By Shayna Plaut, Contributing Editor, Human Rights
While musicians often think in rhythms or notes and artists in perspectives or colors, I have potential syllabi rattling in my head. My medium is neither canvas nor score but rather the weaving together of books, graphic novels, guest speakers, dense academic articles, Youtube clips and provocative films into a scaffold body of knowledge. I then title such a creation with a colon and christen it with a course number. Like musicians and artists, I too go through life trying to share and provoke the unfolding puzzles that tickle inside.
My goal when teaching is to work with students so that they start to question what seems normal or is taken for granted, and thus become fluent enough in those knowledges (note plural) that they can develop their own questions. Rather than teaching students to “master” knowledge, my aim is to urge students towards a literacy of questioning and wrestling within many languages, perspectives and mediums. This was the inspiration of my most recent course: the Framing of Social Justice: Law, Culture and Politics “Here” and “There. “Here” because too often we think of human rights and social justice as just a problem that happens “there,” rarely questioning where either “here” or “there” may be. (more…)