This category contains 7 posts

Haunting the Campus 2016

Yesterday morning at 8am students in our Pilgrims, Travelers and Tourists class spread out across campus, took empty spaces and narrated them into existence—haunting the campus with the likes of pirates, magical ravers, Paul Bunyan and revelations of improbable things just below the surface. The rainy weather wasn’t ideal, but the signs did attract a great … Continue reading

Zuccotti Park: Passive Recreation Only

  This past weekend, while in New York City I walked through Zuccotti Park, the birthplace of Occupy Wall Street. I couldn’t help but notice the new notice that was clearly much more recently installed than the earlier weathered notice beside it. Rather than the simple, familiar text of “No Skateboarding, Rollerblading, or Bicycling Allowed … Continue reading

Why I Love the Gideon Bible People

Every school year begins with the anxiety of meeting new people, starting new classes and getting into the rhythms of higher education. For nearly as long as I have worked at our school it has also been the time of the return of the Gideons. During the first few weeks of school, before the weather … Continue reading

Urban Demolition: Jiuyanqiao, Chengdu, June 2014

My hotel room offered a nice perspective on the demolition of the building next door. The bulldozers were tearing down an old Mao-era building clearing the space for future redevelopment. No doubt the space will become something like the other buildings near it—perhaps a shopping mall, office building or hotel. Off in the distance, across the … Continue reading

Haunting the Campus, Making Spaces

In spite of the overcast skies, students in Pilgrims, Travelers and Tourists fanned out across campus to renarrate its spaces in an application of concepts we have been discussing in class. This is the second year I have done this with the class and it seems to be an enjoyable exercise. This year I also went … Continue reading

Simulating Victor Turner’s Liminal of Pilgrimage on Campus

Every other year I offer one of my favorite and longest-running classes, Pilgrims, Travelers and Tourists—a class which surveys different genres of travel and voyaging historically and cross-culturally. Since travel and movement—questions of who travels, where, why and how—are central to the experience of being a person these days, I find the interesting theories and cases we … Continue reading

Mystery Object #10: Brass Private Property Sign

Last week, while walking on the sidewalk up the street toward Market Square in Pittsburg, PA, I noticed a small brass plaque mounted in the brick sidewalk at the edge of the street at the corner of Forbes Ave and Delray Street. It simply said, PRIVATE PROPERTY. The brass and brick made the simple message—about the size of … Continue reading


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