King of the Road (By No Means)

Westward ho! As mentioned in the latest Insider email bulletin to IHE readers, I am headed next week to the University of California at Davis to speak at the Public Intellectuals Forum, sponsored by the Humanities Center there. An overview of the lecture series appeared in April in a local newspaper. Profound thanks to Eric Rauchway for the invitation.

Plus I'll give a less formal talk called "Confessions of a Book Reviewer" at a lunchtime meeting on Tuesday. Sort of a mashup of themes from my Balakian acceptance speech, favorite quotations by critics (not just Orwell) reflecting on the process, and stuff that Rita listens to me vent about from time to time.

The full title of my Humanities Center presentation, late Tuesday afternoon, is "Sex, Socialism, and Self-Education: The 'Little Blue Books' and the Making of the Mass-Market Intellectual." This will be my first effort to present some work I've been doing for the past three years. (Also -- if all goes well -- my first attempt to lecture with graphics from my laptop.) 

I've done a little of this sort of thing over the years -- serving as a "resource person," as university lingo evidently has it -- by speaking to classes at Beloit College, conducting a seminar for young journalists from Northern Ireland and the U.S. (here on a fellowship from the British Arts Council), and so on. The response from students has always been very encouraging.

I'd be ready to do more of it, were opportunities to come up. To be an old-school "public intellectual" (as opposed to a professor with media access) means spending an awful lot of time working in solitude. This, frankly, is getting old. But thus far the invitations have been few and far between. A few years ago someone explained that my work comes under the heading of "creative nonfiction." So perhaps it's a matter of proper branding?

It might be time to start putting together a set of talks on various topics I've studied and thought about, and going out on the road to lecture and/or meet with classes. My needs are modest. I try to give value for the honorarium. Advice welcome. References available on request.
October 10, 2008 11:34 AM | | Comments (1)

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If only the Invisible Library had a lecture series!

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This page contains a single entry by Quick Study published on October 10, 2008 11:34 AM.

Ig-Nobel Thoughts was the previous entry in this blog.

Something Many of Us Would Pay to See is the next entry in this blog.

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