Thinking Its Presence 2017 has ended
Events from 9:00am to 5:00pm are open only to registered attendees. Please register before October 9, 2017 at https://universityofarizonapoetrycenter.submittable.com/submit/81274/pre-registration-thinking-its-presence-2017-conference-university-of-arizon. For more information, please visit https://poetry.arizona.edu/TIP2017.
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Saturday, October 21 • 2:00pm - 3:50pm
Addressing Structural Racism

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Addressing Structural Racism in Creative Writing Programs
Event Description:
Often times we think that diversifying the pool of students or faculty will make a creative writing more inclusive. This panel of writers, some of whom teach in big public universities and some who teach at small elite colleges, will discuss some of the institutional and structural barriers to inclusive programs. We will look at both graduate and undergraduate creative writing programs and consider financial, curricular, programmatic and pedagogical frameworks that by nature disproportionately exclude students of color. It is our hope to initiate a conversation with attendees that can highlight some of the major issues and generate creative approaches and/or alternative structures.
A diverse and inclusive creative writing classroom is vital to the success of that classroom as well as a vital part of addressing larger social and political issues surrounding race. Yet students of color are badly underrepresented in the average creative writing classroom. In one undergraduate creative writing program, for example, in the 2014-2015 academic year students of color—who made up around 20% of the college’s undergraduates—made up 6% of the students majoring in creative writing. In 2015-2016 year, they were around 10% of students majoring in creative writing. Most writers of color have had the experience of teaching workshops in which there were only one or two students of color, and sometimes there were none.
We all know that the issues around student of color enrollment in higher education are more than skin deep, but if anything that makes the issue of inclusivity even more pressing. The cultural and racial homogeneity of creative writing programs is self-perpetuating. Some of the issues surrounding low enrollment of students of color in both undergraduate and graduate creative writing programs is social and cultural, but some of it is structural and pedagogical.
We will propose several solutions to address inclusivity, including pedagogical, curricular, structural and programmatic.

avatar for Ruth-Ellen Kocher

Ruth-Ellen Kocher

Professor and Divisional Dean for Arts and Humanities, University of Colorado- Boulder
Ruth Ellen Kocher is the author of seven books, most recently Third Voice (Tupelo Press, 2016), nominated for the 2017 Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards, Ending in Planes (Noemi Press, 2014), Goodbye Lyric: The Gigans and Lovely Gun (Sheep Meadow Press, 2014), domina Un/blued (Tupelo Press... Read More →
avatar for Carmen Giménez Smith

Carmen Giménez Smith

Carmen Giménez Smith recently co-edited the anthology Angels of the Americplyse: New Latin@ Writing (Counterpath, 2014). Her most recent poetry collection, Milk and Filth was a finalist for the NBCC. A CantoMundo Fellow, she is the publisher of Noemi Press. Her newest collection... Read More →

Saturday October 21, 2017 2:00pm - 3:50pm PDT
Poetry Center Conference Room 207 Poetry Center