Kicking Off the New Semester: Grading Contracts (Part II), Portfolios, Podcasts, & the End of the World

ENG 101 image

We’re almost through the first week of classes at LaGuardia. I’ve tweaked some old things, rolled out some new things, and based upon the insights/connections students are making in our initial meetings, I think a lot of great work is going to happen this semester. 1 I spent some time during the winter break thinking about the grading contract I used during the fall. While the grading contract was an improvement (in my mind) on my older grading practices – and I think it made things more transparent in general – the act of revision was still not prioritized … Read more

Class Reading/Viewing/Listening List: Race, #BlackLivesMatter, & Exclusion


On December 19th I attended a panel called Teaching #BlackLivesMatter: Countering the Pedagogies of Anti-Black Racism at the Graduate Center, co-sponsored by Revolutionizing American Studies and the Advanced Research Collaborative. Several faculty members at the Graduate Center and from the area spoke (Kandice Chuh, Eric Lott, Nicole R. Fleetwood, Anthony Alessandrini) and a few GC doctoral students shared their thoughts as well (Laurel Mei Turbin, Kristina Huang, and Sean Kennedy). The GoogleDoc Collaborative Syllabus that started in anticipation of the event provides many ideas/links, including  “The Ferguson Theatre Syllabus” from the American Theatre site. Attendees added to both the … Read more

Teaching Comics Workshop

Below are the Prezi and the Zotero collection I prepared for the Teaching Comics workshop in the English department today, sponsored by the Composition & Research Committee at LaGuardia Community College. More resources can be easily added, so feel free to make suggestions.


Al-Tabaa, Najwa. “TEACHING! POW! COMICS! BAM!: Pedagogical Approaches to Comics in Post-Secondary Classrooms.” ImageText: Interdisciplinary Comic Studies 7, no. 3 (2014).
Chaney, Michael A. Graphic Subjects: Critical Essays on Autobiography and Graphic Novels. Univ of Wisconsin Press, 2011.
Cohn, Neil. The Visual Language of Comics: Introduction to
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Technology, Self, & Society – NEH Seminar @ LaGuardia

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I am 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 … Read more

Contract Grading


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

Call for Participants – Help Play-Test our El Teatro Campesino Game


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

Doing Amateur Time & Investing in Sites of Memories

Reenactors and spectators at the Gettysburg Sesquicentennial

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

RTTP Faculty Workshop @ John Jay College


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

Charles Sager’s Post-Pekin Life: Radio Interview on CBC


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 NegroKurjata and Dr. Jonathan Swaigner at the University of Northern British Columbia uncovered some details on … Read more

Call for Participants – Reacting to the Past Workshop at John Jay College

"Galileo Before the Holy Office" by Joseph-Nicolas Robert-Fleury (1847)

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