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Weekend Reading: Post-Election Classroom Resources

The end of the semester is approaching slowly, and the holiday season is almost upon us. I for one am overwhelmed, and focusing a lot on working consistently in short bursts with dedicated time for wellness. But as we look towards next semester, here are a few readings and resources that might provide inspiration:

  • The Trump Syllabus 2.0 by N. D. B. Connolly and Keisha N. Blain is an impressive collection of readings grouped by weekly themes, syllabus-style. Each week addresses a larger issue of concern in terms of understanding both the recent election and its potential consequences. It’s the framework for a course that “explores Donald Trump’s rise as a product of the American lineage of racism, sexism, nativism, and imperialism. It offers an introduction to the deep currents of American political culture that produced what many simply call “Trumpism”: personal and political gain marred by intolerance, derived from wealth, and rooted in the history of segregation, sexism, and exploitation.”

  • The Trump Film Studies Syllabus by Dan Hassler-Forest has a similar focus, but brings out a range of films for potential study on topics ranging from popular facism to the commercialization of media. Each film includes some contextual information, including unlikely picks like the fantastic Gremlins 2: “Director Joe Dante’s doesn’t just belong on this list because it is set in a thinly-veiled parody of Trump tower, presided over by the deeply-ridiculous and dangerously inept egomaniac “Daniel Clamp.” But beyond its (fairly toothless) needling of New York City’s least popular billionaire, Gremlins 2 works primarily as a deconstruction of Hollywood’s overwhelming commercial imperatives.”

  • The crowd-sourced Syllabus for White People to Educate Themselves is in its early stages as I write this, but promises to collect a number of resources for discussing racism, Islamophobia, and white supremacy. It includes both online articles and works of fiction, film, and longer books in separate sections.

  • The Tone Policing comic by Robot Hugs is a useful way to contextualize debates over the place of emotion in discourse, particularly in divided classrooms. As the editors of Everyday Feminism note: “Robot Hugs makes a great point about how tone policing protects privilege – and silences people who are hurting. This is no way to get justice, and this breakdown will help you understand exactly why.”

  • NPR’s coverage of the challenges posed by fake news, From Hate Speech to Fake News: The Content Crisis Facing Mark Zuckerberg by Aarti Shahani, examines the problems inherent in Facebook’s current systems of moderation: “Zuckerberg finds himself at the helm of a company that started as a tech company — run by algorithms, free of human judgment, the mythology went. And now he’s just so clearly the CEO of a media company — replete with highly complex rules (What is hate speech anyway?); with double standards (If it’s “news” it stays, if it’s a rant it goes); and with an enforcement mechanism that is set up to fail.”

  • In Media Res’s Harry Potterverse Theme Week includes a number of useful shorts posts discussing Harry Potter in current discourse, including Kati Sudnick’s Harry Potter, World War II, and the Banality of Evil and Ashley Hinck’s analysis of Trump-Voldemort Metaphors in the 2016 Presidential Election. Hinck writes: “the metaphor frames Trump as an evil dictator by aligning him with Voldemort’s thirst for power, his unethical methods for achieving that power, his belief in pureblood superiority, and his selfish focus on himself.”

This is only a starting point, as new articles and resources are being created every day.

If you have other favorites, please share them in the comments!

[CC BY Photo by Jingyang Wang]

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