Welcome to the Home Page for Transitions and Transactions IV - 2018.
How do we welcome community college students to the study of literature and social justice? How do we make dialogue, exchange and debate possible in our classrooms welcoming everyone’s participation and engagement, especially at a time when some voices/people are treated as invisible?
In this climate, how we continue to develop as teachers and learners will profoundly shape who we will become inside and often outside the classroom. Transitions and Transactions IV invites teachers to think about the pressing issues of our particular historical moment. The escalation of police-community clashes, the constant media-presence of violent radical fundamentalisms, climate change, global food shortages, contaminated food and water supplies, and neoliberal economics coupled with the reduction of culture and history to media sound-bites, make the issue of trust in communication and speech and the ability to bear ambiguity all the more necessary and timely. We also ask: how is the long history and struggle for social justice an important part of the learning process for community college students? What are the challenges we face in the literature community college classroom? How do we make a literary life and an informed citizenship possible both for our students and for ourselves?
Our work at the community college shows that language is not simply a medium of reconciliation that pacifies aggression in the name of culture, but that as cultural and critical discourses, literature and the humanities can themselves be a medium of creatively radical confrontation where language grants both our students and ourselves a rebellious and liberating freedom to learn and to think.
With over 50% of American undergraduates in community college, more than at any other time, community college teachers have their hands on America’s future. The stakes are higher than ever, especially given the challenges of our diverse student population, diverse in every thinkable way: age, race, religion, level of preparation, goals, stage in life, basic literacy, etc. Our classes, full to the brim with a vast swath of the population pose new challenges for teaching and for what it means to become educated and able to negotiate the challenges of our fast-paced, and fast-changing, increasingly politicized, global, and increasingly virtual world.
We are excited about continuing our commitment to pedagogy in the community college setting.
Dr. Margaret Barrow and Dr. Andrew Levy, conference coordinators.
Special thanks to our awesome Conference Planning Committee
Stephanie Oppenheim, Jungah Kim, Tracy Bealer, James Hoff, Benita Novena, Zhanna Yablokova, Maria Alvarez, Syreeta McFadden, and volunteers: Bil Wright, Rolando Jorif, and Domenick Acocello.
Photo by Rayshur Homer-Millien.