Author: Matthew Cheney

  • The Trick of Teaching: Magic and the Classroom

    The Trick of Teaching: Magic and the Classroom

    Since the title of my recent book is The Last Vanishing Man (and the title story includes historically-accurate descriptions of stage illusions), it shouldn’t be a surprise that I love everything having to do with magic — the lore, the history, the illusions, the beliefs in some sort of “real” magic (what does “real” mean?),…

  • He Gave Us Each Other: In Memory of Jeffrey Pratt Beedy

    He Gave Us Each Other: In Memory of Jeffrey Pratt Beedy

    Today, I gathered with friends, colleagues, acquaintances, former students, former teachers, and former staff members at the New Hampton School, the high school I graduated from in 1994 and then returned to for my first job after college, a job I planned to stay at for a year or two and ended up staying for…

  • When It’s Fun to Grade

    When It’s Fun to Grade

    This morning I was grading work for a 2-credit, half-semester course I teach called Cluster Learning Springboard. While going from one assignment to the next, I suddenly realized I was having an emotion I don’t usually associate with grading: joy. It was legitimately fun to see what the students had created. If you are a…

  • Disciplined Making

    Disciplined Making

    This was going to be a short post about a couple ideas from a single article. It … became more than that. I have not sat with some of these ideas for long, so they may be full of obvious holes, mistaken assumptions, and barmy conclusions. (“Barmy Conclusions” is my stage name.) There are definitely…

  • Academic Integrity?

    Academic Integrity?

    The ChatGPT handwringing of late has bothered me, not least because it is cloaked in a kind of shock, like the domain of higher education has suddenly been sullied by this profane technology. But babes, it was always already here. —Brenna Clarke Gray I tried to ask ChatGPT to write something about academic integrity, but…

  • Generous Thinking Now

    Generous Thinking Now

    “We’re in a bad time for everybody. There are very few models as to our way to be drawn upon in any community. There certainly are no states that one could look to and say, ‘A revolution has occurred here; they’re acting better toward people.’ And the religious are going the way of the state;…

  • The Strength of Kindness

    The Strength of Kindness

    1. Take a moment, settle yourself, and note your immediate emotional response to these words: kindnessjoycontemplationgenerositylovepeace Now think about them in the context of your work. Would your work be better if there were more of these things? Do you feel that they are relevant to what you do every day? I’ll be honest: a…

  • Poor Queer Studies for a Society of Outsiders

    Poor Queer Studies for a Society of Outsiders

    At this year’s MLA Convention, I am honored to be on a panel devoted to “Woolf’s 21st Century Academia”, a panel sponsored by the International Virginia Woolf Society. My presentation, “Poor Queer Studies for a Society of Outsiders” positions Woolf’s Three Guineas alongside Matt Brim’s Poor Queer Studies. However, once I really got into it,…

  • The Good, The Bad, and the Interdisciplinary

    The Good, The Bad, and the Interdisciplinary

    Interdisciplinarity is one of those words, like openness and diversity, that many people in academia like to affirm as a positive value, but when it comes to building the structures and supports necessary for it to be a meaningful practice, things get complicated, challenging, frustrating. The idea of interdisciplinarity is appealing, but the implications may…

  • Extending the Mind

    Extending the Mind

    This summer, I recommended to everyone I encountered that they take an hour and listen to this podcast conversation between Ezra Klein and Annie Murphy Paul about her new book The Extended Mind. The conversation has so much to say about how we shape our lives, workplaces, and schools that I immediately bought Paul’s book…