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Lemonade from Lemons
Teaching Katrina

This interdisciplinary roundtable focuses on Hurricane Katrina projects and assignments across the curriculum. In addition to sharing ideas on how the hurricane and its aftermath have become objects of research and of creative projects, participants will discuss possible follow-up activities, including a student symposium on Katrina and a special publication of student projects and papers.

All faculty are invited. Featured participants include:

Ross Louis, Communications

Students in SPCM 1010, Introduction to Public Speaking, prepared and delivered narrative speeches that tell the stories connected to photographs of New Orleans or Xavier U., pre- or post-Katrina. The narrative speaking assignment was based on the assumption that lots of folks throughout the affected areas are using photographs to speak for their experiences, yet those images don't capture all that folks actually experience. The speeches were an attempt to allow students to express what lies beyond the two-dimensional images, what cannot be seen through a photograph. Students in SPCM 2400, The Theatre, are working in Gert Town with local arts organization Mondo Bizarro to collect interviews with residents regarding their Katrina experiences, as well as their hopes and fears about their future in New Orleans. Students will contribute the interviews to both residents and Mondo Bizarro's I-10 Witness web archive. The project concludes with in-class performances that fuse students' personal narratives with interview texts.

David Park, Communications

My Writing for Public Relations Class is coordinating a national campaign called the "Second Freedom Rides Alternative Spring Break." We are using the media and other outlets to bring in student volunteers from across the country to help gut and rebuild houses in New Orleans. This campaign is being co-planned with Common Ground Relief, a local non-profit relief organization. There are over 1,500 students coming during March. My Writing For Print Media Class is creating a newspaper for Common Ground Relief that will be distributed in New Orleans, as well as other cities where large groups of displaced peoples from New Orleans are located. Finally my Introduction to Communication Research Class is conducting primary research by examining mainstream media coverage of Hurricane Katrina.

Violet Bryan, English

I'm using the topic of Katrina in my English 1010 class in several ways. With a choice of topics for the first essay, using narration, many students chose to write about Katrina and their experience with the storm, making decisions with their parents, for some of them a stay in the dormitory during flooded days, and their evacuation. Some wrote about their family's battle with the storm. For the research paper, I've given the students a choice of topics; one of them is an argument/persuasion paper on "The Aftermath of Katrina: What Ideas are Best for the Reconstruction of the City?" Students may choose to focus on certain aspects of the reconstruction.

Paul Schafer, Philosophy

In my Great Books in Philosophy course I have asked the students to write a reflection entitled "The Wrath of Nature: Happiness & Katrina" for their philosophy portfolios. The topic springs from our discussion of Freud's Civilization & Its Discontents, where Freud argues that our pleasure-seeking drive is thwarted by (among other things) the external world (i.e., the wrath of nature). This same topic will be incorporated into our class debate about Freud's ideas.

Pamela Waldron-Moore, Political Science

I have an International Political Economy (PSCI 4100) class that regularly uses Katrina examples to demonstrate the interaction of states and markets and the effect of that interaction on the society.

Amy Hite, Sociology

The latter part of Introduction to Sociology explores several main axes of social inequality: class, gender and race and ethnicity. To give students an opportunity to apply the sociological theories and concepts they are learning in this course, students will work in pairs to create an academic poster and short accompanying paper depicting one narrow aspect of the many inequalities associated with Katrina. They may interpret this broadly, to encompass pre-evacuation plans, the event, its immediate aftermath, evacuation situations, or the rebuilding process.

Students in Urban Sociology traditionally study, compare and measure factors that affect the spatial and social relations we find in cities. Urban Sociology covers human geography, urban economies, local politics, urban cultures and sub-cultures, and ways that urban social relations are established and change over time. This semester, students are learning about Urban Sociology through the lens of a disaster-stricken city. This focus on New Orleans is threefold: through one of two texts (Pearce Lewis', NEW ORLEANS: THE MAKING OF AN URBAN LANDSCAPE), a joint Xavier-Tulane project administering a survey to 800 randomly selected households to gather neighborhood-level data on resettlement, and a qualitative comparative research project on various New Orleans neighborhoods. Although using New Orleans as a laboratory is somewhat anomalous, many of the social processes normally covered in Urban Sociology are in fact actually more pronounced in this post-disaster environment, making it easier for students to understand the course material.

Gena Valentine, Psychology

I am incorporating Katrina into my Abnormal Psychology class by using it as a perfect example of the precipitating event of different disorders, such as phobias, anxieties, post-traumatics stress disorder, depression, etc. I even set up an anonymous discussion board on Blackboard for this class so they can vent some of their feelings about the storm and its aftermath.

Michael Homan, Theology

The devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina and the failed levees plays a big role in my Theology 1120: Intro to Biblical Studies course. First, the students better understand the many tragedies that motivated biblical authors to compose. They can also empathize with the ancient Israelite exiles' fears of assimilating and losing their unique culture. More profoundly, the students now can better understand issues of theodicy, and can critically evaluate biblical authors' attempts to explain why evil exists in the world. We evaluate in class various theories about why the devastation of New Orleans happened, ranging from socio-economic and racial factors to notions that an angry God was punishing New Orleans. We then compare these ideas with biblical authors as they struggled with similar ideas of theodicy. Finally, each student is required to implement a service-learning project to improve the world, modeled after biblical authors who acted and wrote to make their worlds better.

  • Led by: Dr. David Lanoue, Professor of English and CAT Faculty-in-Residence
  • Date: Tuesday, March 28, 2006
  • Time: 4:00 - 5:30 PM
  • Location: 501
  • Sponsor: CAT

Tags: pedagogy, Katrina
Format: panel
Event ID: 00594

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Last modified: 05/24/2016 02:02 pm
URL: cat.xula.edu/events/?id=00594
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