Valentine’s Ideas, courtesy of Bumble

Imprint

Originally Posted: February 3, 2016

The following is an excerpt from an article written by Dedman College alumnus Matt Alexander featuring Valentine’s day gift idea’s from Bumble, a company founded by another Dedman College alumna, Whitney Wolfe.

Over the past year or so, it’s been a pleasure to watch the rapid rise and success of Bumble, an innovative dating app, which seeks to create a better, safer, and more enjoyable experience for men and women alike.

From prominent coverage in the press to creative pop-ups at events around the world, the team at Bumble has got a masterful idea of how to foster a fantastic community of people.

And it’s made all the better by the fact that I knew some members of their team — namely Whitney Wolfe, their founder, and Alex Williamson, their head of marketing — at university.

Given the three of us graduated within a year or two of each other and went onto found companies swirling around the realms of technology and culture, we’ve been in loose touch in recent months, looking for a chance to bring our respective companies together. And, finally, we’ve found an ideal chance to work with them: to help prepare you, unsuspecting men and women, for Valentine’s Day. READ MORE

Angela Ards, English, releases new book, Words of Witness: Black Women’s Autobiography in the Post-Brown

Originally Posted: February 1, 2016

Ards

WORDS OF WITNESS by Angela Ards, an Associate Professor of English at SMU, explores how black women writers craft life stories to engage and shape our politics. In it, she argues that these autobiographers offer counter-memories to official, and often nostalgic, understandings of the civil rights and Black Power movements; in pushing against past visions of black struggle, they reveal the needs and concerns of the present. Written to show the role of culture in movement-building, WORDS OF WITNESS charts new political ethics to guide our organizing now that it is movement time once more. READ MORE

Greg Brownderville, English, The People Making Us a Well-Read City

Dallas Innovates

Originally Posted: January 29, 2016

The Dallas literary renaissance is upon us—and it has arrived quickly.

“There was a huge gap here even just two and a half years ago,” says Will Evans, founder of Deep Vellum Publishing. “It’s happened really fast that Dallas has started to feel like a literary city.”

Evans attributes the growing literary scene to the independent book stores that have sprouted up around the Dallas area. The Wild Detectives, which opened in early 2014 and is run by Javier Garcia del Moral and Paco Vique, is a coffee-booze-book stop in Bishop Arts. Evans’s Deep Vellum, a publishing house known for its international translations, is gearing up to open its own store, Deep Vellum Books. There’s also Serj Books, which vends coffee, local food, and a small but lovely selection of handpicked books.

“Where do you go to see people who are into the same stuff as you, if you’re into writing—which is a solitary activity—or reading—which is also a solitary activity? Now you have book stores, and suddenly Dallas feels more literary,” Evans says. “When the Wild Detectives opened, Dallas went from nothing on the literary map to being a place—it gave us a sense of place, purpose, and community.”

Evans stresses that the stock of these small book shops—indie books, translated titles, works written by local authors or printed by local publishers—is different from that of a place like Half Price Books, known for its massive flagship store and rows upon rows of marked-down bestsellers.

“I really appreciate, as an author, that Wild Detectives goes out of its way to feature local authors,” says Greg Brownderville, SMU associate professor, poet, and published author of two books, Gust and Deep Down in the Delta. “When I walk into Wild Detectives, often they’ll have one of my books prominently displayed. Local authors really appreciate that.”READ MORE

Former Poet Laureate Kay Ryan headed to SMU Feb. 25

Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: January 21, 2016

Southern Methodist University is bringing former U.S. Poet Laureate Kay Ryan to campus next month.

Ryan served as laureate from 2008 through 2010, then won the  Pulitzer Prize and a $500,000 MacArthur Fellowship grant.

She’ll speak at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 25 at Dedman Life Sciences Building Room 131, 6501 Airline Court, following a 6 p.m. reception.  Sponsors are SMU English Professor Willard Spiegelman, the SMU Department of English and the Gilbert Lecture Series. READ MORE

Dedman College Alumnus and Cardiologist John Harper prescribes a dose of good literature “to make us better people”

Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: January 19, 2016

A doctor’s mission: Showing why literature matters to medicine

During four years of medical school, Dr. Susan Oh kept herself from reading books other than those related to her studies.

“Even though I wanted to, it would be like, ‘No, I need to further my knowledge and be the best physician I can be,’” says dermatology resident Oh, 42.

Then she met Dr. John Harper, the Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas cardiologist whose sixth annual “Literature + Medicine” conference will be held Tuesday. And she began to realize that her love of the written word could add an unexpected dimension to being a physician.

“Reading,” says Harper, who has an English degree from Southern Methodist University, “makes us better people, and better people are better doctors.”

In his Friday morning Coffee With Cardiology teaching sessions, which Oh attends even on her days off, Harper doesn’t just take residents and medical students on rounds and discusses cases. He also brings music for them to absorb and essays, poems and short stories for them to read — or, he says, to “lean in and listen” as he reads aloud. He accompanies his students to museums and invites them to his home to discuss literature. READ MORE

EVENT: MLK Day Symposium at University of Dallas with guest speaker Professor Darryl Dickson-Carr

Event Date: Jan 18, 2016
Time: 11 am-1 pm
Free and open to the public

MLK Day Symposium at University of Dallas. “The ‘Birthright of Freedom’: Reading ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’ in Light of #BlackLivesMatter and Missouri” with guest speaker Professor Darryl Dickson-Carr, Chair of the SMU English Department. RSVP to agthompson@udallas.edu by Jan. 14 at 5 p.m.

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Meet the SMU professor and students behind the irreverent ‘Moby-Dick’ inspired card game ‘Dick’

GuideLive

Originally Posted: November 24, 2015

Admit it: When reading or discussing the classic novel Moby-Dick in high school or college, your mind went places. Maybe you vocalized the inappropriate jokes you were thinking of, getting an easy chuckle from your nearby friends. Or maybe you kept your thoughts to yourself, thinking that surely such lowbrow humor was not good enough for literature as great as this.

But Tim Cassedy, an English professor at SMU, thinks it’s OK to laugh at Moby-Dick. In fact, he thinks that’s the intent of the name.

“I genuinely believe that on some level there is a dick joke in the title of the book — hidden in plain sight,” Cassedy told me via e-mail. “I think the book frequently plays around with that meaning of ‘dick.’ Sperm whales really are named that because they have a white, waxy substance in their head that early mariners mistook for semen. They called that substance ‘spermaceti’ (which means whale sperm) or just ‘sperm.’ (It turns out to make excellent candles.) The book is full of moments where the whale meaning of sperm starts to blur over into the reproductive meaning — sometimes just to play with words, sometimes for comic effect, and sometimes as part of straining to articulate ideas that are difficult to put into words. Relevant chapters include 81, 94, and 95. The entirety of chapter 95 is about making a smock out of the foreskin removed from a sperm whale’s 6-foot-long penis. So.” READ MORE

English professor’s Moby-Dick inspired card game makes classic novel accessible in most unlikely of ways

SMU News

Originally Posted: November 23, 2015

The upcoming movie, The Heart of the Sea, promises to offer a classy, high-brow and potentially Oscar-worthy take on the whale hunt that inspired Henry Melville’s classic novel, Moby Dick. For folks who still giggle at the title there’s another way to enjoy Melville’s classic this winter: DICK, the card game, from the mind of SMU English Professor Tim Cassedy.

“Moby Dick is really, really funny,” Cassedy says. “You can downplay the irreverence and read the book as a very earnest story about American ruggedness and Ahab’s will and vengeance, and it is those things. But if you go into it knowing Melville is often kidding, it reads completely differently.”

DICK, the card game, exposes that humor.

In a concept familiar to anyone who’s played Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity, DICK is a humorous game of “complete the sentence.” Each turn, one player serves as a judge and asks their fellow players to submit cards that complete the sentence on one of the prompt cards, which contain phrases such as:

“Oh yeah? Well I graduated from the University of _______!” or, “Ted Cruz caused a stir today when he called a press conference to denounce ______.” READ MORE

English professor creates ‘Moby Dick’ inspired card game

The Daily Campus

Originally Posted: November 16, 2015

An SMU English professor and a couple of his students have taken the American literary classic “Moby Dick” and created a game. A card game simply called “Dick.”
Professor Tim Cassedy came up with the idea for the game while teaching a “Moby Dick” seminar class at SMU in the spring of 2015. Hayley Waring, a senior in the class at the time, said the class was reading the Henry Melville novel and started picking up on the humor in the text.

“Professor Cassedy came up with the concept for a game that preserves the literary merits of the book but still highlights that the language Melville used is really funny,” Waring said.

Cassedy and students Chelsea Grogan and Jenna Peck made a prototype of the game and brought it to class. It was an immediate hit.

“We all loved it and could not stop laughing,” Waring said. READ MORE

Event: Nov. 12, Noah’s Ark – Figuring Climate Change

SMU News

Originally Posted: Nov. 10, 2015

Professor Jeffrey Jerome Cohen of George Washington University, who specializes in medieval studies, ecotheory, posthumanism and the history of monsters, will speak on “Noah’s Ark — Figuring Climate Change” at SMU on Thursday, Nov. 12.

The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will be at 6 p.m. in Dallas Hall’s McCord Auditorium. It is part of the Gilbert Lecture Series.

Most medieval illustrations of Noah depict him serenely floating in his ark, surrounded by his family and a harmonious menagerie. What would happen if we stopped using the Flood as our unspoken cognitive frame for global warming – or at least if we stopped playing the role of Noah, if we abandoned the hope of salvaging a small community in an ark built against more complicated, more collective, more livable futures? What if we thought with more sympathy about what is lost when we assume the world must drown? This talk traces some alternative traditions about Noah and his ark, medieval and modern, attempting to use them to rethink the future during a time of climate change.

Cohen’s work ranges over medieval literature, cultural studies, digital humanities, posthumanist theory, and the environmental humanities. In addition to his traditional scholarship, Prof. Cohen manages a strong online presence on Twitter and on his group blog In the Middle, which features academic work in progress as well as reflections on higher education. He is also a key member of The BABEL Working Group, a co-disciplinary, global collective for scholars, researchers, and artists inside and outside the academy who are interested in the relationship between “medieval” and “modern.” READ MORE