Showing posts from 2017

Fall 2017 at Bryn Mawr College

A new academic year has arrived and I'm delighted to introduce two new courses: a first-year writing seminar (what we call at Bryn Mawr an Emily Balch Seminar ) on resistance, rebellion, and refusal; and an upper-level seminar on Justice. One week into the semester, each class has already begun to gel. It feels like it will be a terrific fall. The Emily Balch Seminar, "Resistance, Rebellion, and Refusal" ( syllabus here ) introduces students to writing through the lens of figures of resistance, theories of civil disobedience, and what I call practices of refusal. As we write and rewrite about these political and theoretical issues, we're reading some of my favorite texts like Sophocles' Antigone and Frantz Fanon's Black Skin, White Masks. We're also engaging the Flexner Lectures at Bryn Mawr , where Bonnie Honig will be talking about "Theaters of Refusal." My hope is that students can join this conversation as they imagine and develop their own

Reflections on a Decade of Teaching

(Joel in 2007. . .  and in 2017) When I entered the classroom in Duke’s Perkins Library for the beginning of my first ever course, I had a flutter of nervousness just like when I would mount the stage at one of my many piano recitals – a sudden lightness in my stomach as my hands began to perspire. But when I saw the students sitting around the long seminar table, another feeling immediately overtook the first: gratitude. Look at these interesting people all eager to learn something! And I’m the professor! I can’t believe this is my job. Forming that first class were students from Canada, China, Kazakstan, and the United States. I had students from north and south, east and west. I had a high school student, a senior who only needed these credits to graduate, and a midcareer public servant completing his policy degree. And we all assembled to study political philosophy. I remember that I introduced myself and asked the students to introduce one another. Then I leapt i