COVID Chronicles – So Tired

What have I been doing since March 2020?

I’m out of structured words these days. The tinnitus in my ears is so loud. It’s just a list. That’s all I can do.

suddenly moved my classes to online only along with all 23 campuses in the Cal State System

took a summer online teaching and pedagogy Quality Assurance program — then took another one local to SJSU mentored by some fantastic colleagues

Chair, Retention, Tenure & Promotion Committee — Fall = culture shift in RTP documentation to value pedagogy explicitly by discussing actual teaching materials in the documentation, as part of the required holistic review (per our S15-8 newly implemented policy created by Academic Senate over 10years that focuses on an equitable view in teaching assignment that includes valuing community connections, department advising, innovative pedagogy, high impact practices — and for this year explicitly to note how faculty shifted in March 2020 to completely online…and then continued that through the Fall…and will be again in the Spring)

recorded lecture videos & supplemented with curated theory lecture videos from other brilliant scholars + off-the-cuff screencasts when something wasn’t going well

created new assignments using social annotation tool,, embedded into Canvas and found they worked for one class but not the other

Canvas has been challenging – this from a technocrat

Interfolio has been challenging for digital dossiers — so much disappointingly NOT Web 2.0 intuitive

GA in one class brilliantly helped students to establish community + students came together to create supportive community for this very difficult course — social annotations did that; weekly peer responses that were more like intellectual conversations than copyediting; constantly in each other’s orbit for assignments; attrition rate is lower + grades are higher than ever in 16 years of teaching this course (and not because of grade inflation!)

Dealing with students snapping at me via email or Canvas comments & reminding myself to be capacious…capacious…capacious

getting accused of terrorizing students….right before I was about to teach resulting in trying not to cry during a Fall class because it’s been 16 years of this shit…and then remembering my agency and shutting that shit down in a variety of ways

major meltdown of my own in a department committee meeting (for the first time, ever) because I’d had enough of people talking over each other — also having had to constantly reveal my own hearing issues, which was embarrassing and maddening when I still had to keep insisting for order (though I wasn’t chairing this committee)

got invitation to contribute to edited collection on my primary but new-ish research project – gulped and said yes

failed to deliver a book review — twice — grateful for generous editors

made videos of feedback on assignments only to discover that screencasting isn’t available via Canvas Studio and uploading videos takes 10mins each time x45….sigh

constant emails from the upper admins to “be kind” with no real action about what the heck that means — then a later correction (because our Provost listens) about how to create a system of kindness by lowering wordcounts or abbreviating the final exam or making exams open book or other pedagogical maneuvering that could easily be implemented in non-science required courses

a few days later, getting an email from the dept with rigid policies that contradict the provost’s “be kind” — apparently, they took it as be kind only to students, but not faculty

learned some things about leadership for a diverse, multi-disciplinary college

watched every single conference get cancelled – where I could normally test out new scholarship and get feedback from important voices

lost a beloved colleague to COVID in April

helping to plan a conference because it as apparent that this organization needs to move its needle on anti-bias and anti-racist scholarship — and some long-standing, white, male membership needs to step aside to make room for more voices

requested permission to visit my office to get books — all my books are lonely

got news that grad school mentor had succumbed to long-standing illness — co-created panel for big convention in his honor — lamenting I didn’t speak to him one last time

taking the 6 hr anti-bias training for rtp matters that was overwhelmingly useful in pointing out the rhetoric that can be harmful (women are nice/hard-working + men are brilliant) in professional advancement matters – grateful for our brilliant Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Office

listening to my students via Zoom shoot the shit about Frankenstein around the time of the U.S. elections — because we just needed a break from structure and to talk about something that gave us joy

created 5-min video about #citepedagogy for cool conference — once again working with long-time collaborators that always creates intellectual depth that I could not have reached on my own

sticking my foot in my mouth trying to be an ally but really just being a white, privileged asshole — constantly a work in progress

completely re-writing article with long-time collaborator to eschew personal narrative style — for the 2nd time on request for editors

final details on 10yr open access #curateteaching #citepedagogy project in digital format that is almost done…almost but made public early when everyone flipped to online pedagogy in March

writing 1…no 2….no 3 talks…all to happen in the same last week of the Fall semester — why?! I didn’t look closely at my calendar

worrying about my student loans and the potential eradication of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program

excitedly working on curating a digital exhibit for local bibliophiles from my 400+ collection of 19th-century British and American literary annuals

received 45 notices to take the online training for several system-wide matters, but ignored the invitation to read more & take a quiz so the system can say that I know about workplace safety

sticking my foot in my mouth again on a DH matter and getting access to important data, though my intentions were to make progress — but, I’m the sledge hammer and need to be deployed as such by those who ask me for help — that’s just the way it is, though I try to soften

discovering a new Black-owned coffee shop opened during the middle of the pandemic & riding my bike to grab a chai in support

published with long-time collaborators an edited cluster of flash essays from brilliant pedagogues who continue our march towards #citepedagogy #curateteaching

ongoing text chain with my framily and family – weekly & daily

launching an RFP and all the documentation for the 3rd year of a very successful college-wide program — but in the same week as doing 60hrs on RTP stuff, including chairing a committee — I’m great with process and infrastructure, but still working on being capacious with people management in my leadership roles

disappointingly hearing some in my sports community say “we’re diverse enough” and fail to commit to anti-racist/bias practices

listening to students describe incredibly gendered and biased pedagogical practices in Zoom classes — sigh

published an article…and, more exciting, saw one my grad students publish in the same cluster

listening to student Pecha Kucha presentations that are simply breathtaking and visually stunning – by far some of the best I’ve seen in 10 years of using Pecha Kucha for student assignments for this Fall course

writing so many rubrics in Canvas. so many

watched an incredible grad student conference mentored by dept colleague that was so exciting that I couldn’t contain my enthusiastic Zoom chat comments and secretly hoping that I could teach a grad class soon so we could all talk about this cool stuff they’ve been doing

writing so many weekly overviews for modules with goals and supporting videos and underlining or bold — so much underlining and bold text to draw attention — saying read me! read me!

learned new scheduling appointments apps in GCal and Canvas and how to create on-step scheduling, invitations in Zoom so it goes straight to GCal — and appreciating everyone else who did this, too

designed this year’s holiday card which is usually filled with photos of travel and racing with pals — this year, it’s just a wish for hugs

watched some brilliant programming and performing arts events that embrace technology — instead of lamenting the loss of in-person gatherings

visited with grad students for a couple of hours and think I convinced them that theory is cool

watched a bazillion Zoom webinars with incredible scholars who I would never have been able to see during non-zoom-boom days

wrote a peer review for a journal article — I think? I can’t remember

read anti-racist materials and got to talk to SJSU new colleagues who are leaders and inspirational and so much better at these things that we should all just shut up and listen rather than protecting the canon

writing 2 grant apps for this cool college-wide initiative — and getting one that will provide a course release to write a bigger federal grant proposal next semester — but then learning that one of the big proposals is due in early February 😦

spending 9 hours on Zoom in peak meeting week — and leading all of those gatherings, so no ducking out to let my laughing profile pic take lead

Zoom watched a student get a much-deserved scholarship — cried when she thanked me in her banquet speech

cheered for grad students taking comp exams with our new process

walked in the woods with retired mentor who I miss

started taking walking meetings to force myself outside

didn’t always remember to brush my teeth in the morning

riding in the Santa Cruz mountains up 4000ft and back down with views of the ocean in September

putting on my wetsuit and swimming x2/week in the ocean March-August, then pool swimming once the semester started

stopped working out 2 weeks ago — this is bad

spent the loneliest Thanksgiving I’ve ever had

I’m. so. tired.

I think I might have a lifetime limit on writing words. I may have reached it after Spring/Summer/Fall semester/constantworking/nobreak/alwayssomething/notimetodolaundry quadrupled workload.

What day is it?

This tinnitus is SO LOUD.

March March against “We’re Diverse Enough”


It’s July 26, 2020. I just read the New York Times article and watched the video of a shooting in Austin, Texas at a #blacklivesmatter protest where a protester who was legally open carrying was shot and killed by someone who drove a car into protesters.


I’ve watched Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stand up to a woeful congressman for calling her a “fucking bitch” on the steps of Congress.


I’ve attended SHARP in Focus (in place of their cancelled annual conference), especially the opening roundtable discussion Decolonizing Book History with panelists Marina Garone Gravier (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México), Priya Joshi (Temple University), Jean Lee Cole (Loyola University Maryland), Kinohi Nishikawa (Princeton University), and Andrea Reyes Elizondo (Leiden University). The panelists were capacious, generous, erudite, forthright, engaging, undeniable. I was honored to listen into their conversation. Read more…

#dayofdh2020 Digital Pedagogy Style

A lot has happened since my last post in February….


Day of Digital Humanities comes around every year in the Spring, but it’s been a little lost the past few years. This year CenterNet revived the tradition, started in 2009, for April 29, 2020 and celebrated the long tradition by inviting participants to use Twitter to make un-invisible the “life” a Digital Humanist.

But, first, a major interruption in even the life of the Digital Humanist.

Read more…

Struggling with New Research Project: India & Literary Annuals

I’ve been working through this research leave since Spring 2018 now. My Master’s granting public/state university began a new program whereby anyone who wants to pursue more research can apply for a 5-year series of course releases, 1 per semester, to bring teaching load down to 3-2. As with many of my research projects, I started this one through a course I was teaching in Spring 2019, Bigger 6: British Romanticism, that culminated in the start of a digital project (via Scalar) and some terrific conversations with 5 graduate students who were open to experimentation and exploration. We explored The Bengal Annual for 1830 (published in autumn 1829, Calcutta, India) and examined the representation not of canonical authors in this colonial publication, but instead the core British Romantics concepts: sublime, nature, picturesque, beauty. We didn’t spend a lot of time situating this serial publication within London-published literary annuals or literary culture or print culture. That’s where I want to begin. But there’s a problem: my white settler point of view, even as a print culture, book historian.

Read more…

Still get excited over the smell of old books…

At this point in my career, it seems much more impactful to work on systemic changes (#bigger6, #altac, #DH, #digped, #curateteaching) than to toil away at my own research — you know, that research that kept my rapt attention through grad school, that had me in awe to smell foxing on duodecimo pages, that had me giddy at a rare find at the Pforzheimer Collection, New York Public Library.sasb

For, you see, I had a front row to some of the best rare book collections in the world: as a Graduate Center, City University of New York student — caddy corner to the Empire State Building on 5th Avenue — the Morgan Library was behind us and the main research branch of the New York Public Library with its gorgeous Rose Main Reading Room Sherman-NYPL_img was our playground. And, we got special dispensation to


All of the 19th-century periodicals that were in the research stacks, not even in the Rare Book Room or any of the various Special Collections throughout the 5th Avenue building.

Read more…

We’re still working on low-cost OER – A Talk for St. Edward’s University

Today, at the invitation of Rebecca Frost Davis, I’m speaking at St. Edward‘s in Austin, Texas, about the work 9 faculty did for the California Open Educational Resources Council 2014-2016. I haven’t looked at these OER materials, focus groups, studies, survey instruments, or White Paper for quite some time, but it’s all tangentially related to my work in Digital Pedagogy, Digital Humanities, and Digital Humanities Pedagogy. As St. Edward’s considers more integration of OER textbooks, I was happy to share all of the infrastructure materials we created for our work on the Council.

Below are the slides for both interested faculty and IT/administrators/librarians who would support creating that infrastructure for faculty adoption of OER materials.


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