We’ve been busy. Organizing, mourning, resting, strategizing, spending time with loved ones – not to mention all our paid (+unpaid) labor as academics.
As TSW writers and readers know all too well, our work (every dimension of it) didn’t just begin nor will it end with the change of any administration. For many of us though, the work (every dimension of it) feels more urgent now than ever.
There’s a lot more to say, and lots of voices we want to feature in this space to speak, to listen, to make change.
And we also need to – and do – act “in real life.” *
There is SO MUCH to do though, that it can feel overwhelming. And in our role as academics, especially in a climate that wants to censure topics and conversations in the classroom (Exhibit A, Exhibit B) and eliminate academic freedom by eliminating tenure (Exhibit A, Exhibit B), what can we do?
I think lots of things, and lots of “small” things that add up. Which brings me to:
A woman’s place is in the syllabus.
One of the most concrete steps we as educators can take is to decolonize our teaching (and our research, and our outreach, and our mentoring). Many of us, unconsciously or not, claim we are merely finding the “best” material or the “right” material for our classes (and the “right” students, etc). With so much scholarship and so many scholars to choose from, what does that mean? Doesn’t that claim sound awfully familiar lately?
So as many of us start our semesters today or started them recently, let’s reflect on our choices for our syllabi. Who are we asking students to read? Who aren’t we? What topics are we covering? What aren’t we?
It should go without saying that I am not here with definitive answers, as this is a continuous process for everyone. I’d like to share a few readings that help think through the work of syllabus building and revisiting as vital (if seemingly mundane, as it’s “backgrounded” and invisible) work in the academy:
What are you reading and doing to decolonize your teaching? Please share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments.
*I mean, the internet is part of my real life, so I find that term not meaningful.