sábado, mayo 19, 2007

Designing classes for my students, and a treat awaits

I was telling L* that I was approved to teach the seminar on Queer Women of Color writing. L* wanted to know what books I was planning, and I rattled off a list. This was followed by a stern shaking of L*'s head.

"Think about your students. What do they want to read? Make it fun!" i.e., they don't want to read the tortured, tragic, and highly problematic texts that so interest me right now.

You know, I have kind of been sensing that the students are troubled by my obsession with torture, truth, repressed memories, trauma, war crimes, genocide, etc. The students in my ethnic lit class are really good sports about it all, but clearly a little positive representation would be greatly appreciated.

And in the Queer of Color class, it came to a head when I showed The Wedding Banquet and it was just met with this overwhelming enthusiasm. I was like "huh?" and the students explained "nobody died!"

Students like texts where nobody dies.

So I'm revamping my courses for next year, with the students in mind. The queer of color class, for example is going to include Carla Trujillo's What Night Brings, and an E.Lynn Harris novel, and Bino Realuyo and Craig Womack. (okay, so the last two are still haunting and yearning)

And the QWOC lit class: well, once I started making a list of books that would appeal to my students' generation, it's a pretty long list! I'm going to have to narrow it down. Felicia Luna Lemus' Trace Elements of Random Tea Parties is definitely on the list. and Jewelle Gomez's The Gilda Stories.

I'm still really upset about all the books that are out of print: Emma Pérez's Gulf Dreams, All of Chrsytos's work (I really wanted to teach In Her I Am this year and was wrecked when it wasn't available), Willyce Kim's novels. Chea Villanueva's work. (I can't find my copy of Jessie's Song anywhere, and it's driving me a little bit crazy.)

This is precisely why I need to be teaching this stuff: If the books aren't available, how will the next generation know they even existed?

I got L* a copy of Like Son for an end of the school year treat.

4 comentarios:

Laura Luna dijo...

OMG I want to take your class...I loved 'What night brings' and yes it's a sad thing that some of my faves are not in print now a days...what's wrong with this picture????

Ktrion dijo...

Wow, thanks! That must mean I'm designing this one right.

I'm so crazy about What Night Brings. It still deals with serious issues, but in a really fun and empowering way.

I'm going to have a course reader, so I can include shorter works from all the out of print stuff.

I just wrote a bunch of emails to Firebrand books, to make sure the ones I think are still available really are.

bint alshamsa dijo...

I wish I could take your class too. Every time you talk about books you've read I want to hide in the corner under a desk because I haven't even heard of many of them. But I do know of Chrystos, though so maybe I'm not a total lost cause, eh?

Hang in there! Without teachers like you, they could very well wind up never hearing about these writers.

Chapina dijo...

I was just dreaming about a class like this. I've been in the theory world and practicaly turned into a cyborg with all the video editing I do that I realize I need to make more time for some clit lit in my life. I look forward to seeing how the class shapes up.