Matthew David Goodwin
Personal Academic Portfolio
My dissertation explores the topic of migration focusing on science fiction works created by artists from Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the United States during the latter half of the twentieth century. Science fiction emerged in its current form during European colonialism— its exploration, invasion, and colonization of places already settled. In my dissertation I have found that Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Latina/o writers and artists work against this coloniality of science fiction. Adál Maldonado’s photo narrative Coconauts in Space, for example, imagines that when NASA landed on the moon in 1969, Puerto Rican astronauts had already arrived, playfully reminding the viewer that before the United States invaded Puerto Rico, people were already there. In Alex Rivera's film Sleep Dealer, Memo (pictured here) uses virtual reality technology not as a "console cowboy" like the heroes of William Gibson's Neuromancer, but as a migrant laborer. These and other works that I explore in my dissertation re-purpose traditional science fiction techniques to creatively express the complexities of contemporary migration.
SCIENCE FICTION MIGRATIONS
Science Fiction Migrations
Science Fiction is populated with migrants, traveling through space, time, and virtual reality. Humans and non-humans travel to new worlds and must face the challenges of learning a new way to survive. Latina/o and Latin American science fiction writers and artists have made use of the medium to represent contemporary migration. This was the topic of my dissertation: The Fusion of Migration and Science Fiction in Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the United States.
Adapting the Oxford Tutorial
In a class I teach such as Junior Year Writing, students often write one major research essay per semester. Three rough drafts of the essay are submitted before the final draft. For each draft, tutorials are held during which two students meet with me outside of class for an hour after having read each other’s essay. In turn they present the main argument of their essays followed by critique and discussion. Students most effectively learn when they put into practice the skills they are learning. The tutorial method makes this possible because the students are asked to defend their own positions and to argue out loud the claims they make silently in their essays. I have noticed that after the tutorials, the class dynamic changes. It is common for students to feel closer to each other and to me, I know how they think and what they need to work on, and they see that I care. They report excitement from the intellectual conversations and often tell me that they could never have imagined such a thing. This modified version of the Oxford tutorial works. It is not as intensive as Oxford’s system where students might have twelve tutorials a semester, but the outcome is similar as students grow in their capability for critical and creative thinking.
ADAPTING THE OXFORD TUTORIAL
When I began teaching in 2002 I started searching for a way to provide my students with a space for stimulating and in-depth dialog. Eventually I found an answer in the Oxford University tutorial system which I adapted for my students. In this method I meet with a pair of students for an intensive discussion of their work. The tutorials are challenging, highly effective, and enormously popular with students.
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