Stephen Greenblatt

Black Joy & Black Excellence

with Rosalie Uyola
Monday, October 12, 2020
3 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.

Sign up here by Thursday, October 7.
Live closed captioning will be provided.

Black history and culture in America includes joyful celebrations as well as extraordinary achievements in all areas of life. Because in most schools, the history of Black life focuses on enslavement, the 13th Amendment, Jim Crow, redlining, Brown vs. Board of Ed, and more recently, mass incarceration and police brutality,  this Academy for Teachers presentation will highlight other aspects of Black experience, specifically Black labor and resistance through the lens of the Oak Bluffs community on Martha’s Vineyard and Black Wall Street.

Academy for Teachers Fellow Rosie Jayde Uyola is a K-12 teacher, independent scholar, documentary filmmaker, and a researcher of memory, commemoration, and Black Life and Culture. They also develop open-access digital humanities projects for K-12 education in NYC. Rosie’s publications include “Memory and the Long Civil Rights Movement” in The Seedtime, the Work, and the Harvest: New Perspectives on the Black Freedom Struggle in America, “The Digital City: Memory, History, and Public Commemoration” in Ácoma International Journal of North-American Studies, Italia, “Home Sweet Home – Race, Housing, and the Foreclosure Crisis” in The War on Poverty: A Retrospective, “Race, Empire, and the Rise of the Mortgage Industrial Complex,” The Newark Experience Digital Archive, and “Women in the Black Freedom Movement” in School Series Production of Harriet Tubman, New Jersey Performing Arts Center. They were an NEH Fellow at the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute.

Improv for Teachers of Any Subject

with Elana Fishbein
Thursday, August 13, 2020
11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Teaching and improv have a lot in common. Both require a positive attitude, an embrace of the unpredictable, and a collaborative nature. This workshop is geared for non-theater teachers interested in seeing how improv skills can wake up their teaching, whether in-person or online.

Elana Fishbein is a teacher and improviser at the Magnet Theater in New York City. She has worked with thousands of students of all ages, designing improv curriculum and facilitating workshops for corporations, non-profits, and educational institutions all over the United States and beyond. Elana holds an M.A. in Educational Theater from NYU and a B.A. in Drama from Vassar College. For more information visit her website

Soundtrack of Black Lives Matter: Activist Music in the Classroom

with Maria De Valle, Nicholas Ryan Gant, Janelle Lawrence, Alice Tsui & Martin Urbach
Thursday, August 6, 2020
10 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.

In this hands- and voice-on session for teachers who use (or want to use) music in their classroom, participants will engage in anti-racist, abolitionist, liberatory, community music-making. We will talk about the ways music has been central to liberation movements throughout history, and then work together to make music that responds to the current moment.

Maria De Valle is the CEO of Shine on Kids Arts Initiative. A music teacher with eight years of experience, she has founded music programs in elementary schools throughout the city. Shine on Kids NYC gives families the opportunity to bond, learn, and grow together through musical experiences.

Nicholas Ryan Gant is a New York-based singer/songwriter. A graduate of Howard University, Nicholas works as a vocal coach in the New York area, sings support vocals for the likes of Mariah Carey, Ledisi, Run the Jewels, Sy Smith, Miri Ben-Ari, and Michael McDonald. His latest project, Maze EP, is a collaboration with producer Kriswontwo from Copenhagen, Denmark.

Janelle Lawrence is a writer, composer, performer, and the Artistic Director of Broad Views on Broadway, a non-profit Theatre Company dedicated to equal opportunity and representation of new theatre pieces. Their work has been seen at Club Cumming, Teatro La Tea, Joe’s Pub, and Dixon Place, and they are co-moderator of Musical Theatre Factory’s Women/Trans/Gender Non-Conforming Roundtable and a 2020 Sokoloff Arts Creative Fellow.

Alice Tsui is an Asian American/Chinese American pianist, music educator, scholar, activist, and lifelong Brooklynite. She holds degrees in Piano Performance and Music Education and is completing a doctorate at Boston University. She is the founding music teacher at P.S. 532 New Bridges Elementary, in Crown Heights, and is on the piano faculty at the Manhattan School of Music’s summer program. Alice facilitates freestyle rap, hip-hop, improv, and comedy musical experiences with youth and adults across the U.S. with Freestyle Love Supreme.

Academy Fellow Martin Urbach is a Latinx immigrant, educator, activist, and composer. At school, he creates “liberated spaces” where kids fall in love with music and use music to promote social justice. He is a doctoral candidate in music education at Columbia University, holds a BA in jazz performance from the University of New Orleans, an MA in jazz arts from the Manhattan School of Music, and an Advanced Certificate in Music Education from Brooklyn College. He teaches music at Harvest Collegiate High School in New York City.

Mindfulness for Educators

with April Frazier
Thursday, July 23, 2020
11 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Mindfulness is a practice of bringing non-judgmental awareness and increased presence to what we otherwise do on auto-pilot. This workshop, hosted by Dream See Do, provides resources, practices, and a community for teachers to care for themselves as they care for others. The workshop includes six online exercises during the six days prior to our Thursday session.

April Frazier is the founder of Ahimsa Mindfulness and Yoga Consulting. Her mindfulness training focuses on giving teachers, parents, students, and administrators the tools they need to realize their mission.

Uncut Gems
Screening followed by Q&A with Benny Safdie, co-director

with Benny Safdie
Thursday, July 16, 2020
6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Uncut Gems was a critical favorite last year and Adam Sandler’s standout performance as a fast-talking, Jewish-American gambling addict who runs a jewelry store in the city’s Diamond District, won raves. Following a screening of this award-winning film, Benny Safdie, who directed this film with his brother Josh, will join Academy Fellows and other teachers for a Q&A.

Benny Safdie produces and writes films with his brother Joshua that have premiered at renowned international film festivals including Cannes, Venice, New York Film Festival and Sundance, and exhibited at the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. His films include Uncut Gems, Good Time, Heaven Knows What, Lenny Cooke, and Daddy Longlegs. The Safdie brothers have diverse practices that extend beyond time-based media. Safdie co-founded Mmuseumm with Joshua Safdie and Alex Kalman, a modern natural history museum situated in an elevator shaft in Cortlandt Alley that showcases contemporary artifacts.

Telling Stories Out of School

Thursday, July 9th, 2020
6 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Teachers have the most fascinating, difficult, and important job on the planet, and their workdays are filled with stories. Join us for an evening of teacher stories inspired by an Academy for Teachers master class on storytelling led by Seth Barrish and Mike Birbiglia.

13th: Screening & Discussion

with Dr. Yohuru Williams and Sari Rosenberg
Wednesday, July 1, 2020
7 p.m. – 9:15 p.m.

Join us for an evening of reflection and discussion as we screen 13th, the 2016 documentary by award-winning director Ava DuVernay. The film explores mass incarceration as a form of racialized control—an extension of slavery—and features a host of voices, from Cory Booker and Jelani Cobb to Angela Davis and Khalil Gibran Muhammad.

Dr. Yohuru Williams is the Dean and McQuinn Distinguished Chair of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of St. Thomas. He is an acclaimed activist and scholar who is presently finishing a book entitled In the Shadow of the Whipping Post: Lynching, Capital Punishment, and Jim Crow Justice in Delaware, 1865-1965.

Sari Beth Rosenberg teaches U.S. history at the High School for Environmental Studies. Her gifts in the classroom are matched by her active presence in conversations about the teaching of history. In 2019, she received the 2019 Paul Gagnon Prize by the National Council for History Education, an award that recognizes a K-12 history teacher’s exceptional historical scholarship or contribution to the teaching of history.

Jewish, Christian & Muslim Relations in Medieval Europe

with Sara Lipton
Thursday, January 14, 2021 • Thursday, January 21, 2021
4 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.

We will examine how members of the three monotheistic faiths of medieval Europe viewed each other and interacted with each other. In addition to intolerance and violence, there are also examples of friendship and cooperation. Discussions will be based on a range of primary texts, including a city charter, law codes, chronicles, religious polemics, and works of art and literature.

Sara Lipton is professor of history at Stony Brook University specializing in medieval religion and culture, with a particular focus on Jewish-Christian relations and visual devotion. She has been a Visiting Scholar at Tel Aviv University, the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris, and the University of London, and has held fellowships from Oxford University, the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Lipton has published in numerous academic journals ats well as the New York Times, the New York Review of Books, and the Los Angeles Times. Her most recent book is Dark Mirror: The Medieval Origins of Anti-Jewish Iconography, which won the Association for Jewish Studies’ Jordan Schnitzer Award.

Was Gandhi Racist? And Other Unsettling Questions about African-Indian Entanglements

with Shobana Shankar
Wednesday, March 10, 2021 • Wednesday, March 17, 2021
4 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.

Recent events, from Black Lives Matter demonstrations to Kamala Harris’s nomination, have brought into public discourse a reckoning with the complexity of structural inequality and solidarity movements—what does this mean for relations among people of color? This class will explore the history of this vexing problem through the work of M.K. Gandhi in South Africa and W.E.B Dubois in the U.S., and in the lives of lesser-known figures, many of whom were Africans living in the British Empire, a crucible in which many of today’s racial dilemmas were created.

Shobana Shankar is a socio-cultural historian of West Africa and the Global South at Stony Brook University.  Before that, she worked in research and publishing at UNICEF and as a teacher in the New York City public school system. Her work crosses the fields of history, anthropology, religion, and public health. Her forthcoming book examines how Africans and Indians negotiated their complicated relationships in religion, science, and education in an effort to find postcolonial solidarity and autonomy from Euro-American power. She’s also written on the politics of public health and the history of eugenicist racial practices at the Mississippi State Penitentiary.

Black and white photo of Dr. Max Liborion in front of a microscope

Anti-Colonial Science

with Dr. Max Liboiron
Thursday, January 11, 2021 • Thursday, January 19, 2021
5 p.m. – 6:15 p.m.

Anticolonial science questions and transforms underlying assumptions in Western science that stem from imperialism and mastery. Such assumptions are present throughout STEM, from the study of water cycles, to sample gathering, to data entry, and beyond. In this master class, we’ll identify colonial premises and explore how science can be practiced in a manner that foregrounds good land relations, humility, and gratitude.

Dr. Max Liboiron is associate professor of geography at Memorial University of Newfoundland. She directs the Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action Research, which develops feminist and anti-colonial methodologies to study marine plastic pollution. Dr. Liboiron has played leading roles in the establishment of the field of Discard Studies (the social study of waste and wasting), the Global Open Science Hardware movement, and is a figure in Indigenous science and technology studies and justice-oriented science.

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