2017-12 No1 slip-man-black-banana-md

MONTHLY BLOG 84, INVENTING WORDS

If citing, please kindly acknowledge copyright © Penelope J. Corfield (2017) Speakers and writers constantly adopt and play with new words and usages, even while the deep grammatical structures of language evolve, if at all, only very slowly. I remember an English class at school when I was aged about twelve or thirteen when we […]

2017-11 No2 Educating Rita

MONTHLY BLOG 83, SEX AND THE ACADEMICS

If citing, please kindly acknowledge copyright © Penelope J. Corfield (2017) Appreciating sex means appreciating the spark of life. Educating numbers of bright, interesting, lively young adults is a sexy occupation. The challenge for academics therefore is to keep the appreciation suitably abstract, so that it doesn’t overwhelm normal University business – and absolutely without […]

2017-10 No1 AUTHOR THINKING

MONTHLY BLOG 82, WRITING PERSONAL REFERENCES

If citing, please kindly acknowledge copyright © Penelope J. Corfield (2017) What do today’s academics spend their time doing? Next to marking essays and planning research applications, one of the most common tasks is writing personal references for past and present students (and sometimes for colleagues too). Happily, such evaluations are not presented anonymously.1 Yet […]

2017-09 No1 handshake diagram

MONTHLY BLOG 81, RESPONDING TO ANONYMOUS ACADEMIC ASSESSMENTS

If citing, please kindly acknowledge copyright © Penelope J. Corfield (2017) (*) This BLOG follows its matching BLOG/80 (Aug. 2017) on ‘Writing Anonymous Academic Assessments’ The first arrival of anonymous assessments of one’s own research is almost invariably annoying. There’s something about the format which gives the author-less verdict a quality of Olympian majesty. And, […]

2017-08 No1 black mask

MONTHLY BLOG 80, WRITING ANONYMOUS ACADEMIC ASSESSMENTS

If citing, please kindly acknowledge copyright © Penelope J. Corfield (2017) (*) This BLOG will be partnered in September 2017 by a matching BLOG on ‘Responding to Anonymous Academic Assessments’   Writing anonymously encourages a certain acidity to emerge. Instead of the conventional politeness (‘Does my bum look big in this?’ No … not really’), […]

2017-07 No1 Aurora Goddess of Dawn by Heidi Wastweet 2003

MONTHLY BLOG 79, 2017 – ANOTHER SUMMER OF LOVE?

If citing, please kindly acknowledge copyright © Penelope J. Corfield (2017) Youth, youth: ‘it’s wasted on the young’, etc. But not this time. Having in my BLOG/78 (June 2017) chastised the young for not voting,1 it’s only right now to applaud their mass re-entry into electoral politics at the June 2017 General Election. It makes […]

13.4 Rowlandson Westminster Election 1808

MONTHLY BLOG 78, WHO CARES? GETTING PEOPLE TO VOTE

If citing, please kindly acknowledge copyright © Penelope J. Corfield (2017) Elections again! And public moodiness at being asked to decide on weighty matters once more. The last thing that Britain’s campaigners for a democratic franchise ever imagined was that electors, once enfranchised, would not use their votes. Was it for nothing that the democratic […]

2017-05 No1 Rising phoenix tattoo - Copy

MONTHLY BLOG 77, IDEAS TAKING A WRONG TURN

If citing, please kindly acknowledge copyright © Penelope J. Corfield (2017) Meditating about ideas taking a wrong turn (there are a lot of wrong turns around), I was reminded of the eighteenth-century saga of phlogiston – or the spirit of fire. It was a concept that held sway in scientific circles for many years, before […]

2017-04-No3-White-Queens-in-Looking-Glass

MONTHLY BLOG 76, HUMANS AS COLLECTIVE TIME-TRAVELLERS

If citing, please kindly acknowledge copyright © Penelope J. Corfield (2017) Particularly in troubled times, it’s enticing to think of escaping not just to another place but to another time: a temporal bridge over troubled waters. In the old folk stories, an individual falls very soundly asleep … and then awakens, to his or her […]

2017-03 No1 wallpaper_stardust3

MONTHLY BLOG 75, HUMANS AS TIME-SPECIFIC STARDUST

If citing, please kindly acknowledge copyright © Penelope J. Corfield (2017) ‘We are stardust’, sang Joni Mitchell in ‘Woodstock’ (1970) soulfully and, as it transpires, presciently.1 Poets, song-lyricists and writers of scifi are often ahead of the scientific curve (as well as sometimes barking completely up the wrong tree). A.E. Housman’s Shropshire Lad (1896) had […]