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

Episode 46: Teaching with Wikipedia with Malavika Shetty

In Episode 46, we talk to Dr. Malavika Shetty about using Wikipedia in the writing classroom in order to teach media literacy and research skills, create meaningful, public-facing work, and empower students to contribute to the world’s body of knowledge.

Malavika Shetty is a lecturer in Boston University’s Writing Program where she uses her background in linguistics to teach classes related to language and society. She uses Wikipedia in her classroom as a way to develop her student’s research and information literacy skills. Malavika received her PhD in Linguistics from the University of Texas at Austin. Her background and training is in linguistic anthropology with a research focus on the analysis of discourse in everyday conversations.

This episode was recorded on January 18, 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 Links Mentioned in the Episode
Student Contributions

“Our language has changed because of the technology we use.” @mshetty3

“Wikipedia is one of the biggest writing projects we have in the world right now.” @mshetty3

“Wikipedia can be used to build information literacy skills…As writing teachers, we’re not just teaching writing. We’re also trying to teach media literacy. Because that’s the world we live in.” @mshetty3

“90% of Wikipedia editors are male…Only 15% of biographies on Wikipedia are about women.” @mshetty3

“When I’m introducing the assignment, I first talk about these content gaps on Wikipedia and point them out to my students and talk to them about how they are actually contributing…to the world of knowledge, to make it more equitable, to make it more accessible.” -@mshetty3

“I think the best part about teaching with Wikipedia is your students are not just consumers of information. They’re also creators of that information.” @mshetty3

“I think one of the upsides of this pandemic has been for us to reevaluate how we actually teach.” @mshetty3

“One of the things about Wikipedia which I like is they’re very self-reflective. They know exactly what’s wrong with them.” @mshetty3

Episode 45: Building Bridges with Tanya Ko Hong

In Episode 45, we talk to award-winning poet Tanya (Hyonhye) Ko Hong about translating texts into Korean, writing bilingual poetry, finding her name and place as an immigrant, and giving a voice to the Korean comfort women of World War II.

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.

This episode was recorded on January 11, 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 mentions of rape, torture, and cannibalism.

People and Texts Mentioned in the Episode

“That’s how I feel being an immigrant. You don’t know where you fit in…You don’t even know how to fit in with your name.” @tanyakohong

“I think [a focus] for me is building a lot of bridges.” @tanyakohong

“I thought I couldn’t even write [“Comfort Women”] because it was just too much…The pictures are horrifying…I couldn’t eat. I think it took me months before I started writing.” @tanyakohong

“I wanted to give the attention, the intimacy, of one person’s life.” @tanyakohong

“I was trying to give them [Korean comfort women] a voice.” @tanyakohong

“My big question was…am I allowed to write this poem?” @tanyakohong

“A lot of people will say, ‘Why didn’t they come out right then?’ And I know exactly why they couldn’t come out, even fifty years later.” @tanyakohong

“[I realized] I could create space through the poetry and the writing to give them a voice. It’s not just giving them their voice, but it’s also giving them my voice too.” @tanyakohong

“As poets, we really need to share authentically. Bring our own voice, and then share it.” @tanyakohong

Episode 44: Practicing Radical Pedagogy with Carmen Kynard

In Episode 44, we talk to Black Feminist Educator, Agitator, and Dreamer Carmen Kynard about practicing radical pedagogy; centering Black language, rhetoric, and affect in the classroom; prioritizing self-care and equity in our teaching; and holding universities–and the field of composition and rhetoric in particular–accountable for oppressing BIPOC voices and upholding white supremacy. This episode was recorded while white supremacists were storming the Capitol on January 6th, 2021.

Carmen Kynard is the Lillian Radford Chair in Rhetoric and Composition and Professor of English at Texas Christian University. She interrogates race, Black feminisms, AfroDigital/African American cultures and languages, and the politics of schooling with an emphasis on composition and literacies studies. Carmen has led numerous professional development projects on language, literacy, and learning and has published in Harvard Educational Review, Changing English, College Composition and Communication, College English, Computers and Composition, Reading Research Quarterly, Literacy and Composition Studies and more. Her award-winning book, Vernacular Insurrections: Race, Black Protest, and the New Century in Composition-Literacy Studies makes Black Freedom a 21st century literacy movement. Her current projects focus on young Black women in college, Black Feminist/Afrofuturist digital vernaculars, and AfroDigital Humanities learning. For more information about and access to her publications, click here. 

Carmen co-edits the inaugural journal run of Rhetoric, Politics, and Culture and maintains numerous web projects including: 1) Black Feminist Pedagogies .Com: Open Graduate Coursework Towards an Anti-Racist/ Intersected/ Black Feminist University, 2) Funkdafied: An Open Digital Classroom Dedicated to African American Literacies, Rhetorics, and Resistance, and 3) Digi Rhetorics: Digital Justice/ Digital Rhetorics. Her latest digital project is in collaboration with Dr. April Baker-Bell at Michigan State University on the Black Language Syllabus which also houses the Black Language Magazine. Carmen traces her research and teaching at her website, “Education, Liberation, and Black Radical Traditions” (http://carmenkynard.org) which has garnered over 1.8 million hits since its 2012 inception.

This episode was recorded on January 6, 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 identify as a Black Feminist Educator, Agitator, and Dreamer.” -Carmen Kynard

“English departments are largely imperial projects, through the language of English, maintaining imperialism and colonialism, so language does a specific kind of work.” -Carmen Kynard

“When I landed in graduate school, I saw the ways in which all the problematic whiteness around literacy and language that I was up against in high school sat right in composition/rhetoric.” -Carmen Kynard

“It was really the classroom that made me a compositionist, not the theories of the field.” -Carmen Kynard

“I think saying we repeat the same history is problematic because it assumes that one of those histories ever left.” -Carmen Kynard

“If you take away the special issues, for instance, in the journals, if you take away the special issues that go to Black people–I mean that’s really what’s happening right now–and if you look at the sort of field-sanctioned body of work, what does it give you that helps you ideologically, in radical ways, situate your teaching and your pedagogy and your understanding of the university right now on a day when white supremacists are storming the Capitol because a white supremacist is leaving office?” -Carmen Kynard

“What is this record we’re gonna leave behind, not just of what classrooms and pedagogies are, but what we do with the university that is implicated, that is an accomplice to oftentimes […] the very kinds of white supremacist racial warfare that’s literally happening as we sit here in these chairs?” -Carmen Kynard

“I don’t mean to say that there aren’t folk who are doing the work but that the sort of mainstream of the field hasn’t taken it up in really critical and radical ways–not that that’s a surprise–but then it imagines that it has. So that’s the kind of conundrum of particularly white progressivism. It is very impressed with itself without ever having to put itself on the line.” -Carmen Kynard

“That’s very difficult to think in, to teach in, to be in, when everything is telling you that it’s about you, but it’s incredibly anti-intellectual and anti-Black in its utter misunderstanding and non-understanding of everything it utters.” -Carmen Kynard

“Universities can be very arrogant […] it circulates this idea of itself as knowing best.” -Carmen Kynard

“We let universities off the hook as if the classroom and what’s happening in the classroom and what’s happening on the campus isn’t the real world, isn’t a real world that is influencing other things. We’re talking about spaces that are investing in prisons, investing in the prison industrial complex, and had deep investments in slavery. There’s a world happening right here, and so to think that this is some utopia and we prepare you for something out there, no, you’re doing some crazy mess right here, right now, in this moment. This is the world. It’s like a netherworld or no-world pedagogy that just doesn’t work.” -Carmen Kynard

“This is not about the best ways of teaching online. This is teaching online in a pandemic. It’s not the same thing.” -Carmen Kynard

“Critical pedagogy is also attuned to self-care.” -Carmen Kynard

“One of the things that’s always been very clear to me is that classrooms have this incredibly white affect, and it’s something we don’t talk about in terms of how classrooms can feel. I feel like I can muck that up. I feel like the feel of my classrooms are different, but I’m still figuring out how to do Zoom teaching with a Black affect, or what that even means.” -Carmen Kynard

“Not all students can navigate this. There are ways that ableism works within Zoom and in ways that I don’t feel like we’ve come to terms with yet.” -Carmen Kynard

“I think what Black language and Black rhetoric lets you do is think really deeply and critically about what is it that language does.” -Carmen Kynard

“I don’t use my classroom to prepare Black children for their slaughter. My job is to teach them to survive that–not even survive it, but to understand that this is about your spirit murder.” -Carmen Kynard

Episode 43: Working in Story with Audrey Dimola

In Episode 43, we talk to poet and teller-healer Audrey Dimola about radical mental health, ecological wellness, and working with archetypal stories and myths to foster healing, personal growth, and community.

Audrey Dimola is an earth-centered storyteller-healer exploring myth, mental health, and the ecologies of spirit; a proud Queens NYC native and 1st generation Southern Italian (Polignano a Mare!). She is a lifelong artist, writer/poet, and performer; youth mentor and public speaker; and has nearly a decade of experience as a NYC-based event curator and sacred space-holder working creatively in diverse communities– including her beloved Socrates Sculpture Park, the renowned community-engaged outdoor art museum where she has served as Director of Public Programs since 2016. Audrey is the author of 4 books of poetry and prose including the most recent “WILDLIGHT” and “THE BOOK OF LEGEND,” which has been called her “own unique unrepeatable genre, a new species of book.” She has been published in Mad in America, Dark Mountain Project, and Rebelle Society; created immersive art installations for the Southeast Queens Biennial and CultureLab LIC; and performed in venues both intimate and massive around NYC including The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, and Brooklyn Museum. Audrey is passionate about empowering alternative healing modalities, (re)connection to nature and more-than-human kin, multidisciplinary art, radical vulnerability, co-creating safe and generative spaces, and sharing “folkloric futurism” and the sacred aliveness of Story with the world. Thanks to all who Stand With Her Always, both in the topside world and the other realms. Learn more at her website, audreydimola.com; follow her on Instagram @audreydimola; and check out her books here.

This episode was recorded on December 16, 2020. 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 Places Mentioned in the Episode

“It’s so beautiful and such a blessing to work for a place where…you can be yourself.” @audreydwrites

“Being a student and just listening and feeling what was happening in my body…that was what changed my path, my journey, my life.” @audreydwrites

“Being a poet and being an alchemist is the same damn thing.” @audreydwrites

“It’s all about context. It’s all about narrative. And if you can choose something that is empowering versus what is given to you, all this other landscape opens up.” @audreydwrites

“Be[ing] adaptable [is] what I think is going to carry us forward. That’s one of the things that should come out of this time of breaking this container of all of these habitual patterns and this grind and the narratives that we’ve been running along with…How do we get back to presence? How do we understand? How do we adapt? Shapeshift?” @audreydwrites

“How do you work in story? How do you walk inside these myths? How do you show people that they have these landscapes inside them right now?” @audreydwrites

“It really was the difference between life and death for me, experiencing these alternative narratives.” @audreydwrites

“Myth is about holding tension and…being able to hold and be in the space of paradox.” @audreydwrites

“We are in mythic time.” @audreydwrites

“Sometimes there are stories from other traditions and other histories, other lives, other paths, and they arrive to you, and they work inside you and in you.” @audreydwrites

“Stories work inside you for years before you’re ready to tell it sometimes.” @audreydwrites

“So much about myth is about place.” @audreydwrites

“I come from a tradition that is beyond me, that is lives beyond me, that I am here to carry.” @audreydwrites

“Surrender to what’s greater so it can co-create with you and it can move through you…Lean into the great mystery. Be okay with not knowing…That’s myth too, how much comes from the admittance and the surrender to the uncertainty.” @audreydwrites

Episode 42: Piecing Together a Narrative with Samir Abady

In Episode 42, we talk to New York photographer & Fast Company digital photo editor Samir Abady about creating photo narratives, being authentic in your art, and how the current moment provides new context to old work. 

Samir Abady is a documentary photographer and photo editor born and based in Queens, New York to Lebanese parents. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in English from St. John’s University (2012), he attended the International Center of Photography for Documentary Photography and Photojournalism (2014), receiving the John and Anna Maria Phillips Foundation Scholarship and the Eddie Adams Workshop (2017). Since then he has been honored to be selected for American Photography 32 and was a finalist for the portrait prize in Australia’s Head On Photo Festival in 2016. He has photographed for The Wall Street Journal, Buzzfeed News, and Fast Company and his work has appeared in Refinery29, The Village Voice, Juxtapoz, and FeatureShoot.

Check out his work on his website: samirabady.com. You can also follow him on Instagram @samir_ and on Twitter @Samir_

This episode was recorded on December 14, 2020. 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, Places, and Texts Mentioned in the Episode

“My practice was always kind of long-term projects on people and finding a way to tell psychologically revealing slow-paced stories.” @Samir_

“[I’m] photographing without a story most of the time until the rare occasion that [I] see something and call it a project; so I’m just kind of piecing together conceptually and finding a thread related to the pictures I’m selecting and calling that a narrative.” @Samir_

“Finding this outlet of […] digging through the archives and seeing what’s there […] that’s helped the gears keep on moving.” @Samir_

“A buddy of mine…said, ‘Oh it’s an interesting time to showcase meeting places and people in either bars or on the street or what have you, hanging out, because we don’t have that.’ I never thought about it as a commentary on our times until he brought that up.” @Samir_

“[The pandemic] makes me miss, more than anything, contextual relationships with people. Like if you’re a regular at a place and you only know so-and-so person at that place on Thursdays, that’s something totally missing. I might not know that person’s name, but I talk to him every week.” @Samir_

“If I approach people with kindness or understanding or curiosity, then I think they respond well to that.” @Samir_

“I feel like every generation has something that democratizes the image.” @Samir_ 

“I think everything has an aesthetic, an intention or mood…Everyone has their thumbprint I think once they pick up a camera.” @Samir_

“Where it’s fun to kind of find meaning is when you put picture A next to picture B, and do they say something to each other when they’re followed by picture C? That’s, I think, where the wild creativity can come in.” @Samir_

“I’m just trying to think about this medium in every way I can at this point.” @Samir_

“If I had to think about what the reoccurring motif is [in my work] it’s the idea of why I’m photographing people to begin with. It’s always kind of these […] smaller communities. I just try to make them seem as normal as possible, whether it be a sex worker or hidden bookstore or whatever it may be; it’s people, with a common language, and perhaps interest or lifestyle, just finding each other.” @Samir_

“I’m happy and honored that I can make you sad with me.” @Samir_

“Even the simplest things can change the concept.” @Samir_

“Being authentic to one’s own voice is the key.” @Samir_