The Personal Canon: Summer 2019 Update

Over my first year at Clemson, almost all of my colleagues have asked me: So what are your favorite movies?

In the spirit of answering that question, I’ve returned to and overhauled my Personal Canon of favorite movies for the first time in five years. Instead of ranking by preference–a task that increasingly seems herculean–I’ve listed these chronologically, and with no real captions or context.

Here are one hundred movies I love, and that have special resonances and meanings to me. There are many biases, there are many omissions, but here ya go:

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Communication and Community

Preface: In an effort to be more reflective and public about my teaching, I am trying to find time to blog about my courses. I will keep these relatively abstract so as to protect my students’ right to privacy, and they will all be written somewhat hurriedly to try and offer a brief way to collect and distribute thoughts and connections I find meaningful. Please forgive any lack of precision or rigor, and please accept this as an invitation for further conversation.


This past week in my undergraduate Critical-Cultural Communication Theory course, we have worked through what the concept of culture means, and how this concept can help orient the study of communication. I had students read Raymond Williams, “Culture is Ordinary,” and James W. Carey, “A Cultural Approach to Communication.”

The idea here was to help students see that theory does not have to be abstract, but works best when we ground it in lived experience, and use it to create larger understandings of complicated phenomena.

There were two main nuggets I hoped students would get to take away with them as we started this course:

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The Ache of Ephemerality: On a Return to Blogging

As I start my work at Clemson University, I wanted to re-launch my blogging. Since I went to Indiana in 2013 to begin my PhD work, I’ve mostly relied on Twitter for blogging, preferring its ephemerality and compactness, and the ability to get immediate and direct feedback.

For a number of reasons, I’m growing tired of Twitter. Yes, the caustic anonymity of the site is a problem, as is its (intentional or not) harboring of supremacist viewpoints. But I’ve been inspired by a quote from Siva Vaidhyanathan’s recent Anti-Social Media (and I’m paraphrasing):Facebook is good at declaration, and bad at deliberation.

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