"This anthology is a love letter to my newest hometown, to the rural, and to the small," writes Julie Arhelger in the introduction to Turn Left at Nowhere: A Century of Morris Poetry (2014). Compiled as her capstone project for the University of Minnesota Morris' (UMM) honors program*, Turn Left is a lovely volume of pieces inspired … Continue reading Turn Left at Nowhere: A Century of Morris Poetry
My First Column: We're Living in a Russian Novel ... From where I write, Elmer Springs is a pale glow through winter fog, and as the long arms of night stretch across the road, I feel as though I could be anywhere. In fact, as my little wood stove crackles and growls against the cold, I feel like I'm living in a Russian novel. Having grown up here, I know all about Elmer Springs' generational conflict. I know its class tensions (though in a city whose per capita income is less than the state and national averages, antagonisms exist only between the have-nots and have-lesses). Instead of St. Petersburg and Moscow, we have Minneapolis and St. Paul, cities our little state representative decries for its excesses but insists having the right to visit every two years. Whether any of us are Utopians or Anarchists is as much dependent on the number of ducks in the pond as any coherent political philosophy. Perhaps there's a story here, but I have no ambition to be my generation's Tolstoy. ...
Ever since I joined the Initiative on Neuroscience and Law, I've had a growing interest in big data analysis. With so much information being digitized -- whether it's criminal records, government documents, or historical archives -- researchers can engage with old resources in new ways and ask questions on scales previously unimaginable. Though I'm not too vocal about it here (yet), right now I'm working to apply what I've learned at the Initiative to the Library of Congress' "Chronicling America" archives. This crossing of fields, for those who are curious, is called the "Digital Humanities." (If you'd like to know more, I suggest checking out the historian Dan Cohen's blog. Fred Gibbs also has a helpful introduction to historical data analysis here). I won't reveal any of my graphics here (I'm saving them for a future post), but here's an example of the Digital Humanities that everyone's familiar with: Word clouds. Technically, these were possible before the digitization of famous works, but it's the kind of work that required slave labor teaching assistants. The following I put together in a few minutes using Project Gutenberg and Wordle.
I'm posting here an article I originally wrote for the Kandiyohi County Historical Society newsletter titled, "The Colonel Surrenders in Minnesota" (here's the original .pdf). In it I tell the story of something that, growing up in Montevideo, I was vaguely aware of but knew nothing about. So, turning to the archives I tried to learn more about the only time (as far as I'm aware) a U.S. President visited western Minnesota. The fact that it happened to be Teddy Roosevelt just as he was planning his political comeback should be no surprise. Two years later, in 1912, the state rewarded Roosevelt's efforts with its 12 electoral votes. Radical politics were nothing new to the western part of the state -- in fact, the seventh district's first congressman was a member of the Populist Party and, later, represented by the prohibitionist Andrew J. Volstead. (It's forgotten now, but prohibition was a progressive movement that advocated for women's suffrage and workers' rights among other things). Because of this and the fact that the major rails to the Twin Cities ran through the region, it was not uncommon for satellite cities like Willmar to receive its fair share of speakers. Everyone from William Jennings Bryan (source) to Eugene V. Debs (source) and "Big Bill" Haywood (source) at one point or another visited the city. As I've written elsewhere, this region was later a hotbed for the Farmer-Labor Association. It was Appleton, for example, that Farmer-Labor Party Governor Elmer Benson called home.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Joshua Preston, Chairman of the Student Senate Email: Prest202@morris.umn.edu Contact: Kate Brickman, Press Secretary, Minnesotans United for All Families Phone: 815-343-9299 Email: Kate@mnunited.org UNVERSITY OF MINNESOTA STUDENT SENATE OFFICIALLY OPPOSES MARRIAGE AMENDMENT On March 1, 2012, the University Student Senate, which represents all 67,000 students of the University of Minnesota across … Continue reading UMN Student Senate Opposes Marriage Amendment
Hey everyone, My name is Joshua Preston and I am the Chairman of the University of Minnesota Student Senate, which represents all 67,000 students of the University system. One thing that we will be doing this Thursday, March 1, is voting on a resolution saying that we believe the marriage amendment to be antithetical to … Continue reading UMN Student Senate to reject proposed marriage amendment
In light of the terrible news coming out of Norway, the Minnesota Young DFL (MYDFL; an organization of which I am the “College Caucus Chair”) has decided to show solidarity with the Workers’ Youth League. After all, the shootings only served as a reminder that there are those in this world who would much rather … Continue reading The MYDFL’s Letter to the Workers’ Youth League
[Introduction: I did not intend for this to be particularly good. In fact, I know that it is flawed and lacking. I just figured that in my morning boredom it would be a good idea to follow my own advice.] Matt Feeney has a new article on Slate titled "Infinite Attention: David Foster Wallace and … Continue reading So Maybe I’m a Romantic – I Appreciate the Imagination
According to an article in The Nation (John Nichols 11/16/10) voter turnout plummeted 60% last year from the 2008 high, and if this trend continues there is no chance for our party in 2012. There just isn’t. And while it may be tempting to wallow and mourn about “how things used to be” doing so … Continue reading A Message to the DFL State Central Committee:
Even though my reading list is long and includes several titles that will, when I don’t get to them over break, slide onto the list of “Books I Should Ready but Somehow Never Find the Time for”, I decided to kick off my Winter 2010/11 with a more obscure title. Now, for as much of … Continue reading The Six Most-Interesting Excerpts from Vladimir Putin’s Autobiography