Well, hello there. It’s been nearly two years since I last posted on this blog. Why is that? Simply put: there hasn’t been enough time. I’ve been working as an adjunct, keeping my Twitter and Facebook pages up to date, and, like, actually trying to spend time with my family.
However, I haven’t stopped writing. Indeed, I’ve expanded to launch the Theatre History Podcast, which has so far produced 32 wonderful episodes, which you can find here on HowlRound. I’ve also produced a number of blog posts, feature-length articles, and opinion pieces for outlets such as HowlRound, JSTOR Daily, American Theatre, and WBUR, as well as regular TV and theatre reviews for Critics at Large. I’ll list links to all of those pieces at the bottom of this post.
After two years of chasing after all of that stuff, I’m going to try and revive the blog. You’re probably going to see more posts about pieces that I’ve written or produced for other outlets, rather than original content, but this will give me a central repository for all of the work that I’m putting out there, as well as a place for me to share more personal thoughts and quirky material that’s entertaining and interesting but not substantial enough for publishing elsewhere.
The last two years have been something of an experiment in how to share knowledge and expertise through channels other than the usual ones (i.e. academic journals). I’m more convinced than ever that scholars need to keep doing this if we’re going to reach a critical mass of people. I see a lot about the growing importance of continuing education and lifetime learning, but it’s mostly couched in the context of teaching new technical skills to those who are being left behind by technological change and other economic and social shifts. If we can learn anything from the political turmoil in the United States over the past year, it’s that there’s a critical need for education in other fields, as well, especially when it comes to developing well-rounded citizens who understand and value the things that they encounter in the world around them.
However, I’ve also realized that it’s tough to justify doing all of this work when it’s not bringing in any money. That might sound crass and mercenary, but it’s also a cold, hard economic fact for people like me, who are scrambling from semester to semester to string together classes and, once they’re scheduled, to teach them well. Throw in other, even more important, obligations (did I mention family?) and having time to do unpaid writing begins to feel like a real luxury. I’m not going to even begin to wade into the controversy over how labor in higher education is undergoing drastic changes, but it does strike me that, if we’re going to produce work that’s accessible to a general audience (and therefore useful in our ongoing efforts to convince that audience that higher education is something that’s valuable and worth supporting), there has to be some sort of incentive structure in place to encourage and support scholars to do so.
So to sum up: I’m going to try and go back to periodically sharing quirky stuff from theatre and entertainment history, as well as updates about the Theatre History Podcast and other endeavors of mine. Check back here from time to time to see what’s going on, and, in the meantime, please check out some of the pieces that I’ve written over the past two years.
- I’ve been producing the Theatre History Podcast, as well as writing blog posts and other pieces, for HowlRound. You can find them all here.
- A Theatre History Podcast episode that featured an interview with Dr. Siyuan Lu on modern Chinese theatre got picked up by American Theatre.
- I also regularly write about TV and theatre. Want to read my rants about stuff? Check them out on the blog Critics at Large.
- I’ve written a few features for JSTOR Daily, including this piece on Joice Heth, the slave who helped launch P.T. Barnum’s career, and this feature on how death on the stage has changed over the centuries.
- I also produced some work for WBUR, including this review of a Stoneham Theatre production and an essay on the 2015 church massacre in Charleston.