Professor Carroll designed the winter 2014 undergraduate seminar “The Scene of Instruction? An Ethnic Studies Inflected Creative Writing Seminar” in partial response to questions posed by the poet Claudia Rankine about race and writing. The class, primarily housed in American Culture, but also in English Language and Literature and Latina/o Studies, became something else, though, over the course of the semester—a performance crafted by all of its participants.
Students in this seminar used a variety of mediums and forums to test the bounds of their own writing, viewing, and reading comfort zones. They produced work each week in response to challenging texts assigned for the seminar. For instance, Sara Morosi published an editorial in The Michigan Daily “We’re all in this together” in which she contemplates both the meaning of a short essay by African-American poet and critic Harryette Mullen, assigned for "The Scene of Instruction?," and Michigan's campus climate. Additionally, in a project that emerged organically out of conversations in and outside of class meetings, all of the seminar's participants designed portraits of themselves and each other. Below find a virtual gallery of their efforts, which double as portraits of some of the undergraduate students who choose to study American Culture at the University of Michigan.