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CDK Speer, PhD


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The Help and Racism Today

The book The Help was recently recommended to me as an example of interesting narrative structure. The descriptor of "summer read" is generally enough to make me skeptical, but I quite enjoyed the book. However I couldn't help but notice one thing: this is a book about racism, and the marketing itself for the book and movies seems to be displaying subtle racism. The book is structured with three narrators: Aibileen, Minny and… View More

Follow-up regarding The Help

I'm glad to see that I'm not the only person who noticed the issues with the narrative framing for The Help. Unfortunately it sounds like the problem extends from the marketing for the book and movie to the structure of the movie itself. Erik Childress at eFilmCritic comments: Aibileen and Minny are wonderful… View More

"It's More How People See You..."

After more than a year of work, my master's thesis was approved for final submission to the Graduate School! It has been a challenging project, but a fascinating one due to my own experiences and hearing students' stories everyday. A big thank you to my committee and--most especially--my advisor, Dr. Christina Weber. Also, my husband, who possesses infinite… View More

An old tradition

Since I graduated during summer term, I didn't need to walk in the fall graduation ceremony. I did though, and I'm glad I did. It reminds me of all the heritage we are carrying and how we as people are continually working to improve our scope of knowledge. It's easy to lose sight of that hunched over a computer, and… View More

The metaphors we use to talk about things are powerful. For example, when talking about the internet lately the "flow of information" is seen as a given. It's like drinking from a firehose. We're engulfed. We're drowning in it. What if instead information online were a river, continuously available to carry us where we need to go, there to quench our thirst for knowledge, and distract us with cool waters for as long as we want to dip… View More

The End of Forgetting

My point is that there is something liberating about being able to forget the past and reinvent yourself in the present. Much of growing up, I would argue, is about reinventing yourself multiple times, and that requires being able to forget who you were six months ago, three years ago, 10 years ago. Vox: The End of… View More

The Cream Cheese Wontons of Expectation

Last night, my husband and I were talking about our trial run chewing the chalky tablet that is lactaid to assist with bowls of old-fashioned mint chip. Had it worked for him as well as it had for me a few days previous? I asked. It had, he agreed. Now, I want some [expletive] cream cheese wontons, he added. Great! You should put some of these packets in your backpack–– The rest of my suggestion, that he could… View More

Novel Hot Take: The Vanished Birds

This is part of an experimental periodic series of posts with quick reactions to various novels. Rather than a full review, I’m pulling out one or two things that I think are interesting. To be honest, The Vanished Birds by Simon Jimenez isn’t exactly the kind of book I usually read. While I love the argument of it, as I’ll get to in a moment, both a space setting and the dreamlike writing style is not usually… View More

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