Friday, October 5, 2012

On First Publication and Giddiness

Oh my goodness, two posts from Jenn in as many weeks.  What brave new world is this?!  One in which I am capable of producing writing, apparently, which is a major relief after feeling "blocked" for so long.

Speaking of writing, some of mine has been published online!  I contributed an essay on teaching medieval history with and through performance for the TEAMS online journal, The Once and Future Classroom.  This essay, and indeed the entire journal issue, came out of a 2011 Kalamazoo panel on teaching medieval narrative and lyric poetry through performance (see Evelyn Vitz's and Nancy Regalado's introduction to the issue here for more on the panel on their websites, Performing Medieval Narrative Today: A Video Showcase and Arthurian Legend in Performance).  In their introduction Vitz and Regalado describe my essay thusly:

In “Teaching Medieval History through Performance in the College Classroom,” Jennifer Lynn Jordan recalls her first experiments as a student using performance as an approach to medieval narratives and lyric poetry in Vitz’s Acting Medieval Literature course. Inspired by this method, Jordan then began viewing historical texts through the lens of performance in her graduate work. She now employs strategies she has learned through performance, as well as performance itself, as a teacher introducing a new generation of students to medieval history.

I spent a lot of time on this piece, partly because I wanted to honor and do justice to the immense influence that Timmie Vitz has generously offered-- and continues to offer!-- for my development as a performer, teacher, scholar, and just all around world citizen, and partly because I found that I was only really coming to understand my approach to teaching and scholarship as I was made to articulate it in writing.  In general I've been looking for (pedagogically and methodologically sound) ways in which to combine my perspective and work as an artist with those as an academic.  I spent along time quite erroneously viewing these two "personas"-- artist and academic-- as clearly delineated and mutually exclusive.  While writing this essay I realized that not only does it not have to be this way, but also that I had been unconsciously drawing on my two sets of experience to inform each other from the get-go.  And rather than weakening or compromising my work, it has enormous potential for strengthening.  Just need to figure out how the pieces fit together!  I think this speaks to the larger problem that was "blocking" my work this summer-- trying too hard to compartmentalizing my work from the rest of my life.  

Anyway, enough navel-gazing.  You can find the entire new issue here, and my contribution here.  Enjoy-- I'd love to hear people's thoughts.  If extra incentive is needed, there are hyperlinks within the essay where you can videos of me playing with texts, puppets, and paintsets over the course of the last ten years are so.  Some are fun, some are embarrassing, and if you watch all of them you can get a general sense of the History of Jenn's Haircuts in the Early 21st Century.  

1 comment:

bwhawk said...

Jenn, congratulations on the first publication--and such a good reflection! I enjoyed reading your essay, and watching some of the performances to get a sense for some of the ideas. I haven't taught for a while (been on administrative assistantship), but will return to the classroom in the spring semester, and will certainly try some of these suggestions out. Thanks for sharing.