Responding to the Virginia Tech Murders

For my undergraduate Composition Theory and Practice class yesterday (Engl 481), we were slated to talk about a few texts by Johanna Drucker. She's become one of my favorite author/artists to talk about in writing classes, as she vividly argues with type. Her texts work in a variety of ways, but here is one example:

Building off of discussions about conflict in the classroom (via Richard Miller), violence at Virginia Tech, and Drucker's view of the written word—I asked students if they wanted to create a textual memorial about what happened at Virginia Tech.

With twelve letters to cover, they broke into groups of two or three, worked for about fifteen minutes, and then we hung the projects in the wall for a group viewing. Click to enlarge.

Each group talked us through the logic behind their letters. Some groups had free associated on related words beginning with or including their central letter. Another group created a series of stick figures walking around the letter G before the figures meet the phrase "We come together just to fall apart" before they all begin again. The letter C in the bottom row is the trigger of a gun. And so on; each with a logic and plan.

The full text looks like this; click to enlarge.

At the end of class, I asked the class if they wanted to leave our vernacular textual memorial or take it with us. Most seemed to think we should leave it, but a few folks voiced concern about leaving it behind. In what seemed like a thoughtful discussion, we agreed to leave it on the wall of the classroom as one small response to what happened.

1 comment:

  1. very cool, mr. spencer. from my experience, you have always done a great job of allowing current events to mix freely in the vein of academic and classroom discussion. such an important task that few devote themselves to. thank you for sharing the textual memorial.