Cultivating the Common Reading

Professors David Vázquez and Sarah Wald will facilitate "Contexts for Teaching Under the Feet of Jesus"

1:00-3:00 PM, Wednesday, May 1, 2019, Ford Alumni Center Ballroom


Please join the UO Common Reading Program and Teaching Effectiveness Program in launching next year's book, Under the Feet of Jesus, by Helena María Viramontes.

The CRP and TEP will host "Contexts for Teaching Under the Feet of Jesus," a pedagogy workshop that includes presentations by Professors Sarah Wald (English and Environmental Studies) and David Vázquez (English), who will share their experiences drawing out and preparing students to work with key themes like environmental justice, migrant labor, and Chicana feminisms.

Workshop participants will receive a copy of the novel and a teaching guide developed by Professor Wald and her graduate students, with feedback from faculty experts across the disciplines.

***Registration is required to attend the workshop. Click here to register via MyTrack.***

Under the Feet of Jesus urges consideration of the economic and familial challenges facing migrant farm workers. The novel chronicles the experiences of Estrella, a Mexican American teenager who struggles to realize her identity while she helps her family to farm the grape fields of California. As the novel unfolds, Estrella must learn how to make a living and cope with complex relationships in spite of the horrific conditions assigned to migrant workers.

In a recent feature by the CRP and Around the O, Professor Wald calls the novel a vital opportunity to reflect on our personal relationships to race, class, gender, land, and labor. Wald reminds us that "the majority of fruits and vegetables that we eat here in the US were picked by hand by farm workers, so we are very literally consuming pieces of fruit and vegetables that have touched the flesh of farm workers, and yet we very rarely think about the sacrifices and the hardships of their lives." The novel "brings us into that world."

Professor Vázquez adds that the novel compels us to think about "labor justice and farm worker justice - so not just focusing on what it takes to make our food, but the . . . unjust conditions that [migrant workers] need to endure just to make a living."

Professor Wald and Vázquez's contributions to the CRP are just the latest in a remarkable series of projects devoted to Latinx environmentalism, including their work co-organizing the Emerald Earth Film Festival.

Don't miss this special opportunity to talk with colleagues about how we can teach such a rich work in vibrant, collaborative intellectual community.