Episode 56: Making Films and Other Things with Jordyn Jones

In Episode 56, we talk to USC film student Jordyn Jones about the expectations placed on marginalized creators, the real meaning of diversity, and making movies that challenge the status quo.

Jordyn, in his own words: “I am a screenwriter and director fascinated with how oppression shapes how we live, love, and who we allow ourselves to become. Honestly though, I think I’m still the same kid I was all those years ago—growing up the son of a criminal and a college professor. Seeing two paths before me, one the all but embodiment of black excellence and the other an all too familiar stereotype. All the while, the world around me seemed to chant for me to follow in the footsteps of the latter. All the while, I saw the struggle that came even with following in the footsteps of the former. As I got older, that struggle began to affect how much I allowed myself to love. Who I allowed myself to become. And it was then I realized, if we all struggle to find love and to know who we are, these stories of oppression are, in many ways, universal.”

Check out Jordyn’s short film Black Lens here. You can find more of his work at joneskjordyn.myportfolio.com and medium.com/pedagogy-of-black-dignity. Help support racial justice and education for Black students at www.naacpldf.org/support/.

This episode was recorded on March 29, 2021. Because we recorded via Zoom, there may be occasional audio hiccups. Our theme song is “4 am” by Makaih Beats. You can subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Stitcher and follow us on Twitter @WritingRemixPod

People and Texts Mentioned in the Episode

“I’m a maker of things.” -Jordyn Jones

“I’m a filmmaker, right? And so that’s dangerous. That’s really dangerous because films are facsimiles of life. So if I categorize myself as somebody who specializes in a facsimile of life, then how am I going to live my life?” -Jordyn Jones

“Violence on people of color–I’m okay with not seeing that on-screen.” -Jordyn Jones

“I think with the climate right now everybody’s always saying if you’re a person of color, everybody tells you in the business and USC Film School, they’re all like ‘Use that, write about that.’ That by definition is exploitive.” -Jordyn Jones

“It’s really interesting how, me as a person of color, I’m always asked to move the needle forward, or female filmmakers are asked to move the needle forward.” -Jordyn Jones

“Ideologies of femininity on-screen are super reductive, and the only people asked to fix that are female creators […] We don’t put any of that burden on male filmmakers.” -Jordyn Jones

“If I’m a white male filmmaker, I can go and make The Office. I can go and make a show about, essentially, nothing.” -Jordyn Jones

“I don’t like Friends, so I feel okay to talk about it. It’s widely beloved and I understand why. Good television, on paper […] You get to make Friends. You get to make a show literally about just friends […] and you can include whatever types of friends you want to include. You get to exclude whoever you want to exclude […] and you just get to make a show literally about friends. I’ve got to make a show that’s funny, that’s about some niche market, that moves the needle forward in terms of the social consciousness, that does X, Y, and Z, or I’m gonna get backlash from everybody.” -Jordyn Jones

“We’ve never seen a female filmmaker, in my personal opinion, get wide critical acclaim and make films like a Tarantino film.” -Jordyn Jones

“There are a lot of films I want to make that challenge the form, that challenge where we are culturally […] I want to hold off on making those films […] because I don’t want to get into the industry and that’s what you think I have to make. I’m gonna make whatever the hell I want to me and if I fail […] I’ll live with that, and I’ll die with that.” -Jordyn Jones

“We need more people doing what people don’t expect because that’s how you move the needle forward.” -Jordyn Jones

“I do not like the deck stacked against anybody.” -Jordyn Jones

“You just have to play the system better than the system is trying to play you.” -Jordyn Jones

“We’re at the point where we are in existence where stakes are high. We just don’t want to save the world more than we want to feel powerful or feel power over somebody. It’s weird to me.” -Jordyn Jones

“I typically feel like I’m being, in a way, cheated out of the additional part of education, which is critique […] I want the real criticism. Everybody else gets. That is how you improve. I want to be in on that as well.” -Jordyn Jones

“Diversity is diversity of thought or diversity of experience or diversity of voice. Representation is almost irrelevant if it’s not coupled with that side of it.” -Jordyn Jones

“If you’re gonna puppet me then that’s even worse. I would rather you just literally not have any Black people than for you to use me as a Black person to say what you want to say.” -Jordyn Jones

“And I don’t want to be the one Black dude in the class who is bad because then that is literally going to change how everybody sees every Black filmmaker of all time.” -Jordyn Jones

“I’m trying to save the world in a weird kind of way.” -Jordyn Jones

“I tell white people […] my success has no impact on you but positive […] but you’re so unwilling to do that and to shaft yourself because you’ve been told that you have to shaft me to be okay.” -Jordyn Jones

“I don’t really care about acclaim, but I do in the regard that I want to be so acclaimed at some point in my life that I can’t be stricken from the history books, specifically so that there is one of us who they can say something about, just one who they can’t afford not to talk about.” -Jordyn Jones

“No Black director has ever won [an Oscar for] Best Director. As a matter of fact, this year, Judas and the Black Messiah is nominated for Best Picture. The director is not nominated for Best Director. He’s one of the only directors on the list of best picture noms that is not nominated as a director […] They refuse to do this.” -Jordyn Jones

“The whole industry I work in exists as a proxy of women making films for women to go see.” -Jordyn Jones

Episode 55: Creating New Realities with Jephtha Prempeh

In Episode 55, we talk to USC student and Editor-in-Chief of PEWM Magazine Jephtha Prempeh about creating new spaces for marginalized voices, working in community, and forging paths outside of mainstream media outlets.

Jephtha is a multi-media artist from the Bronx. They will be returning this fall to finish their last year of studying NGOs and Social Change as well as Music Production at USC. Jephtha has pursued a multidisciplinary educational program including international relations, psychology, sociology, and anthropology– marrying these academic fields with audio engineering, dance, and vocal performance. Despite this immersion in their personal interests, Jephtha has returned to grassroots organisation and mobilisation, catalysed by the revitalisation of American civil rights politics in summer ’20. During this gap year they have brought together all their interests to found PEWM Visions, a rising media outlet. Acting as Editor-In-Chief and Creative Director, Jephtha organised the print debut of PEWM (Proud of Everything We Make) Magazine released this March, with its next issue set to come out in July. 

Check out PEWM at pewmmag.com.

This episode was recorded on March 22, 2021. Because we recorded via Zoom, there may be occasional audio hiccups. Our theme song is “4 am” by Makaih Beats. You can subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Stitcher and follow us on Twitter @WritingRemixPod

“I think what I’m starting to realize has kind of defined my path over the years has really just been the way that I get in touch with the community.” -Jephtha Prempeh @Pewwwm

“That’s kind of how I see myself now, more than anything else, is a storyteller.” -Jephtha Prempeh @Pewwwm

“I don’t want to reform something that can’t be reformed.” -Jephtha Prempeh @Pewwwm

“This magazine, this media outlet, this movement that I want to build around it, has come from the need to actually construct a new reality.” -Jephtha Prempeh @Pewwwm

“I’ve got to take matters into my own hands rather than sitting around waiting for people to change it for me.” -Jephtha Prempeh @Pewwwm

“Creating a new reality…does very much depend on grappling with what’s actually in front of you.” -Jephtha Prempeh @Pewwwm

“It’s not about anything more than actually building community.” -Jephtha Prempeh @Pewwwm

“I think people are so afraid of pairing logic with emotion. People are so afraid of understanding how logic can inform emotion and vice versa…Sometimes the clearest logic comes from massively internalizing emotion rather than pushing it out of the way.” -Jephtha Prempeh @Pewwwm

“I am constantly code-switching, constantly thinking of how I’m being heard, being perceived, rather than [asking myself] am I saying the truth? And am I saying it in the way that’s most accessible to me?” -Jephtha Prempeh @Pewwwm

“[PEWM is] very meaningful for my understanding of how to continue to share knowledge with people and how to continue to circulate what I think is important about life but to also let that shift and change as I receive from other people.” -Jephtha Prempeh @Pewwwm

Episode 54: Going Short with Nancy Stohlman

In Episode 54, we talk to writer Nancy Stohlman about her award-winning book Going Short: An Invitation to Flash Fiction, the power of flash fiction as a fully realized genre, and how to write and teach flash fiction.  

Nancy Stohlman is an award-winning author who’s been writing, publishing, and teaching flash fiction for nearly 15 years. Her books include The Vixen Scream and Other Bible Stories, The Monster Opera, Madam Velvet’s Cabaret of Oddities, and Going Short: An Invitation to Flash Fiction, which received the 2021 Readers View Gold Award. Her work has been anthologized widely, appearing in the W.W. Norton New Micro: Exceptionally Short Fiction and The Best Small Fictions 2019, as well as adapted for both stage and screen. She teaches at the University of Colorado Boulder and leads workshops and retreats around the world. You can learn more at her website nancystohlman.com and find her on Instagram @nancy_stohlman and Twitter @nancystohlman.

Find Going Short here!

This episode was recorded on March 15, 2021. Because we recorded via Zoom, there may be occasional audio hiccups. Our theme song is “4 am” by Makaih Beats. You can subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Stitcher and follow us on Twitter @WritingRemixPod

People and Texts Mentioned in the Episode

“What I really discovered, and was such a relief for me, was not every story is 60,000 words, and if you push it to try to make it cross that finish line so that you can call it a novel, then have you sold out your own idea, perhaps?” @nancystohlman

“It was so liberating for me to have permission to let my story decide how long it needed to be and not [let] conventions decide.” @nancystohlman

“Flash fiction is like when you’re at the airport and you are sitting next to somebody and they’re gonna get on a flight in 20 minutes and you’re gonna get on a flight in 20 minutes and you end up having this amazing conversation for 20 minutes. And then they go their way, and you go your way, and you never see them again. Is there anything less profound and wonderful about that 20 minute conversation versus if I was that person’s friend since childhood and knew every little thing about them?” @nancystohlman

 “This is the kernel. This is the heartbeat here. And I can give it to you in this little flash fiction piece.” @nancystohlman

“Sometimes you want to go on the whole journey. But sometimes you just want to see the heart beating and just look at it and just realize how powerful that is.” @nancystohlman

“Poetry and flash fiction, they share brevity, but they also share complexity, and they share a lot of depth. A lot goes on in these tiny little spaces.” @nancystohlman

“Flash fiction is not just a little knock-knock joke on your way to work. It’s like a whole thing that’s going to be ringing in your head for the rest of the day.” @nancystohlman

“That’s one of the things I really love about the constraint of flash fiction […] You’re playing with the form. You’re pushing against it. It’s like air inside of a balloon.” @nancystohlman

“Knowing what the edges are in any form allows me to kind of create a shape that I may not have created if I just had all the room in the world.” @nancystohlman

“Are you writing what you think other people want, or are you writing what’s really in your heart screaming to get out?” @nancystohlman

“When you start listening to your own work and seeing yourself as being in service of the story–the midwife of the story–you’re not the creator. You’re the midwife, and it’s coming through you. So get out of the way, and it will tell you when it’s done. I think if that’s where we can position ourselves as writers, I think the best work will come through that way.” @nancystohlman

“So many of the lessons that I have in the book Going Short come from years and years and years of creating context for [my] workshops.” @nancystohlman

“I think that most writers or artists in general, just kind of feed off that novelty where everything is unfamiliar and I’m suddenly actually present in my body paying attention to the world in a way that I’m not when everything is familiar…I think that’s really what I love about being a writer who travels–is just forcing myself to slow down and actually not be sure of anything and notice everything.” @nancystohlman

“I think it’s important to remember too that our creativity [is] seasonal.” @nancystohlman

“Around 2010 or so, I was like all right, well, there isn’t this book [about how to write flash fiction], and there needs to be this book, so I guess I should write this book.” @nancystohlman

“Women have helped create [flash fiction] just as much as the men.” @nancystohlman

“Learning how to finish a book is just as important as learning how to begin a book, but we don’t practice that enough.” @nancystohlman

Episode 53: Crossing Boundaries with Tim Hernandez

In Episode 53, we talk to Tim Hernandez about teaching at the University of Texas El Paso in the only bilingual creative writing program in the United States. We also chat about investigative poetics, finding the right shape for a story, and the importance of crossing genres, borders, and other boundaries.

Tim Z. Hernandez is an award winning poet, novelist, research scholar, and performance artist. His debut collection of poetry, Skin Tax (Heyday Books) received the 2006 American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation, and the James Duval Phelan Award from the San Francisco Foundation. His debut novel, Breathing, In Dust (Texas Tech University Press) was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered, and went on to receive the 2010 Premio Aztlan Prize in Fiction. His second collection of poetry, Natural Takeover of Small Things was released in 2013 and received the 2014 Colorado Book Award, and his novel, Mañana Means Heaven, which is based on the life of Bea Franco, also released in 2013, went on the receive the 2014 International Latino Book Award in historical fiction. Both books are with the University of Arizona Press. His latest book, All They Will Call You, was released on January 28, 2017, also with the University of Arizona Press.

Tim holds a B.A. in Writing & Literature from Naropa University, the first accredited Buddhist University in the United States, and an M.F.A. from Bennington College in Vermont. He is currently a full-time Associate Professor in the University of Texas El Paso’s Bilingual M.F.A. in Creative Writing Program. You can learn more about Tim on his website.

This episode was recorded on March 8, 2021. Because we recorded via Zoom, there may be occasional audio hiccups. Our theme song is “4 am” by Makaih Beats. You can subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Stitcher and follow us on Twitter @WritingRemixPod

People and Texts Mentioned in the Episode

“It’s always been a challenge for people who code switch, who write in different languages…not just the translation but having to translate one’s culture and the dynamics of that.” -Tim Hernandez

“It’s really a privilege for me to be in a classroom with students who are basically forging their own narratives…who are speaking their own stories.” -Tim Hernandez

“There’s this real geographical experience of being by the two communities, the two countries [the U.S. and Mexico], that’s always playing out in our daily lives here.” -Tim Hernandez

“I’ve always just been curious about things…What I’ve done is just follow those curiosities…And that’s kind of my approach also to teaching…We have a question to be answered….Let’s follow that thread until we run out of questions.” -Tim Hernandez

“You’ll have enough material for a book if you track your journey in writing and you just keep asking questions and following [them].” -Tim Hernandez

“We have everything we need to start where we are.” -Tim Hernandez

“Usually the first point of entry is: talk to an elder in your family.” -Tim Hernandez

“Rather than determining the form, I try and just say let’s look to the subject of what we’re trying to say first and let that determine the form. Let that determine the shape of the writing…Our only job is to tell it in the best way that we can…The subject determines the form.” -Tim Hernandez

“What we’re doing here is I think very much a humanitarian pursuit. It’s about telling stories and it’s about utilizing the power of stories to have and engage in bigger conversations with the communities and the world we inhabit.” -Tim Hernandez

“For me, a book is always a ticket to the conversation.” -Tim Hernandez

“I have a lot of questions, and I’ve just learned that along the way as I’m working and I have questions, write them down and bring those to the class, and we’ll work them out together.” -Tim Hernandez

“I’ve learned over time that there’s a lot of power in sharing one’s own story with students.” -Tim Hernandez

“Poetry…is my playground.” -Tim Hernandez

Episode 52: Working in Community with Atia Sattar

In Episode 52, we talk to USC faculty member Dr. Atia Sattar about the power of meditation groups and affinity spaces for people of color, how storytelling and the acknowledgement of our embodied experiences empowers both students and faculty, and the importance of community for creating a humanized academic experience.

Atia Sattar is Assistant Professor (Teaching) in the Writing Program and the Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies. Her interdisciplinary research areas include Medical Humanities; Science and Technology Studies; and Gender, Race, and Health. Atia has studied mindfulness since 2013 and leads the Mindful USC BIPOC Meditation Practice Group which she established in 2018. She has published articles on laboratory notebooks, public health campaigns, and cochlear implants in such scholarly publications as The Journal of Medical Humanities, Isis, and Configurations. Her writings on meditation and mindfulness have been published in the Cambridge Quarterly of Health Care Ethics and Tricycle: A Buddhist Review.

This episode was recorded on February 15, 2021. Because we recorded via Zoom, there may be occasional audio hiccups. Our theme song is “4 am” by Makaih Beats. You can subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Stitcher and follow us on Twitter @WritingRemixPod

People, Texts, and Organizations Mentioned in the Episode

“There’s a lot of racial trauma around being a Pakastani immigrant post-9/11.” -Atia Sattar

“I found that the spaces that I was in that were integrated meditation spaces were spaces where I didn’t feel like I could safely hold my trauma.” -Atia Sattar

“One of the things that is true, or that can be true, rather, of meditation spaces–but also I think is true in an academic context too, in the way that it has us deny who we are and become this disembodied scholar–is I felt like there was a lot of spiritual bypass, or this sense that if I really wanted to not be suffering I had to get over my race, and that there was not really much accounting for what it meant to be in the world in this body.” -Atia Sattar

“I was surprised that […] while there were meditation spaces at USC, there was no space for people of color–faculty, students, or staff–and I wanted to create a space where we could just get together and hold space for one another and just breathe that sigh of relief that happens when you’re in such affinity spaces.” -Atia Sattar

“One of the things I’ve been thinking about a lot is: what is my purpose?” -Atia Sattar

“For those of us who are scholars and educators, if you want to do this scholarly or rhetorical work of so-called emancipation or decolonization, you have to emancipate yourself. Start with yourself.” -Atia Sattar

“[Emancipating yourself] is not something you can just intellectually sort through because this is part of our experiences. It lives in our body.” -Atia Sattar

“Our experiences of race, of trauma, of our intersectional identities are all embodied.” -Atia Sattar

“Being aware of where I’m coming from and being able to notice when my biases are coming up or when I’m tightening or when my voice is tensing–I’ve learned through my practice that that’s when I can kind of pause and ask myself what’s going on before I react or before I put it on my students.” -Atia Sattar 

“I want [my students] to think about their own bodies and minds as a site of knowledge production.” -Atia Sattar 

“Telling stories and experimenting with genre is not just for marginalized communities […] because everyone is being denied of telling their stories or being denied of this context to really get to know where you’re coming from and to know what you have to give.” -Atia Sattar

“The work to racial justice […] starts with knowing the self because that’s where the change has to be.” -Atia Sattar

“How do you not center your guilt, but instead center your transformation?” -Atia Sattar

“Even if you look at health research, whiteness is a category that goes uninterrogated […] How does race stand in as a proxy for other things?” -Atia Sattar

“Students notice this stuff. They just feel like they just have to suck it up, and I think we have to make it comfortable for them to speak up somehow.” -Atia Sattar

“You can’t just plunk [anti-racist] pedagogy onto what you’re doing. It can actually cause more harm if you don’t recognize what’s within you.” -Atia Sattar

“I think part of the problem here […] is that there’s this metrics of individual evaluation when we can’t actually do this work alone and it has to be done in community […] We have to be able to create safe spaces for each other [as faculty] so that we can do the work.” -Atia Sattar

“And I think that’s also a problem that happens in the western appropriation of eastern practices such as meditation, they become individualized, and it’s as though you’re supposed to attain self-realization in a vacuum by yourself. It does not work that way.” -Atia Sattar

“I think it’s okay to go to your students and ask for forgiveness.” -Atia Sattar

Episode 51: Stopping Hate with Yan Sham-Shackleton, Tanya Ko Hong, Atia Sattar, and Jen Sopchockchai Bankard

In Episode 51, we’re joined by past and future guests Yan Sham-Shackleton, Tanya (Hyonhye) Ko Hong, Atia Sattar, and Jen Sopchockchai Bankard to discuss the recent shootings in Atlanta, GA, and Boulder, CO, and the rising wave of anti-Asian racism and violence in the United States. This was a sobering conversation, and we’re very grateful to all of our guests for taking the time to discuss these painful events with us.

Here at Writing Remix we stand with the AAPI community and denounce all acts of anti-Asian racism. We must be aware of the language being used to speak about this event as well as the language not being used. We name the racially motivated shootings that occurred in Atlanta as an act of white supremacist terrorism. May the victims rest in power: 

Soon Chung Park, age 74
Hyun Jung Grant, age 51
Suncha Kim, age 69
Yong Yue, age 63
Delaina Ashley Yaun, age 33
Paul Andre Michels, age 54
Xiaojie Tan, age 49
Daoyou Feng, age 44

Yan Sham-Shackleton is a Hong Kong writer who lives in Los Angeles. Her work has been featured in Chicago Quarterly Review, Litro, Great Weather for Media, Popmatters, and others. She is a columnist on Hong Kong Free Press. She has spoken on free speech issues and Hong Kong’s democratic development for Amnesty International, BBC, PBS, and others. In 2005, Reporters Without Borders nominated Yan Sham-Shackleton and her weblog Glutter for a free speech award. Some of Yan’s early works, film/theatre projects, and zines are archived in Glasglow Women’s Library and The Riot Grrrl Collection at the Fales Library in NYU. She is seeking an agent for her coming-of-age novel “Island of Lights” set during the 1997 regime change of Hong Kong. Learn more at her website: www.YanShamS.com

Tanya (Hyonhye) Ko Hong is a poet, translator, and cultural curator who champions bilingual poetry and poets. Born and raised in South Korea, she immigrated to the US at the age of eighteen. She is the author of four books, most recently The War Still Within: Poems of the Korean Diaspora (KYSO Flash Press, 2019), and is the recipient of the Yun Doon-ju Korean-American Literature Award. Tanya has an MFA from Antioch University and is a Ph.D. student in Mythological Studies at Pacifica Graduate Institute. She lives in southern California with her husband and three children. Learn more at her website, tanyakohong.com, and follow her on Twitter @tanyakohong.

Atia Sattar is Assistant Professor (Teaching) in the Writing Program and the Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies. Her interdisciplinary research areas include Medical Humanities; Science and Technology Studies; and Gender, Race, and Health. Atia has studied mindfulness since 2013 and leads the Mindful USC BIPOC Meditation Practice Group which she established in 2018. She has published articles on laboratory notebooks, public health campaigns, and cochlear implants in such scholarly publications as The Journal of Medical Humanities, Isis, and Configurations. Her writings on meditation and mindfulness have been published in the Cambridge Quarterly of Health Care Ethics and Tricycle: A Buddhist Review.

Jen Sopchockchai Bankard is an Associate Professor in the Writing Program at the University of Southern California. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English with honors in expository writing from Brown University and a PhD in English with a certificate in cinema studies at Northeastern University. Her dissertation, “Testing Reality’s Limits”: Mad Scientists, the Supernatural, and Realism in Late Victorian Popular Fiction, used contemporary film adaptations to recontextualize the Victorian novel. She has been teaching first year and advanced writing courses for over 15 years, and continues to refine an inclusive pop culture pedagogy while reflecting on the use of educational technologies. Most recently, she helped restructure the Norman Topping Student Aid Fund, a scholarship and academic support program that advocates for equity in higher education and serves a substantial first-generation college student population. When she’s not teaching, she writes film and television reviews, which you can find on Letterboxd.

This episode was recorded on March 22, 2021. Because we recorded via Zoom, there may be occasional audio hiccups. Our theme song is “4 am” by Makaih Beats. You can subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Stitcher and follow us on Twitter @WritingRemixPod. Content warning for discussion of racism, harassment, sexual violence, and mass shootings.

Resources/ Readings for Being an Ally

Please also see this longer list of resources compiled by the USC Writing Program’s Diversity Committee.

People, Texts, and Organizations Mentioned in the Episode

“[Hyun Jung Grant] raised two children by herself as a single mom, and I could feel the weight of her heart…I could see her proud face, her happy face, sparkling eyes. She’s so proud [of her sons]…It’s heartbreaking.” @TanyaKoHong

“I think we need to go deeper…It’s not just stop Asian hate. It’s stop hate.” @TanyaKoHong

“There’s so much pain around…the embodied experience of being a certain way and having been discriminated against in a certain way because you look a certain way.” -Atia Sattar

“I feel there’s a bigger conversation about gun control…Living in different countries where there are no guns, I’m never afraid to walk out in the street, and I am afraid to walk out in the street in America because of guns, regardless if I’m Asian or not.” @YanShamS

“There’s so many small incidents that were in and of themselves fairly benign but that really contributed to me always feeling like an outsider.” @Sopchockchai

“When the teacher was calling the names and he stopped, then I knew it was my name.” @TanyaKoHong

“I think it’s very important to connect the generations and communicate and speak out and listen.” @TanyaKoHong

“These conversations need to be had regardless of [the shooter’s] motivation.” @YanShamS

“It’s not about some bad eggs…It’s about a system that allows such things to happen. A culture where this is the way that we have thought about Asian women or this is the way that they can be perceived. You can’t separate the racism from the sexism and the sexualization.” -Atia Sattar

“This type of stuff is always wrapped in politeness and niceties.” @Sopchockchai

“We have to find a way from our personal healing to coming together and fighting for social justice and policy change.” -Atia Sattar

“I find myself being less pessimistic about the possibility for change because I have to be. Because I have to believe.” -Atia Sattar

“The way that racism plays out a lot of ways pits minorities against each other…and I think it’s a way that we are kept apart from each other so that we don’t fight together.” -Atia Sattar

“Something I’ve been trying to do…is just allowing for the students to talk more about their names and where they’re from and to normalize the pronunciations.” @Sopchockchai

“Whiteness is so strong here [in the U.S.].” @YanShamS

“Asians are seen as one group here, where we’re actually really diverse and disparate and all from different countries…and we all speak different languages and have different histories.” @YanShamS

“It really becomes personalized for me because I know the stories and I witness their lives.” @TanyaKoHong

“I would hope that people don’t just think of [racism] as something that’s overtly violent.” @Sopchockchai

“If you’re saying where are you from originally, the implication is you can’t be from here.” @Sopchockchai

“I really hope what comes out of it is a larger conversation about gender, race, and also sex work…There’s a lot to unpack in this story, and what I really hope is these conversations have been raised and will be continued. ” @YanShamS

Episode 50: Composing in Digital Media with Daniel Anderson

In Episode 50, we talk to Dr. Daniel Anderson about remixing the classroom experience, teaching composition with audio and visual media, and creating alternative forms of scholarship.

Daniel Anderson is Director of the Carolina Digital Humanities as well as the Director of the Digital Innovation Lab at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He studies digital rhetoric, teaching with technology, and alternative approaches to scholarship. His books on teaching include Connections: A Guide to Online Writing, Writing About Literature in the Media Age, and Beyond Words: Reading and Writing in a Digital Age. He also creates new media performance art and scholarship using the computer screen as a composing space.

Learn more about Daniel here and on his website. You can read about his video scholarship and screen composing here.

This episode was recorded on February 8, 2021. Because we recorded via Zoom, there may be occasional audio hiccups. Our theme song is “4 am” by Makaih Beats. You can subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Stitcher and follow us on Twitter @WritingRemixPod.

People and Texts Mentioned in the Episode

“When you move toward audio or visual modalities…you have to retrain the compositional brain.” -Daniel Anderson

“Mixing it up…gives the class more energy.” -Daniel Anderson

“[Podcasting] is kind of indicative of how the leading edge of democratic participation in Internet communication keeps shifting.” -Daniel Anderson

“The vertical format of video to me is fascinating because of the way that screens are changing our perceptions of visual communication.” -Daniel Anderson

“People have been doing a little too much gatekeeping in the past.” -Daniel Anderson

“I really appreciate that message of it doesn’t have to be perfect. You can make a mistake, and it’s not a problem.” -Daniel Anderson

“There’s been tons of theory, tons of kind revolutionary rhetoric about how everything is changing [because of digital composing], and I just got very frustrated in academia [because] almost all of those claims were made in printed monographs. It made me want to do media scholarship through digital tools rather than about digital tools.” -Daniel Anderson

“I went on a very deliberate kick of making videos instead of essays.” -Daniel Anderson

“What changes in terms of scholarship if you move away from print and prose?” -Daniel Anderson

“Traditional academic scholarship is…not a very empathetic way of engaging with other people’s ideas.” -Daniel Anderson

“What if you didn’t use print? Would you have opportunities for a scholarship that’s more empathetic, a little less confrontational?” -Daniel Anderson

“Registers beyond logic open up with media.” -Daniel Anderson

“Screen recording to me is this fascinating compositional tool…I can enact a performance of the different windows and material on screen.” -Daniel Anderson

“That’s what great about the digital…Every six months, there’s something new that is shaking things up a little bit.” -Daniel Anderson

Episode 49: Reflecting on a Year of Writing Remix with Dan and Katie

It’s our birthday! In Episode 49, we reflect on some of the many impactful moments from our first year of doing the podcast, how our pedagogy and personal lives have changed as a result of this project, and how podcasting can help positively shift university culture. 

This episode was recorded on February 22, 2021. Because we recorded via Zoom, there may be occasional audio hiccups. Our theme song is “4 am” by Makaih Beats. You can subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Stitcher and follow us on Twitter @WritingRemixPod.

People and Texts Mentioned in the Episode

“[The podcast] has helped me think about things in such a different way…Hopefully our listeners have a had a similar experience, where this provided something useful, something that you were able to implement in the classroom. For me, it was like every time we did an episode, I’m like, okay, that’s something I’m going to do right now!” @KatieARobison

“I’m glad that we did decide to do a weekly episode […] I think it just made everything more immediate. We could respond to what was happening in the moment, and it was really just kind of a great archive of a really tumultuous year.” @KatieARobison

“Having to activate dialogue weekly, on a constant basis, and also an exchange of ideas really put that into perspective of what that really means to be invited in [dialogue].” @ddissinger

“We’ve really tried to be very direct in our conversations about naming white supremacy and racism and systems of oppression. ” @KatieARobison

“We were really paying attention to making the podcast a space where we don’t just talk about pedagogy and writing but open it up to making our platform someone else’s platform.” @ddissinger

“I feel like what we’re doing with the podcast, and what podcasts do, is take that academic gatekeeping and knock it down.” @ddissinger

“What people are doing in conference presentations–let’s make that available to more people, not just within the academy, but also outside of it. And then let’s invite people who are outside to come share their ideas [so] it’s a real mélange. I think that’s what the university needs in order to survive.” @KatieARobison

“When you and I set out to make this podcast…[we] talked very deeply about making sure that this isn’t just about composition and rhetoric, that this is a languaging and communication podcast, that it’s got a humanistic approach.” @ddissinger

“We owe so much to everyone who’s come on the podcast, and we’re just so deeply grateful for everyone who shared their experiences with us and their work and their stories.” @KatieARobison 

“It really puts into perspective how much people, when you ask them to talk about what they are passionate about, they want to do that.” @ddissinger

“The one thing that I love about what we’re building, and what all the guests we’ve had on came on and did, was create a vulnerable space […] in that bell hooks way from Teaching to Transgress, to reconnect that disembodied, intellectual body.” @ddissinger

“It really created more than just a writing conversation. It was a human conversation, that we sometimes lose in a conference. The conference experience is so disembodied sometimes.” @ddissinger

“What I love about podcasting is that it brings that embodiment. It’s part of the medium. We’re here sharing these ideas and they’re attached to my voice and my body. There’s not that distance that the article provides, where you don’t know anything about the person writing it.” @KatieARobison

“When it comes to the experiences of women, of people of color, of queer people, of disabled people, that embodiment is central to who they are, to their experience in the world, and academia is so often trying to force us towards this neutral default place […] the experience of the straight, white, cis man. That’s what we’ve all been forced to adopt, that sort of voice or positionality, presumed positionality, in our writing, and we’re trying to push against that. And I think the podcast really helps us do that […] We are embodying our ideas as we talk about it, as we converse and dialogue and just speak in our natural voices.” @KatieARobison

“There are no rules.” @KatieARobison

“That’s what’s great about podcasting. They are a product of our passion because no one is paying us to do this […] We’re 100% doing this because we feel like it’s important and we want to highlight all of these ideas and voices and experiences.” @KatieARobison

“It’s 100% passion-driven, and that’s what then infuses my teaching and my goals and my ambitions in academia.” @KatieARobison

“We have to feel joy and love for what we’re doing, especially as educators I think, otherwise what am I giving my students?” @KatieARobison 

“So, like a thousand more episodes, right?” @ddissinger

Episode 48: Championing Multimodality with Christine Martorana

In Episode 48, we talk to Dr. Christine Martorana of Florida International University about practicing student-centered pedagogy, building community in online courses, teaching zines as rhetorical texts, and utilizing multiple modes and languages in the writing classroom.

Christine Martorana is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Writing and Rhetoric Program at Florida International University where she teaches first-year composition, Introduction to Writing Studies, Rhetorical Theory and Practice, and a special topics course on zines as rhetorical texts. Christine also works with the FIU Writing Across the Curriculum Program as a WAC Consultant.

Christine’s teaching and research interests circulate around rhetorical agency and activism, multimodality, and digital pedagogy. Her recent and forthcoming publications include “The Woman Rhetor and Her Body: A Case-Study Analysis of How a Feminist Zinester Constructs Ethos as Corporeal Experiential Authority” (forthcoming 2021), “Online Teaching, Linguistic Diversity, and a Standard of Care: Developing a Shared Curriculum at a Hispanic-Serving Institution” (forthcoming 2021), and “The Muted Group Video Project: Amplifying the Voices of Latinx Immigrant Students” (published in Reflections: A Journal of Community Engaged Writing and Rhetoric, 2020). You can contact Christine here.

This episode was recorded on February 1, 2021. Because we recorded via Zoom, there may be occasional audio hiccups. Our theme song is “4 am” by Makaih Beats. You can subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Stitcher and follow us on Twitter @WritingRemixPod.

People and Texts Mentioned in the Episode

“Something I’ve been thinking about, as I often teach Introduction to Writing Studies, is: how can I introduce students to the field through firsthand experiences?” @MaddoxChristine

“Maybe we’re going to come out of this pandemic with some new skills and some new literacies that we didn’t have before.” @MaddoxChristine

“Multimodality is actually a really effective way of [building a community in online courses].” @MaddoxChristine

“Zines are…rhetorical texts that are circulating and being distributed and doing meaningful work” @MaddoxChristine

“The majority of our students speak multiple languages, are very culturally diverse. And so finding ways for them to not only experience texts that bring in multiple languages–because it’s important obviously for students to see their languages and their cultures reflected back in the academic space, so they see that there’s value in those forms of communicating–but also giving them the opportunity to draw on those languages as resources…I try to show them and provide opportunities for them to see that that is a rhetorical skill that they can draw on.” @MaddoxChristine

“I need to recognize my whiteness to my students and not pretend like it’s not there.” @MaddoxChristine

“I try to explicitly state now [to my students]: there are multiple languages that we can communicate in, multiple dialects, and let’s think about the rhetorical impact of those choices and who is our intended audience and who are we including or excluding when we make these language choices.” @MaddoxChristine

“Traditionally, there’s five modes when we think about multimodality. There’s linguistic, visual, oral, spatial, and gestural. And my idea that I’m trying to parse out is: what if there was a sixth mode that is…the bilingual language mode?” @MaddoxChristine

“I think there’s value in making [the multilingual mode] explicit and recognizing this is a rhetorical choice that someone who is bilingual can make in their text, similar to bringing in a photo and incorporating the visual mode or bringing in sound effects and incorporating the oral mode. If you have the ability to bring in a different language, that is…a rhetorical strength.” @MaddoxChristine

“[Writing in another language] doesn’t just have to be a means to that privileged language [standard American English]. It can be its own end product.” @MaddoxChristine

“When you give students that freedom [to use multiple modes], they actually, in my experience, end up producing work that is more high-level, more engaged, more scholarly, than they might have otherwise.” @MaddoxChristine

Episode 47: Sustaining a Connection with Ulrich Baer

In Episode 47, we talk to NYU professor and podcaster Ulrich Baer about free speech, podcasts as opportunities for sustained conversations, and the role of poetry and fiction as witnesses to both human suffering and human resilience.

Ulrich Baer is a writer, translator, and literary scholar. He holds an appointment as University Professor at New York University, where he teaches poetry and photography, and is the director of NYU’s Center for the Humanities. He has twice been honored with the Golden Dozen Teaching Award and is the recipient of Getty, Humboldt, and Guggenheim fellowships. He received his BA from Harvard College and an M.Phil. and PhD in Comparative Literature from Yale University. Learn more on his website.

Check out Uli’s podcasts: Think About It and The Proust Questionnaire. You can find all of his social media accounts here.

This episode was recorded on January 25, 2021. Because we recorded via Zoom, there may be occasional audio hiccups. Our theme song is “4 am” by Makaih Beats. You can subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Stitcher and follow us on Twitter @WritingRemixPod.

People and Texts Mentioned in the Episode

“[Translating and transcribing Holocaust survivor stories] informed a lot of what I always thought academia is: to actually make accessible, to transmit, and to preserve stories that aren’t heard so widely.” @UliBaer

“I always felt poetry, writing, literature is the way of bearing witness to something.” @UliBaer

“I’ve always loved the part of writing that’s editing, that’s bringing people together, working with other people.” @UliBaer

“For me [podcasting] is really more to be in conversation with people in a time when a sustained connection is hard.” @UliBaer

“Part of what I try to do [with my podcast] is model for my students what is a sustained conversation about something, where you actually really care, you don’t just care to get it right, but you care to understand how difficult it is.” @UliBaer

“We don’t quite know what the next thing is going to be anymore. Our language will have changed, and I think that is actually the power of this medium [podcasting] right now, to transmit. I feel a lot of my work is translation.” @UliBaer

“To actually be close to somebody, who tells you something and what they really feel about you, I think that’s very essential, and I think that part of connection is what the podcast [provides]…That’s also the origin of teaching. I think teaching is not belittling people, but taking somebody seriously.” @UliBaer

“Poetry is rooted so much in two experiences, which is the experience of deep connection, which is love […] and the other one is to recall or to acknowledge the dead, to sort of call back to us that someone existed.” @UliBaer

“Poets…responded very quickly to 9/11. They wrote poetry. The novelists took years, and the poets were standing on the roof watching the second plane, literally, and had something in the afternoon.” @UliBaer

“I think teaching is more than conveying information, but this bringing into the space…It’s a magical dimension.” @UliBaer

“A podcast is a good way to slow down this conversation and get people in the room who actually have thought about this for a very long time.” @UliBaer

“I believe in the power of literature.” @UliBaer

“People are much louder when they are against you than when they are for you.” @UliBaer

“My podcast is really where I go to learn stuff.” @UliBaer

“[Students] come from a place that is both knowledge and experience. Their experience actually is very valid and important.” @UliBaer

“The First Year class, for me, is my favorite place in the University.” @UliBaer

“I’ve always thought teaching is not just confronting people with something, but actually creating a space where they can engage with it.” @UliBaer

“[Teaching is] an art and it’s a skill.” @UliBaer

“We haven’t really figured out what curated spaces are and the town square…which in itself is a problematic fantasy.” @UliBaer