#PulseOrlandoSyllabus: a Crowdsourced Teaching Resource

As a professor at the University of Central Florida, I was glued to Twitter on Sunday following the tragic aftermath of the Orlando shooting during Latinx night at popular gay / GLBTQ nightclub Pulse. Several students and graduates from colleges around the area are on the list of dead, and local campuses (including mine) have been hosting blood drives and vigils in the wake. It’s always difficult to know what to do after this type of event in classes: I pushed back the deadline for assignments that would have been due that same day. In a course with a more connected subject matter I would have planned to address it directly. For educators and others thinking about resources for guiding those types of conversation or for general education, the crowd-sourced #PulseOrlandoSyllabus is a powerful starting point.

The statement of intention (as of June 16, 2016) from organizers Oliver Bendorf and Lydia Willoughby notes:

This living document exists as a resource to understand our pain and grief, sadness and healing in the wake of the shooting at Pulse Night Club on June 12, 2016. We are living through each other and within our collective knowledge of LGBTQ2S and QTPOC spaces. We make visible the deep cultural heritages of Latinx communities among queer subcultures.

We want to acknowledge the countless and anonymous librarians, educators, and others who have contributed to this document; it is richer from all who have contributed to the collective knowledge here. The intersections and contexts made visible through its categories are powerful and necessary.

This crowd-sourced document includes a range of categories, from scholarly articles and books to recommend readings for high school and middle school youth to picture books. There’s also links to great projects like the LGBTQ Video Game Archive, a curated research project looking at representation in video games, and the ALA’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Roundtable, which includes a number of bibliographies and reviews. As I write this, the list continues to grow with suggestions gathered from educators and librarians around the world. Similar syllabus-curating efforts have emerged out of social media responses to tragedy, including #CharlestonSyllabus (curated by Chad Williams) and the #FergusonSyllabus (curated by Marcia Chatelain).

Crowd-sourced projects of this kind represent incredible resources for beginning difficult conversations. They also provide impressive reading lists (I’ve just ordered six books off the scholarly list of #PulseOrlandoSyllabus, with more going on my wish list) as a starting point for our own research and broadening of knowledge.

[CC BY Photo by Soukéïna FELICIANNE]

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