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“Teaching with Tension: Strategies for Addressing Race and Resistance in the Classroom”

February 18, 2019 @ 9:30 am - 4:30 pm


This one-day symposium addresses the extent to which attitudes about race, impacted by our current political environment, have produced pedagogical challenges for professors in the humanities, English studies in particular, who teach subjects that involve discussions of racial difference. Through workshops, teaching demonstrations, and panel discussions, participants will be able to exchange strategies and create dialogue about the struggles and joys of teaching topics that address racial difference and teaching in racially diverse spaces. We will engage questions, such as the following: What teaching strategies work well (or fail) to help students navigate our current moment? How does rhetoric about post-raciality complicate the ways we historicize race or talk about race and current events in our classes? In what ways have students’ thinking about race provoked “new” ways for contextualizing the study of race? In what ways have both students and teachers negotiated racial issues as both individual and social phenomena and as pedagogical and humanistic imperatives?

The symposium will begin at 10 a.m. with a morning workshop led by two guest facilitators, Dr. Lee Bebout and Dr. Philathia Bolton. Bebout is an associate professor of English at Arizona State University. He is the author of two books, Mythohistorical Interventions: The Chicano Movement and Its Legacies (Minnesota 2011) andWhiteness on the Border: Mapping the US Racial Imagination in Brown and White (NYU 2016). Bolton is an assistant professor of English at the University of Akron. She has published essays on race and gender and is the former director of the ESL program at Akron. Bebout and Bolton are co-editors, along with me, of the essay collectionTeaching With Tension: Race, Resistance, and Reality in the Classroom, just out with Northwestern University Press this month.

After lunch, the symposium continues at 1:15 p.m. with a panel discussion about effective teaching methods and lesson plans featuring UA faculty and graduate student teachers: Alexis McGee, Andy Crank, Nathan Loewen, Ashley Burge, and Kirstin Bone.

The day ends with a 3 p.m. “rap session” in which undergraduate students discuss with faculty and graduate students their positive and negative experiences with diversity and inclusion in the classroom and on campus in general.




February 18, 2019
9:30 am - 4:30 pm
Event Category:


English Building 301
United States


Cassander Smith