Sunday, March 24, 2013

Outlawing Shakespeare

A Documentary About Tucson Ethnic Studies

This documentary does not have quite the scope of Precious Knowledge, which captured the banning of Tucson High School's Mexican American Studies program as it was happening, although this shorter doc does interview some of the key participants. One of my past students Crystal also happens to be one of the students who is interviewed.

Friday, March 22, 2013

"El Monte Yellow Jackets" on Carnival Lit Mag

Wrestling with My Father's Ghost

Before my father died, he had been working on a novella length piece of fiction that took place during the late 50s/early 60s in Southern California. Some time back, I revisited it and cut down one of the story-lines to a short piece dealing with a father and son. The son loves playing baseball in Southern California with his friends, but his father can't get past his romantic view of Mexico.

I described the process of revising, and adding and subtracting sentences as arguing with my father's ghost about the craft of fiction.I had first read the piece in its entirety after he had passed in 2006, so it was a good opportunity to revisit the messages and images captured in the writing. When I got around to submitting it, I had listed the author bio as the following:

Julian Medina grew up in El Monte California, was the first in his family to graduate from college and taught English at Mt. San Antonio community colleges before dying of a heart attack in 2006. He had two sons, Zeferino and Cruz Medina.

Followed by my bio on the website. Unfortunately, only my bio is listed on the website, but I'm glad that this story has nonetheless been able to continue.

Read the sneak peek of the Vol 4 issue of Carnival Literary Journal here: 

 Reflecting on the story, I see a great deal of connection with the themes and subject matter mastefully done in Gary Soto's short story collection Baseball in April and Other Stories

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Henry Giroux at CCCC 2013

Writing the Public Good Back into Education

On Friday morning, I saw Henry Giroux speak as a featured speaker at the CCC 2013. I regret not taking close notes although I posted the picture below on Twitter  and I received a message back from former Tucson Ethnic Studies teacher Curtis Acosta. Acosta asked me to send abrazos in thanks to Giroux for the piece he wrote on the Tucson Ethnic Studies MAS program. So after Giroux finished his lecture, I took the moment to pass along the message of thanks. He smiled and said that he loved that piece.

 (Henry Giroux at CCC 2013)

From the NCTE site:

FRIDAY, MARCH 15:  9:30-10:45 a.m.
Chair:  Donald Lazere, Cal Poly State Univer
This session will examine how the  ideal of higher education as a public good is losing its claim to legitimacy in a society that increasingly defines market interests as the sole measure of individual and social value and teaching largely as a measurable and instrumental task. Against this view of higher education as an adjunct of business culture, this talk argues for educators to take on the role of public intellectuals willing to engage in creating a formative culture of learning capable of nurturing  the capacities to defend higher education as a public good crucial to sustaining a critical citizenry and a democratic society. In the current historical moment, higher education as a democratic public good faces a crisis of enormous proportions. At the center of this crisis, particularly in the United States,  is a tension between democratic values and market values, between dialogic engagement and a creeping authoritarianism.  Faith in social amelioration and a sustainable future appears to be in short supply as market fundamentalism performs the dual task of using education almost exclusively to train workers for service sector jobs  and produce life long consumers. This talk will examine the responsibility of academics in dark times, and what it might mean for scholars  not only to redefine the meaning of higher education as a public value, but also the promise of academics and critical pedagogy as crucial to developing the formative culture that make a democracy possible.  Central to such a challenge is the necessity to define intellectual practice “as part of an intricate web of morality, rigor and responsibility” that enables academics to speak with conviction,  enter the public sphere in order to address important social problems, and demonstrate alternative models for what it means to  bridge the gap between higher education and the broader society. This is a notion of intellectual practice that  refuses both the narrow instrumentality and privileged isolation of the academy, while affirming a broader vision of learning that links knowledge to the power of self-definition and the critical capacities of administrators, academics, and students to expand the scope of democratic freedoms, particularly as they address the crisis of higher education as part and parcel of the crisis of democracy itself .

Henry Giroux is Global Television Network Chair In Communication Studies
and a member of the English and Cultural Studies McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.  A prolific author, Professor Giroux has been an extremely articulate and passionate advocate for progressive education and has mounted a spirited defense of public education in a time of intense privatization.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Vine on My Mind

6 Second Video & in-Cell Phone Editing

For a few weeks I've heard some mention of Vine, a free app for Apple and Android. It's been described as a moving-instragram of sorts. Users touch the screen to catch video images that add up to 6 seconds and play in a GIF-like loop.

I launched a preemptive apology to my Twitter follows that I would no doubt be posting short Vine videos ranging from toddler action sequences to Tucson Book Festival footage and CCCC 2013.
Tuscon Festival of Books Vines:

Set up:

Brief tour (with guest appearance by one of my students):

Of the course the question for educators will no doubt become: how can I use this in the classroom? Or does this have a pedagogical application? For starters, I could see it as a place to show quick steps for a process-oriented assignment, although 6 seconds comes and goes a bit quick for a substantial communication of information--it might work for repeating an assignment or adding a quick message, though I'm not sure if it would replace Twitter for messaging.

Requisite Cat Vine:

After all, the internet was invented for the posting of cat-related content (the message is indeed the medium).