General Topics–Some favorite topics that can be covered in most intro level humanities courses.
Reproductive Justice–An excellent, open source primer.
Reproductive Justice–Another excellent, open source primer, but more concise.
Hankivsky – Intersectionality 101 – 2014–A primer on the concept. After this, I usually have students do a short writing exercise in class or as a Blackboard quiz to have students illustrate their own intersectionality by coming up with a metaphor. Many students choose one from the reading and explain how it pertains to them and some students come up with very original ideas. Either way, it seems to help move the concept from theory to praxis.
Cassandra Among the Creeps–A great piece about how men reject women’s pain and women’s testimony to further patriarchal institutions. Perhaps particularly important if you are teaching about the Kavanaugh atrocity.
Capitalism–I wish this weren’t true but students are just more willing to hear criticism’s of capitalism from a white guy billionaire. Luckily, we have one offering some important critiques. I like to note that this talk was given in 2014 and since then the US government has doubled and tripled down on tax cuts for the wealthiest among us.
Income Inequality–Why, and how, it’s bad.
Wealth Gap–Last Week Tonight is a gift from the gods of teaching. It’s funny and, at the same time, is an example of what good research and critical thinking skills look like. It’s also 30 minutes at most so it fits even into a 50 minute class. I like to show this video the day after the Income Inequality video above. If the first clip illustrates the harms of income inequality this one does a pretty good job of explaining the politics of why it persists in the US and how it’s getting worse.
Last Week Tonight–Well, since I mentioned it . . .
Gender Pay Gap–This one is short (under 8 minutes) and you can play the whole thing or the fake ad for LadyBucks starting at 5:57. However, I would really encourage showing the whole thing because there’s something about the line, “If someone takes a dump on my desk the size of the dump is not the issue.” I know it seems weird but if you are teaching feminist, gender or women’s studies in any way that one analogy in this episode can get you so much traction. Time and again students will want to bring things back to, “But women are almost equal in X,” or “But things in X are so much better for women than they were Y years ago” and something about being able to say, “Remeber, if you take a dump on my desk the size of the dump is not the issue” really forces them to focus on the ideology behind inequality. Listen, I wish there was a more eloquent, less scatological, way to get students to viscerally understand this concept but I just haven’t found one. In my 8 years of teaching about gender and sexuality this is the thing that gets the point across the most.
Miss America–This is another one where you can show the whole episode or the mini-pageant that sums up most of the main points of the episode which starts at 12:30 (but I would show the whole episode because it’s amazing).
Sex Ed–Yet again, you can show all 18 minutes or the summary clip starting at minute 17:53.
Medicaid Gap–If I’m teaching about the 2016 election, or if I were teaching now with the midterms approaching, I would 1000% show this video. “Economic anxiety” was listed as a reason that a lot of people voted for Trump in 2016 and that anxiety, when it was located, was often tied to healthcare costs. This video lays out, in detail, how Republicans exacerbated the healthcare crisis by refusing free money and voters, who did not know this, were angry at the ACA for not working.
International Women’s Day–If you happen to be teaching on March 8th then this is for you.
Student Debt–This may fuck them up a bit but they do deserve to know.
The 2016 Election
GOP Rape Advisory Chart–Difficult, but essential, to read and to understand the misogyny of the US and the Republican party.
Welcome to Leith–Very hard to watch, but important to understand how white supremacy has been flourishing in the US since well before 2016.
“White Working Class” Narrative Is Nothing But A Racist Dog Whistle--A great piece about the myth of the white working class and the supposed economic anxiety that supported Trump.
The Lonely Legion–An incredibly important piece about why men are lonely, how women act as emotional bandaids, and why this makes men vulnerable to radicalization by white supremacists and misogynist groups.
Men Just Don’t Trust Women. And This Is A Problem.–An honest piece from one of my favorite authors.
As I mentioned earlier, I often begin class with a comedy clip vaguely related to something we’re talking about that day. Pedagogically, I do this because laughter releases serotonin which helps the brain store material in long-term memory. I also use a lot of these clips to remind students that we can bring a sense of lightness to serious subjects. It’s also a quick way to get students’ attention and can buy you an extra 3-5 minutes at the beginning of class if you need a moment to catch your breath for any reason. With that said, here are some of my favorite clips to begin class.
Let’s Generalize About Men–I love to use this clip to convey the absurdity of generalizing and also to cut through the sense of tension students can bring to class when we are talking about men or masculinity.
Very Adult Lesson on the 4 Sentence Types–Very much what it sounds like. You will know if your class can handle this type of comedy and it’s not appropriate for all institutions (I’m looking at you Christian colleges). I will say, it’s impossible to forget the sentence types after this clip.
Unlearn Toxic Masculinity–We don’t deserve Nore Davis. This routine touches on everything from what it means to be woke to student loans. ❤
Treat Nazis Like You Treat Women–‘Nough said.
On Growing Up Religious & Abstinent–If you’re teaching about sex-ed in the US this is a great one to start the day with.
Not An Alpha Male–Again, a great way to cover types of masculinity. Also, racism.
Aparna Nancherla–Is amazing and you should show all of her clips in your class at some point.
Ivan Decker–I will never not show this routine in a class.
Matthew Broussard–I love to use this clip before talking about sexuality to introduce students to using correct anatomical terms.
Inside the Duggars’ Dark World–My piece on the Duggars for the Ms. blog. It’s also about Christian Nationalism and misogyny.
Indiana’s Dangerous Anti-Abortion Laws are Mike Pence’s Legacy–Another piece for Ms. (always honored to work with them) that’s mostly about Christian Nationalism, misogyny, and state power.
Review: Dirty Computer–I got to co-author a review of my favorite artists with one of my favorite people and someone published it!