Featured Scholar - December 2019
What are you watching/streaming?
In addition to watching old Star Trek episodes for the fourth or fifth time, I've been enjoying "High Seas" on Netflix, dubbed from the Spanish mystery series "Alta Mar." It's is a campy look at a late 1940s luxury cruise ship heading from Spain to Brazil, and follows a pair of sisters who try to solve death after mysterious death aboard the Bárbara de Braganza. I also really enjoy a series on the Bon Apétit YouTube channel where a gourmet pastry chef attempts to recreate high-end versions of junk foods like twinkies and gushers.
What games are you playing?
I just bought a copy of the board game "Pandemic." It's a cooperative game where players work together to prevent a disease outbreak from spreading around the globe. I really enjoy the cooperative aspect unlike most other board games where everyone is pitted against each other. I also continue to play one of the very first cell phone games I ever downloaded, called "Jump Car." (True to its name, it's about a car that jumps.)
What are you listening to?
Neon Indian's new song "Toyota Man" is a take on the border crisis and the role of immigrants and migrant labor in the US. I've also been listening to a lot of a Swedish indie pop band called Alpaca Sports, Lil Peep's recently released posthumous album, The Radio Dept., and The Smiths.
What are you reading?
Right now I'm halfway through Ursula LeGuin's "The Dispossessed". It does for capitalism and governmental structures what her "The Left Hand of Darkness" does for gender (and what all good science fiction does): creates a hypothetical world and explores the ramifications. I'm also part way through the many-volume The Expanse series by James S.A. Corey.
What are you writing/thinking about?
I'm working on two main projects at the moment. The first looks at the role of instructors' gestures in foreign language learning, specifically examining whether gestures that have been shown to be effective in the classroom also aid learning in digital environments. The second project looks at Xhosa, a Bantu language spoken in South Africa, and examines some of its fine acoustic details using recordings made in my previous fieldworks trips over the last few summers (graciously supported in part by the Humanities Center!)