Queens College

The Arts of Dissent

Spring 2017, enrollment 28

This is a required methodological course on “The Text in Its Historical Moment” for students majoring in English. This course explores the relationship between texts and their historical circumstances, addressing the question of how literary works are enmeshed in their material, economic, social, and political conditions. The course examines how we define and reconstruct historical moments, and the various ways in which we interpret texts in relation to their moments. Readings include a wide range of kinds of material, including texts traditionally considered literary or imaginative and those traditionally considered documentary or factual, as well as other cultural objects like films, works of material culture, and archival material. My version of this course explores “the arts of dissent”: the ways art and literature have historically served as means for expressing dissatisfaction with the status quo and imagining more just, equitable, and pleasurable alternatives. Authors we read include William Shakespeare, Lorraine Hansberry, Audre Lorde, Adrienne Rich, Sonia Sanchez, Claudia Rankine, Chris Abani, Robin Kelley, and Lisa Lowe (among others).

Syllabus and gallery of students’ final projects

Great Works of Global Literature

Fall 2015, enrollment 25

This undergraduate humanities course takes a case studies approach to some of the problems of world literature, delving into some of the questions raised by contemporary literary texts from different parts of the world. We consider questions such as: To what extent are our stories our own? What is an archive and why does it matter? How does the medium (images, text, sounds, etc.) affect the story? How do places shape our life paths and possibilities?  Authors we read include Chris Abani, Chimamanda Adichie, Junot Diaz, Saidiya Hartman, Marjane Satrapi, and Nick Sousanis (among others).


Introduction to Narrative

Spring 2015, enrollment 25

This undergraduate humanities course explores the ways in which our lives are structured by narratives, paying careful attention to how understandings of race, class, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and nationality all emerge through contested and conflicting narratives. We consider such questions as: 1) Why are narratives important? What do they do? How do they work? 2) What are the different ways we can read narratives? 3) What gets to count as history vs. fantasy and why? Who gets to decide this? 4) How do historical narratives influence our understanding of the present? Authors we read include Chimamanda Adichie, James Baldwin, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Jonathan Culler, Junot Diaz, Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. DuBois, Saidiya Hartman, Jamaica Kincaid, and Nick Sousanis (among others).

Reflective blog on the course and syllabus

Composition: The Purpose of Education

Fall 2016, enrollment 20

This composition course introduced students to the conventions of academic writing and helped them become more critical and creative readers and writers who are able to communicate effectively in different rhetorical situations. This course focused on debates about the history and future of public education, issues related to equity and social justice, and the complex relationships between learning and technology, including how these questions have historically been addressed, and how they get taken up in contemporary literature, scholarship, journalism, etc. Some questions we asked were: What are the most effective methods for teaching and learning, both within and beyond formal classrooms? Given our location at Queens College and CUNY, how do we understand the purpose of public education? Is college an investment that we make as individuals, or a collective social and public good? Is it a right, a privilege, or something else entirely? In addition, students were taught to design their own research questions related to the broader aims of the course. Instead of a traditional final paper, students took what they learned in the course and co-authored original submissions to the online, scholarly, peer-reviewed journal, Hybrid Pedagogy.

Syllabus and Hybrid Pedagogy article authored by students for their final project

Composition: Creativity

Fall 2013 (2 sections) and spring 2014, enrollment 20

This composition course introduced students to the conventions of academic writing through an exploration of various interdisciplinary theories of creativity, with readings from the humanities and hard and social sciences. For their final projects, students not only wrote research papers supporting their own theory of creativity, they also produced collaborative websites to share what they had learned this semester with a larger audience.

JITP article on collaborative website assignment and student-designed rubrics and grading

CUNY Graduate Center

Teaching Race and Gender Theory in the Undergraduate Classroom

Graduate assistant for graduate seminar taught by Cathy N. Davidson and Michael Gillespie, spring 2017

As the graduate assistant for this graduate seminar, I was responsible for selecting assigned readings, facilitating collaborations among the graduate students, introducing students to digital publication, and helping the students prepare presentations for a spring symposium. At the end of the semester, I took everything the class had done and written in the course and turned it into a “how-to” toolkit with syllabi, lesson plans, assignments, and advice for educators interested in teaching race and gender theory in the undergraduate classroom.

American Literature, American Learning

Graduate assistant for graduate seminar taught by Cathy N. Davidson, spring 2016

As the graduate assistant for this graduate seminar, I was responsible for selecting assigned readings, leading class discussions and activities, holding office hours and advising students on their projects, facilitating collaborations among students, providing feedback on student work, and creating and maintaining the online component of the course. For their final projects, students created a public, online book, Structuring Equality: A Handbook for Student-Centered Learning and Teaching Practices, for which I wrote the afterword.

Course website and Structuring Equality book project including my Afterword: “Orchestrating a Student Centered Classroom, a How-To Guide.”