Something I thought about:

  • How to create a classroom that’s as covid safe as possible given the current situation and parameters.
  • How to create a fall course plan that’s as stable and consistent as possible even if we need to switch from in-person to remote.
  • Boundaries, excess, and liminality.

Something I did:

  • Prepped my fall course so that, if necessary, we can easily switch to an online format and only change the way we have class discussion — everything else (deadlines, sending work, receiving feedback, etc.) will be handled the same way. These adjustments will also make the course almost entirely paperless.
  • Caught up on some reading.

Something I read:

  • Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation by Mary Louise Pratt
  • Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May
  • “Care at Scale: Bodies, agency, and infrastructure” by Debbie Chachra
If municipal water systems mean that we are enduringly connected to each other through the landscape where our bodies are, our other systems ratchet this up by orders of magnitude. Behind the wheel of a car, we are a cyborg: our human body controls a powered exoskeleton that lets us move further and faster than we ever could without it. But this freedom depends on roads and supply chains for fuels, to say nothing of traffic laws and safety regulations. In researcher Paul Graham Raven’s memorable formulation, infrastructural systems make us all into collective cyborgs. Alone in my apartment, when I reach out my hand to flip a switch or turn on a tap, I am a continent-spanning colossus, tapping into vast systems that span thousands of miles to bring energy, atoms, and information to my household. But I’m only the slenderest tranche of these collective systems, constituting the whole with all the other members of our federated infrastructural cyborg bodies.

The idea of infrastructure as a connective landscape is interesting, and I'm still thinking about it.

It costs us something to be the beginner. Our minds opt for intellectual ejector seats, taking us away from new ideas. But “I hadn’t thought of that before” is actually the experience of joy trying to reach us.