pedagogy of the powerless

I decided that with this morning’s class I would finally master the mojo of integrating video clips into my lecture. After all, the topic was “authority,” which meant giving some consideration of–you have to see this coming–the Milgram experiment. I downloaded a program to convert YouTube/Google clips into .mwhatever files, and upgraded QuickTime so that I could edit and splice excerpts. I decided on four short clips, figured out where they would go in my presentation, and had everything ready to go on the hard drive of my office machine when I went home last night.

What are the odds that my hard drive would crash? Nil, right? Indeed, my hard drive did not crash. Instead, I get up here at 5 this morning and there is no electricity in the sociology building. I worked for awhile from the 24-hour Burger King down the block and then just going back in the falling snow to my apartment. The power didn’t come back on until after my class. I ended up explaining how the Milgram experiment working using a weary pantomime. Oof.

Author: jeremy

I am the Ethel and John Lindgren Professor of Sociology and a Faculty Fellow in the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University.

13 thoughts on “pedagogy of the powerless”

  1. This reminds me that I want to find that older thread about exporting YouTube etc files. No electricity in the building? Good grief. I think I would have declared a holiday. You must have a classroom with windows.


  2. Next semester, you have a lecture in the bag…unless the power goes out, or the software goes buggy, or the projector fries….


  3. Man, y’all are lucky. As a lowly teaching assistant I have to beg and pray every year for a Smartroom. I’ve taught 8 classes in the last 2 years and gotten a Smartroom once.


  4. OW – no classrooms in Jeremy’s office building, I suspect he teaches the class elsewhere.

    Jeremy – why Quicktime, or were you using the Mac for this? I’ve found Windows Movie Maker pretty helpful with tasks of this sort (and that way you can avoid the potential problem of Quicktime quitting on you as it often tends to do, at least on Win machines).

    I try to put any file that I may need for a presentation on a network drive somewhere the day before, perhaps you can start using that backup method. (Aren’t you a Foldershare user and wouldn’t it have copied it to your laptop?)


  5. “using a weary pantomime” — does this mean that you wearily pantomimed or that you found an tired little mime on your way back from BK and convinced him/her to participate in your class?

    Either way, sorry you had technical difficulties.


  6. BTW, I pantomimed an old typewriter in class today that seemed to amuse students quite a bit. (I was talking about QWERTY vs Dvorak keyboards and was trying to demonstrate a jam.)


  7. “Obedience: A One Man Stage Play Starring Jeremy Freese”

    Turn up the current. The experiment must continue! Well, I mean, not really. It doesn’t have to continue right now. I could finish it tomorrow. But then I’d feel bad. Finishing it now would be easier, though, and more sensible. Yes, continue with the experiment. Except, now that you mention it I do have a few other things that probably I should probably finish first. And how much worse will I really feel tomorrow if I I don’t finish it today? Only a tiny bit. If I get it done by later this afternoon then I could reward myself with 30 minutes of Wii Sports this evening. But then I probably wouldn’t sleep all that well tonight. What kind of reward is that? This is all moot anyway, because I can’t find the notebook where I was recording the results. I remember I brought it with me on the train to DC.


  8. OW: J will tell you that I specifically instructed/ordered/begged him to cancel class and go to Peets with me. He declined. But (as usual) I am with you.


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