Friday, July 29, 2016

Bread Loaf Santa Fe 2016 Video

Composing Alongside My Class

This summer, I taught a course titled Multimodal Literacy in a Digital Age that asked the members of the class to reflect on their uses of multimodal/digital technology in their reading and writing pedagogy. Members of the class wrote alphabetic texts and remediated them into first infographics, and then digital videos using iMovie. We watched as their philosophies evolved as we thought about our beliefs about using technology as we composed across different media.

Above is the video that I composed as my students composed their teaching philosophies. It highlights my experience with the program, told through some of the most emblematic voices of the program. 


Cruz Medina, Elizabeth Micci, Pam Nelson, Alfredo Lujan, Tyler Curtain

"Luz Interior" by Limbo Deluxe (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommerical-NonDerivative):
"Gracita y tu" by Konsummerprodukt (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommericial-NonDerivative):

Interviews (in alphabetical order):
Lars Engle, Alfredo Lujan, Elizabeth Micci, Jeff Nunokawa

To learn more about the Bread Loaf School of English, click here:

Friday, July 15, 2016

Bread Loaf Santa Fe Faculty Symposium

On July 9th, I had the privilege of taking part in a dialogue with Rachel Lee, professor of English and Gender Studies at UCLA. We asked one another questions about our books and discussed intersections that we saw in our works.
One of my students encouraged us to be more performative than a traditional presentation of research, so we began by asking volunteers to act out gestures for particular words that we introduced, which were related to our work.

Rachel's work The Exquisite Corpse of Asian America: Biopolitics, Biosociality, and Posthuman Ecologies provoked some interesting questions about representation, the social construction of identity, and how biology might be discussed in the humanities within the context of racial identity.

I spoke a bit about the visual rhetoric that responded to the anti-Ethnic Studies billed passed in Arizona, and I was pleased to know that so many of the students were aware of the ban, with some having seen the documentary Precious Knowledge.
The Bread Loaf Faculty Symposium was an excellent way to discuss topics and themes related to the course I was teaching, while at the same time discussing past research that resonates into current projects.

Student Led Activity

Today in class, Ashley Kirk asked us to reflect on our experiences in Bread Loaf here in Santa Fe. See the Activity description here:

Based on this question, I would have to say that I have been especially pleased and feel rewarded with this teaching experience because the students who come to Bread Loaf are extremely self-motivated, intellectually curious and value their roles as educators. For these reasons, conversations about class material is never limited to the walls of the classroom, but extend to extracurricular activities that include hiking, symposia, meals and guest speakers.

  (Me, students and faculty at Symposium)

Students genuinely seem to value these opportunities to "nerd out" on the material we discuss and speak with like-minded professionals about concerns they have for their classroom practices and how incorporate their learning into the pedagogy and curriculum.

Here is the pdf from the Google doc collaborative narrative activity.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Bread Loaf Guest Speaker Donnie Sackey

On Teaching with Technology Philosophies

This past week, my Bread Loaf Multimodal Literacy class read "Teaching with Technology: Remediating the Teaching Philosophy" by Phill Alexander, Karissa Chabot, Matt Cox, Dànielle Nicole DeVoss, Barb Gerber, Staci Perryman-Clark, Julie Platt, Donnie Johnson Sackey, Mary Wendt. Dànielle DeVoss was great about consulting with me on this course when she visited SCU in March, and the article was well received because of how it spelled out the exigency and outcomes for the assignments we're currently composing.

(Donnie Sackey skyping in)

Today, Donnie Sackey was generous with his time and skyped into Santa Fe, NM from Germany and answered questions from members of the class about his experiences with the writing of the article, the motivation behind the article and how he continues to (re)mediate with students.

(Class squeezing into corner to be visible on webcam)

The class appreciated hearing the perspectives on how digital media can be used in social justice contexts, how multimodal writing can be hand-drawn field journals, and why (re)mediating alphabetic texts can inform pedagogical and writing practices.

Thank you again Donnie for your generous contribution to our classroom dialogue!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Routledge Companion to Latina/o Popular Culture on Google Books

My Chapter on Decolonial Expressions of Dia de los Muertos

Looking forward to my contributor copy arriving in the mail, but in the meantime there's a limited preview on Google Books. Editor Frederick Aladama assembled an amazing collection of scholars and the topics provide an important contribution to the subject of Latina/o pop culture.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Review of my book Poch@ Pop in Enculturation

Edward Santos Garza from Texas State Reviews Reclaiming Poch@ Pop

In the most recent issue of Enculturation: A Journal of Writing, Rhetoric and Culture, Edward Santos Garza reviews my book Reclaiming Poch@ Pop: Examining the Rhetoric of Cultural Deficiency(Palgrave 2015). I really appreciate Santos Garza's generous reading of my book and the great work by the special guest editors, Malea Powell and Phil Bratt. There are also some great articles by Victor del Hierro as well as Alexandra Hidalgo's call for documentary filmmaking in cultural rhetoric.

Santos Garza writes:

"more than maybe any scholar thus far, devises fresh ways of understanding pochx rhetoric. For an American academy seeing larger numbers of Latinx students, many of whom fit Medina’s idea of a pochx, this text’s project is much-needed, one that should serve rhetoricians and compositionists alike."

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Rhetoric Society of America 2016

RSA Conference in Atlanta, GA

This past weekend, May 26-28, I attended the national conference of the Rhetoric Society of America (RSA), where I presented a paper on Day of the Dead/Dia de los Muertos decolonial expressions in pop culture such as The Book of Life and George Romero's Dead series. This research came from my chapter in The Routledge Companion to Latina/o Popular Culture, edited by Frederick Aldama. RSA was a great opportunity to connect with new colleagues and reconnect with old friends (so many University of Arizona grads, alums and profs).

(Billings, Lueck and I)

I was lucky enough to have a couple colleagues from Santa Clara there with me. Simone Billings and Amy Lueck presented, attended functions for researchers at Jesuit institutions, and took part in the research network forum. 


I attended a roundtable talk of researchers from Jesuit institutions discussing the collection Traditions of Eloquence: The Jesuits and Modern Rhetorical Studies, which addresses issues of eloquentia perfecta, spirituality and Jesuit pedagogy. Steve Mailloux spoke of eloquentia perfecta as a good person speaking and writing well for the public good, and how to revise core curriculum with this in mind. 

I also attended a talk by Joseph Bizup, whose BEAM framework for research I use in my writing courses. Bizup spoke about his recent collaborations with librarians and how writing teachers in library research are often characterized by their one-off sessions with librarians; Bizup outlined ways that he discusses the channels and genres for purposeful research. 

(Slide from Bizup's presentation on BEAM)

David Green and Ersula Ore spoke on the rhetoric of gun violence surrounding the Charleston AME murders, discussing the inequality of how gun violence is distinguished when the shooter is white (mental illness/video game blame) versus Black shooters (assailant/perpetrator). Ore reflected on her experience, concluding with the assertion that she did not have the authority to 'stand her ground' as Zimmerman claimed for fear of Trayvon Martin. 

(Green and Ore pictured)

In a panel featuring Tamika Carey, Elaine Richardson (Dr. E), Gwen Pough, and Eric Pritchard, Carey laid the groundwork for the roundtable, Pritchard spoke on the rhetoric of African American fashion, Pough discussed 'Afro-pessimism,' and Richardson advocated for finding ways to affirm one another. Richardson advised not to get caught up in the struggle of the struggle and explained that all lives will matter when Black lives matter. 

I also caught the second-half of a great talk by Christina Cedillo and Melissa Elston on "Indigenous Bodies and the Corporeal(ized) Rhetorics of Empire," where the role of re-creating 'authentic' Native American representation was deconstructed as re-enforcing pioneer narratives of conquest. 

 (Presenting with Miriam Fernandez)

My Presentation

I presented with Miriam Fernandez, a PhD Candidate at Washington State University, who presented her paper "Mothers of Conquest: Reclaiming the Matriarchal Figures of Latin America." Miriam outlined the role of nationalism and myth in Mexico while introducing examples that disrupt binaries about female sexuality with regard to the Virgin of Guadalupe.


I really appreciated the insightful discussion that followed. Jose Cortez acted as informal respondent and got the Q and A session going with some good thoughts and questions about 'what can be decolonial?' Christina Cedillo raised some questions about the ethical use of decolonial knowledge once it leaves the hands of the community that created it, and Karrieann Soto spoke to the parallel work of decolonial projects that happen in the diverse sites across Latin America, the Caribbean and US.

Collections on Latina/o Pop Culture with My Chapter on Dia de los Muertos

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Mextasy in Mexington

William Nericcio at University of Kentucky Talking Xikanimosis

If you're a Tex[t]-Mex fanboy like me, and you haven't had the chance to see William "Memo" Anthony Nericcio in person, then you're in luck. When Nericcio was at the University of Kentucky, hosted by my illustrious colleague Steven Alvarez (known for his Taco Literacy course), they immortalized the occasion with video.

(Poster from Tex[t]-Mex blog by William Nericcio)

Friday, May 6, 2016

US Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera at SCU

The First Chicano US Poet Laureate 
The title of Juan Felipe Herrera's performance was "Immigration, Migration and the Alien Thing." Herrera came to Santa Clara University for the first time in 1961, when he was a young altar boy. Back then he said he wrote in green ink on Chinatown stationary.

(Poet Laureate Hererra and I)

On Language

Francisco Jimenez (in photo below) helped Herrera get published in this 1970s when he was starting out. In his early poetry, Herrera said he traveled to 'Indian country' and learned Nahuatl in late 60s and early 70s. It was good a good feeling writing those poems, he said, keeping the language. Herrera explained that he writes in Spanish and English because he's bilingual. He said 'language is a musical instrument and we all make music more music makes more harmonies--and we be home.'

(Author Francisco Jimenez and Herrera)

Caring and Compassion

Herrera said he wrote Notes on the Assemblage about the terrible bloodletting that was happening. Still, he wanted to talk about kindness and compassion, being selfless and giving all you can give.

Herrera spoke of a friend who said that he wanted to 'read to the ocean.' Herrera said he interpreted this as thinking about the 'bigger world out there.' He read from a poem about the 43 students from the rural town of Ayotzinapa.

It's okay not to know everything, he said, just be sure to write with a heart and to care. He asked, 'what's compassion if you can't bring enemies together? Because enemies are not enemies. There's too much pain around.' He encourage students to build their vision because we need to think big picture. Too many little pictures are floating around. Too much violence, war, greed and talk of money.

His Youth and Laundry Bag Poem

Herrera explained that he came from the campos (fields) and he had friends--they were rabbits and ants--'Ants were my legos,' he said. He described the evolution of his sack lunches from potato burritos, graduating to wet sandwiches de tomate, and then to sandwiches de mantequilla, and finally to sardines.

His explanation of his lunches was inspired by a laundry bag that he compared to the large brown paper bags that he carried his lunches to school with. He wrote a poem about laundry on the bag, with the verse: "write while you wait."

He read from his book 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can't Cross the Border: Undocuments 1971-2007 about 1994 when prop 187 threatened to withhold public services from undocumented immigrants in California.

Jimenez asked Herrera about his mother. Herrera explained that she was born in 1906 for the revolution and moved to El Paso after the revolution with nothing. He explained that she was a pioneer and that she passed on dichos and poetry as well as love and compassion.

Inspiration from Teacher

Minutes asked him about his third grade teacher. Herrera explained he was born in barrio Logan when Elvis Presley was on the radio and before the freeway split his town in the name of "development." His third grade teacher asked him to come up to the front of class and sing. He said her five words changed his life: "You have a beautiful voice." He understood English, but he asked his friends, "Que dijo Mrs?" And his friend said, "Que tienes un vos muy beautiful."

Everyone has a beautiful voice, he said, as poet laureate, that's what he wants to tell everyone.

The Waste Land and Advice for Students and Writers

Herrera explained that when Gov. Brown asked him to be the poet laureate of California Brown asked him how Herrera understood TS Eliot and could apply the The Waste Land to California?" Herrera explained that it was a palm about a multicultural society and the harsh and cold realities we face but it was about how we could create a garden of life in this place.

For writers, he said, "Use your resources. Don't think about it[writing] too much, just start writing don't know how to start, that's okay. If our grandparents can make it to the US as pioneers we can write. We can be pioneers with words– meet it head on. Just get one word on the page. Two words--orale! Three words– it's a party."

Official SCU Press Release:

His books on Amazon (click on the book image):