Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Have you ever wanted to learn to use EndNote? The WSU Libraries can help! Check out our line up of Spring Semester EndNote classes.

All classes are held in the Holland 105 computer lab. Please register ahead of time through HRS.

For instructions on how to register go to: http://hrs.wsu.edu/Library Instruction Page
or call 335-4521 or email: hrstraining@wsu.edu.

For more information on class content, contact scales@wsu.edu.


Tuesday: 3/29/2011 @ 10:00-12:00
EndNote: Beginners Class

Tuesday: 4/5/2011 @ 1:00-3:00
EndNote: Using Databases with EndNote

Tuesday: 4/12/2011 @ 10:00-12:00
EndNote: Cite While You Write

Tuesday: 4/19/2011 @ 1:00-3:00
EndNote: Open Workshop

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

On the Un-Cool Soapbox with Huckleberry Finn

As everyone has no doubt heard by now, a new edition of Huckleberry Finn is eliminating the N word (and also an I word, though the replacement of "injun" with Indian hasn't been discussed nearly as much).

I could talk about the dangers of ignoring the past, of sweeping the uglier parts of U.S. history under the rug, or even of teaching certain "classics" to grade school students who may not be ready to explore the themes of those novels.

But I think that the heart of why I cringe at the bowdlerization of Twain's novel is that I was once faced, in my pre-librarian life, with a class of drama students, August Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, and a group of white students who were going to act out a scene from the play involving the N word. There were black students in my class, too, and a few of them approached me about feeling very (very) uncomfortable with this. The white students weren't swimming in comfort, either. I was a TA, and a novice; I was scared. But the days of discussion we had in that classroom before the scene was acted out probably comprised the best and most meaningful classroom experience I've ever had. We talked about language and power, about language appropriation and re-appropriation, about history and exploitation and music and about how Wilson brought these issues into focus in his play. Perhaps most importantly, we discussed what we all needed and wanted to do with that history and language now, in our own lives. And you know what? The answer wasn't to ignore the fact that all of this history had happened.

My students and I learned a lot that wasn't only valuable for understanding American theater. But it almost didn't happen. I almost didn't teach the play, almost avoided the scene, almost excused myself because of my inexperience and fear. It would have been much, much easier, and would have felt much safer. And that's why the "new" version of Huckleberry Finn makes me want to scream. It's just so easy to give into the fear of facing and discussing painful issues. It's just too damned easy to deny ourselves real and valuable learning, to try (and fail, incidentally) to whitewash history, and to let the looming issues of racism and language become more looming by feeding them with fear and avoidance. And we need novels like Huck Finn (and plays like August Wilson wrote) to remind us that it really isn't easy and that it's not supposed to be easy but that we need to have these discussions anyway.

Off my soapbox now, but, seriously, I thought we knew better than this.