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Professor Roderick Ferguson Talks About Teaching with YPEI in RITM Interview

Can you tell us about one of your best teaching experiences?

"I’ve been fortunate to have so many wonderful teaching experiences, mostly at public universities and now at a private one. I thank the gods every day that I can teach interdisciplinary courses within interdisciplinary programs and departments. Students in those courses are generally poised for the harder social questions and for the epistemological innovations that answering them requires....

Definitely one standout and singular teaching experience has been the opportunity to teach in the Yale Prison Education Initiative. This has been my first time teaching in a prison, and I’ve just been blown away by the level of critical engagement and emotional intelligence from my students there. They have really exacting standards as readers and interlocutors. They’re not just going to accept anything that you say because you’re “the authority” or because this text was written by so-and-so. They’re also incredibly generous. After one of the classes, I was talking to a couple of the students and one of them said something to the effect of, “We really need you here, but we also know that you’re needed there [at Yale].” That’s a real generosity of spirit and vision, one that has no use for turning people and things into property.  We could all learn from that."

Take a look at the full interview with Chair and Professor of Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies and American Studies Roderick Ferguson at this link.


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