In the Beginning, a Word Cloud…


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:

Jewish Nightlife Wordle (2017-1)


Jewish Nightlife Wordle (2017-3)

and finally

Jewish Nightlife Wordle (2017-2)

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…


Let’s begin with a “Wordle” (or three)

These typographical layouts usually help me frame what I am writing/thinking, so here you go:

Jewish Nightlife Wordle 01

Jewish Nightlife Wordle 02

Jewish Nightlife Wordle 03

The content is the same (and it is based on the introduction to Jewish Nightlife as written in the course syllabus). But the layout changes highlight different aspects of the thinking behind the syllabus. It’s good to visualize things now, and then, eventually go back to them later in the semester to see if what has been developed is in line with its premises.