(from 1 July 2020 email)

Dear Everyone:

Today, I officially start year two of my stint as EO.  In starting the first year, I thought the biggest external thing we’d be dealing with in the program was Middle States…!  I know some measure and mixture of anger, anxiety, and exhaustion are the defining affective orientations of the present, but I wonder, too, if humility isn’t stretching its arms wider as well these days. It’s always a condition necessary to (un)learning, I think, and so, something perhaps worth holding onto deliberately as/in practice.  (As some of you know, I’m writing on pedagogy just now and that work seeps into these messages to you all.)  Gratitude is of course the close companion to humility, so it seems exactly right to thank you all again for your engagements and efforts in this past year, and in advance for the work to come!

Some update sorts of things:

  1. Budget (non)news.  Today marks the start of the new fiscal year, and typically, some sense of a budget for the GC would be in place relatively soon.  In this atypical year, CUNY Central will not allocate monies to the colleges for the coming academic year until at least early August.  In short, still nothing specific as to the financial condition we’ll be in for the coming year.
  1. Consortium classes.  From our registrar, Vin De Luca on 22 June:

“The member schools of the Inter-University Doctoral Consortium have agreed to delay any action on processing in-coming and out-going enrollments until August 1.   This delay will allow the campuses the time needed to develop and implement plans that are best for the health and safety of their students, faculty and staff as they await  further information from offices such as the governor, mayor and public health agencies that will determine class size, availability, and mode of instruction

The decision was based upon the concept that it is best for the students to know the mode of instruction (in-person, hybrid, distance learning, etc.) before selecting a class and seeking the approvals required for enrollment.”

So, if you’ve submitted paperwork to take a consortium class, a) hang in there!  And b) have a back-up/GC course selected!

  1. Search.  There is good news!  And we’ll be able to share it fairly soon, I believe – we’re in what I understand to be the final stages of realizing the appointment, and we’ve been asked to refrain from announcing details until the last pieces are in place, but things are indeed moving.
  1. Just One Thing: Apologies for getting this off the ground so slowly – “this” being distance learning strategies/insights/practices.  (Among other things, doing search related stuff had to take precedence for reasons of timing!)  I’ll send this out as a separate message, and always using the same subject line so you can choose to read or delete without opening – I realize for many of you, distance learning pedagogies aren’t immediately relevant.  I asked students for input on their experiences with distance learning and will make that available as well as part of this other thread.

Finally for now, I’m sharing the following, featuring Professors Ruth Wilson Gilmore (a Grad Center colleague) and Robin D.G. Kelley, respectively, who speak and write about the need for fundamental changes, sometimes under the sign of abolition, as I know there is both interest and uncertainty as to some of the terms and ideas presently and so pronouncedly circulating.  There are many people doing this kind of work, and I don’t know of any who explain with greater clarity or vision than these two. 


Part of what Gilmore and Kelley are asking us to do is conceive and realize the world we would wish to inhabit.  I love that as a way of thinking about what we do in our program, through the teaching and research and writing and talking we do.  I’ve asked us regularly to think in the future perfect tense: what will we have been and done? – and so, newly inspired by the demands for revolutionary change, by the practice of care that the simple gesture of wearing a mask with and for each other is, this first message of year two reiterates the frame.  When we look back some years hence, how will we have wanted to respond to the present? To have shifted in our learning and teaching and being to address the sharply illuminated state-enacted/state-sanctioned violence unfolding through anti-Black racism, settler colonialism, cis-heteronormativity and sexism, the ableism that pervades all of this, xenophic border regulations, and so much more…all of which undergirds “the present”?

Maybe those are too big questions with which to close an email!  And/but, why shouldn’t we take on the big things?  Maybe even, how could we not?

With abundant thanks again, coupled with overflowing well wishes, here’s to what comes next!


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