Monday, September 11, 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 accounts of principled resistance.

The Justice seminar (syllabus here) also has a strong orientation toward writing. Students will begin by studying one of the great texts of contemporary political theory, Iris Marion Young's Justice and the Politics of Difference (publisher's description), using this to map the conversation about justice that they will then join with their own research. My approach here to teaching student research builds on my "The Power of the People" course from 2016 that I described in an earlier post (here). Working closely with an awesome librarian at LITS (Bryn Mawr's Library and Information Technology Services) has been a pleasure and an education.

After a year away from campus, I'm hungry for the abundance of heart, intellectual acuity, and imaginative engagement I find in Bryn Mawr and Haverford students. Let the semester begin!