It has been a difficult year, one filled with uncertainty, anger, and confusion over the new political administration in the U.S. and the directions we are heading in as a country. Recent events have made divisions clearer, sharper than ever before… So, yes, it is a new world we are living in but this racism, hate, and injustice are intertwined with long histories of oppression that people in underrepresented minoritized communities know all too well. So in another sense, this world is not that new after all.
At the same time, I don’t want to lose sight of the good that has happened this year as well. Looking back, I am filled with pride in the students I taught at Fordham who faced these trying times in the best possible way- with a willingness to listen and learn from each other. This openness to really hearing the voices and perspectives of others is something that these students modeled with bravery and grace, and I wish that it was a practice reflected more broadly in the worlds we live. I have learned so much from them and I will miss our conversations, their thoughtfulness, patience, and the many unexpected, unruly directions they took, when I assume my new role as a Postdoctoral Fellow and the Interim Associate Director of the Futures Initiative later this summer. Knowing this, I wanted to share some highlights of my year at Fordham, the kernels that I will remember and take with me as I press ahead:
Teaching Sabrina Vourvoulias’s Ink (2012). This magical realist novel immerses readers into a dystopian futuristic landscape where persons with any trace of an immigration history are tattooed with barcodes indicating their status, from citizen to temporary worker. Discussing this text with my classes couldn’t have happened at a better time; thinking through Vourvoulias’s novel allowed us to grapple with debates on immigration and the rhetoric of xenophobia, hate, and fear that pervaded the 2016 presidential race. It served as an anchor for reflection and critique as we grappled with fluctuating emotions in an increasingly uncertain present. And, I will say, that while the novel is dark, with too much bloodshed and loss, there is also hope that comes in the form of magic and a budding revolution.