It’s not unusual for me to go several months without posting on here, but the period from July 2019 to July 2020 with only one post is a notably long gap.
I wasn’t absent from blogs in this time: I set up a new one in March. This was my response to a situation: I had been teaching a short course in an Adult Education college in London which was suddenly cancelled by the pandemic. I was unhappy about leaving the course, naturally, but unprepared to attempt the move into online video teaching at such short notice. (I have since been teaching very successfully online: it can work very well, although the social side of classes is much missed.)
The course was called, ‘The Urban Wanderer’, and it was a way to try to pick through the trends in the literature of walking the city which has become such a fashionable industry lately. When classes were cancelled, my response was to continue the course, as best I could through a series of blog posts, where I would set out my initial thoughts; and students were invited to respond with their own walks and comments. It was no substitute for the back-and-forth of classroom discussion, but satisfying in its own way.
I wanted to address the ‘big names’, which led to a rather Eurocentric/dead white male reading list, so I consider it as laying the historical groundwork, rather than giving a detailed picture of where we are now. I hope to have the opportunity to extend the course in future.
Here are links to my main pieces on that site, and I’ll shortly re-blog my favourite:
- Baudelaire and the flâneur
- Situationists and the dérive
- Iain Sinclair and British psychogeography
- Northwest passage (from Gilgamesh to Songlines, to Thomas de Quincey)
- London in the (nineteen-)twenties (Arthur Machen and Virginia Woolf)
- Edgelands and Deep Topography
- Esther Kinsky’s River
- Recommended texts and links