This semester, I’ve been
procrastinating working to improve the department’s profile by posting department news and other things on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. One thing that’s gotten some attention has been the posts of pictures I’ve asked instructors to send me from their classes, of whiteboards, blackboards, slides, &c. Today the journalism school’s daily paper, the Missourian, ran a story on my procrastination very productive new sideline. It’s better than wallowing in the slough of low enrollment despond, I suppose, and as I’m quoted as saying, it’s fun to see what people are doing in their classrooms. Story here.
More Missouri! Turns out I’ll be directing the new minor in Missouri Studies. I didn’t do any of the work to establish it, but a new course I created on Missouri writers is being added to the core courses, and I’ll be working with others to market the minor, add to list of elective courses, and build ties to the new Center for Missouri Studies. I’m excited to see what we can do with this minor, which could be useful for students in political science, history, public affairs, journalism, education, and a bunch of other majors. And maybe one of my classes can meet in that fancy new building.
I’ve also just been put on the program for a conference hosted by the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy in February, A Fire Bell in the Past: The Missouri Crisis at 200. I’ll be giving a paper on the impact of the crisis as seen in novels by two writers from Missouri, William Wells Brown and Mark Twain, tentatively titled “Manuscripts, Mysteries, & Mulattoes: Clotel, Puddn’head Wilson, and the Exclusion Clause of 1820.” It’s a mouthful, and I’ve got a lot of reading to do, but I’m grateful for the opportunity and looking forward to seeing how the history and political science people do things.