As I am about to distribute a syllabus to students, I like to do a visual check of what I have been writing (and thinking). Typically, I use Wordle, perhaps because I like the ease with which I can switch among different layouts.
So, here’s the description of Jewish Nighlife in three word-cloud formats:
One of the main things I observe in these layouts is the prominence of performance. This indeed reflects my own interests—the interconnections between ritual, artistic, and classroom performance arenas—but I had not immediately realized that this is how the course is structured. I also see a word missing: subversiveness—even though this is one of my main underlying interests in studying the intersection between night, music, poetry, and ritual, I find it revealing that it is not featured at all in the course description.
An intellectual (and activist) agenda hidden in a (word) cloud…