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What Is A “Difficult” Subject and How Should We Teach It?

Facilitator: Howie Tam, CETLI Graduate Fellow, English
Convener: Professor Karen Redrobe, History of Art

The classroom can be a semipublic space that cultivates productive defamiliarization and exposure, but it can also trigger traumas and biases in students. This workshop confronts complicated questions about what makes a subject “difficult”—if so, for whom?—and different approaches toward an inclusive learning environment that demands rather than avoids rigorous thinking on highly charged issues. Topics include: the sometimes tension between academic freedom and freedom of speech, the appropriate use of trigger warnings, the limits of neutrality in instruction and course content, and how to establish a basis of respect through deep disagreements. Professor Karen Redrobe of Cinema and Modern Media, Chair of History of Art, and affiliated faculty of English and German, will guide our discussion with practical advice and examples. Lunch will be served. Please contact Howie Tam at if you have any questions.

All graduate students are welcome. This event grows out of concerns in the English department and so may be most useful to students in related fields.

Counts toward the CETLI Teaching Certificate.

Registrations are closed for this event

Thursday, November 30, 2017

12:00 pm to 1:30 pm
Room 330 (Grad Lounge)
Fisher-Bennett Hall
3340 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104 United States
Event Participants:

School of Arts & Sciences

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