I’m one of ten faculty fellows participating in an NEH-funded seminar on Technology, Self, and Society at LaGuardia. Today we’ll have the first meeting where we delve into the material – we are responding to Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together. While reading Turkle I was also hearing Cathy Davidson’s remarks during our Opening Sessions. I found Davidson’s talk particularly engaging and important, especially as an educator at a community college. In my mind, we should be thinking of ways to use technology and social media to enhance collaborative and democratic practices in our classrooms rather than eschewing it wholesale.… Read more
As I prepped for the fall, I wanted to give students more agency in the grading process. And I wanted to clarify what college means for some of the first-year students who are grappling with the new academic venue. Without fail, at least a few students in each of my comp sections asks if they can miss a class, or step out, or leave early for whatever reason. It is not a moment where they are alerting me to their absence – they are asking permission. Some of this is indicative the high school mentality and lack of college-preparedness … Read more
Please help us play-test a theatre history role-playing game on El Teatro Campesino and the Delano Grape strikes! Andrew Kircher, Shane Breaux, Jane Barnette, and I are developing a game based on Reacting to the Past pedagogy to workshop at ATHE at the end of this month and we’d like to tweak the game as necessary beforehand. The game could be played in one class period, or perhaps two as the instructor sees fit. We would really appreciate your participation and feedback.
When: Friday, July 11th, 4pm-6pm.
Where: 2nd floor of Playwright Irish Pub, 27 W. … Read more
Amateur performance comes up an awful lot in my research these days: the Grand Army of the Republic productions put on by veterans and locals for charity throughout the late-nineteenth century, the efforts of Charles Sager touring the Midwest and staging his spectacle/pageant The Negro in the late 1890s, and – in more recent developments – the work done by Civil War reenactors. I’ve been thinking more about amateur performance as I’ve prepared for the Mid-America Theatre Conference in Cleveland (where I’m presenting later today). For my MATC paper, I attempt to set up a framework for analyzing performance … Read more
Many thanks to all the participants, the students, and my co-facilitators (Paula Lazrus at St. John’s University and Elizabeth Hovey at John Jay College, CUNY) for the Reacting to the Past faculty workshop at John Jay this past weekend. Sixteen faculty from nine colleges joined us to play the 1616 phase of The Trial of Galileo: Aristotelianism, the “New Cosmology,” and the Catholic Church, 1616-33. After the game, students from past Reacting classes at John Jay, St. John’s, and LaGuardia joined us for a Q & A session – and two of these students helped us during game … Read more
Earlier this month, Andrew Kurjata from Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s program Daybreak North contacted me to get more information on Charles Sager. Sager was a major figure in the short-lived but important Pekin Theater in early twentieth-century Chicago, a theatre by and for African Americans where he served as stage manager (and, it seems, also appeared on stage occasionally). He also wrote and toured the Midwest in 1899 and into the early twentieth century with his pageant of African American history, The Negro. Kurjata and Dr. Jonathan Swaigner at the University of Northern British Columbia uncovered some details on … Read more
Paula Lazrus (Institute for Core Studies, St. John’s University), Elizabeth Hovey (History, John Jay), and I are organizing a Reacting to the Past faculty workshop at John Jay College on February 28th and March 1st. We will be running a short version of The Trial of Galileo: Aristotelianism, the “New Cosmology,” and the Catholic Church, 1616-33. This workshop is designed to expose you to the pedagogy at work during game-play (and you get a sense of what students go through, to boot). Even if the Trial of Galileo game isn’t relevant to your typical teaching area(s), there … Read more
In my composition class this January/February Fall II term at LaGuardia I’m running the Reacting to the Past game Confucianism and the Succession Crisis of the Wanli Emperor by Mark C. Carnes and Daniel K. Gardner. I plan on posting/writing more about using RTTP in composition and writing intensive classes, as the games work well with my aims when teaching comp and research. Students use primary sources to enter a debate while adopting defined roles, wrestle with the “big ideas” of a particular historical moment, get a sense of individual intellectual/historical agency, and craft argument-driven pieces to influence others. … Read more
I have seen PowerPoint presentations go horribly wrong (haven’t we all?). Long pieces of text slapped onto a slide, paragraph after paragraph – I’ve witnessed presenters turning their backs on the audience to face the projector screen and read a massive amount of small-font text unceremoniously squeezed onto one slide. Heck, I’ve certainly made slides that have entirely too much text on them for anyone’s good.
In all my classes – theatre introduction courses, theatre history, composition, or liberal arts – my students make at least one presentation (usually far more than that) every semester. The formats have varied: in … Read more
The piles designated as “shelf-overflow” in our small apartment are growing as I begin accumulating more books for my research project on war reenactments. I had to create a one-page works cited for a recent abstract submission on the Gettysburg Sesquicentennial, but it is time for me to start building a more substantial list/Zotero library. The scope of this project will include Civil War and colonial-era war reenactments. I’m hoping to shamelessly crowd-source to help bulk up this bibliography (shout-outs to be included, of course), especially drawing on the expertise of performance studies colleagues. Suggest away.