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{ Category Archives } Teaching

Thoughts and experiences relating to my own teaching

The joy of not knowing very much

A few posts ago, a reader suggested that I’d “squeezed all the available juice out of DIW” (KC Johnson’s blog Durham-in-Wonderland, that is) and I might find some fresh material on David Thompson’s blog. The first thing I read over there was on an old familiar theme—liberal academics and their uncontrollable urge to indoctrinate. Not […]

Tagged culture war, David Thompson, intellectual diversity, KC Johnson

Duke’s perfect storm–too much bullshit, too few bullshit detectors

The discourse in and around the lacrosse case is full of misrepresentation, manipulation, disembling and distortion. Thanks to commenter RRH and philosopher Harry G. Frankfurt, I realize that a great deal of it can be described more accurately as bullshit. The word really captures the spirit of KC Johnson’s anti-academic crusade, but he’s not by any stretch the only offender. Prosecutor Mike Nifong and his minions generated loads of it, and the faculty at Duke contributed more than their fair share, too. What was needed was more bullshit detectors and fewer producers.

Tagged bullshit, Duke lacrosse case, Duke University, Karla Holloway, KC Johnson, liestoppers, Mark Anthony Neal, potbangers, Tim Tyson, Wahneema Lubiano

Alan Kors and the unbearable sadness of educating

It’s a culture-war commonplace that the Left has dumbed-down higher education with its namby-pamby political correctness, hostility to the Western canon, race- and gender-obsessed pseudo-scholarship, etc. What I’m finding, though, is that nothing dumbs down a professor like the culture war. Exhibit A is KC Johnson’s Durham-in-Wonderland (DIW), where a facade of PhD-quality analysis masks […]

Tagged Alan Kors, culture war, Duke lacrosse, Duke University, intellectual diversity, KC Johnson, thefire.org, Wiegman-Lubiano-Hardt

Teaching jazz as a learning experience

It looks like the whole goodbye to teaching thing may have been premature. I was out of the country and away from easy internet access for most of the summer (thus no blogging). While I was away I got an email asking if I’d be interested in teaching the songwriting class again in the spring […]

Tagged Duke University, jazz, Miles Davis, music criticism, Stanley Crouch, teaching music

Gettin’ that canon off the pedestal

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a bit about the songwriting class I’d been teaching at Duke. I’m going to continue in the mode of self-debriefing, I guess you could call it, with some thoughts about how classical music fits into the general undergraduate curriculum. I’ve never had much sympathy with the point of […]

Tagged Alex Ross, classical music, Duke University, teaching music

Coffeehouse goodbye

A few weeks ago my 8th class full of songwriting students met in the Duke Coffeehouse on east campus to sing their final-project songs. It was a final for me, too—my last significant act as an instructor at Duke—and it was a great way to close things out. I don’t remember the event ever going […]

Tagged Duke University, pop music, songwriting, teaching music

Something so right, but what?

We had an amusing little discussion/debate in my songwriting class today. I brought in 2 recordings of Paul Simon’s song “Something So Right”—the original (from There Goes Rhymin’ Simon) and Annie Lennox’s (from Medusa). Lennox’s rearrangement is fairly radical—she exchanges the roles of the bridge and chorus in the original. I like to spend some […]

Tagged Annie Lennox, Paul Simon, songwriting, teaching music