Conferences + Publications
On April 3, 2019 MassArt welcomed Dr. France(s) Negrón-Muntaner. Dr. Negrón-Muntaner is an award-winning filmmaker, writer, curator and Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University.
She is currently the director of Unpayable Debt, a working group at Columbia that studies debt regimes in the world. Frances is also the lead collaborator in two of its main projects: NoMoreDebt: Caribbean Syllabus - and Valor y Cambio (Value and Change), a storytelling and social currency project in Puerto Rico.
Dr. Negron-Muntaner’s talk was titled "Circulating Joy: Puerto Rico's Value and Change Project". In her talk Dr. Negron Muntaner delved into examples of Puerto Ricans’ response to the crucible of climate change, unpayable debt, and disaster capitalism. A response that used the tools of art and storytelling, and the affective tissue of social resiliency and community solidarity, to literally fabricate ways of healing and social agency to Puerto Ricans.
Race and Pedagogy Conference
Puget Sound University
As teachers, we are all committed to create environments that invite student growthwhile we grow with them. This incubator intends to create a space to examine ourpedagogical approaches to classrooms designed for the holistic growth of our students.
This incubator is centered on the core idea and practice of understanding: We see
understanding as an orientation toward teaching and learning that honors the whole
student as well as our own integrity. By making space for understanding in our
classrooms, we make space for the domains of affectivity, cognition, kinesthetic
inclinations: feelings, senses, personal experiences, and where we are in the world at any
specific moment. The understanding of the material we teach requires that we ponder
over the layers of context in that material, and that we consider questions of agency,
voice, social and cultural power, and the many implications in and of what we teach.
How can teachers work with students’ resistance to the material? Which skills,
dispositions and practices foster understanding across differences?
Students’ emotional and cognitive resistance to the material we teach can take many
forms. Often in my classes, students resist the material due to the nature of the literary,
critical, and visual text that I teach.
In the last couple of years, I have developed the framework of Intercultural
Understanding to invite students to deepen their engagement with the class material.
Intercultural Understanding offers useful tools for any meaningful encounter across
differences –in the texts we encounter in class, in the works of many of the artists and
writers we study, and in the human experiences and artistic expressions produced at the
crossroads of more than one culture, history, or identity. My working definition of
Intercultural Understanding, adapted from the concept of cultural humility for our
academic context, is “the premise for any meaningful encounter in which all parties
involved recognize each other’s complexities, specificity, and ultimately dignity.”
This session maps the genealogy, tools and applications of Intercultural
Understanding in my teaching, and offers examples to approach the processes of
academic and artistic skill development within this framework. This session also
articulates Intercultural Understanding as a useful tool for teachers to deepen their
own understanding of the range of students’ responses to the class material and to
each other, inside and outside the classroom. Intercultural Understanding for
teachers involves seeing each student in their own rich, dynamic nexus of hopes, fears,
and cultural and personal imaginaries.
In 2014, I co-edited the collection of essays Migrant Identities of Creole Cosmopolitans, with Dr. Nirmala Menon of the India Institute of Technology (IIT). Published by Peter Lang, this collection offers numerous perspectives on the condition of the displaced migrant in light of the colonial legacies and the often problematic framework of cultural hybridity. Moreover, it offers an array of views on contemporary art, music, performance, and literature as they challenge the latest discourses that define migrant cultures in terms of ‘global cosmopolitanism’.