tag:betajames.posthaven.com,2013:/posts betajames 2022-04-30T18:37:41Z james schirmer tag:betajames.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1798001 2022-04-30T16:00:04Z 2022-04-30T18:37:41Z books recently read - mar/apr 2022

Running Out by Lucas Bessire 

The Conspiracy Against the Human Race by Thomas Ligotti 

My Work Is Not Yet Done by Thomas Ligotti 

Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson 

Wayward by Dana Spiotta

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james schirmer
tag:betajames.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1815127 2022-04-05T13:13:25Z 2022-04-05T13:13:25Z rejected proposal for MLA 2023: Issues of Adaptation in Post-Crisis English

The Summer 2021 MLA Newsletter opened with the following question: “Where Have All the Majors Gone?” A subsequent article noted that, from 2009 to 2019, “the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded across all subjects in the discipline fell by 29%.” The article provided plenty of additional data related to the above question, observing that declines in awarded English degrees is, “particularly troubling.” However, what departments might do to reverse this trend remains “unclear.” As the former chair of an English department that no longer exists and as a tenured faculty member in a program on borrowed time, I want to suggest that maybe there is no reversing this trend, that perhaps we need to consider a different question: “What now?”

Such a suggestion and consideration come from the experience and knowledge that the development of unique and in-demand courses, the diversification of teaching appointments, concerted efforts toward enrollment management, and an active and visible presence at every campus event did not prevent the dissolution of my department. And I worry that such actions are unlikely to stop the end of others. So, much as conversations about climate change have moved from prevention to adaptation, similar discussions are overdue in our field. In therefore drawing upon recent, relevant scholarship on the precarious position of English (broadly construed) within higher education, I hope to highlight and invite testaments of disciplinary survival and to identify the coffins to which we cling while facing our future.

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james schirmer
tag:betajames.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1776284 2022-02-28T17:00:01Z 2022-02-28T17:00:01Z books recently read - jan/feb 2022

The Midwest Survival Guide by Charlie Berens

Gun Island by Amitav Ghosh

The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz

Leaving The Atocha Station by Ben Lerner 

No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood

The City & the City by China Mieville

At the End of the World by Lawrence Millman

Everett Ruess: A Vagabond for Beauty by W.L. Rusho

Outside Lies Magic by John P. Stilgoe

After Cooling by Eric Dean Wilson

We by Yevgeny Zamyatin

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james schirmer
tag:betajames.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1751402 2021-12-31T17:00:06Z 2022-02-08T13:15:25Z books recently read - nov/dec 2021

The Last Samurai by Helen DeWitt 

Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett 

The Last by Hanna Jameson

Subprime Attention Crisis by Tim Hwang

Futureproof by Kevin Roose 

Amazon Unbound by Brad Stone

All Systems Red by Martha Wells

Artificial Condition by Martha Wells

Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells 

Exit Strategy by Martha Wells 

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james schirmer
tag:betajames.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1730683 2021-10-31T16:00:05Z 2021-10-31T16:00:05Z books recently read - sep/oct 2021

The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green 

Under a White Sky by Elizabeth Kolbert

The Wall by John Lanchester

The Complete Mushroom Hunter by Gary Lincoff

Fulfillment by Alec MacGillis

Inconspicuous Consumption by Tatiana Schlossberg 

Irreversible Damage by Abigail Shrier

Stoner by John Williams 

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james schirmer
tag:betajames.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1733277 2021-09-08T12:44:22Z 2021-09-08T12:44:51Z on "The Chair"

I'm annoyed with, frustrated by, and tired of the ridiculously unrealistic "critical" takes on The Chair. Below are some more positive and nuanced responses:

But as it unfolds, The Chair offers far deeper insight into the interpersonal and intergenerational dynamics of campus culture than any novel I’ve read. The show’s dramatic energies are focused on issues of free speech, the changing paradigms of scholarship and teaching, and the prejudice that women faculty and faculty of color face. Yet the subject that gets the most screen time is none of these, nor is it chairing. It’s parenting—although as the series rolls on, we slowly realize that, just possibly, chairing is parenting by other means.

Kevin Dettmar, What The Chair Gets Unexpectedly Right About the Ivory Tower

If we're watching The Chair as Ji-Yoon's story, the portrayal of activist students would exist to shed light on the pressure and complexity of the situation Ji-Yoon is facing as a woman of color in a position of authority, not, as some have interpreted it, as a commentary on activist students in general. That is, Ji-Yoon experiences student activism as high-stakes and unwieldy precisely because she respects their principled stances -- to the point that they intensify her suspicion that, despite her best efforts and intentions, she is not transforming the master's house from the inside (shout out to Audre Lorde).

To operate as if the portrayal of student protesters matters more than how the portrayal illuminates something about Ji-Yoon is to give these characters the primacy

Koritha Mitchell, Stop asking if The Chair is realistic

The show, co-created by Amanda Peet and Harvard Ph.D. Annie Wyman, feels like a real attempt to grapple with the problems of contemporary academia, and the humanities in particular, by someone who has felt invested in them.

Lidija Haas, The Chair Is an Elegy for the Life of the Mind

I don’t know anyone who has gone through the trouble of becoming a professor with the express goal of ending up as a department chair. The role draws on organizational skills that many academics have made a career out of avoiding; it also leeches away time that could be spent researching or teaching...The Chair thrives in scenes where manners and decorum get stripped away and Kim recognizes the futility of her situation. Her strange profession begins to seem relatable. Her face, usually so attentive and patient, evinces rage and disappointment. One complication of institutional diversity is that diverse faces can now lead institutions that are in free fall. 

Hua Hsu, Sandra Oh's Masterly Performance of Empathy in The Chair 

But as much as the characters are—wonderfully—never cynical about the study of literature, they are also exhausted by the situations they find themselves in, both personally and professionally, and especially where those two spheres collide. The current pandemic permanently damaged the academic careers of parents (mostly women) who had to abandon their (our) research to take care of their (our) children, and forced faculty to teach in windowless classrooms to hundreds of students without mask or vaccine requirements. None of that is in this show, yet even so, it depicts the study of literature as unsustainable. I wish it were clearer to the viewer that it’s unsustainable because it’s not supported. 

Johannah Winant, Moby-Done 

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james schirmer
tag:betajames.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1730067 2021-08-30T18:12:48Z 2021-08-30T18:12:49Z ten years ago: Dr. James Schirmer interview on twitter and sports

Description: University of Michigan-Flint assistant professor of English Dr. James Schirmer talks about using twitter in a college classroom and how twitter impacts the way we watch sports.

Transcript: Initially, it's a four-week assignment where students, I ask them to engage with each other and to communicate with each other and see if we can actually get any kind of worthwhile conversation happening in that tiny constrained space. Because we only have 140 characters to work with, so, it's always interesting to me to see what kinds of conversations students can get into, what kinds of conversations that I can have with them in this very kind of tiny space... I think a lot of them do get a good amount of, I think there are a variety of benefits that come with it. One thing I've noticed, just because I teach a lot of writing courses, is that they do, students tend to become more concise in their writing. They're a little bit clearer, they have a better awareness of who they're talking to, why they're talking to them, what they're trying to talk to them about. And, just on a day-to-day level, if students have any questions, I'm, there's a greater accessibility with them and with me, that they, they feel comfortable talking with me, they feel comfortable talking with each other. So, there's an element of transferability there, that they have this, some degree of comfort communicating with each other in this very specific way, specific medium, but that tends to translate to the class... just a little slice of information, and I think that part of it deals with, too, is that the creators designed it so that it would work better with cellphones and with texting, because that's one of, I think, one of the primary odes of communication, just these very short little bits of information, but then things can kind of explode out of that. And how I use it in an academic context is that I've had quite a few opportunities, publishing opportunities, come up that way, just because of starting conversations and finding out, okay, we both follow this person, so maybe I should pay attention to what they're doing. And this is actually something I advocate for our, some of our graduate students in the MA program, is that if they're interested in things like digital rhetoric, social media, video game studies, that where a lot of the interesting conversations are happening, they are on blogs, but the more day to day, just distribution systems, news items, that where it's happening, it's happening on Twitter... There's always that potential for engagement, like if you're on there, there's always that chance that someone's going to respond to you and, depending upon what you, how you decide to use it, whether you're more social and, you know, say what'd you have for breakfast every morning as, which is is one of the criticisms of it, it's been going, how you use it, you will, you will get followers based on how you use it. A community will develop, based on how you use it, whether you're, you know, a fan of the Detroit Tigers, you'll get maybe, you'll get ten to fifteen people to follow you, just based on that, because, you know, you, you made a couple offhand comments about, you know, a play last night or you engage somebody in a more academic context and talking about video game studies so you will either get attention or, you know, get follows, based on that... You know not everybody is using Twitter, or any other kind of social media for that matter, for, you know, honest and true purposes, that there are some nefarious endeavors trying to break through that, even through Twitter... I'm a big fan of the Detroit Tigers and so I follow Dan Dickerson, Mario Impemba, Rod Allen. I even follow some of the players: Will Rhymes, Casper Wells is on there, Robbie Weinhardt is pitching for Toledo now, he's on there. But, yeah, usually one of the windows that I will have open any time a Tigers game is on is I'll have the Tigers hashtag in a search bar and just see what, what other people are saying about the game, and sometimes I'll say stuff, but sometimes it's usually, it's almost like a secondary spectator sport, just to see what everybody else is saying about it... It's kind of similar to, um, I think it's kind of similar actually to sitting in a bar, you know? And, just, everybody isn't using, is in this one place for this particular purpose and so they're a bit so that you'll hear bits of different conversations going on, but they're all be about the same thing.
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james schirmer
tag:betajames.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1706280 2021-08-30T16:00:00Z 2021-08-31T16:00:02Z books recently read - jul/aug 2021

Leaving Academia by Christopher L. Caterine

The Silence by Don DeLillo

Islands of Abandonment by Cal Flyn

How We Live Now by Bill Hayes

Beowulf by Maria Dahvana Headley 

Topics of Conversation by Miranda Popkey

Sympathy by Olivia Sudjic

Erosion by Terry Tempest Williams

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james schirmer
tag:betajames.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1718240 2021-07-28T14:07:50Z 2021-07-28T14:07:50Z the most we can do

The most we can do is to write -- intelligently, creatively, critically, evocatively -- about what it is like living in the world at this time.

-  Oliver Sacks in How We Live Now by Bill Hayes

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james schirmer
tag:betajames.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1683604 2021-06-30T16:00:00Z 2021-06-30T16:00:04Z books recently read - may/jun 2021

Mauve Desert by Nicole Brossard

Working Backwards by Colin Bryar and Bill Carr 

The Ethics of Ambiguity by Simone de Beauvoir

Demolition Means Progress by Andrew Highsmith

Desert Cabal by Amy Irvine 

The Anthropology of Turquoise by Ellen Meloy

Why I Don't Write by Susan Minot

The Inland Sea by Madeleine Watts

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james schirmer
tag:betajames.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1660469 2021-04-30T16:00:06Z 2021-04-30T16:00:06Z books recently read - mar/apr 2021

Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey

Days of Distraction by Alexandra Chang

Rust Belt Femme by Raechel Anne Jolie

The Home Place by J. Drew Lanham

The Two Cultures of English by Jason Maxwell

Looking for Hickories by Tom Springer 

The Star in the Sycamore by Tom Springer


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james schirmer
tag:betajames.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1678331 2021-04-13T18:55:21Z 2021-04-13T18:55:21Z Department Chair Nominee Questionnaire - Schirmer

Thank you for your interest in serving as a department chair in the new departments in the College of Arts and Sciences. Please complete the following questionnaire, limiting your responses to each question below to 1-2 paragraphs.


1) Why do you want to serve as a department chair?

I want to continue and extend the interdisciplinary work I performed over four years as chair of the English department. This work included developing a course schedule that held a fill rate at or near 80% every year while balancing faculty interests and student needs. Integral to this success was my ongoing collaboration with department liaisons in linguistics, literature, writing, and English education. I am eager to engage my Department of Language and Communication (DLC) colleagues in this approach. While chair, I also led the English department through three successful tenure and promotion cases, not only ensuring that we retain productive and diverse faculty but also showing that it is possible for different disciplines to understand and value each other’s work at a deep level. And, within the last two years, I chaired Faculty Council, participated in Game Design / Development and Teagle Grant discussions, and served on the CAS Reorganization Task Force and the Recruitment, Retention, and Graduation Task Force. These experiences broadened my campus view and allowed me to develop stronger relationships across academic and administrative units. I intend to draw on those relationships to the betterment of DLC and CAS. 

In a broader sense, though, I am interested in shepherding faculty and staff into new ways of working and functioning as a department. I have a complementary interest in shaping the work of the College overall, and I am excited about how new and existing alignments may come to serve the broader interests of DLC faculty and students as well as enable both groups to bring forward beneficial changes on behalf of the College. Given COM’s origins within the English department and ENG/LIN faculty interest in Flint’s Spanish-speaking population, opportunities for collaboration are before us and I relish the opportunity to aid their cultivation. Having ushered the English department toward the possibility of a single integrative English major, I’m particularly interested in building “futureproof” multidisciplinary programs. There is also a job-crafting element to this new position that intrigues me. To be simultaneously building and acting in the position of department chair is a challenge I want to pursue. And, as the wellbeing of CAS faculty, staff, and students depends on how we weather current crises while growing into the new structure of the College, I see an opportunity to bring the care, protection, and support I hope I’m known for to a wider range of disciplines and people.


2) What does "inclusive excellence" mean to you and how do you intend to pursue it if selected as chair?

With fewer voices representing the masses in our new structure, it is all the more important to lead by listening and to afford multiple opportunities for faculty, staff, and students to talk about how to support others in reaching their best. I therefore understand inclusive excellence as a multi-pronged approach that focuses on the intellectual and social development of all people interacting with the department through meaningful attention to cultural differences and the purposeful use of appropriate resources. The very idea of inclusive excellence invites a series of questions:

  • What are the numbers of historically underrepresented students, faculty, and staff in our department? What are their success levels?

  • How diverse is the content in the courses, programs, and experiences within our department?

  • How can we develop a climate supportive of all faculty, staff, and students?

  • How do we facilitate and assess the acquisition of content knowledge about diverse cultures and the development of cognitive complexity?

I intend to pursue inclusive excellence by first engaging DLC faculty, staff, and students in these questions and then by inviting them to not only seek appropriate answers but also to show evidence of and act on those answers. Of course, to simply say “we do this already” is not an appropriate answer. Such an answer does a disservice to our students and our community. Instead, we need to look beyond token inclusion. My years working with Flint Writers, Inc., to put on the Flint Festival of Writers have continually shown me the importance of attending to cultural differences and the diversity of our experiences. As department chair, I will seek curricular, extracurricular, and administrative changes in accordance with an understanding of inclusive excellence at the center of what we do in the Department of Language and Communication. 

 

3) What ideas or suggestions do you have to increase enrollments in your new department?

DLC needs to embrace and build on its service role. ENG, FRN, and SPN 111 and 112 as well as COM 210, ENG/COM 338, and ENG 345 serve disciplines, programs, and purposes across the entire university. Green chemists, evolutionary psychologists, math teachers, philosophers, and urban planners all need to write and speak well enough to be understood by an audience; DLC offers courses that are uniquely foundational to the development of these skills. While among the department’s most robust in terms of enrollment, these courses also afford the opportunity to welcome and orient students to the UM-Flint experience. Service courses are not barriers but open doorways that empower and enable students to step through and into their desired futures. We should therefore work with complementary disciplines and other academic units to develop certificates in Professional Communication (COM 210, COM 281, COM/ENG 338, ENG 354, PSY 377) and Persuasion & Negotiation (COM 200, COM 363, ENG 336, LIN 341, MGT 443) as well as credentials like Business Chinese and Spanish for Healthcare Professionals. Service courses can thus be doorways not just to career placement but to advancement. 

DLC should also maintain clear pathways to degree/certificate completion. Prerequisites should be understood and examined as valuable tools for putting students in the right sequence. Courses should be scheduled so students can earn certificates in a single year and credentials in a single semester. These aspects should be explicitly marketed to transfer students. Through the DLC website, we must communicate how, where, and why certain courses count toward degrees, certificates, and credentials. Having attended many admissions events as chair, I know the importance of assuring department presence and making clear contact with even students who “hate writing.” But I also hope that by embracing and building on its service role, DLC will have space to pursue initiatives toward new enrollments, similar to how I supported ENG/LIN faculty in both the Teagle Grant discussion and the Mellon Borders & Crossings grant.  


4) What innovations do you think CAS should consider in the first year of our new structure?

Morale. We need to address faculty and staff morale in direct, substantial ways. The unrelenting pace of change amid a pandemic continues to unmoor and upend us. I am aware of at least five faculty members’ intentions to leave the university this year. The lack of real stability or support for faculty and staff labor means many are not mitigating their circumstances but suffering. We need to acknowledge this beyond “thanks for your work” or a ‘wellness’ day. 

File management. If policy-planning and implementation is of major focus in our first year, then we need a logical, standard filing system in Google Drive for the entire College. No department or program is unique enough to require its own filing system. All chairs and admins should be able to go into any department’s drive (with permission, of course) and find what they need with 2-3 clicks. 

Structural clarity. We need to set standard expectations for all departments and be clear about when and where there is room for individuality. Students deserve to know where to go when they have problems or questions. Appointment lines should rest inside of programs or departments, not both. College and department bylaws should intersect in meaningful ways, and so should Council of Chairs and the Executive Committee. We all need to understand how and why our new structure gets work done. 

Classroom observations. In the absence of policy/protocol, classroom observations of/by tenure track faculty tend to happen only in advance of a tenure/promotion case. Establishing a clear CAS-wide procedure for observations of all faculty every year would eliminate a mad departmental scramble and afford more opportunities for faculty to discuss teaching. 

Internal/external marketing. Each new department needs and deserves to have cohesive, comprehensive narratives for current/prospective students, admissions officers, university administrators, and faculty on the possibilities and purposes of the programs within that department. Having clear statements on departments’ websites about possibility and purpose should give solid ground to faculty and students uncertain about where the reorganization has put them. We also need to bring back life into department websites. If we want to recruit faculty, staff, and students, we need to show them what our work looks like. People rely on being able to learn things about departments and programs and offices from our websites, particularly right now. We can’t be flattening everything into “faculty profiles” or otherwise kicking important information to the course catalog. 


Thank you for your responses.  The Dean’s office will be in contact with you soon.

-- -- -- -- 

AUTHOR'S NOTE: I didn't get the job.

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james schirmer
tag:betajames.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1662948 2021-03-08T13:03:35Z 2021-03-08T13:03:36Z "We knew. We knew and did nothing."

In my youth, we talked about the earth heating. The UN addressed the rise in temperature in 1988, creating the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

We changed nothing, instead increasing the use of fossil fuels, adding more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. We lived our lives recklessly and with abandon, and we will see only the beginning of what we have done and what will happen. The rest we've left to our children, their inheritance this uncharted world.

-- Nancy Wayson Dinan

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james schirmer
tag:betajames.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1635625 2021-02-28T17:00:04Z 2021-03-01T20:22:57Z books recently read - jan/feb 2021

The Call of the Wild + Free by Ainsley Arment

The Brave Learner by Julie Bogart

When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chödrön

Midwest Futures by Phil Christman

Things You Would Know If You Grew Up Here by Nancy Wayson Dinan

The Overstory by Richard Powers 

Home Learning Year By Year by Rebecca Rupp 

The Rise and Fall of English by Robert Scholes 

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james schirmer
tag:betajames.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1606718 2020-12-31T17:00:04Z 2021-01-04T15:11:41Z books recently read - nov/dec 2020

Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler 

The Plague by Albert Camus

Desert Notebooks by Ben Ehrenreich 

Lurking by Joanne McNeil

The Salt Path by Raynor Winn

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james schirmer
tag:betajames.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1585999 2020-10-31T16:00:00Z 2020-10-31T16:00:05Z books recently read - sep/oct 2020

Flâneuse: Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice, and London by Lauren Elkin

The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante

The Golden State by Lydia Kiesling

A Burning by Megha Majumdar

Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy

Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad

Intimations by Zadie Smith 

You Will Never Be Forgotten by Mary South 

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james schirmer
tag:betajames.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1568873 2020-08-31T16:00:03Z 2020-12-27T00:00:11Z books recently read - jul/aug 2020

Fallout by Lesley M.M. Blume

Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe

Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

The Summer Book by Tove Jansson

The Death of Sitting Bear by M. Scott Momaday

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney

Real Life by Brandon Taylor 

Barn 8 by Deb Olin Unferth

Dead Astronauts by Jeff VanderMeer

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james schirmer
tag:betajames.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1583506 2020-08-14T01:00:04Z 2020-08-14T01:00:05Z welcome to word power Good evening, and welcome to Word Power: How Words Define and Confine Our Reality.

We just had the pleasure of experiencing James Brown, MD, on his Arborlune.

My name is James Schirmer and I'm currently chair of the English department at the University of Michigan-Flint.

It is my honor and privilege to not only welcome you to this event but to also recognize my incredible colleague Dr. Erica Britt as tonight's moderator.

Before turning everything over to her, I have a couple things to share.

First, this is a public event streaming through both Zoom and Facebook Live.

Those interested in Q&A participation should be viewing Word Power through Zoom, but we'll keep an eye out for any comments or questions on Facebook.

Second, you should feel free to click on the "Live Transcript" button in Zoom to follow along a bit easier.

Third, words matter. With apologies to the late, great Prince, words, like albums and black lives, still matter.

The words we choose to use, the reading and writing and speaking of them, the tapping and typing, the scribbling and swiping, constrain and frame, praise and blame, construct and destruct who we and others are.

Of course, that understanding is why we are here.

So, again, I am honored and privileged to be here, to listen in on what lies ahead and behind and now.

And I am glad you are here, that we are here, amid pandemic and police brutality, despite uncertainty and strife.

We are here and we are ready to hear. Dr. Britt, let's begin...

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james schirmer
tag:betajames.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1545247 2020-06-30T16:00:00Z 2020-07-27T11:12:14Z books recently read - may/jun 2020

These Ghosts Are Family by Maisy Card 

The Story of More by Hope Jahren

No Ashes in the Fire by Darnell L. Moore 

A Children's Bible by Lydia Millet 

Notes from an Apocalypse by Mark O'Connell 

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james schirmer
tag:betajames.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1521277 2020-04-30T16:00:05Z 2020-04-30T16:00:06Z books recently read - mar/apr 2020

The World-Ending Fire by Wendell Berry

Incidental Inventions by Elena Ferrante 

Dictionary of the Undoing by John Freeman

That Wild Country by Mark Kenyon

Inland by Tea Obrecht

Weather by Jenny Offill

Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener

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james schirmer
tag:betajames.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1496581 2020-02-29T17:00:01Z 2020-02-29T17:00:01Z books recently read - jan/feb 2020

Walking by Erling Kagge

Waking Up White by Debby Irving

Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli

Walking Art Practice by Ernesto Pujol

Little Weirds by Jenny Slate 

The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler

Split Tooth by Tanya Tagaq

American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson 

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james schirmer
tag:betajames.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1472595 2019-12-31T17:00:02Z 2019-12-31T17:00:02Z books recently read - nov/dec 2019

Make It Scream, Make It Burn by Leslie Jamison

How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

A Walking Life by Antonia Malchik

White Flights by Jess Row 

Trace by Lauret Savoy 

The Grammarians by Cathleen Schine 

Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher 

Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson 

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james schirmer
tag:betajames.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1445423 2019-10-31T16:00:04Z 2019-10-31T16:00:04Z books recently read - sep/oct 2019

Fleishman Is In Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

Impossible Views of the World by Lucy Ives

Born Standing Up by Steve Martin

Because Internet by Gretchen McCulloch

The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa

The Need by Helen Phillips

The Third Horseman by William Rosen 

The Mushroom at the End of the World by Anna Tsing

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james schirmer
tag:betajames.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1455545 2019-09-15T14:36:36Z 2019-09-15T14:36:36Z opening remarks at the Flint Festival of Writers Good morning. My name is James Schirmer and I'm currently chair of the English department at the University of Michigan-Flint and, on behalf of my fellow event planners and partners, it is my honor and pleasure to welcome you to the Flint Festival of Writers

It's great to see everyone this morning. I'd like to think that you're here for many of the same reasons that brought my colleagues/companions/comrades Sarah Carson, Bob Campbell, Katie Curnow, Connor Coyne, Jan Worth Nelson, and I together: the belief, the knowledge that Flint is a place rich with stories, that the writing done in and about Flint is uniquely important and deserving of attention and support. Everything about today's festival is intended to acknowledge the power and value in reading, in writing, in sharing words with others, sharing our perspective, sharing our stories, in sharing your story. 

So, we can and do look forward to learning from LaTashia, Jonah, Ben, and Bob in this morning's panel, to working with Jonah and Liz and Kelsey this afternoon, to hearing from Flint's young writers, to networking and perusing at the book fair, and to listening to LaTashia in the early evening. And yes, there is an after-party open mic celebration at Totem tonight, but, given what I think unites us in coming here, my hope is for the entire day to be a celebration. 

Here's to a beautiful, inspiring, restorative day in the city of Flint. 
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james schirmer
tag:betajames.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1425255 2019-08-31T16:00:02Z 2019-08-31T16:00:02Z books recently read - jul/aug 2019

Nature's Mutiny by Philipp Blom

Generous Thinking by Kathleen Fitzpatrick

The Hunger by Alma Katsu

Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport

How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell 

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires 

The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells 


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james schirmer
tag:betajames.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1420656 2019-06-30T16:00:04Z 2019-06-30T16:00:04Z books recently read - may/jun 2019

Milkman by Anna Burns

Exhalation by Ted Chiang

Time Travel by James Gleick

Witness Tree by Lynda V. Mapes

This Is The Way The World Ends by Jeff Nesbit

The Parking Lot Attendant by Nafkote Tamirat

Sing Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward 

The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben

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james schirmer
tag:betajames.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1378846 2019-04-30T16:00:02Z 2019-04-30T16:00:03Z books recently read - mar/apr 2019

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

Pond by Claire-Louise Bennett 

New Dark Age by James Bridle 

What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia by Elizabeth Catte 

Coal by Barbara Freese

A Bright Future by Joshua S. Goldstein and Staffan A. Qvist

Downriver by Heather Hansman

The Fuzzy and the Techie by Scott Hartley

The Feral Detective by Jonathan Lethem

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett 

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james schirmer
tag:betajames.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1359922 2019-02-28T17:00:00Z 2019-02-28T17:00:02Z books recently read - jan/feb 2019

Quiet by Susan Cain 

Outline by Rachel Cusk 

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo

The Inward Empire by Christian Donlan

Florida by Lauren Groff 

The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon

Severance by Ling Ma

So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo

The End of Animal Farming by Jacy Reese

Season of Storms by Andrzej Sapkowski 

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james schirmer
tag:betajames.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1338774 2018-12-31T17:00:02Z 2018-12-31T17:00:02Z books recently read - nov/dec 2018

The Pisces by Melissa Broder

What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons

Extreme Cities by Ashley Dawson

Natural Causes by Barbara Ehrenreich

The End We Start From by Megan Hunter

The Friend by Sigrid Nunez

The Terror by Dan Simmons

Reader, Come Home by Maryanne Wolf 

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james schirmer
tag:betajames.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1313720 2018-10-31T16:00:00Z 2018-10-31T16:00:03Z books recently read - sep/oct 2018

The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steve Brusatte

The Ensemble by Aja Gabel

Barracoon: The Story of the Last "Black Cargo" by Zora Neale Hurston 

Trespassing Across America by Ken Ilgunas

Hell Is Empty by Craig Johnson 

Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill

Rising by Elizabeth Rush

No Good Alternative: Volume Two of Carbon Ideologies by William T. Vollmann

Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History by Florence Williams 

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james schirmer