Albert-Ludwigs Universität Freiburg, Germany
Department of North American Studies
Not the Indian You Had in Mind: Mis- and Self-Representations of Indigenous Peoples in North American Visual Culture
This Cultural Studies seminar I designed starts with confronting the stereotypical depictions of Indigenous peoples in North American popular culture, with examples from visual arts, fashion, news media, and television. We contextualized these problematic images to explore issues such as cultural appropriation, systemic racism, gender violence... which continue to plague Native communities to this day. Students got to discover productions by Indigenous creators and explore the multi-faceted ways in which these artists and designers reclaim their identities, revitalize languages, and display the dynamism of their cultures. Case studies made use of various methodologies such as close reading, media content analysis, and document review, and were contextualized according to Canadian and American colonial, political, social, and cultural histories.
Where the Wasteland Blossoms: Narratives of Survival and Rebirth after the “Apocalypse”
For some communities on the North American continent, the apocalypse is not an impeding event, but the bitter past and present. Colonialism, industrial exploitation, and environmental degradation have laid waste to many formally lively and fertile landscapes. They have also turned sacred places into “sacrifice zones” and heritage sites into barren spaces, too polluted for human access. Many of these were and still are inhabited and stewarded by communities long marginalized, both in policy and cultural expression. However, these communities, ranging from the Indigenous inhabitants of Turtle Island, to the Creoles of the Louisiana Bayous, and the rural population of the mining fields in West Virginia, have developed forms of survival. Through creating and collecting a large body of texts and materials, they have documented the impact of this destruction and its effects on their community.
In this seminar I co-designed and was co-teaching with colleague Eva Rüskamp, we looked at narratives of this past apocalypse, as well as narratives of survival and rebirth following disaster from perspectives that are often missing from mainstream discourse. We analyzed how social categories such as race, ethnicity, religion, and gender change the perception of, and response to, disaster – impeding and otherwise. We also looked at how communities use their various social and cultural resources to create awareness of these injustices, establishing alternative visions of their communities’ futures in order to create healing and hope. We discussed what lessons these communities can provide for the imminent crises of the modern age, and observed how these narratives reflect other contemporary philosophical and social trends, such as posthumanism and ecojustice.
Indigenous Peoples in Canada
Spring 2018, Fall 2018
I entirely designed this introductory class on Indigenous Studies. It focuses on what is today known as Canada. It comprises a chronological overview of the foundational stages of imperial expansion, and assimilative government policies, leading to discussions on today’s Indigenous peoples’ situations and survival strategies. The students also discover Indigenous creation and migration stories, and are introduced to different worldviews and pedagogies. Topics for this class include: “Education, Assimilation, and The Residential Schools,” “Indigenous Knowledge and the Environment,” “Decolonization, Healing and Revitalization.” Class material includes historical documents, academic articles, blog posts and social media, as well as oral storytelling and movies. Some themes and assigned materials have been updated in Fall 2018 to reflect recent events and changes in Canadian political and activist frameworks.
Native American Detective Fiction
This literary course I designed focuses on Native American crime fiction. It comprises theoretical overviews of Native American literature, American and Native American crime fiction, and the genre of detective novels. Other topics include postcolonial theory and cultural appropriation. We read Elsie’s Business by Frances Washburn (2006), Deception on All Accounts by Sara Sue Hoklotubbe (2003), and Indian Killer by Sherman Alexie (1996). The texts were framed in perspective with their social and cultural contexts.
The Canadian and American Modern Novel
I was asked to design a literary course focused on the Modern novel in North America. I chose to assign diverse works, to avoid giving students the impression that modernists only comprised White male authors. We explored theoretical overviews of the genre, and what it meant between Canada and the United States from World War I to the sixties. The texts we read were framed in perspective with their social and cultural contexts. The assigned readings were Quick Sand by Nella Larsen (1928), Light in August by William Faulkner (1932), The Surrounded by D'Arcy McNickle (1936), and Swamp Angel by Ethel Wilson (1954).
Contemporary North American Short Stories
This literature course I created focused on the North American short story from the post-war period to today, as the genre journeys through the cultural consciousness of Canadian and American societies. We started with a review of the Romantic classics of the mid-1800s but mostly read through post-modernism, surrealism, and the emergence of "minority" literatures. The texts were framed in perspective with their historical and cultural contexts. We covered Canadian and American short stories by a variety of authors, including women, Aboriginal and Native American authors, people of color, immigrants, and LGBTQ+ people, with the help of secondary sources such as academic articles and book reviews.
American Short Stor(y)ies
I designed and taught this course involving a chronological overview of the American short story, as the genre journeys through the cultural consciousness of American society. We started in the Romantic mid-1800s and read through Realism, Naturalism, and Modernism. Eventually reaching the Post-War period, we finished with contemporary short stories from the 1980s to present day. These texts were framed in perspective with their historical and cultural contexts. We covered American short stories by a variety of authors, including women, Native Americans, people of color, immigrants, and LGBTQ+ people, as well as secondary sources such as academic articles and book reviews.
Research and Teaching
Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2020
I designed this methodology course for new Master's students at the English Department. It includes workshops on academic writing, didactic advice on presenting and teaching, as well as research methodology. Students also get training on academic professional activities, such as conference work and internship applications.
Carleton University, Canada
Fall 2013 - Spring 2015
I conducted daily tutoring sessions for both BA and MA students, majoring or minoring in French. I designed and coordinated weekly applied workshops dedicated to academic writing, in partnership with two other colleagues. I also organized and presided over the university's student club for Francophone Cultures.
The Pennsylvania State University, USA
Fall 2011, Spring 2012
I taught two sections of undergraduate students who have never studied French, for two semesters. At the rhythm of four 60-minute sessions per week, I intensively prepared my students for written and oral exams. I designed the lesson plans and weekly quizzes, based on a syllabus designed in coordination with my colleagues and Program Supervisor. I taught grammar, academic writing, and cultural studies focusing on the francophone world.
I taught two sections of intermediate-level undergraduate students. I designed the lesson plans and pedagogical activities for my groups, as well as the weekly quizzes. A weekly coordination meeting with my colleagues helped me make sure I was keeping up with other sections, and preparing my students for both the written and oral standardized final exams.
Université Marc Bloch, France
Fall 2008 - Spring 2010
I designed and animated workshops focusing on translation, traductology, and translating practice and techniques. The structure of bi-weekly very small groups (5-8 students) was ideal to provide precise work and individualized support for undergraduate students majoring in English.