This fall, I taught a student forum through the American Studies department called “Critical Perspectives on Texas.” Historically Texas has served as a site of settler colonialism, racial domination, strict reification of gender roles and repressive sexuality, and economic importance with its oil and agricultural industries.
To name a few topics, the class examined: Texas’s modern-day electoral politics in sociohistorical context; intersectional feminist border studies and the Drug War; health care disparities, race, and climate change in Houston; gentrification and segregation in Austin; the legacy of plantation slavery in the influential Texas prison system; cowboy culture and the myth of the frontier; and indigenous resistance to the U.S.-Mexico border wall.
I grew up in Austin, Texas, and as an American Studies major, a growing activist, and someone who has become obsessed with regionalism since coming to Wesleyan, teaching this forum was a way for me to better understand my home and to help other students learn about the state through a critical lens. I wrote this piece, “Cracking Open a Pecan,” as a final project for our last day of class:
Drop/add began last Thursday and it’s proven to be the shitshow it usually is. If you were one of the 100+ folks on one of Professor Anthony Hatch’s course wait lists, you might have to do some ~reshuffling~.
Student forums can be a great option to fill up your schedule, especially if you’re a second-semester senior and cringe at the idea of a final paper longer than 3 paragraphs. Student forums are half- and full-credit courses constructed and taught by Wesleyan students. You can take up to 2.0 credits worth of student forums and have the credits count toward graduation.
Most of the student forums aren’t listed on WesMaps, and it’s difficult to sift through Facebook events when their algorithm is designed to keep us in perpetual digital stasis, so here are all the student forums happening this semester:
From Clara Pinsky ’16:
Interested in how art can change the world?
Community-based art is a collaboration between an “artist” and a community to create artwork that deals with the issues or experiences within that community. In this forum, we’re taking on the Wesleyan community using art (in any and all mediums!) as a force for social change!
Oh, and the class is worth 1 credit.
There will be a brief meeting on Thursday, Sept. 4, at 5PM in Allbritton 103 for anyone interested in taking this forum.
More info here. Questions? Contact Clara at cpinsky[at]wesleyan[dot]edu
Date: Thursday, September 4
Time: 5-5:30 P.M.
Place: Allbritton 103
From Hana Elion ’15 and Katie Solomon’15:
Are you interested in music, collaboration, writing, performing, and creation? If so, “Songwriter’s Forum: Collaboration and the Creative Process” [MUSC419] would love to hear from you.
This student forum will be focused on bringing together students interested in diverse aspects of songwriting (lyrics, instrumentals, production, performance) and giving them a space to collaborate in a constructive and welcoming environment. We will be writing songs, critiquing, and analyzing songs, in hopes to understand the power of a great song.
If you’re interested or would like more information about the course, please email Hana Elion ’15 (helion(at)wesleyan(dot)edu) and Katie Solomon (klsolomon(at)wesleyan(dot)edu) by Friday, September 5. We ask that students send in 1-2 songs that they have worked on or written (recording quality does not matter!), as well as a 300-word statement describing your interest in songwriting and what you could contribute to the class.
Deadline: This Friday, September 5th, 2014
Image by Frank Quitely
“Grant Morrison: Comic Book Writer/Rock Star/Wizard” is an earnest attempt to cure Wesleyan of stilted, sub-intro-level “the Graphic Novel” courses through a focused, informed perspective on a specific topic within the vast and daunting medium of comics. To wit, the works of Glaswegian comics auteur Grant Morrison, MBE.
Morrison (1960-) has been one of the most influential voices in the comics medium for twenty-five years, a member of the same 1980s “British invasion” that brought Alan Moore (WATCHMEN) and Neil Gaiman (SANDMAN) to the attention of American readers. Morrison quickly proved to be still more eclectic than those two innovators, earning his fame in 1988 with a bestselling graphic novel (ARKHAM ASYLUM: A SERIOUS HOUSE ON SERIOUS EARTH) about the Jungian unconscious, Aleister Crowley’s Thoth tarot deck, and Batman. Since then, he has time and time again demonstrated an ability to oscillate between personal works such as THE FILTH and high-profile superhero comics while bringing similar thematic concerns and stylistic innovations to each.
This is from Alma Sanchez-Eppler ‘14 and Mimiko Goldstein ‘17:
To the Wesleyan Community in all of our deep diverseness:
The revolution starts at home; the revolution starts with you working on you and me working on me, but that doesn’t mean we have to work alone. Join us as we try to gauge interest and develop ideas for the creation of a new student forum on bias awareness, white privilege, and privilege in general. If you have been struggling alone with these important issues and feel that a courageous, taboo-less, and radically supportive group dynamic would be helpful to you in furthering your self-exploration, please join us. We will be using whatever strategies make most sense for the group, but we also have access to tools used by the White Privilege Conference. We very much hope that a contingency from Wesleyan can participate in the White Privilege Conference this spring.
If you cannot make the meeting time but are interested, feel free to email us: asanchezeppl[at]wesleyan[dot]edu ormmgoldstein[at]wesleyan[dot]edu
Date: TODAY, Friday, October 25
Time: 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Place: Usdan Mulitpurpose Room (Basement)
From Rachie Weisberg ’15:
There is a lot of great food related work happening on campus like Food Not Bombs, Long Lane Farm, WesFRESH, and WILD Wes, to name a few. You might have even heard that Wesleyan was chosen as the most vegan-friendly small US school by PETA!
Here at Wesleyan, we are lucky enough to be provided (at least) three meals a day. Yet, despite the fact that we consume food everyday from Wesleyan’s meal plan, many of us are uneducated about the system that brings the food to our plate. In fact, the food system goes
largely overlooked in our daily lives. Our country’s food system consists of a variety components. We will learn about this system in its entirety spanning from issues related to labor, the environment, and overall health and access.
From Catherine MacLean ’14 comes an opportunity to fill in the gaps of your pre-med education:
This course is an attempt to blend ideas from a wide variety of disciplines in order to fill the gaps present in an undergraduate pre-health education. The required courses for matriculation into post-graduate education for a health career cover essential biomedical topics but do not address many aspects of the practice of medicine. To be fully prepared to work in health today you need to understand motivation, inequality, socialization, cognitive bias, psychology, behavior, economics, insurance, communication and leadership skills, government policy, sociology, statistics, diverse cultures, and much more. This course will by no means be an exhaustive education in any of these, but merely an overview. We will draw on academic disciplines such as literature, narrative medicine, sociology, psychology, and more.
Interested in nonfiction?
A new student forum this semester will explore the nonfiction genre of trauma writing. Led by two juniors, Cade Lebron ’14 and Jenessa Duncombe ’14, this course will provide a focused workshop for trauma writing. Participants will explore the nature of trauma, and write five short pieces and one longer piece. Some topics to be covered include: what is trauma writing?, trauma writing vs. traumatized writing, language of trauma, and many more. Short excerpts from books and essays will be assigned that relate to the topics.
INTERESTED? Come to the meeting to hear more! CAN’T COME? Email us!
Date: September 8th
Time: 2:30 – 3:00PM
Place: Public Affairs Center 104
In fall of my freshman year, I took an FYI with Professor Henry Abelove simply called “Thoreau.” The syllabus of the class consisted of Thoreau’s famous book Walden and nothing else. The class was not only one of the best ones I’ve taken at Wesleyan, but also one of the most eye-opening. I was inspired enough that I’ve gone to Walden twice with classmates since taking the class and almost always have the book on hand to reread.
Though Henry Abelove’s semester with my class was his last teaching at Wesleyan, I’m excited to announce that two of my classmates, Leonid Liu ’14 and Oren Finard ’14, are teaching a student forum modeled after Abelove’s legendary class—with Abelove’s approval, of course. If I weren’t abroad, I’d definitely be taking this, and if you’re at Wes, you should add it to your list. It sounds cheesy, but I probably learned more about myself from reading Walden than I have at any other moment in my life. Description after the jump: