"Five Pointz," Forsaken Fotos. Flickr/CC BY 2.0.

My TEACHING style reflects my commitment to student-centered learning, intellectual risk-taking, and the performance of knowledge. I use a wide variety of creative and group-based activities in the college classroom, scaffolding learning and creating as many points of access as possible. I have taught a range of courses, from theatre history and performance seminars to interdisciplinary humanities classes. Samples of syllabi, course descriptions, projects, and/or other materials related to various courses are available by clicking on any course below. Information about the theatre courses I taught at College of Staten Island can be found here.

 


 

Spring I 2016

In these hybrid sections of Writing Through Literature, we focused on post-apocalyptic literature. We began with short stories and worked with narrative perspective, before moving on to reading plays from Mac Rogers’ Honeycomb Trilogy. Finally, we read M.R. Carey’s novel The Girl With All The Gifts, digitally annotating poems mentioned in the book and drawing connections between themes. You can read more about the syllabus and assignments in this blog post.

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Fall I 2015

This semester’s composition and research paper classes were part of a Learning Community entitled “Reacting to the Past: Race, Violence, and US History,” running with a US history class and a public speaking class. In the English courses we played Frederick Douglass, Slavery, Abolitionism, and the Constitution: 1845, along with looking at recent cinematic representations of slavery (like in 12 Years a Slave and Django Unchained). You can read more about this cluster (including the syllabus and assignment prompts) here.

In the Humanism, Science, and Technology capstone class, liberal arts majors read, watched, and responded to materials on artificial intelligence. There are many recent appearances of AI in science fiction films and series that intersect in interesting ways with scholarship (including some materials I’ve encountered as part of the Technology, Self, & Society NEH faculty seminar at LaGuardia). Students read a variety of materials and attende guest lectures by Braden Allenby and Scott Dexter, and screened classics like Terminator along with newer media – Sleep Dealer, Black Mirror’s “Be Right Back”, Ex Machina, and the AMC show Humans, for instance. Students made creative media projects that somehow reflected on what they encountered, and you can access those projects on our class site. More on the syllabus and the class itself can be found in this blog post.

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Spring I 2015

In the two sections of composition I facilitated, we read texts and listened to podcasts that touched upon race, ethnicity, and the status of minorities in the United States. Students produced two podcasts: one in response to readings, another as an oral history/interview project that explored an issue of importance to the student or to a particular group. Our schedule of reading/listening materials are available on the site shared between the two sections.

Writing Through Literature students focused on dystopia and apocalypse, considering how these themes are treated in a variety of genres (a short story, a play, comics, poetry, and a novel). There were supplemental readings to further engage with these texts. More on our course site.

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Fall I 2014

Our composition class was devised in conversation with the Beyond Sacred: Unthinking Muslim Identity program at LaGuardia Performing Arts Center. Beyond Sacred explores Muslim identity in a post-9/11 context through a series of artistic and performance events. Our class focused specifically on plays that touch upon the program’s themes by writers such as Leila Buck, Yussef El Guindi, Betty Shamieh, Ayad Akhtar, and Rajiv Joseph. Students considered these plays alongside theory by Falguni Sheth and Edward Said, among others. After attending the campus production of Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, students created a staged research paper.

Considering the zombie phenomena in popular culture for our Research Paper class, students developed a series of staged assignments leading up to a final project on the living dead. We began by reading Hobbes and Locke and discussing the “state of nature,” before moving on to reading the comic book The Walking Dead and watching some of the AMC series. Students were encouraged to link outside academic interests (politics, film, economics, disease, the post-human, etc.) with our discussions to write an original piece of research. Our class blog was a place to reflect on the research process and to draft various components of papers.

In this section of World Literatures in English – a capstone class for Writing & Literature majors – we explored post-colonial adaptations of ancient Greek tragedies. Within play clusters on Oedipus, Medea, and Antigone, students read post-colonial theory and regularly posted connections on our class blog. For the final class project, students worked collaboratively to write a Wikipedia entries on two of the adaptations from our class: Rita Dove’s The Darker Face of the Earth and Ola Rotimi’s The Gods Are Not To Blame.

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Spring I 2014

In three sections of Composition I, students decided the the fate of New York in Bill Offutt’s Reacting to the Past game, Patriots, Loyalists, and Revolution in New York City, 1775-76. Whether arguing from the viewpoints of patriots, loyalists, moderates, women, landless laborers, or slaves, students read and applied excerpts from John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government, an array of pamphlets from the era, and Thomas Paine’s Common Sense – along with other primary sources – to determine the city’s involvement in the revolution. After the game was over, students posed questions for further research and developed annotated bibliographies and Pecha Kucha presentations to explore these questions. The syllabus is available here.

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Fall II 2013

Students during this short winter term in Composition I used Confucius’ Analects to write persuasive papers, advising a Ming dynasty ruler on the many issues facing the empire (including who will rule China next) as part of the Reacting to the Past game Confucianism and the Succession Crisis of the Wanli Emperor, 1587. Students mastered a variety of sources to make their arguments, and worked on developing their writing skills so as to convince both the emperor and the other Grand Secretaries in class to adopt a particular position. You can see the syllabus here and the Prezi I developed to aid students in preparing for the game.

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Fall I 2013

compThe two sections of composition during this semester focused on graphic narratives and New York City. Students responded to the art, plot, themes, and alternate urban spaces that exist in a variety of comic books and graphic novels. Beginning with close page/textual analysis, students eventually conducted research on Watchmen, then created PechaKucha presentations on another graphic novel of their choosing. See the syllabus and schedule on either of the two class blogs (ENG101.0806 or ENG101.0767).

In the Liberal Arts capstone, students played the Reacting to the Past game The Trial of Galileo: Aristotelianism, the “New Cosmology,” and the Catholic Church, 1616-33. In this writing intensive class, students prepared speeches/papers on Galileo, science, religion, and papal politics in the seventeenth century. A faculty member at LaGuardia describes her visit to our class during a game day in this observation. After the game, we read Brecht’s treatment of the scientist’s life. To see the syllabus for this semester, check out our blog.

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Spring 2013

In this Composition II: Writing Through Literature section, students read Shakespeare’s Richard III and Marlowe’s Faustus, discussing dramatic structure, poetry, and dealing with devils. We then put these plays into a Reacting to the Past scenario, playing the Marlowe and Shakespeare, 1592 game. Students become members of the Privy Council, or of acting troupes competing for the council’s approval. After game-play, students read short stories and legends where characters make deals with demons, in order to write a research paper about a topic of their choosing related to the plays and/or the short story adaptations of the Faust legend. Students posted their findings on a class blog.

For the Spring 2013 section of the Liberal Arts capstone, students played two Reacting to the Past games, comparing how debates about science, religion, and evolution occurred in Darwin’s day – and how these tensions continue to play out in the United States. Students began the course as Victorian Englishmen in Charles Darwin, the Copley Medal, and the Rise of Naturalism: 1862-1864, and then ended as candidates or lobbyists during the Kansas BOE elections in Kansas, 1999: Evolution and Creation Science. Throughout this writing intensive (WID) course, students were asked to consider how logic, theory, and arguments swayed their characters’ opinions. Using media and technology, students participated in our GroupTweet, blog, and shot and edited TV campaign ads as candidates/lobbyists in Kansas. A media studies major agreed to share his campaign ad. This faculty observation shares the observer’s thoughts on our campaign ad viewing day.

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Fall I 2012

This composition class integrated a Reacting to the Past game – Frederick Douglass, Slavery, Abolitionism, and the Constitution: 1845into a college writing class. After the game, students were asked to apply the skills they had used during game play, such as generating theses, building arguments using relevant evidence, and writing for a specific audience in a research project back in their “student” persona. The syllabus for the course outlines our schedule and the major projects, and the faculty observation describes one day of game play – wherein the students engaged in antebellum era debates over slavery.

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