Tuesday, November 29, 2011

NEW at Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics


------. (2011, December). Adventures in genre!: Rethinking genre through comics/graphic novels. Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, 2(2), 187-201.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

"[N]ot the Time. . .to Follow the Line of Least Resistance" | National Education Policy Center

"[N]ot the Time. . .to Follow the Line of Least Resistance" | National Education Policy Center

New volume under contract at Sense

My next volume in my series at Sense will be:

-----. (under contract). Challenging genres: Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction. Netherlands: Sense Publishers.

Details (draft/updated):

Series: Critical Literacy Teaching Series: Challenging Authors and Genres

Volume: Challenging Genres: Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction

P. L. Thomas

Final draft submission: December 15, 2012

Introduction

This introduction addresses the value of critical pedagogy and critical literacy for all students in any courses addressing literacy as a foundational introduction for both the series and this volume. Further, I will explore our assumptions about genre—how we assign and teach genre in our literature study, and how we assign and teach genre in our writing instruction. Finally, I will briefly introduce sci-fi/speculative fiction as a marginalized genre in comparison to literary fiction. In this introduction, I will define sci-fi, speculative fiction, and dystopian fiction along with confronting the problems posed by genre and medium

Chapter One
“A Case for Sci-Fi and Speculative Fiction: A Brief History”

Sci-fi as a genre of fiction has often been marginalized, with a few works and writers allowed into the official canon, almost begrudgingly—Aldous Huxley, George Orwell, Kurt Vonnegut, Margaret Atwood. But those sci-fi works tend to be embraced when the writers are also considered literary, leaving works and writers dedicated exclusively to sci-fi to a second-class status. This chapter examines what constitutes sci-fi as a genre and discusses the complex debate surrounding that classification, focusing on Atwood’s arguments about sci-fi, speculative fiction, and dystopian fiction. This chapter will also introduce a consideration of sci-fi/speculative fiction across several mediums—novels, short stories, film, and graphic novels.

Chapter Two
“Sci-Fi and Speculative Novels”

This chapter will discuss sci-fi/speculative fiction novels by focusing on major works representing the genre: Orwell’s 1984, Huxley’s Brave New World, Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451,Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five, Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. I will examine both how these major works represent the genre as well as how to utilize these works in classrooms focusing on critical literacy and exploring multigenre/multimedium texts.

Chapter Three
“Sci-Fi and Speculative Short Fiction”

This chapter will discuss sci-fi/speculative fiction short stories by focusing on major works representing the genre—such as LeGuin’s “The Ones Who Walk away from Omelas” and Vonneguts short stories, such as “Harrison Bergeron”—and works often taught in ELA courses. I will examine both how these major works represent the genre as well as how to utilize these works in classrooms focusing on critical literacy and exploring multigenre/multimedium texts. I will present and discuss how to use sci-fi short stories to build multigenre units of study.

Chapter Four
“Sci-Fi and Speculative Films and TV”

This chapter will discuss sci-fi/speculative fiction films and TV by focusing on major works representing the genre: Star Trek, Star Wars series, Blade Runner, Solaris, Alien series. I will examine both how these major works represent the genre as well as how to utilize these works in classrooms focusing on critical literacy and exploring multigenre/multimedium texts. Film and TV series as elements of adaptation of texts will also be examined.

Chapter Five
“Sci-Fi and Speculative Graphic Novels/Comics and Young Adult Literature”

This chapter will discuss sci-fi/speculative fiction graphic novels/comics by focusing on major works representing the genre: superhero comics (Superman, Batman, Spider Man, X-Men), American Flagg!, Ronin, V for Vendetta, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I will examine both how these major works represent the genre as well as how to utilize these works in classrooms focusing on critical literacy and exploring multigenre/multimedium texts. Graphic novels/comics as elements of adaptation of texts will also be examined.

Then, I will explore the sci-fi/speculative fiction works within the broader young adult fiction genre, focusing on YA classics and the more recent rise of the Hunger Games trilogy.

Chapter Six
“The Enduring Power of Sc-Fi, Speculative Fiction, and Dystopian Fiction”

Drawing from Atwood’s In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination (2011), I will discuss contemporary works of sci-fi/speculative fiction such as Atwood’s Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood, Perrotta’s The Leftovers, and Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go to detail the enduring power of the genre.

Conclusion

Sci-fi/speculative fiction as adaptation units will be the final discussion of the book, discussing the use of mutltigenre units in courses focusing on literacy and composition instruction.

Working References

Atwood, M. (2011). In other worlds: SF and the human imagination. New York: Nan A. Talese/ Doubleday.

Thomas, P. L. (2011, October 30). Le Guin's "The ones who walk away from Omelas”: Allegory of privilege. Daily Kos. Reposted at The Daily Censored (2011, November 3).


-----. (2011, January 3). Calculating the Corporate States of America: Revisiting Vonnegut's Player Piano. OpEdNews. http://www.opednews.com/articles/Calculating-the-Corporate-by-Paul-Thomas-110103-130.html

-----. (2007). Reading, learning, teaching Margaret Atwood. New York: Peter Lang USA.

-----. (2006). Reading, learning, teaching Kurt Vonnegut. New York: Peter Lang USA.

Vonnegut, K. (1974). Wampeters, foma & granfalloons. New York: Delta.

CQ Researcher: December 2, 2011

See my commentary on technology in education (direct link posted when available):

Thomas, P. L. (2011, December 2). No. At Issue in CQ Researcher. http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Daily Kos: Action v. Inaction: The Scholar-Teacher Imperative

Daily Kos: Action v. Inaction: The Scholar-Teacher Imperative

CALL for submissions: Speaking Truth to Power (EJ)

Speaking Truth to Power (English Journal)

Column Editor: P. L. Thomas

“If education cannot do everything, there is something fundamental that it can do. In other words, if education is not the key to social transformation, neither is it simply meant to reproduce the dominant ideology. . . .The freedom that moves us, that makes us take risks, is being subjugated to a process of standardization of formulas, models against which we are evaluated. . . .We are speaking of that invisible power of alienating domestication, which attains a degree of extraordinary efficiency in what I have been calling the bureaucratizing of the mind.” (Freire, 1998, Pedagogy of Freedom: Ethics, Democracy, and Civic Courage, pp. 110, 111)

Twenty-first century education in the U.S. has included a bureaucratic muting of teacher professionalism, autonomy, and voice. Additional features of current reforms involve scripting the ideas and expression of students through external accountability measures, standards, and high-stakes testing.

This column seeks to explore the experiences and possibilities that arise when educators speak Truth to power. It is also intended to be an avenue for teachers to speak Truth to power through teacher narratives about the “the bureaucratizing of the mind,” about best practice in critical literacy against scripted and tested literacy, and about creating classrooms that invite students to discover, embrace, and develop their own voices and empowerment.

Submit an electronic Word file attached to your email to the column editor, P. L. Thomas, at paul.thomas@furman.edu. Contributors are encouraged to query the column editor and share drafts of column ideas as part of the submission process.

DUE DATES

1/15/13

3/15/13

5/15/13

7/15/13

9/15/13

11/15/13

Monday, November 7, 2011

Call For Manuscript Proposals: Critical Literacy Teaching Series

Call For Manuscripts


Series Editor: P. L. Thomas, EdD, Furman University

Publisher: Sense

Kincheloe (2005) offers a foundational argument about the role of critical pedagogy in our classrooms:

[P]roponents of critical pedagogy understand that every dimension of schooling and every form of educational practice are politically contested spaces. Shaped by history and challenged by a wide range of interest groups, educational practice is a fuzzy concept as it takes place in numerous settings, is shaped by a plethora of often-invisible forces, and can operate even in the name of democracy and justice to be totalitarian and oppressive. (p. 2)

This series will explore major authors and genres through a critical literacy lens that seeks to offer students opportunities as readers and writers to embrace and act upon their own empowerment. Further, the volumes in this series are guided by Freire (2005) as well:
One of the violences perpetuated by illiteracy is the suffocation of the consciousness and the expressiveness of men and women who are forbidden from reading and writing, thus limiting their capacity to write about their reading of the world so they can rethink about their original reading of it. (p. 2)
We are seeking book-length manuscript proposals for volumes in this new series. Volumes may address individual authors or genres/media/modes of literature/texts; and may be either edited or single-author volumes.

Volume proposals may include (but are not limited to) the following:

Authors:
Sandra Cisneros (being drafted)
Louise Erdrich
Rachel Carson (in press)
Alice Walker
James Baldwin (under consideration)

Genres:
Comics/ graphic novels (published)
Young adult literature (being drafted)
Science fiction (in process)
Children’s literature
Poetry
Novels
Nonfiction

Send proposal ideas or questions about potential volumes to the series editor, P. L. Thomas, by email
(paul.thomas[at]furman.edu).

Series Editorial Board:
Karen Stein, PhD, University of Rhode Island
Shirley Steinberg, PhD, McGill University
Jeanne Gerlach, EdD, University of Texas-Arlington
Leila Christenbury, PhD, Virginia Commonwealth University
Renita Schmidt, PhD, University of Iowa
Ken Lindblom, PhD, Stony Brook University

Schools Matter: Our Problem Is Civil Obedience

Schools Matter: Our Problem Is Civil Obedience

Thursday, November 3, 2011

De-Testing and De-Grading Schools (Peter Lang USA)

De-Testing and De-Grading Schools: Authentic Alternatives to Accountability and Standardization
Joe Bower and P. L. Thomas, editors


Peter Lang USA

Counterpoints Series


Author(s)
Title

Alfie Kohn
Introduction: “The Roots of Grades-and-Tests”



Part I: Degrading Learning, Detesting Education: The Failure of High-Stake Accountability in Education

Lisa Guisbond, Monty Neill, and Bob Schaeffer
(FairTest.org)
Chapter One
“NCLB’s Lost Decade for Educational Progress: What Can We Learn from this Policy Failure?”

Fernando F. PadrĂ³

Chapter Two
“High-stakes Testing Assessment: The Deus Ex Machina of Quality in Education”

Anthony Cody
Chapter Three
“Technocratic Groupthink Inflates the Testing Bubble”

Lawrence Baines and Rhonda Goolsby
Chapter Four
“Mean Scores in a Mean World”

Julie Gorlewski and David Gorlewski
Chapter Five
“Degrading Literacy: How New York State Tests Knowledge, Culture, and Critical Thinking”

Morna McDermott
Chapter Six
“The aesthetics of social engineering: How high stakes testing dehumanizes/desensitizes education”

Richard Mora
Chapter Seven

Brian Beabout and Andre Perry
Chapter Eight
“Reconciling Student Outcomes and Community Self-Reliance in Modern School Reform Contexts”

David Bolton and John Elmore
Chapter Nine
“The Role of Assessment in Empowering/ Disempowering Students in the Critical Pedagogy Classroom”


Part II: De-Grading and De-Testing in a Time of High-Stakes Education Reform

Alfie Kohn
Chapter Ten
“The Case Against Grade”

Joe Bower
Chapter Eleven
“Reduced to Numbers: From Concealing to Revealing Learning”

John Hoben
Chapter Twelve
“Assessment Technologies as Wounding Machines: Abjection, the Imagination and Grading”

Peter DeWitt
Chapter Thirteen
“No Testing Week: Focusing on Creativity in the Classroom”

Hadley Ferguson
Chapter Fourteen
“Creating an Ungraded Classroom”

James Webber and Maja Wilson
Chapter Fifteen
“Parents Just Want to Know the Grade”: Or Do They?

P. L. Thomas
Chapter Sixteen
“De-grading Writing Instruction in a Time of High-stakes Testing: The Power of Feedback in Workshop”

Brian Rhode
Chapter Seventeen
“Demoralizing, Disengaging, Non-Actualizing Education”

Lisa William-White
Conclusion:
“Striving Towards Authentic Teaching for Social Justice”




BBC News - Newsnight - REM: Why we decided to split after 31 years

Radical Musicians. . .

BBC News - Newsnight - REM: Why we decided to split after 31 years

“Click, Clack, Moo”: Why the One Percent Always Wins | Truthout

“Click, Clack, Moo”: Why the One Percent Always Wins | Truthout