Welcome! I am Jason Nguyen, a graduate student in ethnomusicology at Indiana University, Bloomington, and this blog is where I make observations about music, culture, and academic life.

How bureaucracy produces silence whether it means to or not

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For the past two days, I’ve been working with colleagues in the IU Communication and Culture department to figure out how we formulate a response to the recent plans to merge our department, Journalism, and Telecomm into one giant Media School. This is similar to other initiatives around the country, and perhaps should come as no surprise. What did surprise me a little is the extent to which fellow graduates (and I myself) felt like we should do something, but were always somewhat complacent. CMCL grads were in deep on IU on Strike last year–we know what it means to organize and express our opinions. But we weren’t really doing it for this one, and it seemed weird, since the fate of the program was really at stake. Maybe it is  the sense of inevitability, but I think there’s something more going on.

The following is a letter I planned to send to CMCL grad students to maybe light a fire under us. In consultation with some smart friends, I’ve chosen other tactics (check out the Facebook event), but I do think what I had to say might still be interesting.

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Daily Accountability with help from Google

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This semester, I have a lot of work, but it’s all going to have to be self-structured.  So I took a strategy from a Noah Kagan blog post, “Daily Accountability Marketing Metrics“, in which he asks those working for him to fill out a daily form that asks them what specific work they’ve done as part of their duties for that day.  What I like about the forms he uses is that they are both metric and reminder.

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The Media and Race

For those unaware, there was a recent robbery on the IU campus that, because the two groups were of different races, has been framed by the media as a racially motivated attack…we see an important journalistic concern: how to tell the truth while also contextualizing it. […]