Student Workshops

Below, you will find a list of topics I offer for student workshops at high school level. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but rather gives you an impression of the topics I cover. If you have a specific theme in mind that connects with the examples below but goes in a slightly different direction, do not hesitate to contact me.

As a teacher, you will be the better judge of which of the topics below work best with students at different levels. I have given some of the workshops and lessons below to 13 year olds as well as 18 year olds. Most of them can be adapted to the level of the students.

1.

Racism in the US

Connecting to the Black Lives Matter movement in the USA, this workshop offers a look into the history of racism in the USA, how it links to plantation slavery, and how (and why) it lingers up to our days. Students work with images and texts to acquire a deeper understanding of this complex phenomenon. This is a 2-hour workshop.

4.

The N-Word in Rap and Beyond

One of the most controversial -- and often intimidating -- aspects about rap music is the frequent use of the highly problematic 'n-word' in the lyrics. It is very important to address this in the classroom, because young people in Switzerland may not be aware of the deep implications and consequences of using this word, and may indeed start using it themselves. This workshop is intended to raise awareness of the history and weight of this word, and to teach students why it is never OK for people outside the African-American community to use it. We work with historical materials, texts and obviously song lyrics. This is a 3-4 hour workshop.

2.

What Makes a Text 'Postcolonial'?

Through a combination of historical input and inductive teaching, this workshop introduces students to the concept of 'postcolonial literatures'. We work with short texts, such as poetry, a short story or excerpts from a novel, as well as music videos. The final choice of materials is made with the teacher. This is a 3 to 4-hour workshop. 

5.

Anti-Racism and Anti-Colonialism in the 21st Century

2020 has been the year of toppling statues of men who were until recently celebrated as great historical figures. This workshop picks up on that topic and explores with students how our perception of historical figures changes and why. I like to use historical figures such as Christopher Columbus as well as literary heroes such as Robinson Crusoe as case studies to explore in the classroom. We look at text excerpts and images, practicing a close-reading analysis that reveals problematic aspects of colonial thought and representations. This is a 3-4 hour workshop.

3.

Rap Music as a History Lesson

This workshop/lesson foregrounds the importance of African-American history for many rappers. We look at a selection of rap songs and music videos and connect them with the history of enslavement in the USA. Students work inductively, connecting the songs with short historical texts. This is a 2-hour workshop.