Drown Recap: Teaching Argument Workshop

The time has come. Classes have ended, seminar paper deadlines are past or quickly approaching and soon free-time will be discovered again. Since the submission of proposals we have waited, pushing ideas to the back of our minds, fighting the temptation to plan for English 002.

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Excitement aside, the last workshop for the New English 002 had some great takeaways. For those who missed it, Drown Unbound was there to capture the events.

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Meet and Greet: Mareesa Miles

Last but not least for this semester, it is my great pleasure to introduce this new face in the department. She’s one of our wonderful new editors here at Drown Unbound, and we don’t know what we’d do without her! Without further ado, introducing Mareesa Miles!

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Laura Fitzpatrick: Hello Mareesa! Tell us about yourself! Continue reading

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What’s Happening?: December 2016

The semester’s end is nearly upon us! Ah! If you’re looking for something to do during this trying and busy time to distract yourself from all this writing, we’ve collected the few remaining happenings in the month of December here for your perusal and consideration. It is important to leave your house/apartment every once in a while.

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Jon Snow knows nothing about all the writing we’ll be doing in the coming weeks.

Friday, December 2

Decorating the Common Room

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Time: 2pm-?

As some of you may know, we have a (now three-year?) tradition of decorating the Drown lounge for the holidays. Since Viv is very busy this time of year, Sarah Heidebrink-Bruno thought it would be nice if we helped out by putting up the tree and other decorations Friday the 2nd, starting at 2. We’ll also be listening to holiday music.
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Meet and Greet: Brian Reese

As the fall semester comes to a close we want to take a moment to introduce you to masters student Brian Reese.

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Mareesa Miles: Hello Brian! Tell us about yourself!

Brian Reese: I am a first-year MA student and a teaching fellow. I have strayed down many paths in my life until now. I slaved in restaurant kitchens for many years, worked as a silkscreen printer, a house painter, research assistant and data librarian, actor, musician, taught writing online . . . the list goes on. I can recite a couple thousand lines of poetry from memory. I briefly took up knitting; I made a handsome scarf.

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Meet and Greet: Dr. Emily Weissbourd

I’m so excited to introduce another new face in our community. Without further ado, Dr. Emily Weissbourd.

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Laura Fitzpatrick: What do you love about what you do?

Emily Weissbourd: Thinking about the long histories of ideologies of race and gender is really important to me, and I love that my work lets me do that in multiple arenas, whether in the classroom or at conferences or while poring over manuscripts. Continue reading

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That Time I Decided to Teach Tinder: Using Titillating Titles in Academia

First, an admission: I love a good title. In my opinion, a catchy title can go a long way in getting someone’s attention and hopefully securing it for long enough that s/he continues to read the content. And, in an age in which skimming is the norm in terms of online reading practices, a good title can also give a person a moment of pause.

From Flickr user Strelka

From Flickr user Strelka

Thus, when I was putting together an online summer course for this past summer, I racked my brain trying to come up with something that might stand out in a sea of other interesting courses. Continue reading

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“No looking backwards, just forward”: Lehigh’s Rally for Inclusion and Sing Street

(The first two paragraphs of this post are adapted from a Facebook post I made yesterday)

Yesterday, in the wake of the US election, Lehigh faculty, staff, and students came together to hold a silent Rally for Inclusion. The idea was to demonstrate the diversity of people who work together on the campus and make Lehigh (and the country) what it is. While it is not yet clear what Donald Trump will do as president because he seemingly holds no firm position on anything, many of my friends, colleagues, family members, and I have been scared by the prospect that he’ll follow through on his exclusionary rhetoric. I was happy to see fellow students, professors, former and current students of mine, and staff at Lehigh of diverse races, genders, sexual orientations, religions, and economic statuses come together to stand with each other. Solidarity is one way, one crucial way, to deal with wrongs in the world, and I am proud to stand next to anybody who chooses love over hate and justice over injustice. We cannot currently know what we will be facing in the next years of our lives, but we know that we must face it together.

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Photo by Alex Thompson

In Seth Moglen’s Modernism, Mourning, and Social Justice class, we’ve spent the semester understanding of the two ways that literary Modernists mourned their societal woes as a way of thinking about how we might respond to the difficulties we face in our fight for social justice. Essentially, there is one way which continually looks back at what we’ve lost or might lose and makes that looking back the primary way of mourning. This leads to cycles of sadness, depression, and, often, suicide. That cannot be what we do now. We must instead participate in the other way of mourning and first look back to understand what we lose and might lose, but then we should look forward for solutions and solidarity. How do we stop the loss? How do we not only get back what we’ve lost but also continue to fight further injustice? We must not become, following William Faulkner’s formulation, “back-looking ghosts.” Instead we must do what we did yesterday and continue to affirm the humanity we share with every other person at this school, in this state, in this country, and on this planet. It probably won’t be easy, but we can at least know that we are doing it together.

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The Work of Art in the World: A Review of Doris Sommer’s Visit to Lehigh

On November third Doris Sommer visited Lehigh, speaking to a crowd of educators: librarians, teachers, professors, administrators, and students. Harvard professor and founder of Cultural Agents, Sommer believes in the power of public humanities to make change in the world. At a time when funding for the humanities is being cut across Universities and secondary education systems, Doris promotes beauty, pleasure and art as solutions to public problems. She speaks to me, a masters student who believes in the ability of literature to change the world. None of us would be drawn to Lehigh if we didn’t share the impulse to direct beauty and pleasure into social justice.

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As in The Work of Art in the World, Sommer began her talk with the success story of Antanas Mockus and the revival of Bogota, Colombia under his mayorship. Mockus utilized creative methods that encouraged citizens to change their behavior. Mockus began by firing corrupt traffic cops and replacing them with mimes. While the mimes had no legal authority, they used stop lights and crosswalks as props for performance, playfully mocking those who ignored the rules. I watched a video clip in awe of the human response, amazed by the ability of joy to unite a community. In a 2015 article for the New Yorker Mockus wrote, “People respond to humor and playfulness from politicians. It’s the most powerful tool for change we have.”

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Film Club Review: High and Low & The Innocents

You may have noticed a distinct lack of film club reviews here in the past month. Blame our amazing contributors for filling up our publishing schedule! In the interest of time and work load, I’ve combined the last two films we’ve watched in our club to this one piece, so enjoy a weird and wild mashup of Japanese social-realism and high Gothic horror.

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Akira Kurosawa’s High and Low is quite different from the movies you might know him for, Seven Samurai and Ran. No samurai are in evidence here, and his leading man (played by Toshirô Mifune with no less intensity as he exhibits in those action films) is a women’s shoe designer in post-War Japan. As King Gondo plans a takeover of his shoe company, his son is kidnapped and things get hostile. There are twists I don’t want to spoil, and this summary covers only the first ten or so minutes of the film. By its end, there will have been a large scale criminal investigation and a full understanding of why a seemingly enemy-less capitalist would be the target of the biggest kidnapping in Japanese history. The Japanese title translates directly to “Heaven and Hell” and both that and the film’s English title indicate Kurosawa’s spectacular focus on the dichotomies present as Japan transitions into a more Westernized economy and society. He depicts both the positive outcomes that one can achieve in a capitalist economy as well as the terrible disillusionment it can inspire in those who cannot climb the social or economic ladder.

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Meet and Greet: Adam Heidebrink-Bruno

As November begins we continue the Meet and Greet series with Adam Heidebrink-Bruno!

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Mareesa Miles: Hello Adam! Tell us about yourself!

Adam Heidebrink-Bruno: Hi! I’m a first-year M.A. student interested in intersectional theory, critical feminist pedagogies, and literature that critiques the neoliberal world order (and its historical parallels). When not mourning capitalism, I can be found in nature (kayaking, hiking, camping), or nerding out (D&D, chess, and other more contemporary tabletop games).

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