March 25, 2016 Update

  1. Reading: Walter Isaacson’s biography of Benjamin Franklin

Ben Franklin“I wish the bald eagle had not been chosen as the representative of our country; he is a bird of bad moral character, he does not get his living honestly; you may have seen perched on some dead tree, near the river where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the labors of the fishing-hawk. . . The turkey is, in comparison, a much more respectable bird, and a true original native of America. . . he is (though a little vain and silly, it is true, but not the worse emblem for that) a bird of courage, and would not hesitate to attack a grenadier of the British guards.”

2. Teaching: Women’s Studies at Catlin Gabel High School, a class of lively and thoughtful students.

3. Visiting: The High Desert Museum, introduced to the burrowing owl.

4. 1755_Lisbon_earthquakeReading: This Gulf of Fire: The Destruction of Lisbon, or Apocalypse in the Age of Science and Reasonby Mark Molesky.



  1. Preparing: a talk for the Experience Music Project Pop Studies Conference, 2016 “Rock Authenticity and Tween Voices”

6. Reading: When the Root Children Wake Up by Sibylle von Olfers



  1. Publishing: an article in The Common Reader, “Talking with Girls about Katy Perry”


  1. Reading: Empire of Cotton: A Global History by Sven Beckert

9. Observing: the great trillium bloom in the back yard.

  1. Reading: Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning by James M. Lang
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November 5, 2015 Update

  1. Sigurd Stone, Ramsund, Sweden. “As he has tasted dragon blood, he starts to understand the birds’ song.”

    Gary Snyder The Real Work: Interviews & Talks 1964-1979


Grossinger: You were speaking earlier of that signature with the mushroom and the deer.

Snyder: I was simply saying that with the rains, and the snows in the high country, the deer move down, and, as it happened this year, the rains brought the deer down, and brought the deer mushroom out at exactly the same period of time, so that the deer arrived and began to eat the deer mushroom, which was there waiting for them. They smell it under the oak duff, and they kick back the oak leaves, and find it.

From IO, No. 12 (1971), first Earth Geography Booklet 

  1. Excerpting/In Development: Oregon for the Curious by Ralph Friedman

Cross-Coast Range Roads

Woodland Deer Park: They will eat out of your hands, without nibbling or biting your fingers.
It takes one year to train the deer.
The Marble Halls of Oregon, weirdly beautiful caverns.
Indian Mary Park: ahead lies pure wilderness.
This road, short years ago narrow and serpentining, has been broadened and widened.
If you keep your eyes open: a gnarled apple tree on a weathered knoll,
sheep plumped on a hill soothed by the fleece of low clouds
a boy on a pony studying a clothesline of pink and red and yellow and blue garments,
trees bent over a creek
Coquille, a virile logging town
Powers, a homespun logging town

  1. Pope Frances, Encyclical on Climate Change & Inequality: On Care for Our Common Home:

“The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine, for you are strangers and sojourners with me” (Lev. 25:23).

  1. Birds of the Willamette Valley Region:

“Secretive, usually solitary. Forages stealthily…hides motionless with neck extended…Sometimes called ‘thunder-pumper’ for deep, pump-like boonk ahh song produced by gulping, then expelling air from swollen esophagus. Also squawks in alarm.

  1. Raphael Rubinstein: The Basement of the Café Rilke and The Afterglow of Minor Pop Masterpieces

            6. The Ride at the Portland Art Museum

Up Nov 5, 2015 – Feb 21, 2016

(From the PAM website): In 1980, Paige Powell, a fifth-generation Oregonian, left Portland for New York City. After landing at Interview magazine, where she rose to associate publisher, Powell became close with Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Francesco and Alba Clemente, Tama Janowitz, Stephen Sprouse, and others who would come to define the New York art scene over the next decade. Camera in hand, she moved through the city, forming relationships with people and places that spanned across cultural and economic boundaries, capturing the city’s many realities.

  1. Monetized by Alissa Quart
  1. Substitute teaching at Jesuit High School
  1. Contribution to “Alien She” mega-zine, release party on Dec. 15 at the Pacific Northwest College of Art:

Riot Grrrl’s Influence

The flier on the museum wall was for a show I can’t remember
but says I played. Was I drunk? Probably.
I only ever had to leave a show once for being drunk,
and Amanda, thanks for driving me home that night
when I couldn’t get my guitar in tune or get the drum machine to work
because I couldn’t focus on the knobs, couldn’t control the volume or the speed.
The next day I walked to pick my car up on Tillamook.
I see a picture of Amanda’s beautiful child on Facebook,
she’s a labor organizer and hiked the Appalachian Trail.
Years kern the objects and they transmit as
loopy, choppy, fuzzy, a stolen copy of a stolen copy.
My student writes, “I wish there were something like that now”
and I say turn on HBO or check your personalized iTunes store ha ha.
The ambition was to transfigure, transform
daily things like a room or guitar or dress or book,
how we considered sexism or production or evil in the world.
Grinding meetings discussing The Courage to Heal and Sister Outsider,
the action at hand, rules of the show, basic decorum – especially this,
there was never a consensus, powerless girls feasting on each other.
Once it was just in the mail, stamps controlling
velocity of affect and its timbre. Not the music,
it was never about the music.

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May 12, 2015 Update

1. Reading:  Michelle Alexander —The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

2. Visiting: Lofotr Viking Museum

3. Teaching: Angharad Valdivia, “This Tween Bridge Over My Latina Girl Back: The U.S. Mainstream Negotiates Identity” (for Intro to Girls’ Studies at PSU)

4. Visiting: Kila School, Harstad; Homlia School, Homlia; Atlanten School, Kristiansund, and more.

5. Anticipating: 17th of May celebrations in Oslo

6. Reading: Karl Hagstrom Miller — Segregating Sound: Inventing Folk and Pop Music in the Age of Jim Crow

7. Listening: Sufjan Stevens, Carrie and Lowell

8. Calling: all people who write about girls and music to contribute an edited issue of the Journal of Popular Music Studies — more info here (deadline Sept. 1 2015).

9. Visiting with flower farmer sister: Blomsterhagen på Abildsø.

10. Reading: Carol Dweck —Mindset: the New Psychology of Success, a useful book for thinking about teaching.

11. Reading: Ibn Fadlān Ibn Fadlān and the Land of Darkness: Arab Travelers in the Far North (travel writing about Vikings from 921 CE).

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April 2015, Teaching

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April 8 2015 Roman Numerals

I complained about forgetting Roman numerals. I was a classics major! But you can’t keep it all in your head for your whole life. Roman numerals were edged out by something else, maybe all at once, quickly. In some of the walls the bricks give way to smooth, much older slabs of stone with Latin inscriptions, often including numbers. The Latin wasn’t bad, in fact I could regularly puzzle out meanings, ideas even, if they were there (which mostly they were not), never poetry or emotion, just the language of monuments. Maybe the time I memorized an entire Charlie Parker solo, and could sing it, Salt Peanuts, I think, and then the Roman numerals were just gone.

I will try to memorize the call numbers of the radio station we played unceasingly in the Roman apartment. Anne Murray, the Carpenters, Earth Wind and Fire, Boz Scaggs, Dire Straits, Christopher Cross, Diana Ross, Barry Manilow. Some DJ or algorithm aligning perfectly with my memory of of my first clock which was a clock radio. The first emanations, the shuffling click when tiny number plates flip down on their mechanism, a kind of whir, and then a flip. A small orange light illuminated it from the side. F——lip.

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April 6 2015

Easter day in Rome, I walked though intermittent thunder storms and greening Plane trees along the curving river. We didn’t wait to see the Pope, saw his smile in every kiosk and knick-knackery. Walking over that direction, throngs in pastel ponchos sold to them by the men who on sunny days sell selfie sticks. Only men sell them. Later, I turned on the Holy See website as I was searching for the text of the “Urbi et Orbi” (take-away: stay humble). There was a din of people in the square but the screen was dark. The live feed was on, recording with no lights on the people arcing in and then out through the basilica. Their hum as the sky cleared and wind picked up, you could hear that in the live feed.

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December 17 update

1. Wondering: Why is country music so popular in Norway?

2. Reading: Michelle Miller Minds Online: Teaching Effectively with Technology — this is a great book which considers the relationship of new research in cognitive science and their implications for teaching good courses online.

3. Setting up: my first 100% online class: Gender, Race and the Roots of Rock ‘n’ Roll, this winter at Portland State.

4. Still happy thinking about: seeing Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai receive the Nobel Peace Price at Oslo City Hall.

4. Reading: Jacqueline Woodson, Brown Girl Dreaming.

5. Feeling lucky: I can go into classrooms without fear of violence.

6. Listening: Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, “I’m not a Juvenile Delinquent.”

7. Watching: short days and long nights.

8. Anticipating: my first trip to Africa.

9. Supporting: Know Your IX, a student activist movement working to stop sexual violence on college campuses.

10. Visiting: the northern most road in Europe.

11. Visiting: schools in Storsteinnes, Gamvik, Trysil, Hisøy, Harstad, and more, see a map here.

12. Viewing repeatedly: Feist singing “1,2,3,4” on Sesame Street. Very different from this amazing version, which I suppose is the “original.”

13. Thinking about: Choirs and their civic voice while reading “SINGing, SOCIALizing, SELForganizing: An insight into an engaged Viennese music collective” by Ana Hofman on the Society for Ethnomusicology blog.

14. Hearing: the pealing of bells. Here is Metallica on the same instrument.

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November 11, 2014 Update

Elsa Beskow, With a Nisse

1. Reading: “Civil Society and Educational Publics: Possibilities and Problems” by Kathleen Knight Abowitz, in Promises to Keep: Cultural Studies, Democratic Education and Public Life, eds. Dimitriadis and Carlson.

2. Reading: “Start Something Fierce: A Young Woman’s Guide to Grassroots Organizing, 2nd Edition”  published by the Girls Action Foundation, as part of their Indigenous Young Women: Speaking Our Truths, Building Our Strengths initiative.  Link to download here.

3. Reading: “Troubling Heroes: Of Rosa Parks, Multicultural Education, and Critical Pedagogy” by Dennis Carlson in Promises to Keep: Cultural Studies, Democratic Education and Public Life, eds. Dimitriadis and Carlson.

4. Listening: Anthology of American Folk Music, vol. 1, Ballads, Green Singing

5. Reading: I am Malala:  The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai with Christian Lamb.

6. Very excited about:  Girls: Oregon, Action, Leadership, Service

7. Visiting schools in Ås, Kristiansund, Arendal, Meham, Nordkjosbotn and Harstad, see the map here.

8. Anticipating: a trip to the Polar Zoo.

9. Watching repeatedly: Laura Veirs’s “Froggy Went a Courting” video  (King Kong Kitchie Kitchie Ki Me O.)

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October 10, 2014 update

October 10, 2014. Back to list form, for now.

Sea Glass, Alta

1. Reading: From the Dance Hall to Facebook: Teen Girls, Mass Media, and Moral Panic in the United States, 1905-2010 by Shayla Thiel-Stern.

2. Reading: “Global Women’s Issues: Women in the World Today” published by the State Department Bureau of International Information Programs.

3. Reading: “Women and Men in Norway” published by Statistics Norway.

4. Listening: “Mississippi Goddam” by Nina Simone many times over.

5. Corresponding: with independent study students, working on girls’ issues at the Center for Women’s Leadership at Portland State University.

6. Visiting: classrooms in Råde, Øystese, Halden, Oslo, Hamar (see my google map here)

7. Trying to ignore: breast cancer awareness month

8. Following: Feminist Approach to Technology (FAT) Facebook feed – a great org in New Delhi bringing diverse skills to girls and young women.

9. Considering: the life well-lived by my colleague, Rosyln Farrington.

10. Soliciting: people who work with girls who want to participate in a special writing project in connection with an forthcoming issue of the Journal of Popular Music Studies I am editing with Diane Pecknold – email me!

11. Anticipating: going to the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in December.

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August 17, 2014 Update

Hello from Norway,

More than thirty years ago, the Norwegian –U.S. Fulbright office, together with the education ministry here, decided to undertake something called the Roving Scholar program. Unique to Norway, the program supports the work of three American Studies teachers each year as they travel around the country, visiting high school classrooms and teacher training/continuing education classes. The program is free for teachers and students, and is one way that the Norwegian government supports English education and American studies.

I am fortunate enough to be one of those Rovers this year, and I will be working with students around Norway on topics near to my heart and mind – popular music and social change movements in the 20th century U.S.

I landed in Norway just over two weeks ago, and I am beginning to schedule my travels around the country, as school comes back into session. I hope that any ungdomsskole teacher reading this will be sure to find out more by clicking this link to my info page on the Fulbright site.

It is an amazing privilege to be a part of this program, and to have the time and space away from my regular teaching schedule at Portland State to read and reflect on teaching, American cultural imperialism, and the transformative possibilities of music in high school humanities education (among other things!)

I’ll try to keep this blog alive, but I will certainly make more regular updates to my Facebook and Instagram pages, so go ahead and follow me there if you’d like to know more!

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