Workshops Funded for Spring 2014
Shampa Biswas, Coordinator (Politics); Melisa Casumbal (Politics); Lydia McDermott (General Studies/Writing Center); Suzanne Morrissey (Anthropology and Interdisciplinary Studies); Katrina Roberts (English); and Elyse Semerdjian (History).
Writing the Self: Incorporating Autoethnography across Disciplines
Description: The aim of this workshop is to explore the integration of self-reflective writing into courses in ways that push students' personal boundaries, but are also rigorous and intellectually challenging. We all come from different disciplines and teach very different kinds of courses, but have all struggled with the question of how to incorporate "the subjective" into our pedagogy in ways that don't lapse into strings of random anecdotes, but instead help draw out the larger social and political import of student self-reflections (for brief descriptions of each of our particular interests and motivations, please see attached document). The reading materials for the workshop are of two kinds (a) ones that explore "autoethnography" as method and pedagogy, and (2) works that are exemplary of the kind of narratives we are interested in generating. In addition, we will meet for extended workshops with two writers (1) Sorayya Khan (CV attached), a novelist (visit funded through the O'Donnell Visiting Educator funds) who has been working with Shampa Biswas on developing a writing assignment along similar lines (2) Everett Maroon (http://transplantportation.com/press/), whose memoir and blog routinely explore the question of writing narratives of vulnerability and intimacy in politically empowering ways. We hope to learn from each other and our two visiting writers, and generate some concrete suggestions for the use of different pedagogic techniques, the value and functions of different narrative styles, and methods and rubrics for evaluating student work in this area.
Aaron Bobrow-Strain, Co-Coordinator (Politics); Jason Pribilsky, Co-Coordinator (Anthropology and Interdisciplinary Studies); Scott Elliott (English); Michelle Acuff (Art); Matthew Reynolds (AHVCS); Phil Brick (Politics); and Nicole Pietrantoni (Art).
Post-Natural Histories: Geographies of Gentrification, Sacrifice, and Militarization in the Anthropocene West
Description: Our workshop, exploring intersections between the visual arts, literature, creative nonfiction, social theory, and environmental studies, seeks to understand key categories that animate each of our professional and teaching lives: "Nature," "Rural," and "the West." For more than twenty years Whitman's Environmental Studies program has excelled at place based studies of regional Nature and natural resources. As our region careens through the new millennium, however, it is clear that foundational categories of our program require radical reworking. We believe that a growing number of scholars, artists, and activists engaging with the geographies of the rural West in ways that blur the boundary between the arts and social sciences offer an exciting way forward. How can we, as scholars, writers, and artists, study, write, represent, or perform this brave "new" West?
Jan Crouter, Coordinator (Economics); Nick Bader (Geology); Ellen Bishop (Environmental Studies/Geology); Bob Carson (Geology/Environmental Studies); Alissa Cordner (Sociology); Frank Dunnivant (Chemistry); Laura Ferguson (History); and Don Snow (Environmental Humanities/General Studies).
Description: The purpose of the proposed workshop is to provide its participants some background in the interdisciplinary aspects of water so that a course might be developed and taught (hopefully) in spring 2016. This course would serve as an option for Environmental Studies students seeking to fulfill the interdisciplinary requirement for the major. In addition to discussing the readings, the workshop participants will also identify interdisciplinary connections that might be exploited in a course and will consider how such a course should be taught. Please note that I anticipate the successful completion of the CDLTI workshop will be followed by an Innovation in Teaching and Learning (ITL) grant proposal.