Flexibility, Communication, and Compassion

Over the past few weeks many universities and K-12 schools have shut down face-to-face meetings and turned to online classes and coursework. This move is substantial, and there are a lot of things to consider when thinking about how we, as educators and students, will approach this shift. As such, today, I want to take…

Fears of Change and a More Equitable Society

Last October, Jennine Capó Crucet gave a talk at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, GA. The university chose her novel Make Your Home Among Strangers (2015) as the campus-wide first year experience book. Crucet’s novel chronicles a Cuban American woman’s experiences at an elite college as a first-gen student and daughter of Cuban immigrants. After…

The “historical self” and the “self self”

In Citizen: An American Lyric, Claudia Rankine uses the term “historical selves” in one of the vignettes in section one. There, the speaker, addressing the reader, talks about you and a friend. The friend argues that Americans battle between the “his- torical self” and the self self.” This battle causes tensions between you and the…

Resistance in Omar ibn Said’s Narrative

In every class, I choose to teach a few new texts that I have never read. Sometimes this will include one texts. Other times it will include more. For this semester, in my multicultural American literature course, I chose two new texts that I had never read before: Hala Alyan’s Salt Houses and Omar ibn…

Why does history matter?

Visiting one of the museums here in Bergen, I walked through the rooms of Edvard Munch’s work, stopping in front of Ungdom (Youth). Ungdom is a large portrait of a boy with a multicolored background behind him that looks, in many ways, like waves. As I stared at the portrait, I walked closer and peered…

How did our ancestors “tame” a continent?

Last May, Donald Trump delivered the commencement address at the Naval Academy. There, he stated that “our ancestors tamed a continent,” and he followed this statement up by adding, “we are not going to apologize for America.” What does this mean? What does it mean to “tame” a continent? What does it mean to be…