Over the course of the next few months the CRDM blog will periodically feature a Q + A with one of our outstanding faculty members. We take classes with them and work with them on scholarly projects, but now we’d like to learn more about what else they’re doing. We’ve talked with David Rieder, Jessica Jameson, Chris Anson, David Berube, Susan Katz, Maria Pramaggiore, Susan Miller-Cochran, Robert Schrag, Carolyn R. Miller, Brad Mehlenbacher, R. Michael Young, Jason Swarts, Adriana de Souza e Silva, Elizabeth Craig, Andrew Binder, and Victoria Gallagher, and we recently caught up with Dr. Matt May of the Communication Department:
What are you reading?
Let’s see…over break I read Zizek’s book entitled Violence. I also really enjoyed Rebecca Newberger Goldstein’s philosophical novel 36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction. Right now I’m about halfway through Dana Cloud’s new book We Are the Union: Democratic Unionism and Dissent at Boeing. I’m also rereading parts of Mythologies by Roland Barthes. I’m always catching up on past issues of Quarterly Journal of Speech, Rhetoric Society Quarterly, Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, and Philosophy and Rhetoric. On deck is Masochism: Coldness and Cruelty in Venus in Furs by Gilles Deleuze. A rereading of Wallace Stevens is always in the back of my mind, fluttering around like a blackbird. The Grundrisse looms large. Jeremy Packer’s edited collection Secret Agents is also going to satisfy my longstanding interest in secret agents, stool-pigeons, and (company) spies.
What classes are you teaching?
This semester I have the pleasure of teaching COM/ENG 516: Rhetorical Criticism. In the future I hope to offer more courses on the “People’s History” of American Public Address, something on Marx, and perhaps even something on Spinoza. I’m also putting together some thoughts for a course entitled Media Outlaws–an idea I’ve stolen from Gil Rodman at the University of Minnesota. I am not certain, but I believe I am scheduled to teach undergrad and grad Rhetorical Theory in Fall of 2012.
What are you writing about?
Mainly I’m working on revisions of my book manuscript Hobo Orator Union: Class Composition and the Free Speech Fights of the Industrial Workers of the World. Thanks to the hard work of our chair Ken Zagacki and Dean Thomas Birkland, I recently received a grant to study the Occupy Wall Street movement in NYC. Part of what I’m working on now is integrating some of the findings of my field research into my concluding arguments about how memory of past struggles can fortify and sustain present radical movements.
What are you listening to?
I just saw Jeff Mangum (formerly of Neutral Milk Hotel) in Chapel Hill. I listen to a lot of Gnawa music when I write. Lately I’ve been jamming on my Hassan Hakmoun Pandora Station. My favorite show, by far, since I’ve lived in the triangle was Janzig (an all-girl cover band of the Misfits and Danzig) at the Pinhook. I also listened to the entirety of Madonna’s debut album after her Superbowl performance. Right at this very moment, I’m listening to Kronos Quartet doing “John’s Book of Alleged Dances.” I’m also a sucker for old labor songs. I think I’m one of the few people who actually knows all of the verses to Solidarity Forever. I dream of seeing Billy Bragg live someday. I have two copies of the IWW’s little red songbook.
What are you watching?
I have an ongoing interest in prison activism and recently finished the OZ series from HBO. My partner and I watch all kinds of films together. I rarely miss Saturday Night Live.