne McCaffrey.

Kim = Madeline L’Engle’s mainline fiction

green and orange booksHave you ever had any comfort books that stopped being comfort books?
Kim = The last time I read Hitchhiker’s Guide, it wasn’t as good as it used to be. Read it 50 times, but think I have finally read it too much.

Michael = haven’t had that with comfort books, but “That’s brilliant!” the phenomenal ideas. But the book is poorly written. So ideas good, but writing bad. Dresden Files used to be comfort, but now I am a Beta reader and it’s work. Books got dark for a while. Changes was dark. Later come back to the light, humor.

Rob = Piers Anthony. Loved the Xanth books when I was a kid. The punnier they got, the less I liked them. But the story, the magical world, everyone having a talent. As I got older, his writing wasn’t as good. Some was problematic. Myth Adventure series, Aspirin. I can re-read first 6, but after that… not.

Michael = Piers Anthony had brilliant ideas. Execution, not so much.

Kathleen = fallen off the list, not specific books; but series that I really loved and the author went somewhere I did not like, that spoils the series for me. Also another grinding to a halt on 7th book. Gotten tired of it.

Michael = Anita Blake. Don’t hate what she did, but ruined the series for me. Steven Brust books… wandered. First book he mentioned awesome stuff, but he never got back to it.

Kim = Anne Rice does that.

Michelle = high school, college, used to read a ton of Orson Scott Card… My copy of Ender’s Game is worn out. But as I started writing, I got too aware of political issues. Took away that comfort feeling. So I don’t go back and re-read them.

Michael = Cerebus comic series. Some of the giant volumes, absolutely amazing. But later, messed up. Misogynistic.

Michelle = Richard Adams’ book, re-read, heroine is as dumb as a stump. Loved secondary characters and world, but eventually couldn’t take the stupidity.

Rob = off comfort book, gore books… When I was a kid, these were the supermarket books. They were fantasy. First few were interesting. Book or two into it, really kind of messed up. Treatment of women is wrong on many levels.

Michael = gore kept me out of sff for a while.

Kim = when I originally saw title of panel, I thought of books that give us the heebie jeebies. There are a lot of misogynistic books, but I can’t read them. I like books that have strong men and women characters…

writing-tongue-outYou said you were reading and liked the secondary characters. Does comfort reading lead to comfort writing?
Kathleen = I think I know what you are asking. A lot of times when you are reading, you find the secondary characters more interesting. A lot of readers will write fanfic because they like the minor characters. If you read romance novels, this is something you will see. They spin off entire novel series’ this way. Christine Feehan.

Kim = I don’t read or write fanfic. But what I will do, I have a very active imagination and I daydream. I will write off the books. I just don’t write them down. I daydream about them.

Kathleen = same thing. Loved this so much, I want to get involved in it.

Michael = don’t write fanfic… I do mushing. Play feature characters from the books…

Michelle = my writing is so dark. I can’t write about secondary characters. Not comforting when I kill them off.

Rob = wrote a Sherlock Holmes adventure, took characters that I loved… I like it, comfort… Writing is too hard to do as comfort. But what I write tends to be the kind of thing that tends to be what I would want to read. Going to have happy endings.
Can give them a tough ride, but won’t toss them in the grave at the end.
Touch back on secondary characters and wanting to give them spotlight. Didn’t make Watson the hero, but gave him a couple of moments when he was a badass.

Are any of our comfort books dark books?
Kim asked this question.

Michael = One, dark through a large portion of it…

Kim = one I read again and again, but “creepy-ass dark book”

Kathleen = one of my fav ss is dark by Tanith Lee. Loved this one story. Will re-read.

Michelle = like to read books that make me cry. I’m mining emotions out of comfort books, and then I take the emotions and write them down.

drama masks tragedyPrefer in grave or a happy ending?
Uncomfortable change or something in the middle? Something that speaks to a reader’s own issues in life…

Michelle = if it is a book that you connect with on a personal level, that would be a comfort book

Rob = feeling down, I might put in Return of the Jedi, xx is my favorite, but not watch when down

Kim = comfort books are the opposite of what I am going through

Michael = don’t find it comforting, shroedenfraude,

Kim = I want to be so far away from being me as comfort book. I want to be an adventurer.
Rob = comfort books are escapism.

Iron Druid audio books… That man can read. Luke Daniels. He is a one-man radio show, doing all the voices, completely different. If you like Jim Butcher would like Iron Druid. Friend’s brother kept bringing it up and I listened to it and I was addicted.

Jim Dale is also good at reading.

Ilona Andrews Magic BleedsAudience Answers
Serialized romance novels. See the same characters. Almost like I’m a part of the story. Outlander series, in fourth book—lot of rape in that series.
John Steinbeck and Grapes of Wrath.
Heir to the Empire, the whole series by Timothy Zahn
Not sure nostalgia, but watching characters grow up, YA books… Terry Brooks’ Shenarra series, RA Salvatore Forgotten Realms, and Anne McCaffrey’s xx series
My answers: Liad books, first three. Weber’s War God’s Own (esp Oath of Swords). Kate Daniels’ Magic Bleeds: Every time I read it, I am thankful again for my husband and how good our relationship is. The characters have a strong marriage. (Someone else in the audience asked me for the title of the book again because of that comment.)


From Adjunct to FT Professor

by Dr Davis on November 21, 2014

One of my dear friends has been officially hired full-time by the community college for which she has been adjuncting for the last four years.

It can happen!

–Note: I adjuncted there for 8 years and was never hired full-time, though after publications were added to my CV, I did get hired by a different cc full-time.


CFP for Melusine

by Dr Davis on November 21, 2014

Melusine’s Footprint: Tracing the Legacy of a Medieval Myth

Editors: Misty Urban, Melissa Ridley Elmes, Deva Kemmis

Matriarch, monster, muse, and myth: while the late 14th c French prose romance by Jean d’Arras—in which he envisions her as a foundress of the powerful Lusignan family— arguably remains the earliest version
of the story of Melusine, the figure of the fairy woman cursed with a half-human, half-serpent form traveled widely throughout the legends of medieval and early modern Europe. From Thüring von Ringoltingen’s German iteration of 1456 to related folktales that brought Melusine decisively to the European medieval imaginary, Melusine’s variants surface in countries and centuries far beyond her French inception. One finds her entwined in the ancestry of noble houses across Europe; a Melisende ruled as Queen of Jerusalem; and the philosopher Paracelsus writes of Melusine as one of the four elementals. Today, one finds her in film, novels, video games, and the Starbucks logo, suggesting that Melusine was and remains a powerful, multivalent symbol capable of condensing the fears, myths, and cultural fantasies of any given historical period into a potent visual image.

We seek to assemble a volume of essays that examine the impact and legacy of the Melusine legendary in art, history, literature, and fields beyond. This collection will investigate the many representative instances of this figure over time and space, with analyses that give consideration to the following questions: What
particular valence does the half-serpent figure of Melusine hold for the time, place, and media in which she appears? How has the figure changed over time, and what forces have contributed to these changes? How do these various installations of Melusine deal with the transgressive nature of her hybrid form, and the transformations of that form which are integral to her story? What about this figure resonates across cultural periods, and what meanings herald a particular historical moment? What can Melusine teach us about reading
history (or art, or indeed any sort of cultural artifact) and the ways in which readers continually recreate meaning each time a story is retold?

While all proposals will be given full consideration, essays that approach the figure beyond the work of Jean d’Arras are particularly welcome. We invite methodologies that are historically researched or theoretically grounded as well as descriptive in nature. Please send a proposal of 500-800 words, including a short list of projected sources, along with a very brief CV to Misty Urban at [email protected] by January 6, 2015. Final essays of 6-25 pages will be expected by December 31, 2015.

from H-Net


Writing for Journal Publication

by Dr Davis on November 20, 2014

One of my colleagues has requested that several of us come to a graduate class and talk about our experiences with getting published in journals.

To prepare for that, I went back through this blog to look for relevant posts. This post contains some distilled information, some links, and some ruminations based on the discussion in the class.

In November 2009, about a year after I started trying to get published, I wrote a post on my publication/rejection record for my most recent work.
5 papers submitted, 2 accepted, 2 rejected, 1 pending
I try to be very careful in placing my work where it is most likely to get accepted. Even with that, my acceptance rate was a 2:3 ratio. (There were also numbers for creative pieces included in the original post.)

From my CV (and old CVs):
11 journal articles published
6 book reviews
2 chapters (2 others were accepted and not published)
(3 encyclopedia articles accepted but never published–Based on my experience, then, encyclopedia articles are not worth doing.)

At one point I wanted to include on my CV a section labeled “Not Published Due to Recession.”

My experience:
In the last 15 months…
Writing about Writing
Publications and Research
Working on a Revision
4 Ways to Write a Paper in a Hurry

Successful academic writing information:
Good Advice for Successful Academic Research and Writing
Style in Academic Writing
Don’t Get Too Attached

Good advice:
On Publishing
On Writing Book Reviews

Relevant links:
330-word guide to writing book proposals
the down-and-dirty article

Sources for CFPs:

I have also written 2 other articles I didn’t submit. One would probably have been published, but the other probably would not have been. Why didn’t I submit either one?

The first one was on a topic I was (at the time) thinking I needed to quit working on. I should still have submitted the article. I eventually revised the work and submitted it to a journal. If I had sent it in at the time, however, it would already be published, whereas right now it is in the submission process.

The second one was written for a presentation and the possibility of publication. However, for it to have been worth being published I would have had to have done a lot more work on it and it was a “niche” topic that was interesting to the convention I presented at, but less likely to be publishable. It also wouldn’t advance the work I want/need to do, so I am letting that go.

The work I have already put in on the second possibility is not worthless, however, because the process of considering how I could get it done in the limited time available to me (and researching what work I needed to do to make it “complete”) gave me ideas and resources for work that is within the purview of my interests and area.

I have written at least 17 other full articles that were not accepted. Unlike what I should have done, what my colleagues said to do, I have not looked for other places for those to be accepted and gone full-bore forward with the work. Having sat in on the class, I will go back through those works and consider if there is potential in the works–both are other publication sites possibilities and will this work that I’ve already done serve to advance the work I am already doing and will continue to do as I have narrowed my interests/focus.

I hope that this post offers a window into writing as academics because writing is such a large part of the work.


CFP for Book Reviews

by Dr Davis on November 20, 2014

Book reviews
full name / name of organization:
Randy Robertson / Modern Language Studies
contact email:
[email protected]
Modern Language Studies, the journal of the Northeast Modern Language Association, is seeking reviews for the summer 2013 issue. [I assume this should be 2015, as the CFP was submitted to UPenn in November of 2014.]

I am especially interested in reviews of primary sources (including scholarly editions, contemporary literature, art, film, comic books, visual and popular culture), pedagogical works, and hypertext publications. However, reviews are no longer restricted to these categories.

Graduate students are welcome to contribute to the journal. Please submit your review electronically (as a Word attachment) to Randy Robertson, Reviews Editor of MLS, at [email protected]

From UPenn.


CFP Writing Beyond Two Cultures

by Dr Davis on November 19, 2014

Thinking and Writing Beyond Two Cultures: STEM, WAC/WID, and the Changing Academy (3/28/15)
full name / name of organization:
Double Helix: A Journal of Critical Thinking and Writing
contact email:
[email protected]
Double Helix: A Journal of Critical Thinking and Writing is currently accepting submissions for Volume 3 (2015):

Thinking and Writing Beyond Two Cultures: STEM, WAC/WID, and the Changing Academy

In 2008 The Times Literary Supplement included the publication of C. P. Snow’s 1959 Rede Lecture, The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution, on its list of the 100 books that have most influenced Western public discourse since the Second World War. Although Snow’s lecture prompted a dustup between scientists and literary elites over who could lay claim to the superior form of knowledge, over time the sides and tenor of the “Two Cultures Debate” have changed. As the debate has expanded throughout the natural sciences, humanities, and social sciences to include various disciplinary groups and the beliefs, attitudes, and perspectives with which they are bound together as “cultures,” it has evolved into a conversation about how knowledge is recognized, valued, and taught across the cultures of the university. DH invites submissions that explore pedagogical linkages between critical thinking and writing within the unfolding legacy of the Two Cultures Debate.

The deadline for submissions is March 28, 2015.

From UPenn.