Monday, May 10, 2021

The Uses of Blue-Sky Thinking in an Imperfect World (of Graduate Education)

In this essay, Michelle May-Curry, Project director of Humanities for All, reflects on a session from The Graduate Education at Work in the World conference, in which session organizer Kristen Galvin invited participants to not only chart existing public humanities initiatives but also to engage in blue-sky thinking around what this work could look like and do in a world without practical restrictions. Here, May-Curry extends Galvin's invitation to a broader consideration of the field of public humanities and how this more unhindered thinking can yield surprisingly practicable solutions as well as means of illuminating the challenges and obstacles to producing publicly engaged scholarship.

Friday, April 30, 2021

Podcasting and Pedagogy

Sociology scholar Ellen Meiser shares an essay discussing the pedagogical possibilities of using podcasts and audio material as a tool in college classrooms and how she has employed them while teaching asynchronously during the Covid-19 pandemic. Connecting this teaching approach with her work as co-host of the sociology-focused podcast The Social Breakdown, Meiser makes a case for how bringing other voices and sounds into the classroom through podcasts can "show not only what our world sounds like, but also how it feels."

A photo of a blurry zoom screen on a laptop setting on a table with a coffee cup in the foreground.
Monday, April 12, 2021

Creating Space within Constraints: A Reflection on Conference Planning in a Pandemic

In this reflection, GC PhD student and Futures Initiative Fellow Cihan Tekay writes about her experience of co-organizing the conference "Graduate Education at Work in the World." She narrates the process of having to adapt not only structures but also expectations––that themselves reflect the conditions under which academic work is performed pre- and post-pandemic––in re-conceiving a physical convening as a series of remote gatherings. She also discusses how the conference's presentations––on topics ranging from prioritizing accessibility in research formats to creating digital primary sources in college classrooms––reflect back on what it means to organize a virtual conference.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

“Love is the most subversive praxis.” On reading together as a working of love

In this interview, Ángeles Donoso Macaya and Marco Saavedra discuss their work creating a collaborative public syllabus that traces Saavedra's constellation of influences and proposes reading together as "an(other) act of love." At the heart of their conversation is a question of how love is a constitutive element of both collaboration and liberation.

A scan of a yellow notebook page shows handwritten notes in cursive that read, for instance: "To vision anything clearly and to charge it w/ sufficient energy infuse it w/ will..."; "To charge w/ sufficient energy: the best conveyors of human energy are the emotions & of all the emotions, love".
Friday, March 5, 2021

The Craft We Didn't Learn: Retroactive Writing Advice from the Archives

Lost & Found editors Iris Cushing, Megan Paslawski, and Zohra Saed discuss with L&F Publisher Kendra Sullivan what they've learned about writing through working in the archives of Diane di Prima, Marty Korte, Lucia Berlin, and Langston Hughes, as a continuation of their discussion for the 2021 AWP conference. Among many things, they reflect on the 'magic transmissions' of poetry, thought, and communication between the living and dead, archival research as 'pushing a hand through the veil of time,' and "the extreme 'outside' at the very heart of life."

Friday, January 29, 2021

Meet the Mellon Seminar Cohort: Ángeles Donoso Macaya

In this interview, Ángeles Donoso Macaya and Queenie Sukhadia discuss questions and concerns arising from Ángeles's project Archives in Common, including how to share "knowledges, experiences, and memories [of immigrant communities] in a way that is non-extractive, where these knowledges, experiences, and memories don’t then become data," the relationship of these forms of sharing to mutual aid, and imperatives to transform both the university and practices of academic work.

Mae West appears, with her platinum blonde hair and a large shiny hat, smiling at a young girl with a bob haircut and holding her hand.
Thursday, January 28, 2021

Researching—Mae West—in the 2020 Pandemic

In this report, Carolyn A. McDonough gives an overview of the activities of the team of GC-based research assistants working on Virginia Heath's in-progress documentary, Mae West –– The Constant Sinner. In addition to dispatches from each of the research assistants, whose work has been both upended and productively reoriented by the Covid-19 pandemic, director Virginia Heath provides an account of the how her process and vision for the film has changed and developed over the last year.

A colorful painting by Paul Klee shows a series of imprecisely interlocking geometric shapes such as rectangles, squares, and triangles, oriented both horizontally and vertically, resembling a pattern on a quilt. A series of angular lines jut from a black circle in the center of the painting, suggesting a rotating motion. A black arrow points toward the right edge of the frame.
Monday, January 25, 2021

Flipping It Horizontal

In this essay, GC PhD student and educator Katherine E. Entigar reflects on the process of working collaboratively with pre-service teaching students to shift parameters, timelines, expectations, and notions of participation in their shared classroom, in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Together, redefining education as necessarily determined by realities in students' lives outside the classroom, Entigar writes about how the class sought to create a horizontal structure among teachers and students.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Meet the Mellon Seminar Cohort: Yarimar Bonilla

In this interview, Mellon Seminar Faculty Lead Yarimar Bonilla and Queenie Sukhadia discuss Yarimar's project, The Puerto Rico Syllabus, along with the importance of "valuing public scholarship as scholarship" and conceiving of one's work as inseparable from the communities in which it is situated.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Meet the Mellon Seminar Cohort: Chloë Bass

In this interview, Mellon Seminar Faculty Lead Chloë Bass discusses her project "Here and Not There" with Queenie Sukhadia, as well as the responsibilities of the public university, how to make research accessible to non-academic audiences, and how the resources of the university can be used "towards a larger good rather than controlled through scarcity mentalities and ongoing austerity."

Monday, January 11, 2021

My journey with Lost & Found, 2014-2020 (and onward)

In this essay, Iris Cushing recounts her evolving relationships with the constellation of poets, relationships and writing surrounding and published in Lost & Found, including Diane di Prima, Bobbie Louise Hawkins, Mary Norbert Korte, Judy Grahn, and David Henderson, following the "glowing breadcumbs" that illuminated her path between them.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Brewing memories, sustaining life in common

In this essay, Mellon Seminar Faculty Lead Ángeles Donoso Macaya writes about the workshop series Brewing Memories, led by Carolina Saavedra. In her reflections on these workshops, Donoso Macaya considers how the transmission of memory and indigenous knowledges through plants, herbs, and food might also create an archive in common––one that "is not based on, and which does not reproduce, extractive methodologies, but rather that emerges, and keeps developing further, from the same collaborative process of creating and learning together."

Monday, November 16, 2020

Academia for All: A Public Humanities Project

In this short essay, Distributaries Writer-in-Residence Queenie Sukhadia reflects on her Instagram-based public humanities project, Academia for All, a platform where she breaks down key theoretical and academic texts for audiences with limited attention spans and/or who might be disinclined to read academic writing. Here, she gives insight into her motivations to make this project, considers how the project has functioned and who it has reached thus far, and poses questions of what future directions the project might lead.

On a hand-painted poster, a painted black fist is raised amid a row of rainbow-colored lines. On top of the poster are two cloth masks with ACT UP logos printed on them, next to a rainbow-colored ribbon.
Friday, October 30, 2020

Prefigurative Activism as an Inspiration for Expanding Pedagogical Possibilities

In this essay, André Luis Leite de Figueirêdo Sales reflects on how models of prefigurative activism from Brazilian high school student ativistas making their own schools to ACT UP's imperative to "act as if you had the power to produce reality" might inspire educators to reimagine their roles as activists in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

The Public Humanities: An Annotated Bibliography

Distributaries Writer-in-Residence Queenie Sukhadia offers a series of short reflections on a selection of texts that exemplify the potentials of the public humanities. As she writes, "The public humanities are less a noun and more a verb: questioning, reflecting, deconstructing, reconstructing, retreating, ceding, and most of all, becoming (a necessarily incomplete process)."

Monday, September 21, 2020

Communities and Emotions in the Digital Classroom

In this blog post, Mellon Seminar Digital Publics Fellow Nga Than discusses the effects of switching to virtual instruction mid-semester during the COVID-19 pandemic in spring 2020, particularly considering its impacts on the formation of community among students and the exchange of emotions between students and teachers.

Monday, August 24, 2020

#SaySomething - The Importance of Black Women Teachers for Black Girls

In this interview, Dr. Terri N. Watson and Dr. Gina Charles discuss the vital role that Black women teachers play for Black girls, including the formative influence of their early relationship as junior high school teacher and student as well as a wider conversation about how Black women teachers provide "mirrors and windows," through which Black girls can see themselves in leadership roles and flourish in their educations, career paths, and lives.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Practicing Distance (Part 4): Public

In the final short essay in the series "Practicing Distance," artist Jeff Kasper offers resources for developing support networks during the pandemic and beyond. Pointing toward the Bay Area Transformative Justice Coalition (BATJC)'s model of pod mapping, Kasper reflects on how knowing who is in our pods––a term the BATJC developed to define who we might turn to for care, in the wake of harm––might be a useful starting point, as we navigate limited access to public space, particularly those who depend on it for their safety.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Practicing Distance (Part 3): Social

In this reflection by artist Jeff Kasper on the proxemics of social distance, he offers an exercise for transforming conflict through collaboration and cooperation rather than compromise. This exercise proposes collectively devising social stories to "articulat[e] one's personal boundaries and approach the context of physical distance and giving and receiving care" amid the ongoing reality of conflict in social situations.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Practicing Distance (Part 2): Personal

In his latest entry in his series "Practicing Distance," artist Jeff Kasper continues his consideration of proxemics in our time of physical distance. In this short essay, Kasper proposes instructional scores and prompts, which might be used to "choreograph care" to navigate the intimacies and risks of sharing personal space. He also considers how we might prioritize dependency in our understandings of intimate relationships.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Why the Humanities Need to Go Public, and the Ways in Which They Already Are

Writer in Residence Queenie Sukhadia makes a case for how the public humanities might allow those working in the academy to rethink the false binary between public and academic knowledge. In this piece, she insists on the responsibility of scholarship to promote social good, by sharing out knowledge and expertise beyond the academy and elaborating the ways in which public knowledge shapes academic work.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Audre Lorde Now: Emotional sustainability in the time of COVID-19

Diarenis Calderón Tartabull turns to the work of Audre Lorde to think through questions of how to preserve and nourish communities and our selves––physically, spiritually and emotionally––in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. This English/Spanish work is part of the 'Audre Lorde Now' series, commissioned for the project Radiating Black~Puerto Rican~Women’s Teaching Archives from CUNY to the Americas and the Caribbean (and Back Again).