Nadia Ellis wins American Cultures Innovation in Teaching Award

Nadia Ellis wins American Cultures Innovation in Teaching Award

Nadia Ellis has won the UC Berkeley 2016 American Cultures Innovation in Teaching Award for her class, "Literature of American Cultures: Immigrant Inscriptions."  

According to the American Cultures website, The Innovation in Teaching Award aims to,

...recognize the use of pedagogical developments to enhance the students’ learning experience in the American Cultures classroom and the standard of excellence in scholarship, fitting with the core intention of the requirement - to create promote the understanding of race, ethnicity and culture in a comparative and integrative fashion.

The course, which Ellis has taught for several years, asks students to critically explore the shifting terrain of race in the United States through the lens of immigrant stories.  This is done through a variety of text, media, and assignments, including asking students to write an immigrant story of their own. In writing about her aims for this course, Ellis states,

I know that I want to introduce younger students at Cal, and more advanced students outside the discipline, to literary and cultural analysis. I know that I want to ground their discoveries about the field in rich and compelling texts where questions of race and culture are centered, not positioned as separate or extraneous problems. I know that it transforms students’ perception of what culture is when they learn literary analysis at the same time as they learn the history of race. My students discover that cultural texts and cultural ideas about race emerge co-extensively. And they learn that novels and films which explicitly engage this fact are amongst the most beautiful, conceptually rich, experimental, and challenging artistic work that there is.