The Atomic Priesthood and Other Opportunities for Cross-Campus Collaboration

Last month, I wrote about how the Sokal hoax was an opportunity for humanists and scientists to cross campus and start working together, and that one of the fruits of this collaboration is the relatively new field of ecocriticism. Peter C. van Wyck’s book Signs of Danger: Waste, Trauma, and …


If You’re That Worried About the P.C. Police Coming For Your Job, Then Join a Union

The media loves to hate political correctness, especially political correctness in academia. Political correctness, they tell us, is aiding terrorism and threatening our freedoms. Never mind that a white nationalist is the Republican nominee for President of the United States: to these pundits, it’s those damn kids in college with …

Lesson Plans

Lesson: Bad Chart Thursday

This lesson plan could be adjacent to or independent from my “Critical Lunching” lessons. This takes advantage of Melanie Mallon’s great Skepchick series called “Bad Chart Thursdays.” Level: advanced pre-secondary, secondary, or post-secondary (depending on charts used) Subject: language arts, social studies, critical thinking, math, science, or related subject Objectives: …

Critical ThinkingGovernmentLesson PlansSecondary Education

Thesis and Evidence – teaching the 2016 election without bias and with the Common Core

There is no one more intent on making America great than a U.S. history teacher. Calculus teachers might struggle to make their material relevant, but history teachers do not. Students still complain, asking “What’s the point of learning this?” But, unlike higher math teachers, we have an answer. Because one …

The cover of issue 127 of the journal Social Text
Critical ThinkingHigher EducationPublishingScience

Evaluating the Sokal Hoax Twenty Years Later

Twenty years ago, in May 1996 (okay, twenty years and four months—sue me), Alan Sokal, a physicist at with appointments at the University College London and New York University, published a ground-breaking paper in the respected critical theory journal Social Text. The paper has been highly influential. I learned about …

Lesson Plans

Lesson 2 In Critical Lunching

Here is another lesson plan which involves thinking critically about arguments in articles which lambast desktop dining. (eating lunch at your desk at work) This is similar to my last lesson plan, but has a slightly different focus. This one is primarily about looking for two specific kinds of logical …

EducationFeminismPrimary EducationSecondary Education

Bathrooms: for trans students who have considered suicide when the rainbow is not enough

bathroom – a room in a public place with a toilet and a sink sex – the state of being male or female as assigned at birth gender identity – a person’s internal sense of being male, female, some combination of male and female, or neither male nor female transgender …


Students Do Not Need Campus Political Parties to Be Politically Active

This fall, as thousands of new students pile into colleges and universities, they will explore the many clubs and student societies on offer. Many of them will join the youth or student wings of mainstream political parties, which will be especially prominent given the upcoming election in the United States. …

Higher EducationPedagogy

“Syllabus Day” Happens for a Reason

It’s Back-to-School season again, also known to educators as time for classroom-management think pieces, syllabus guides, curricular critiques, and ritual lamentations for summer to make their yearly rounds on social media. Popular among my colleagues this year has been this critique of the phenomenon of “Syllabus Day” by Kevin Gannon, in …

Critical ThinkingCultureSecondary Education

White Teacher, Black and Brown Students: Race and Representation in the Modern American Classroom

This Olympics, Simone Manuel became the first black woman to win Olympic swimming gold. Her tears during the medal ceremony were moving, and her words at the press conference following it even more so. When she said, “The gold medal wasn’t just for me. It was for people who came …