Fall 2018: Writing and Teaching in the Age of the Unspeakable
"Getting Handsy" by Nina Palumbo
Mullarkey Forum for Research and Teaching, English Department, Fall 2018
Writing and Teaching in the Age of the Unspeakable
What we thought could never be broached is now spoken all round us every day. In a world of contextless viral snippets, fake news, and memes, where facts are combated with opinions, the question of how we write and teach is more than ever important. What are the best ways of demonstrating the value of evidence, context, and analysis? In what ways can our discipline best be articulate now?
The classroom must remain a space in which language still has meaning, and where evidence and the archive of human knowledge and complex resources such as libraries are used and defended. We need a space where the loudest voices are not necessarily the prevailing ones. But how do we rise to the call of our uncivil times?
For this year’s Mullarkey Forum on 24th October 2018, we once again combined a sequence of Faculty presentations with an introduction and discussion of the Reid book for the academic year 2018-2019, Kiese Laymon’s 2018 Heavy (on “what the weight of a lifetime of secrets, lies, and deception does to a black body, a black family, and a nation teetering on the brink of moral collapse”: material from the Reid discussion can be found on the Reid site at http://fordhamenglish.com/teaching-reid-books/).
At the Forum, Anne Hoffman explored the ways in which we respond as readers and writers in the light of psychoanalytic analysis of trauma and its profound kinship with the human capacity for narrative; Kanchana Ugbabe spoke of her experiences as a writer in strife-torn Nigeria, and Mary Erler and Andrew Albin discussed Fordham’s new collaborative medievalist project to take students past the stereotypes of the Middle Ages currently being appropriated by the alt-right and white supremacist movements.
We are very grateful to the presenters both for their excellent and thought-provoking contributions and their agreement to make them available here.
Anne Hoffman, “Talk Story: Narrative and/as Experience”
Kanchana Ugbabe, “Creating Dangerously: Writing under Threat”
Andrew Albin and Mary Erler, "Whose Middle Ages? Identity, Otherness, and Openness in Medieval Studies."
Thomas F.X. and Teresa Mullarkey Chair in Literature