A Reflection on My Philosophy, Praxis, ideas, & dreams
What I think About...
Sometimes, I ask myself, "does it have to be this way?" The "it" being academia and "this way" being the toxicity: the erosion of worth, the perfectionism, the performativity, and so much more.**
As a faculty member, I have been thinking about toxicity within the context of teaching, learning, and shame. Shame prevents learning because while shame might spur action, it will never lead to transformation. And yet, so many of us are socialized into not only learning through shame (hello imposter phenomenon) but teaching through it too, using the rhetoric of "it's so simple," "what a silly question," and "so obvious." Shame manifests so well within the land of assumed knowledge to prevent the questions that bridge into this space— we don't know what we don't know, so questions and asking for help is another impossibility, another shame, another blame of self. My teaching, in part, reflects a critical deconstruction of systems of oppression (that are much aligned with my line of scholarship) and a resistance to shame-based teaching and learning tactics.
What is Knowledge?
I am, first and foremost, a Critical Race scholar. What this means is I deeply believe and try to apply the tenets of Critical Race Theory, which includes how knowledge is experiential, not just what we learn from "canon" or textbooks. Knowledge is powered, raced, gendered, abled, and more. It's why critical theories and critical methodologies exist. We are remapping the ways we engage the world.
When I assign readings and hold discussions, I want the words on the page to co-exist with the experiences we bring— to both deconstruct and reconstruct what is knowledge. The scholarship dreamed, created, designed is inextricably tied to the lived realities of the author(s), communities whether that be our own or someone else's, ourselves, and one another.
Thus, my teaching, in part, refuses the metaphor of an audience of empty vessels or knowledge as collectable, but instead embraces how learning is the incredible meeting and engagement of communities. What all of this also means then is that knowledge is nested: nested in schools, campuses, organizations, systems.
ORGANIZATIONAL THEORY & ED LEADERSHIP
This course utilizes theory, frames, myths, and management models of leadership and team formation to examine how organizations are nested in systems of oppression and the resultant manifestations of racialized, abled, heteronormative, gendered, policies and practices within higher education.
RACIALIZED REALITIES IN HIGHER EDUCATION
Students examine the role of race, racism, and intersectional forms of oppression that impact higher education and student affairs. By exploring local and global events— historical and contemporary,— the course illuminates & interrogates the realities & navigation of these spaces.
As an academic, writing is one of the strongest tools at our disposal. And yet, how badly trained we are with a skill so necessary. The question of "does it have to be this way" is something that I also reflect on when it comes to academic writing. Am I the only one who feels like my own writing is boring at times? That writing is painful? That writing is a chore devoid of joy?
Part of my emphasis with teaching is changing how we (academics) think of writing: how we read, how we write, what our relationship is to write. I don't think writing (or reading!) should be excruciating, so part of my teaching philosophy and praxis is about having us fall in love with writing. Here are some writing books I've enjoyed, resources on writing, my reflections and advice, and if you are curious, some books on my personal bookshelf.
And some day, when I am "done" with writing (ha!), I'll add a section on feedback because that is where I also wonder "does it have to be this way." Stay tuned~
For a longer explanation, this question of "does it have to be this way" spurred, in part, the creation of this website: knowing that part of the perfectionism and dips of self-worth are due to the inundated images and products that are final versions. It's why I keep my blog and share myself, so that you see the imperfect mess that is very contently me. I write posts (like this one about falling out love with my own writing) and have recorded podcasts (like this episode about how hard it's been to write during the pandemic) for which you can see one of the things I talk about in the photo.
That question of "does it have to be this way" is also related to the toxicity of scarcity and the resultant manifestation of information hoarding. It's why I made the opportunities page out of resistance.
Lastly, as a random fact to help demystify how I (also) struggle with reading articles and now instead, use that for my advantage: when I have my bouts of insomnia, I always pick up Aristotle's "Politics of Ethics." Puts me to sleep every time, so kudos to everyone who can read through it.