According to the organizers, “400 Years Of Inequality is propelled by a week of ‘curriculum disruptions’ in which classes throughout the university will be encouraged to ‘take a break from business as usual’ and think of how the class’s subject area relates to the history of inequality in the United States.”
In First-Year Writing, students and faculty have responded:
Nina Boutsikaris has inserted a new module into Worth and Power called “Disruption Week Materials,” which includes photography by Ayana V Jackson and videos about the artist. Nina’s class is reading this week from Susie Linfield’s The Cruel Radiance: Photography and Political Violence and Niela Orr’s “Black Trauma Remixed for Your Clicks.”
In Multi-Dimensional Storytelling and the Art of Seeing, Kristi Steinmetz and her students are watching the first episode of Henry Louis Gates’s The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross and looking back at student writing about Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl: Written by Herself and Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric. The goal here is for students to find within their writing their own potential to contribute to issues of social justice. From there, students will revise this work to be presented on social media, or in a letter addressed to a person or an office, or even for wider publication. Students can also choose to apply for the Lang Civic Engagement & Social Justice Mini-Grants for Social Justice Work.
Christen Clifford has added bell hooks’s “The Oppositional Gaze: Black Female Spectators” to Contemporary Feminisms.
In Mourning and Melancholia, Rebecca Reilly has added James Baldwin’s “Stranger in the Village” to a conversation that had begun with Rankine’s Don’t Let Me Be Lonely.
Jen Hyde has shared with her colleagues that in The Life of the Body they’re reading “Audre Lorde’s essay ‘A Burst of Light’ (p. 81) and discussing the way she has amplified the microaggressions she experienced in a medical context, and how the choices she makes to pursue courses of treatment and professional relationships with doctors enable her to not only take control of her body, but to see (and help us see) that act of control as part of the fabric of her larger thinking on the intersections of her identities.” Students are being asked to bring what they learn in the analysis of Lorde’s essay to their own artistic projects.
In Writing about Place, Tara FitzGerald is presenting Jamaica Kincaid’s A Small Place and discussing the links she makes between slavery, colonialism, corruption and tourism.
Diana Goetsch is reading texts separated by 171 years with her students. In Writing as a Generalist, she’s brought together Frederick Douglass’s Narrative and Morgan Parker’s “How to Stay Sane while Black.”
In The Faith Between Us, students are reading works about religious protest, revolution, and duty on behalf of the neediest among us; authors include Marilynne Robinson, Nathan Schneider, Francine Prose, and James Baldwin.
The list is growing…