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The 2024 Black History Month Experience (Part 3)

Event: “K for the Way” Book Talk, Wagner College, Staten Island, NY

Date: Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Kicks of Choice: Saucony Shadow 6000 Offspring “Running Since 96” (Blue)

Thoughts captured on February 24, 2024

 

So I never know when or how the teaching I do at the CUNY Graduate Center (also known as “the GC”) will resonate and come full circle. This happened when Eric Wilson called me and asked if I’d come to Wagner College to speak to the English Department. Eric premised his introduction with “I went to the GC. I didn’t get to take classes with you, but I definitely have FOMO!” It felt like the right thing to do to work with a GC alum and give students in the building a moment to hear about “K for the Way.” So Eric and I worked out the details, and after he secured a grant for the event, we locked in and made it work!

 

As I’ve been moving around during February 2024, this was one of the first times I was back to speak in a college English Department space. My day-to-day movements are now really linked to the African American Studies Department at City Tech (shouts out to AFR all day), but my doctoral degree and the early parts of my college teaching career happened in English Departments. So it felt good to return to a space that is really thinking about its future in the Humanities and Higher Education more broadly. One of the best parts of the day was getting a chance to hang out with Dr. Sabatino. I’ve known her as Lindsay since 2007, when she was in the Master’s program at St. John’s University as I was embarking on my doctorate. Back in those days, we were all saying, “Lindsay – why don’t you just go ahead and get this PhD?!?!” Skip stage to years later and she completed it!

 

I was excited to see Lindsay after a number of years, and it was also spectacular to see the student and faculty reaction to the book talk. It was clear that both faculty and students were really intrigued by the conversation around the DJ and what the DJ does when it comes to curating, sharing music and storytelling. What was also evident is folks in English are really thinking about different models for writers, and reimagining how Writing Studies has traditionally envisioned what “writing” means in college settings. So the questions and conversations we were having about writing, DJing, “the algorithm” and understanding technological innovations through the lens of the Hip Hop DJ really felt appropriate and fit right into how English Studies should be thinking about future possibilities for the field. Adding different experiences to the writing landscape can truly reinvigorate Writing Studies; and I was glad to see and hear how both students and faculty were really processing and wrestling with these ideas in ways that are truly meaningful and can translate into progressive classroom pedagogy. Finally, to do this talk at Wagner College – on Shao Lin (aka Staten Island) – made it feel very much Hip Hop! It’s always great to talk close to home, and this event was right over the bridge that gets me to where I need to go, so I was able to teach my class, finish this talk, and get home to tuck the girls into bed! Never a dull moment in the Craig household, for real.

 

Shout out to Eric Wilson, Lindsay Sabatino and the English Department at Wagner College. So glad we could lock this talk in during Black History Month!




 

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