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The Virus in the Age of Madness

Forget the world that came before. The author of American Vertigo serves up an incisive look at how COVID-19 reveals the dangerous fault lines of contemporary society.

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From the Blog

Racial Health Disparities in America by Michelle A. Gourdine

June 29, 2020

In 2012, Trayvon Martin, a seventeen-year-old boy dressed in a hoodie, carrying a bag of Skittles and iced tea while walking through a neighborhood where he “didn’t belong,” was approached and eventually shot and killed by George Zimmerman, a resident on “neighborhood watch.”

Like so many African American parents, I was at once mad, and afraid. Almost immediately, protective instincts kicked in, and my husband and I had “The Talk” with our children, starting with our then fifteen-year-old son.

Imagine a mother and father, having to teach their son—their wide-eyed, PlayStation-playing, manga-cartoon-reading, food-inhaling, too-shy-to-let-his-mom-kiss-him-in-public son—how NOT to be killed by someone who doesn’t know him, yet assumes the worst about him.

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Interaction and Language Learning by Stacey Katz Bourns, Cheryl Krueger, and Nicole Mills

June 26, 2020

What does it mean to be able to communicate? In general, many researchers would say that competent communicators know what to say, how to say it, and when to say it. In his discussion of language acquisition and classroom practice, VanPatten (2017, 3–6) highlights key terms to help instructors better understand the substance of communication: meaning, expression, interpretation, context, negotiation, and purpose. The following paragraphs provide paraphrased descriptions of each.

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