Like many others in our cohort, we wanted to provide space for student joy, reflection, and art. CUNY has over 240,000 students, each of them with their own history and story. Our project offered a chance for our students to publicly share their stories.
Our group was inspired by Bettina Love, whose talk and book were part of our TLH semester.
In We Want to Do More Than Survive by Bettina Love, the chapter “Freedom Dreaming,” posits that artistic mediums can be utilized as a way to express individuals’ unique narratives while shaping their visions for the future. She writes:
“Writing, drawing, acting, painting, composing, spittin’ rhymes, and/ or dancing is love, joy, and resistance personified. Art provides more to communities than just visual and sonic motifs: it is one of the key ingredients to a better world. Art that inspires for a better world. is rooted in intense design, research, and musings for justice filled with new-world possibilities. Social justice movements move people because they ignite the spirit of freedom, justice, love, and joy in all who engage with the work. Art helps people remember their dreams, hopes, and desires for a new world.” Continue reading →
Transforming Awareness into Action: Student Created and Led Applied Theatre Workshops
Dr. Alexis Jemal, associate professor at Silberman School of Social Work – Hunter College, developed the first iteration of an MSW elective course, Critical Social Work: Bridging the Micro-Macro Divide, in 2019 and piloted the course in 2020. This class was and is grounded in her Visionary, Philosophical Artivist (theoretical and practice-based) framework to raise critical consciousness and then tap into radical imagination to convert that consciousness into action. Dr. Jemal, with her collaborators from the Masters in Applied Theatre program at CUNY School of Professional Studies, Brynne O’Rourke and Tabatha Lopez, revised the spring 2021 course to integrate applied theatre as the modality through which we bridge the micro-macro divide.
“Applied Theatre” is an umbrella term used to describe a wide range of theatre and drama practices that are often socially engaged, politically inspired, and non-traditional in form, context and venue (e.g., teaching settings, the justice system, health care, the political arena, community development, and social service agencies). Applied Theatre can be a tool for Social Work – education, research, and practice. Continue reading →
Facilitated by John Beaumont (Academic Literacy and Linguistics) and Shenique Davis (Social Sciences, Human Services, and Criminal Justice)
Funded by a grant from CUNY Transformative Learning in the Humanities
Self-Reflection in Practice was a three-part series that supported BMCC faculty and instructional staff in developing a practice of sustained self-reflection about teaching and learning. This series also served as a complement to other campus initiatives such as anti-racist pedagogy, open pedagogy and OER, and trauma-informed pedagogy by providing a space for sustained reflection. Continue reading →
On March 28th, 2023 TLH welcomed author of House of SticksLy Tran for an interview and interactive workshop, facilitated by TLH Pedagogy Co-Leader for Spring 2023 Dr. Khanh Le. Associate Director of TLH Dr. Christina Katopodis welcomed the pair and introduced the rest of the team.
Ly introduced herself, and shared some of her Vietnamese refugee family history and memories of performing sweatshop labor upon arrival in the U.S. as a child. She then read a brief excerpt from her memoir House of Sticks. Khanh thanked Ly and shared he relates as they share a similar background of Vietnamese refugee history. He emphasized the importance of centering the lived experience of Vietnamese refugees, instead of letting U.S. institutions remember the war and shape the narrative.
“Reading the word and learning how to write the word so one can later read it are preceded by learning how to write the world, that is having the experience of changing the world and touching the world” (Freire & Macedo, 2005, p. 12).
The year was 1947.
The place? Northeastern Brazil.
Young Paulo Freire faced a seemingly impossible task–teaching illiterate peasant workers to read.
Freire empowered them beyond simply acquiring the life-changing ability to read. He also wanted his students to push against oppressive structures circumscribing their lives. Continue reading →
What I seek (from law school) is the proliferation of a community that is guided by more than just monetary gain. I believe there is an issue with many traditional schools wherein subjects of law are taught at face value, ignoring historical and political analysis behind the way things are—and the way things ought to be. Law school should be a means of birthing individuals that are people-centered. Further, it should create a means of creating individuals that seek to better the world they participate in.
To create a professional community, as a 1L, [I] would love to see more community spaces/times for us as a cohort to meet in person, and discuss freely/openly. We need an opportunity to discuss our classes, court decisions, the profession, social movements/protests, etc. in an open forum that anyone can attend and is not directly related to our class times. A space & time just for us.
I believe in the notion that a person is a person through other people. Therefore, in regards to the value or purpose of community in & out of the classroom I seek sources that are helpful in the development & expansion of my personhood & hermeneutic horizon. I seek diversity of knowledge, perspective, experience & culture, so that I can learn & grow through any community & hopefully contribute to positive growth for those around me.
How can lawyers cultivate build create community?
Listening. Learning. Organizing.
Lawyering is a tool that can be wielded to shore up power. Historically, it has been used to shore up power on the side of white supremacy & capital. I believe it can be used in the interest of equity, prying the hands of racism/white supremacy culture off of community, humanity, and mutual aid.
By meaningfully LISTENING to our clients and those around us a lawyer can LEARN how harm is perpetuated and also how healing can be enacted & helped to flourish. By not simply helping clients one by one in a vacuum but by connecting clients to a movement. Lawyers can participate in the formation of NEW communities & NEW futures. In law school this looks like listening & learning from our classmates & professors. Being willing to be wrong & being loving towards each other.
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As we conclude our Fall 2022 Faculty Fellows Seminars, TLH Faculty Co-Directors Shelly Eversley (Baruch College) and Matt Brim (College of Staten Island) are asking us to think about how to translate what we’ve done at TLH into lines on our CVs/resumes.
Leadership is Leadership
TLH talks about the faculty fellows as “leaders in their fields” in the original language of the Mellon grant. You might take another look at the grant language and TLH Annual Reports to see how others frame what you do as transformative, as leadership.
I have some thoughts on how to use TLH methods to transform a CV or resume, especially for alt-ac jobs. I’m happy to share a link to my alt-ac resume (opens in new tab) which looks very different from my academic CV (opens in new tab). What they have in common are headings that change the frame from “Academic Service” to “Academic Activities and Leadership” or “Academic Community Leadership.” This language is more empowering and active, and avoids the gendered associations, assumptions, and biases about “service.” Continue reading →
Professor Dahlia Elsayed and Professor Liena Vayzman
April 13 and 20, 2021
This is a representation of my activist side and my normal side. By bringing art and social justice together, I decided I wanted to remake a famous painting by Norman Rockwell. My head is served on a silver platter, hard to ignore, but I have very vibrant 60s/70s influenced makeup on. I’m surrounded by people laughing and talking, but all of the white people surrounding me have copied my makeup… and now the laughing seems to be more of a “haha we look just like her.” I tried to connect the “Culture Vulture” experience people of color always go through. Famous celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Gwen Stefani are infamously known as Culture Vultures… they wear people’s culture like it’s a costume. (From Asian, Native American, Black people, and much more!) And me a person of color, surrounded by white onlookers is having the first-hand experience of only being a “thing to eat, or to take from.”
In this workshop, we began by inviting participants to turn their external scholarly gaze, at least for a moment, inward. Starting from the premise that, if our goal is to increase critical thought and knowledge among our students, we must first come to understand ourselves, we emphasized the necessity of engaging in the often discomforting analysis of our language, and our assumptions, our position, and perhaps most importantly what we mean we say words such as “I”, or “we.” What images of others do such utterances implicitly conjure for the mind? Who, exactly, inhabits the linguistic space, “You” or “them”? Moreover, how can this rather abstract process of self cataloging help us in our goal of bringing new knowledge on poverty to the center of our pedagogy? Continue reading →
This post was written by Contributing Author Professor Immaculée Harushimana (Lehman College), who recently organized a TLH-sponsored event, “Humanizing Teacher Education: Cultivating Cultural Diversity Empathy through Reciprocal Teaching.”
As a result of European occupation, formerly colonized nations have been introduced a colonial curriculum which, naturally, executes the Eurocentric education agenda. Throughout my educational system, I was never aware that I was being indoctrinated. I loved learning and I loved getting good grades because my parents believed that it was only through education that I was going to escape poverty and also pull them out of it. To some extent, they were right. Education opened to me the door to academic and economic success. Along with that advantage, however, it also transformed me into an instrument of the colonial agenda. In this brief article, I am offering a reflection on my transformational journey from being a blind status-quo English educator to a transforming, critical literacy advocate. Continue reading →