I have developed a pedagogical approach that relies on creating a synergy between theory and practice that engages the community through archival research and the use of digital tools.
AfroFantastic: Race, Gender, and Power in the Black Imaginary
Since the 1990s we have seen an explosion of speculative art rooted in the black diasporic experience. Spanning media and crossing borders, the speculative work offered by these voices has coalesced into a movement broadly defined as Afrofuturism. This course examines the historical roots and contemporary expression of Afrofuturism in the United States.
Superhero Comics and the American Experience
From their debut in the 1930s to our current cinematic moment, superheroes have been a central part of the American experience. What do superheroes narratives tell us about American culture? How has the genre’s evolution highlight broader societal evolutions? This course offers an extensive examination of the superhero genre from its early exemplars to current innovators.
My teaching engages race, identity, and community in the United States. I am now especially focused on how the digital humanities can highlight ways of knowing and being that document institution-building and an empowered imaginary. I collaborate with my students on critical making projects rooted in questions of community, identity and power. Critical Making can be described as a process of material exploration and creation to promote understanding. By making objects linked to culture, the maker gains understanding about the subject. Critical Making is often associated with design and engineering education, but increasingly these activities are being incorporated into the humanities and social sciences because of the abundance of digital tools available to faculty and students. Traditionally, I describe this process in my courses as scaled cognitive exercises. Meaning, these projects require my students to start an endeavor by exploring materials linked to a problem and then analyze and use that material to create a project using digital methodologies that clarify critical concerns. I see digital space as a natural arena to engage the wider community in a public humanities practice that supports greater understanding about society. Whether within the structure of classes or in the context of guided research projects, my goal is to document those ideas shaping culture in the United States.