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Teaching Conversations: Why I Teach...

We engage with the core texts of the humanistic tradition for many reasons. This ongoing series of teaching conversations for teaching assistants, faculty, and staff seeks to gather our community around the joy of teaching and living along with these core texts. Talks will approach their chosen text from a range of perspectives, including effective and engaging ways to present the text, reflections on the value of including the text in the course, and how to make connections between the text and student writing.

We hope that this teaching conversation series is an opportunity to experience what our students are learning in the Humanities and how we engage students in the classroom. We hope that, through your participation in the conversations, you will be better equipped to help students navigate the Humanities sequence.

For any questions, please contact Bretton Rodriguez at

Spring 2024

Week Date Presenter Topic
5 May 1 Nicole Kenley Why I Teach Raymond Chandler's Farewell, My Lovely
8 May 22 Amanda Solomon Amorao Why I Teach Lê Thị Diễm Thúy's The Gangster We Are All Looking For


Fall 2023

Presenter Topic
Bretton Rodriguez Why I Teach Sappho
Bryan Santin Why I Teach James Baldwin's The Fire Next Time
Matthew Crum Why I Teach Mazaris' Journey to Hades

Winter 2024

Presenter Topic
Denise Demetriou Why I Teach Margaret Atwood's The Penelopiad
Tatiana Zavodny Why I Teach Moderata Fonte's The Merits of Women
Todd Kontje Why I Teach Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe


Fall 2022

Presenter Topic
Geoff West Why I Teach Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz

Winter 2023

Presenter Topic
Antony Lyon Why I Teach Walt Whitman
Eric Watkins Why I Teach The Declaration of Independence
Stephen Cox Why I Teach the Gospels

Spring 2023

Presenter Topic
Kristina Markman Why I Teach The Travels of Sir John Mandeville
Stan Chodorow Why I Teach Eschenbach’s Parzival
Matthew Herbst Why I Teach Athanasius' Life of St Anthony