Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Last Lecture from Last Year

My SCU Associated Student Government Last Lecture from Last Year

Last year, I was honored to be invited to deliver a talk as a part of the Associated Student Government's "Last Lecture" series here at Santa Clara University. I made sure to start off my talk by saying that I was neither leaving nor dying, but excited to be speaking with that great audience of students nonetheless. Here is a long-lost video that I found from my talk that was skillfully edited down to a highlight from the 45 minute talk I gave. 

Here is the flyer from the event:

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Overdue Post for Social Justice in Tech Comm Collection

Key Theoretical Frameworks: Teaching Technical Communication in the Twenty-First Century 

(Book Cover: Amazon)

I am really honored to have a chapter that came out recently, edited by the amazing editorial team of Angela Haas and Michelle Eble. Contributing a chapter with Kenneth Walker on the subject of contract grading for social justice, drawing on folks like Asao Innoue, Jerry Farber, and folks in Tech Comm, I love that my work is featured along side dynamic contributors. This collection is compelling and necessary scholarship, especially given the moment when social justice and the humanities are needed.

From the website:
Drawing on social justice methodologies and cultural studies scholarship, Key Theoretical Frameworks offers new curricular and pedagogical approaches to teaching technical communication. Including original essays by emerging and established scholars, the volume educates students, teachers, and practitioners on identifying and assessing issues of social justice and globalization.
The collection provides a valuable resource for teachers new to translating social justice theories to the classroom by presenting concrete examples related to technical communication. Each contribution adopts a particular theoretical approach, explains the theory, situates it within disciplinary scholarship, contextualizes the approach from the author’s experience, and offers additional teaching applications.
The first volume of its kind, Key Theoretical Frameworks links the theoretical with the pedagogical in order to articulate, use, and assess social justice frameworks for designing and teaching courses in technical communication.
Contributors: Godwin Y. Agboka, Matthew Cox, Marcos Del Hierro, Jessica Edwards, Erin A. Frost, Elise Verzosa Hurley, Natasha N. Jones, Cruz Medina, Marie E. Moeller, Kristen R. Moore, Donnie Johnson Sackey, Gerald Savage, J. Blake Scott, Barbi Smyser-Fauble, Kenneth Walker, Rebecca Walton

Friday, February 22, 2019

2019 LEAD Scholars Symposium

LEAD Scholars Symposium 

Photos courtesy of @SCULEADScholars
On Wednesday, Feb 20 the LEAD Scholars program hosted Symposium, an event where students from the first year writing classes (CTW2) present on preliminary research that stems from books they read over the winter break. 

I was honored to speak on behalf of the LEAD CTW instructors, sharing our gratefulness for the event and the opportunity to share in the community that the program cultivates with their many curricular and extracurricular activities, sessions, and events. 

 (One of my students, Andre, presenting on education and Silicon Valley Tech firms)
(Q&A following the first round of presenters in the panel I attended)
(LEAD Program Coordinator Erin Kimura-Walsh introducing President Michael Engh, S.J.)

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Course Spotlight in Bread Loaf journal

"Santa Fe Spotlight: Teaching Multimodal Writing in a Digital Age"

I am grateful to Tom McKenna for featuring work from my Bread Loaf course from the past summer in the recent issue of Bread Loaf Teachers Network Journal that also features an interview with yours truly. The two student videos featured are thoughtful and imaginative, speaking to important issues such as accessibility because one of the students, Lauren Jewett, works as a special education teacher in New Orleans.

I'm included the teaching philosophy videos from both students as well as the video below:

Lauren Jewett (Special Education Teacher / Case Manager (4th and 5th Grade) KIPP Ernest N. “Dutch” Morial School)

Jei-Jei Tan (Upper School English Teacher Taipei American School)

Tom McKenna interviewing me on my course

Monday, January 28, 2019

SCU LEAD at San Quentin Shakespeare in Prison Workshop

SCU LEAD Scholars Attend Shakespeare at San Quentin Workshop

This past weekend, I am grateful to have attended a workshop with students from the SCU LEAD first-generation program at San Quentin hosted by Lesley Currier of Marin Shakespeare Company. Our LEAD first year writing courses read Bryan Stevenson's Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption and the students who volunteered to take part in the workshop were motivated to learn more about the themes of justice and mercy.

Shakespeare in San Quentin program has been around for some 16 years and men incarcerated in San Quentin have the opportunity to learn about and perform Shakespearean plays. During our time at San Quentin, our group had the opportunity to walk through the prison yard and speak with participants in the program before we began a more formal workshop in a small building on the parameter of the yard. The participants in the program were extremely welcoming and commented on the willingness of our students to engage and take part in the workshop.

 (SCU LEAD Students with Profs. Maura Tarnoff and Cruz Medina)

Our group had the opportunity to introduce ourselves and interact in large and small group sessions, talking with incarcerated participants in the program about scenes from Shakespeare's Measure for Measure and Merchant of Venice. In large group, Lesley Currier helped talk through the themes of justice and mercy in relation to the meanings of the monologues and in small groups; we had the opportunity to speak with members of the program about the relevant themes in the text, with many of them speaking about their own experiences and how they can understand how the themes Shakespeare wrote about remaining relevant in their lives.

(After the workshop with San Quentin background)

The many men in the program were welcoming and invigorated by working with younger people, with some men commenting that they had children or grandchildren the ages of our students. When we had a chance to speak with the men more informally after the workshop session, I spoke with a few who encouraged me to look at their writing on the San Quentin Shakespeare Workshop website because they were proud that they could share their stories, many of them focusing on how much they have changed as people because of their ability to take part in a program like this one.

To learn more about programs in San Quentin, I would also recommend listening to the Ear Hustle podcast from San Quentin (shout out to Sam Blackmon who turned me onto it): 

Friday, December 14, 2018

Review by Les Hutchinson of Racial Shorthand

Review of Racial Shorthand in The Journal of Multimodal Rhetorics

Muchas gracias to Les Hutchinson at Michigan State University for their review of the collection I edited with Octavio Pimentel Racial Shorthand: Coded Discrimination Contested in Social Media

Quote from the review: 

We are all shaped by the racist discourses around us, and our technologies have not escaped that truth. However, just as technologies work in service of oppression and power, people of color have used the technologies we have at hand to act in resistance. This collection gives our discipline some tactics for responding to racism within technological platforms and for adapting the technologies we have at hand. As Medina and Pimentel make clear, people of color have long engaged in multimodal composition; it is past time that scholarly spaces make room for those texts. - Les Hutchinson, Michigan State University

Monday, November 26, 2018

Incredibly Diverse Collection of Latinx Comics

 Latinx Comics Anthology 

Excited to have gotten my signed copy of Tales from la Vida: A Latinx Comics Anthology (Latinographix) . It's a beautiful collection of short selections of many Latinx comic authors with topics ranging from identity to pop culture to immigration and mythology. 

I would definitely encourage anyone who's interested in learning more about Latinx comics to pick up a copy because it provides a wide swath of styles, topics, and artists to choose from (and hopefully read more from.) 

Monday, November 19, 2018

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Comment and Response in College English

Response essay with Aja Martinez and Gloria Howerton

A few months back, I co-wrote an essay with Aja Martinez and Gloria Howerton responding to an essay College English had published on Tucson High School's Mexican American Studies program. We raised questions about the use of terms like "dead" and "illegal" that seemed to sensationalize the program, as well as suggestions for decolonial methodologies that resist colonial narratives about the absence of indigenous knowledge and culture in contested spaces like the Southwest.

Link to response essay in SCU library website 

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Blog Post for University of Colorado and Utah State Press

My Blog Post: “We Will Be Better for It”: Critical Hope from Women of Color in Digital Spaces"

I was asked to write something in relation to the recent collection Racial Shorthand that I co-edited with Octavio Pimentel, so I wrote about the great work of Women of Color, highlighting some digital platforms and academic platforms that have supported these efforts. Feeling really grateful to UP Colorado/Utah State UP for letting me discuss this topic and draw attention to some work that should be amplified. 

Here's a longer quote:

The influence and centrality of women of color in Racial Shorthand is not limited to the contributors. Chicana poet and scholar Natalie Martinez inspired my chapter, “Digital Latinx Storytelling: Testimonio as Multimodal Resistance”, with the captivating video she composed that I include as an example of digital testimonio. One of my graduate school mentors, Adela Licona, informed my early understanding on the testimonio genre when she suggested that I read Telling to Live, a collection of testimonios by the Latina Feminist Collaborative (Del Alba et al. 2001). And I believe that my paternal grandmother, Dorothy Medina, represents one of the most influential WoC in my life, which is perhaps why I used her voice from archival family videos in the book trailer as a kind of found narration. In the trailer, her offhand comments about my family’s use of technology 30 years ago provide insights into the traditions of PoC using technology in ways that have been ignored.

Read the full article here:

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Our New Digital Book on Race and Technology

New Edited Collection from Computers and Composition Digital Press

Really excited to announce that our edited collection Racial Shorthand: Coded Discrimination Contested in Social Media is now available online from Computers and Composition Digital Press. CCDP is an open access scholarly publication, so the collection will be free to access and will be housed on CCDP's site, the digital arm of the University of Utah Press. 

As a co-editor and contributor with Octavio Pimentel, I am extremely proud of all the chapters contributed by (in alphabetical order): Laura Gonzales, Lillie R. Jenkins, Alexis McGee, Charise Pimentel, Octavio Pimentel, Julia Voss, and Miriam F. Williams. 

Here is the link to the site: 

The abstract is below:

This collection is called Racial Shorthand because it sets out to unpack the dominant narratives embedded in media representations. These misrepresentations reinforce how people of color are framed by racist discourses and undermine the multimodal composing by communities of color, further erasing the rhetorical, oral, and aural traditions of these communities. Contributions to this digital collection include chapters analyzing racist discourse in social media and chapters that highlight multimodal and digital composing by people of color. This collection disrupts the dominant shorthand by demonstrating how communities of color produce multimodal projects and leverage the affordances of social media in ways that extend the rhetorical traditions and literacy practices of these communities. 

Thanks to Cindy Selfe for the initial interest in the project, and thanks to Patrick Berry for shepherding the project through, with Melanie Yergeau and Tim Lockridge, to completion. 

Look for the cover (designed by Heather Turner) coming soon on the CCDP website!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Overdue post on Frederick Aldama's SCU Reading

Frederick Aldama's Reading for Long Stories Cut Short

With guest contributor: Jacqui Ibarra-Garcia

(SCU Students with Aldama, Velasco and myself)

Some time back, I posted on Frederick Aldama's upcoming reading here at SCU for his book Long Stories Cut Short: Fictions from the Borderlands. It's been a minute, but one of my colleagues reminded me about putting something together for our department newsletter, so I thought that I might share the write up here by one of my former students, Jacqui Ibarra, which I include, following my brief introduction. 

(Juan Velasco's introduction)

On Feb 27, 2018, Frederick Aldama (Distinguished Professor Ohio State University) read from his book of bilingual flash fiction Long Stories Cut Short: Fictions from the Borderland in the St. Clare room at Santa Clara University’s Learning Commons. Professor Juan Velasco provided a thoughtful introduction of Aldama’s work and the need to understand the experiences of immigrants at this particular moment in time.

The following is by first year Business major Jacqui Ibarra-Garcia:

During Frederick Luis Aldama’s reading from his book, I came to realize several things. One of those things was how powerful the imagination is, and how talented Aldama was for being able to serve as a guide for our imagination, but never crossing the line of being in control of our imagination like other traditional forms of writing. In the beginning of the talk when he read out sentence-long stories, asking us what we felt and what were the first things to pop into our minds, my peers surprised me. I noticed that several times, what I felt and what I thought of were very different than my peers' thoughts. I suppose this is because of the different places we come from. Some people are looking into his stories from the inside, but others are from the outside who don’t have too much knowledge of what places like La Villita are like.

Another thing that I found interesting was how easy he made it to latch onto characters. For example, when he was describing the life of Carlos, who’s children both wound up in the hospital for unfortunate reasons out of their control, I felt as though I was a part of that journey. I kept wondering to myself, how, in one page, am I so moved by a character? I’m sure it has taken years of practice for Aldama to be so comfortable with language that he manages to cut out 60% of the words but still provide the same dramatic effect. This point also led me to wonder, how different did it sound in Spanish? From my experience with the two languages, I have come across numerous words that just don’t translate. For example, “Mi virgencita Ranchera”, or “my little virgin rancher”. In English, I imagine a young, virgin girl who lives in a rural area. However in Mexico,”Mi Virgencita Ranchera” is my sweet Virgen de Guadalupe, who is one of my people, from the slums of Mexico. Even there, I struggle to describe the emotions that I feel when referring to her, so I can only imagine the challenges that Aldama faced when writing his flash fiction book.