Saturday, February 28, 2015

Visual Teaching Resource _ The Greek Crisis (New Documentary)

Out Here: A documentary about the Initiative Against the Greek Crisis

Monday, February 23, 2015

Reviewing The Italian Americans

With frigid temperatures blanketing Columbus I spent the long weekend drafting my review of the new documentary The Italian Americans. Broadcast this month on PBS, this is a four hour documentary chronicling Italian American transformations.

I felt a sense of heightened awareness while writing about a piece of popular culture at the same time when the nation was watching. A sense of temporal alignment between the act of writing and the imaginary audience. Book or film reviews are an undervalued academic genre. From my part, I cannot stress enough their importance as a forum for critical reflection and in this manner a venue to advance reflective new scholarship and cultural production.

I am sharing below the opening paragraph (a draft); this will be the only sample of writing I will be sharing before the review's publication:

"How does one get to know Italian Americans? Piercing at the heart of the documentary, the question is brought into focus in the opening scenes, in the contrast between cinematic representations and personal accounts of Italian ethnicity. Film and self-narration produce two ways of knowing, dramatically at odds with each other. On the one hand, cinematic images – most notably Mafia-related – entrench this ethnicity as a pernicious stereotype in the national imagination. Popular fictions are consumed as ethnic facts. Ethnicity refers to a singular truth. On the other hand, first-person narratives question the stereotype head on. Films create a reality for ethnicity that real Italian Americans do not recognize as their own. Thus self-representation corrects public misrecognition. Ethnographic testimonies contest the poisonous myth of Italian American association with criminality. Taken together, they establish Italian America as a diverse social field, projecting ethnicity as plurality of truths. If the underworld is not alien to Italian Americans, to cite a pertinent example, it is certainly alien to a great many in the collective."

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Greek Americana: U.S. License Plates in Transliterated Greek and not only...

A multi-semantic geography of the personal, the national, the regional, the everyday, the folk, the popular, the secular and the religious marking Greek difference in U.S. traffic.

Signs of national and regional identity, the double meaning of rural images (moulari), insults, also hurled at bad drivers (ftou sou), the play of secular and religious (Hristo), the marking of personal status or state of things (ftoxia), everyday sayings that could also serve as popular song refrains (xehase to). 

Άστα φίλε μου... :

Many thanks to EB for bringing this to my attention

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Teaching Athens _ Visual Resources

There is the experience of some precious moments when the vast, amorphous energy a teacher invests in the classroom crystallizes into a tangible moment of gratification.

I do not necessarily refer to the moment of a positive student evaluation, we all know this territory is nebulous.

I refer to the moment when a former student writes to share material about a course's subject matter.

In the middle of a distressful Saturday I received the following note which recalibrated the day:

"I would like to share a nice collection of Athenian Photographs that could be added to the archives of your Athens class documenting both the Old and Modern City":

A biography of a course 
animates beyond campus 
Unexpected fragments
return traces 
of an unknown trajectory
Spill memories
of an early chapter,

Many thanks GP! I reciprocate:
(and do not forget to turn in Thursday's assignment...)