In this rather intrusive Zoom era, I deeply respect that not everyone feels comfortable with their camera on, so I do not require it. You can have it on if you’d like to; I’ll have mine on. If you’d prefer not to have it on, I just ask that you include a photo that you like of your face so that we can “see” you still!
I also respect that it can be a lot harder to stay engaged in an online seminar than it is in person. Zoom fatigue is real, and we should all be aware of that. To maximize being in the moment online, please be extra attentive to any other devices or distractions that might impede you from being fully present during our time together. I’ll try to give us short cell phone breaks at least once a session. Another thing that Zoom adds challenges to is organized discussion, but I have every confidence we will prevail. If you want to talk and I don’t see you, type something in the chat.
We also have long class sessions, which can be challenging enough in person, and can be extra hard when you feel like your eyeballs are going to dry out. I’ll build breaks into our sessions, and you can also step away for a minute if you need to for water or a bathroom break.
Finally, Zoom creepily and automatically archives anything written in the chat. I may periodically go back through just to see if there’s something someone said that I missed, so don’t say anything in the chat that you wouldn’t want me to see.
The Brooklyn College IT folks are very responsive and helpful; contact them via phone or email.
Class Community (and a Pandemic Note)
Please be respectful of your peers’ ideas even (especially!) in critique; all students should feel comfortable exploring new ways of thinking in an environment that is safe and adventurous. Even if new ideas make you uncomfortable or angry (and since we will read and discuss a lot about systemic injustice based on gender, race, and class, some of the new ideas ought to), you’ll still engage them openly and actively.
I also ask that we all use inclusive language in all discussion and work: this means being attentive to and respectful of gender, race, origin, sexuality, and socioeconomic status. (I encourage you to use the singular “they” in place of the generic “he;” the latter erases both women and non-binary folks.)
In the past year and a half, we have all had to pay exhausting attention to a confusing world and have all dealt with and are still dealing with extremely challenging personal circumstances too.
And as we do this work together, I am also intensely cognizant that we have the harm of the pandemic and of ongoing anti-Black police violence and anti-Asian racism (both spotlit among so many forms of corrosive power in America) as a backdrop. These topics may come up in discussion, especially since our course is so centered on the systems of racist and sexist inequality that thread through both of these traumas. However, I will not center either of them as discussion topics or in assignments out of care for those of you who may not want to engage with them that closely. And if you need to take some space during class, just message me on Zoom or email me to let me know.