Intro to Engaged Teaching and Transformative Learning in the Humanities and Social Sciences

Quipu Menstrual by Cecilia Vicuña

What does it mean to “introduce” a student to a field? This course is intended for any graduate student in the humanities or social sciences who is thinking seriously about the deepest “why” and “how” questions about their discipline and how those apply to their own research and teaching. We begin with theoretical questions about disciplines, fields, foundations, pedagogy, research, aesthetics, and institutional structures alongside issues of equity, diversity, inclusion, social justice, engagement, indigeneity, marginalization, and transformation. In each class and in final projects, we encourage students to transform critique into engaged practice. Students work collaboratively on analyzing and then designing: (1) a standard anthology or textbook in their field; (2) key articles or critical texts in their field; (3) standard syllabi of introductory or “core” courses in their field; (4) keywords in their field. 

Students will leave this course with a deeper understanding of the assumptions of their field and new methods for transformative learning that support diversity, inclusion, and a more equitable form of higher education. Our aim is to work toward “research with a transformative activist agenda” and teaching and mentoring as a “collaborative learning community project."

Follow along with our evolving syllabus.

The image above is Cecilia Vicuña's Quipu Menstrual, which references "the blood of the glaciers." In Vicuña's words, "On the day of Michelle Bachelet's election, I went up to the mountain range to make an offering, asking Bachelet not to hand over the glaciers or the Snowy Hills to the Easter Lama mine, exploited by foreign interests." Read more about Quipu Menstrual here. [image via Wikimedia]


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