NOLA Divided: Race in the Big Easy Syllabus

ENGL 490 NOLA Divided: Race in the Big Easy

(Pandemic Syllabus 1.0: Nothing is Normal or Okay Yet, and I Can’t Pretend It Is) 

Dr. Shanna Salinas
English 490: Advanced Literary Studies (Fall 2022)
Class Time and Location: TTh 12:10-2pm, Dewing 307
E-mail Address:  

Office: Humphrey House 108 
Student Hours: Thursday, 2:15-4:00 pm
(and by appointment)

NOLA Divided: Race in the Big Easy

What is memory? What is identity? And how do we understand the relationship between these two concepts, particularly for communities once defined as commodities? Research suggests the significance of origins in the formation of individual and collective identity. However, for the African Diaspora, heritage, roots, and associated memory are traversed by trauma and displacement engendered by slavery, the middle passage, and contemporary structural oppressions. This course explores the different labors that slavery and the memory of slavery perform in the development of New Orleans as a city and the relationship between its composite populations.

This course participates in the Mellon-funded Humanities Integrated Locational Learning (HILL) curriculum and contributes to a “Beyond Kalamazoo” Cluster focused on New Orleans with three other courses: ARTX225 Public Art and Its Publics (Dr. Christine Hahn), ENGL490: NOLA Divided: Race in the Big Easy (Dr. Shanna Salinas), and SEMN295/MUSC295 The World Through New Orleans (Dr. Beau Bothwell). While these courses will function independently, they are united by their engagement with New Orleans as a historical and contemporary site, as well as the way they draw from humanistic inquiry to construct justice-based notions of land, place, and belonging in response to humanistic concerns and social inequities (i.e., systemic racism, body and border policing, economic inequity, global warming, etc.). Students registered for the New Orleans cluster courses are eligible to apply for a partial-unit experiential social justice research seminar in New Orleans (November 26th – December 2nd, 2022).  More details on the seminar and application process are included on page 9 of the syllabus.

Required Texts

George Washington Cable, The Grandissimes 
Alice Dunbar-Nelson, The Goodness of St. Rocque and Other Stories 
Natasha Trethewey, Bellocq’s Ophelia 
Patricia Smith, Blood Dazzler 
Rebecca Solnit and Rebecca Snedeker, Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas 
Supplemental Reading Materials available on Moodle  

Required Films and Television 

“New Orleans, Louisiana” Street Food USA (streaming on Netflix) 
“Bitchcraft,” American Horror Story: Coven (streaming on Hulu) 
Angel Heart (streaming free on PlutoTV) 
Pretty Baby (streaming free on Hoopla with library card; or DailyMotion: part one + part two
Mardi Gras documentary (streaming free on YouTube) 
We Won’t Bow Down (streaming free on YouTube) 
“You Can’t Stop Spirit,” New York Times short film (streaming free on NYT site) 
Trouble the Water (streaming free on Kanopy) 

Grade Breakdown

Discussion Leader/Presentation Respondent 10%
Seminar ProjectPercentage
Analytical Presentation (5-7 pages)15%
Critical Dialogue and Analysis (3-4 pages)15%
Annotated Bibliography (in-progress + final)10%
Research Paper (12-20 pages)20%
Mapping Project + Presentation20%


I have designed this course with the vision of creating a student-generated classroom that centers a multi-tiered, quarter-long “seminar project,” wherein students will focus on one text across various types of assignments (i.e., a research paper, a critical dialogue, a digitized map entry, an “alternative” mapping project). The overall course design and assignments are created to reflect this investment: your seminar project will, in effect, culminate in a longer research paper and a mapping component, one that we work toward with a series of interconnected assignments that explore, expand, and develop an engagement with one core text in our course. Your ongoing individual development of research, literary analysis, and critical engagement across various academic approaches will comprise the majority of your course grade.   

To that end, I have provided you with the materials and the structure to sustain the conversations we’ll have throughout the quarter. My function in the room will be to serve as a facilitator and co-collaborator. Of utmost importance is to consider our conversations as a way to assist yourself and your peers’ primary interests and to help each other refine and develop a seminar project.  

Seminar Project

The seminar project is designed to mimic the type of engagement and structured development that you would undertake in a SIP. The project has been scaffolded so that you execute different elements in stages in order to produce a substantial research paper by the end of the course. These assignments are all designed to build off of each other, and they can be used cumulatively, meaning that you can repurpose portions from each assignment toward another as they best serve your purposes. Please note: You will choose one course text and the entirety of the seminar project will be focused accordingly. In other words, your selected seminar text will be your primary focus for both analysis and research throughout the term across all assignments in this course.  

Choose one of the following texts for your seminar project:  

  • George Washington Cable, The Grandissimes 
  • Robert Tallant, Voodoo in New Orleans  
  • George Washington Cable, “The Haunted House on Royal Street” 
  • “Bitchcraft,” AHS: Coven 
  • Angel Heart 
  • Alice Dunbar-Nelson, The Goodness of St. Rocque   
  • Natasha Trethewey, Bellocq’s Ophelia  
  • Pretty Baby 
  • We Won’t Bow Down 
  • You Can’t Stop Spirit 
  • Patricia Smith, Blood Dazzler 
  • Trouble the Water 

Since this course employs a student-led and generated model, it will require advanced preparation and active individualized planning to execute. Accordingly, students will need to be proactive throughout the term and construct a research schedule that will ensure successful progress. With this in mind, I suggest the following timeline, which will designate both required and recommended deadlines.  

Week Two Thursday (Required): Deadline to select seminar text (a google doc sign-up roster will be provided via email and on Moodle. We will confirm final selections in class on Thursday of 2nd week).  

Week Three Thursday (Required): Sign up for your Weeks 4-7 Respondent/Discussion Leader text (Reminder: You must sign up for a text and thematic unit that differs from your seminar text) 

Weeks Three-Five (Recommended): Find/Skim 2-3 outside sources for your Annotated Bibliography each week. 

Week Three Friday (Required): Read/Skim or view as much of your seminar text as possible. This approach enables students to begin research for the annotated bibliography due week 5. This timeline also ensures that students interested in applying for the New Orleans Cluster Seminar will have an operational understanding of their text and research interests by the week 4 Monday deadline.   

Week Seven Thursday (Required): Sign up for your Weeks 8-10 Respondent/Discussion Leader text (Reminder: You must sign up for a text and thematic unit that differs from your seminar text) 

Weeks One-Ten (Recommended): Read/Consider two maps per week from Solnit and Snedeker, Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas to assist your thinking about the “placeness” of New Orleans. Reflect on approaches to and conceptualizations of space, plus modes of mapping utilized, as pre-work for your mapping project.   

Weeks One-Ten (Recommended): Keep a New Orleans Location Journal (a google doc or word doc is fine) where you log references to specific locations in NOLA mentioned in your seminar text and in your research. Keeping track of these references, with page numbers and content relevance, will be a invaluable resource when you start working on your mapping project. 

Analytical Presentation (15%) 


DUE: In accordance with the allotted day for your chosen seminar text

There are two components to this assignment: 1) the analytical presentation and 2) the workshop discussion that follows. Each presentation will be approximately 40-45 minutes in length. You will be graded on the strength of your analysis, the clarity of your delivery, and the questions and feedback you offer during workshop discussions throughout the quarter. You will receive a written evaluation from me within a week of your presentation; in it, I will assess your analytical argument and presentation, as well as give you suggestions for how to develop your work further.  

The in-class presentation: In advanced seminars (and at professional conferences in our field), the typical format for presentations is the delivery of a 10-20 minute talk, during which you read an analytical interpretation of the assigned text/s. For our purposes, we will approach this presentation like a works-in-progress workshop, wherein you present a short paper (approximately 5-7 pages), then announce questions (usually 3 questions will guarantee enough material with which to work) that develop and build from the core ideas in your analysis. These questions are largely grounded in ideas you’re still working through: are there moments in your analysis that you’re struggling to resolve? Are there elements within your primary text that you can’t reconcile given your approach? Are there crucial moments in the text (a film sequence, a passage from a novel, a concept from a piece of criticism) that you haven’t incorporated yet and want to discuss further? Are there important themes or ideas that you feel connect to your analysis and you want to brainstorm ways to make those conversant with the work you’re already doing in your analysis? In the discussion that follows your presentation, your respondents and I, with help from your other classmates, will help you work through the questions you have posed. This is your time to collaborate with knowledgeable peers about the material and your argument, with an eye toward the next steps in the development of your analysis for the research paper.  

The content of your analysis can pull from other texts: a comparison with another piece of literature, the use of an assigned critical essay, the use of outside critical or historical research, the application of theory, etc. Or, you can simply offer an extended analysis of your primary text. What you’re presenting is simply where you are at that moment in the process.  

The workshop discussion: The questions you pose about your work will be the foundation upon which we build a class. The objective is to raise specific concerns that we can address together. To that end, please submit your paper and your core questions in advance of your presentation so that your respondents and I can better prepare to address your concerns. Please send a Google Docs link of your paper to our course alias ( by 9pm EST the day prior to your presentation. This platform will allow for greater ease with sharing, enable your peers to comment directly on the paper itself, and give me the ability to track and credit your peers’ feedback.  

Discussion Leader/Respondent Role (10%) 

To help lessen anxiety about the need to read all of the texts for this course thoroughly, each student will serve as a Discussion Leader/Presentation Respondent twice during the term (first in Weeks 4-7 and again in Weeks 8-10), both times with 2-3 other classmates, though you need not work/prepare together in advance. In this capacity, you will be expected to read (and/or view) all of that day’s course material with great care and thoroughness, to the extent that you’d feel comfortable doing a presentation about the assigned texts. In effect, you will serve as our designated “experts” for our discussion and will also undertake the following: 1) read the Analytical Presentation/s in advance of class, 2) offer both in-class and written feedback to the presenter/s on Google Docs, and 3) help lead and sustain discussion of the course material after the presentation/s.  

Please Note

Your Discussion Leader/Presentation Respondent days cannot be the same as your Analytical Presentation; nor should they be on the same topic or text.

Respondent Feedback Expectations: Please read through the Analytical Presentation paper/s, in advance of that day’s class, with the writer’s concerns and questions in mind. You can elect to offer written feedback at that time, or wait until after the presentation and discussion. This feedback can be as straightforward as “I really like this portion of your analysis because your argument was really clear and purposeful” or “I think this point needs to be developed more” with suggestions about what needs clarifying and/or ways the writer can do so. Your feedback should be added no later than Friday by 11:59pm EST via track changes in the Google Doc.   

Annotated Bibliography (10%) 


DUE: In-Progress Annotated Bibliography, Sunday, 10/17 by 11:59pm EST, with final version submitted with the Research Paper  

Research scholarly criticism on the primary text/s in your presentation 

  • Annotate 10 sources (peer-reviewed journal articles or books on your selected text and/or subject; acceptable variations: theory/criticism, historical, cultural, etc.) 
  • Use at least five of these sources in your research paper (due Wednesday, 11/23 by noon EST) 
  • Submit the final, revised draft of your annotated bibliography with your research paper 
  • Each annotation should be approximately ¾- 1 full page in length and should present the following scope: 1) full MLA citation of source 2) a brief summation of the source itself, which would include the author’s main argument and methodology or theoretical intervention. You will resubmit this annotated bibliography with your final research paper, in which your annotations will be expanded to include one additional component: 3) an explanation of how this source is useful, i.e., how you’re engaging the source and/or how the source helps you to advance your specific analytical argument.  

Critical Dialogue and Analysis (15%) 


DUE: Saturday, 11/5 by 11:59pm EST 

This assignment is designed with the following objectives in mind: 1) to help you hone the way you frame criticism within your analysis 2) to guide you in how to posit your entry into a critical dialogue within a field of existing scholarship and 3) to practice this kind of critical intervention prior to the submission of your research paper. 

Write a 3-4 page paper on your chosen course text that places two critical essays about that text (or subject matter) in dialogue with one another. After establishing a critical dialogue, you will use that foundation as framework to inform your analysis. There are many ways to conceptualize this work, but ultimately it requires that you solidly introduce the overarching argument within your respective critical essays, synthesize the way in which their interventions overlap or work in contestation with one another, and use this synthesis to triangulate your analysis accordingly.  

The strongest approach will consider these developmental steps:  

  1. The way your respective critics highlight a particular theme that has been a primary focal point for this course (history, invention or construction, territorialization, race, language, gender, sexuality, etc.) 
  2. An exploration of the dialogue that emerges within the overlap in how your selected critics consider that theme in relation to your chosen text 
  3. Your original analysis of that theme in your chosen text 
  4. A consideration of how this analytical foundation informs a greater understanding of the use of NOLA as an experienced or imagined space 

Here’s a suggested structure that might help you execute the assignment in an effective manner:  

  • Standard introduction that situates your analysis of your chosen text. In this case, your critical essays are secondary rather than primary sources, so they do not need to included. If you have already done your Analytical Presentation, it is absolutely fine to copy/paste from that existing document 
  • A summary/overview or explication of Critical Essay 1 (approximately 1/2 page; feel free to borrow exact language from your Annotated Bibliography) 
  • A summary/overview or explication of Critical Essay 2 (approximately 1/2 page; feel free to borrow exact language from your Annotated Bibliography) 
  • Critical dialogue synthesis, wherein you establish the conversation between these critical ideas or arguments (1-2 pages) 
  • A summative paragraph that announces your analytical intervention and application to your course text (this will function as your conclusion) 

Research Paper (20%) 


Due Wednesday, 11/23 by noon EST 

Build off the approach you used in the Analytical Presentation and/or Critical Dialogue and Analysis assignment to write a 12-20 page paper based on the research you undertook on your selected presentation text/s. Of utmost importance is to center and to advance your analytical argument, but to do so while framing the critical dialogue of scholars within the field. This expertise can encompass periodization (e.g., American Realism and Local Color Fiction as particular fields of study); textual (what analyses preeminent scholars have advanced about The Grandissimes); authorial (what analyses preeminent scholars have advanced about George Washington Cable and his literary canon); theoretical (how structural or post-structural theory influences an analysis of the word “Creole” and how it is being “manipulated” within the novel); historical (The Louisiana Purchase and U.S. territorialization within New Orleans); cultural (social practices—like the masquerade balls—of the Creole elite.)  

Papers should be formatted according to MLA: one-inch margins, 12-point font, Times New Roman, last name and page number in header at top right, parenthetical in-text citations, a Works Cited page, and Annotated Bibliography. 

Mapping Project and Presentation (20%) 


A Literary Guide to New Orleans entry due: Monday 11/21 by 5pm EST 

Alternative Map and Mapping Project Presentation: Tuesday, 11/23 during our final exam period, 8:30-11am (or alternate day/time arranged in advance by class vote)  

There are two mapping components to this assignment. The first will be an entry into our course’s A Literary Guide to New Orleans site.* This entry should be approximately 4 pages in length and will blend the analysis in your research paper alongside an analysis of your text’s locational significance within New Orleans.  We will be using Google Maps, or some other type of GPS-dependent program to affix your entry to a particular point on a digitized map of NOLA. This location can be a particular site (the Lalaurie House), a street (one of the streets on the Mardi Gras route), a neighborhood (The French Quarter), etc. Ideally, your coverage of the text’s locational significance will contextualize the specific history embedded at the site, as well as its contemporary use and/or relevance. Of particular importance is to ensure that your textual analysis and research work cooperatively with the site location analysis. In other words, your textual analysis and research should inform the way you read and understand it as a site during your text’s time period and within contemporary New Orleans.  
*Information on host site and uploading instructions TBA 

The second mapping entry will use Rebecca Solnit and Rebecca Snedeker’s Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas as a model for an alternative map—in both form and concept—of your literary site. Use the following excerpt from their introduction as guidance for formal concerns:  

Most people don’t use paper maps anymore. Instead, they use digital data devices—their smartphones, GPS devices that issue voice commands, or various versions of MapQuest and Google maps that generate specific directions. The problem with these technologies is that though they generally help get you where you’re going, that’s all they do. With a paper map, you take charge; with these other means, you take orders and don’t learn your way around, any more than you learn math by using a calculator. A map shows countless routes; a computer-generated itinerary shows one. Using the navigational aids, you remain dependent, and your trajectory requires obedience to the technology—some GPS devices literally dictate voice commands you are meant to obey. When you navigate with a paper map, tracing your own route rather than having it issued as a line, a list, or a set of commands, you incrementally learn the lay of the land. The map becomes obsolete as you become oriented. The map is then no longer on paper in front of you but inside you; many maps are, as you contain knowledge of many kinds of history and community in one place. You no longer need help navigating but can offer it. You become a map, and atlas, a guide, a person who has absorbed maps, or who needs no map intermediaries because you know the place and the many ways to here from there.

(4-5, emphasis added) 

Using your knowledge of this site as the grounding for your design, create a map that conceptualizes and represents the simultaneity of history, community, culture, systems of territorializing power, etc. embedded in this location. Your medium, materials, scale, and means of representation are part of the process of encoding and revealing the place. 

During our scheduled final exam time, you will present both of these maps. (Everyone in class will have your mapping entry for A Literary Guide to New Orleans in advance of your presentation.) This presentation should be approximately 10 minutes and needs to detail the anchoring locational foundation for each map individually. After you establish a point of comparison in terms of content and approach, your presentation should emphasize the interplay of meaning established between these site maps.  

Assignment Guidelines and Submission Procedures

Assignment Extensions and Late Assignments

The assignment deadlines are structured in a way to keep you advancing forward in this course and to ensure that the work is spread out and balanced. Each deadline is a hard deadline, meaning that is when the assignment should be completed. I am happy to give extensions with no grade penalty (up to one week after the allotted deadline) for any assignment except the Analytical Presentation and the Respondent Participation and Feedback. Please email me in advance of the deadline if you will be requesting an extension. In that email, we will arrange for and finalize a new deadline. I will accept late assignment submissions only if an extension was requested. If you are unable to complete the assignment in accordance with the new deadline, I will accept a late submission up to two weeks after the original deadline, with a full letter grade reduction.  

Assignment Submissions 

All written assignments should follow MLA guidelines: one-inch margins, 12-point font, Times New Roman, last name and page number in header at top right, parenthetical in-text citations, and a Works Cited page. Please consult a writing handbook, or ask me, if you are unsure about proper formatting. Submit assignments as a Word or PDF document to our course Moodle site. (I have spent the entirety of my teaching career doing everything possible to avoid using Moodle, but I can avoid it no longer. Ours will be a sparsely designed and used site, existing mostly as an assignment submission repository.) 

The Honor System and Academic Honesty 

This course operates under the College Honor System. Academic honesty is a critical part of our value system at K. When you borrow an idea or phrasing from another author, website, etc., whether intentional or unintentional, without attributing credit to that person or source is considered plagiarism. Plagiarism is a serious academic offense, and it will be treated as such. All cases of plagiarism will be reported to the Dean of Students for further investigation and disciplinary action will be taken accordingly. Course penalty will be determined on a case-by-case basis according to the level and severity of the plagiarism: 1) “Accidental” plagiarism stemming from improper in-text citation: resubmission with grade reduction 2) All other forms of plagiarism will result in a failing score on the paper assignment AND an automatic failing grade in the course.  

Learning and Course Expectations

Learning During a Pandemic

As evidenced by my course syllabus subtitle, “Pandemic Syllabus 1.0: Nothing is Normal or Okay Yet, and I Can’t Pretend It Is,” I am particularly attuned to the fact that we are attempting to learn under exceedingly challenging circumstances. Unpredictability is exhausting. Social re-integration can be and feel vexed for some. Many of us are grieving across a wide spectrum of experiences and, through it all, we have been struggling to produce meaningful work for almost two years. In consideration of these conditions, I have altered the design of this course in several ways: 1) scaling back on the amount and page lengths of the writing assignments, 2) implementing a Discussion Leader/Presentation Respondent role that will allow students to prioritize certain course readings, and 3) implementing more lenient policies for assignment extensions, late assignments, missing assignments, and attendance. Please contact me if you find yourself struggling to attend class and/or complete assignments so that we can be proactive in our approach to your overall learning and ensure you are able to pass this course.  

Classroom Community

I approach the classroom as a space of collaboration. We come together to share experiences, insights, opinions, and analyses, while we strive to learn more about ourselves, each other, and the world around us. In our time together, we will engage critically with material that depicts violence, racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, and classism, along with other topics that may provoke intense emotional responses. We will engage in conversations about social inequity and the legacies of historical trauma, some of which will be intensely personal to some students in the class and unsettling or uncomfortable for others. Discomfort can take many forms and, in many cases, is a productive site for learning and personal growth. It is important to hold space for such discomfort and confront it when possible. As the instructor of this course, I will always strive to facilitate our conversations in ways that acknowledges disparate experiences and positionalities, while being attentive to historical structures and social conditions that have, and continue to make, certain spaces less safe for some people. We must all work toward the creation of a collaborative learning community, so please come to our discussions with generosity, care, and vigilance, with the intent to value the insights, circumstances, experiences, and needs of your classmates. While a “safe space” is the ideal, what we hope to achieve is a “brave space,” wherein we are as deeply invested in the learning of others as we are our own, and we expect dedication and accountability from ourselves and others. Likewise, please be fully present during our discussions, which includes using laptops only to access our course readings and not using your phone in class. If you have a personal issue that will necessitate monitoring your phone, please keep it on vibrate and leave the classroom to communicate as needed.  

Learning and Engagement Practices

Learning and achievement in academia have, historically, been gauged and assessed through grades. While grades can be one indicator of academic success, it is by no means the only, or even the primary gauge. Very frequently, the most valuable things we learn from a course are intangible, or even exist outside the reading material or assignments. If receiving an A in this course is something you desire, I have structured the course to make that a possibility for every student (i.e., offering revision opportunities, lower-stakes writing assignments, and a variety of course engagement approaches that aren’t reliant on writing excellence or mastery). However, aside from grades and assignments, I also urge you to set defined learning goals for this course (and in each course you take, actually) as well as a way to assess your progress in meeting these goals. Goals should be particular to your continued growth as a writer and a learner but can also be about your personal or social growth. They can run the gamut from writing goals (e.g., “learn to write strong thesis statements”), to time management and organization (e.g., “I will start writing paper drafts three days earlier than the deadline so I can attend office hours for feedback and guidance”), to personal development (e.g., “I want to be more comfortable sharing my ideas in class” or “I will befriend someone I don’t know”). Keep one, or even a couple of goals, each quarter, set guidelines and expectations about what meeting these goals means, and implement a system for assessing and meeting those goals at the end of each term. 


In light of our ongoing struggles with COVID-19 variants, I have elected not to implement a punitive attendance policy, as per the college’s recommendation that students (and faculty) not attend class if they have tested positive, been exposed, or feel any associated symptoms. If you feel sick, 1) please do not come to class, 2) go to Student Health for a Covid test, and 3) upon testing positive, contact me immediately about how best to keep up with discussion and assignments. While there is no punitive attendance policy, being in class regularly will aid in your overall success in this course; if you find yourself in a position where you have missed more than 6 classes, please contact me about how to proceed. Note: While the College has shifted to a mask-optional policy, I will require everyone be masked, with complete nose and mouth coverage at all times, during class and in my office. This policy reflects my belief that masking is an act of solidarity: a concrete effort we can and should undertake to protect the immunocompromised and other vulnerable communities at K and beyond. We all must do our utmost to ensure those around us are safe and well. Anyone not in compliance with this policy will be asked to leave the classroom.  


I appreciate lively conversations, where everyone contributes and talks to each other. I love excited investment in the materials we’re discussing. At the same time, I would like to acknowledge that there are numerous ways to participate that do not involve speaking in class regularly: active listening, eye-contact, note-taking, following along in your book, etc., are all participatory modes of engagement. Asking questions and volunteering to read a passage aloud are contributions to our discussion, with as much value as answering a question or offering an analysis. Above all else, our objective is to learn together. When I ask a question, I am not looking for, or expecting, a particular answer. I want to know what you think and how you’re processing our class material. You can and should move through our conversations as you would if you were talking in everyday life: it’s okay to backtrack to a previous topic we discussed 15 minutes earlier; it’s fine to say, “I don’t know how to answer that question, but my initial instinct is to think about it in this way”; you can change your mind or contradict an earlier statement you made after further consideration; you can simply elect to stop talking if you lose control over your thought or what you started to say. Conversations can, and should be and feel, fluid. 

Student Resources


Be sure to familiarize yourself with the College’s COVID-19 policies and protocols. For information about symptom screening, testing, and isolation or quarantine, visit the Student Health Center site for guidance. Call 269-337-7200 if you need to schedule a COVID-19 test.  

Counseling Services

The counseling center is located in Hicks Hall (campus map #12). If you enter from the center quad of campus, go through the front door and to the right. Go up one set of stairs and turn right past the game room and health center. We are on the left side of the hallway. The waiting room is to your right. To make an appointment: Please visit the counseling center in Hicks to complete intake forms on one of the iPads in the lobby. When you have completed the intake forms, a counselor will receive your intake information electronically and contact you by email within 48 hours to arrange and initial appointment. Emergencies: A counselor is available 24/7. If you are in crisis, the counseling center has a walk-in crisis hour M-F at 2 P.M. Please ring the bell on the credenza near the front door of the center and a counselor will come to greet you. If you experiencing a crisis at any other time during business hours, please go to the health center next door and let the front office staff know that you need to speak to a counselor right away. They will contact a counselor. If you are experiencing a crisis outside of office hours, please call campus safety at 269.337.7321 or contact your Resident Assistant and let them know that you need to speak to the on-call counselor. Confidentiality: The fact that you are seeing us and the content of our session is confidential information. We do not give this information out—even to faculty members, parents, or RAs—unless you give us your consent. Typically, that consent involves filling out a short written form that indicates with whom we may communicate and about what. There is an exception to this policy of strict confidentiality. It involves those situations where we believe that you are unable to continue functioning, are a threat to yourself or the safety of others, or inform of us others in potential danger (e.g., current abuse of children or vulnerable adults). In those cases, we are ethically and legally bound as psychologists and counselors to inform persons who can help reduce the risks of harm. Most often, those people are family members and/or the residence hall staff. The Dean of Students is also informed of these very serious situations. Sometimes our student interns will tape-record sessions for their learning process. This is always done with permission from the client first. All session tapes are kept in a confidential file in the Counseling Center which is only available to the Counseling Center staff. These recordings are destroyed at the end of each academic year. More information can be found on the Counseling Center website.  

Writing Center

If you want individual guidance on your assignments, please visit the college’s Writing Center. Writing Center Mission: We, the staff of the Kalamazoo College Writing Center, strive to assist the students of this college to create stronger pieces of writing. We will work to accomplish this by helping students hone the skills that they already possess as writers and editors, providing them with strategies and constructive feedback so that they may seek further accomplishment in the craft of writing. We will help students with any kind of writing and any writing-related skills. About the Writing Center:The Writing Center is staffed by Kalamazoo College students who are selected through a competitive interview process and trained to assist their peers with all types of writing and all stages in the writing process. Writing Consultants work with students in individual thirty or sixty minute appointments or on a walk-in basis. The Writing Center is located in the Upjohn Library Commons, Room 110. Making an Appointment: To make an appointment with a Writing Consultant, visit the Writing Center’s online scheduler. Here you can view available appointment times, view consultant bios, and register for a consultation. You can also just walk in during our open hours. Please note, Writing Consultants are also available for classroom visits and in- 
class workshops. For more information, contact Writing Center Director Bela Agosa by email 

Bias Reporting

The College’s working definition of bias for the Bias Data Gathering System (BDGS) is a preconceived negative preference, inclination, or attitude about groups of people, often based on physical, cultural, religious, or social identities. The term ‘bias related’ refers to language and/or behaviors that demonstrate bias against persons because of, but not limited to, their actual or perceived identities. Examples may include defacement of posters or signs, intimidating comments or messages, vandalism to personal or university property, or similar acts, if there is evidence that the target or victim was chosen because of a characteristic such as those listed above. To find out more about BDGS or to report an incident of bias, visit the BDGS website. Additionally, the college has several channels through which you can report an incident of bias or receive support. Incidents involving students may be reported to the Office of Student Development: Office hours are 8am –5pm Monday through Friday, with the exception of the lunch hour from 12:00–1:00 pm (Hicks 119). The Office of Student Development can be reached at 269.337.7210 or at Incidents involving faculty or athletic staff may be reported to the Provost’s Office: Office hours are 8am –5pm Monday through Friday (Mandelle Hall 203). The Office of the Provost can be reached at 269.337.7158. Incidents involving support and administrative staff behavior may be reported to Renee Boelcke in Human Resources (Mandelle 112) by email or phone 269.337.7248. 

Title IX Office 

If you need to report any incidents involving sexual assault or harassment, you can fill out this form to start an investigation (reports can be submitted anonymously). If you would rather speak to someone confidentially about an incident of sexual assault or harassment, please set up an appointment with the Counseling Center or the college chaplain, Liz Candido ( Please be aware that faculty are mandated reporters and cannot maintain your confidentiality.  

Resources for Students with Disabilities 

In the spirit of our strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, here at Kalamazoo College we are committed to making education accessible to all students. We strive to increase access and opportunities for students with disabilities, and promote self-advocacy and growth. Dana Jansma, the Senior Associate Dean of Students, collaborates with students with disabilities on an individualized basis to create reasonable accommodations that support and promote success. In compliance with section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as Amended, and with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), Kalamazoo College recognizes that qualified students who have diagnosed or identified learning, physical, or emotional disabilities are entitled to the same benefits from the educational programs of the college as non-disabled students. Kalamazoo College is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to qualified students with disabilities, unless that accommodation imposes undue hardship or burden or would not alleviate a direct threat to the student or others. The Senior Associate Dean of Students and the student will work together to negotiate and ensure appropriate accommodations that will work for the student. Cost associated with diagnosis, evaluation, and testing is the responsibility of the student, except in cases of severe financial need demonstrated to, and upon recommendation of, the Senior Associate Dean of Students. The office also makes assistance available to students experiencing short-term illness or physical injury. To request an accommodation, fill out this form. For more information about available resources, visit their website

Humanities Integrated Locational Learning (HILL) Curriculum

In January, Kalamazoo College received a three-year Mellon grant. (For information about the grant, see Entitled Humanities Integrated Locational Learning (HILL), this initiative examines how many problems of our time can be analyzed through the lens of location and dislocation. To develop a deeper knowledge of these disruptions (physical, psychological, social, linguistic, and more) with the aim of generating the potential for change, HILL supports the formation of class clusters linked to specific places within and beyond Kalamazoo. Our course contributes to a “Beyond Kalamazoo” Cluster focused on New Orleans, comprised of the following courses: ARTX225 Public Art and Its Publics (Dr. Christine Hahn), ENGL490: NOLA Divided: Race in the Big Easy (Dr. Shanna Salinas), ANSO426 Lest we Forget: Memory and Identity in the African Diaspora (Dr. Espelencia Baptiste), SEMN295/MUSC295 The World Through New Orleans (Dr. Beau Bothwell).  While these courses will function independently, they are united by their engagement with New Orleans as a historical and contemporary site, as well as the way they draw from humanistic inquiry to construct justice-based notions of land, place, and belonging in response to humanistic concerns and social inequities (i.e., systemic racism, body and border policing, economic inequity, global warming, etc.) 

New Orleans Cluster Experiential Social Justice Research Seminar 

After the conclusion of the quarter, cluster faculty and selected students will extend the classroom to New Orleans for a 7-day, fully-funded* study away experience (includes airfare, housing, and meals). During this partial-unit experiential social justice research seminar in New Orleans (November 26th – December 2nd, 2022), 4-5 students from each cluster course will undertake individual and collaborative research within and across the disciplinary knowledges acquired in their respective courses in order to produce a supradisciplinary research project.  The trip will prioritize place-based learning, humanities-based inquiry, and social justice problem-solving via relevant site visits, partnerships with local community organizations, and student-led discussion and reflection. At the end of the trip, students will publish their research on a digital humanities website. 

Cluster Seminar Application 

Interested students will need to submit an application and a research proposal to the HILL site ( by October 3rd (4th week Monday) at 5pm ET. In it, students will be asked to address the following questions: 

1000-word proposal that addresses the following questions:  

  1. What is your research area of interest? Please highlight subject matters, themes, texts, etc. from your cluster course for support.  
  1. How does New Orleans’s “placeness” (history, geography/landscape, culture, etc.) pertain to your research interest? How do you see the theme of “location and dislocation” at work?  
  1. How does your research interest connect to relevant social justice concerns?  
  1. Review the websites of our confirmed community partners: The Whitney Plantation; People for Public Art; Junebug Productions; and Lower Nine.  How do you see your research interest aligning with at least two of these organizations? What appeals to you about these organizations and their work in the community? 

Optional research and past experience questions:  

  1. Review the Historic New Orleans Collection’s exhibitions, special collections, and digital archives. Are there particular materials that relate to your research interest? If so, please explain their relevance.  
  1. Have you had any experiences that may have prepared you for this experiential research seminar? Please detail any past research (individual or collaborative), service-learning courses, and/or experiential learning engagement you identify as relevant.  

*Please note: Previous research experience and/or experiential learning engagement are NOT required and will not positively or negatively impact your selection.  

Confirmed Community Partners

Whitney Plantation Museum  

People for Public Art  

Junebug Productions 

Lower Nine  

Historic New Orleans Collection  

Applications will be reviewed by cluster faculty in conjunction with the Center for International Programs (CIP). Participants will be chosen based on potential collaborative research intersections across cluster courses and the importance of New Orleans as a site. Those selected for the experiential research seminar in New Orleans will be notified no later than October 7th (4th week Friday). 

Selection for the New Orleans Cluster Seminar will require the following mandatory commitments:  

  • Additional preparatory work throughout the term to prepare you for site engagements in New Orleans. You will be provided with a seminar syllabus after cohort selection is finalized.  
  • Weekly meetings with your research group (held weeks 5-10 on Mondays during common time) 
  • Attend information sessions with community partners (TBA) 
  • Meetings with the HILL Digital Humanities Coordinator, Bruce Mills 
  • Submission of pre-departure materials, due 7th week Thursday. 
  • Attend an orientation meeting, 10th week Wednesday (4:15pm DE 305) 
  • Write and submit a group project research proposal  
  • Individual or group seminar experiential reflection blog, video, interview due (TBA) 
  • Research project, due first week Monday in Winter quarter, with revision and approval in consultation with cluster faculty and DH Coordinator finalized 2nd week Friday.  

Student Summer Research Stipend 

A $4,500 summer research stipend for June-August 2023 is open to all students, with priority given to students who want to return to New Orleans after the cluster trip or students who participated in one of the four New Orleans cluster courses in 2022. More information is available on the HILL website.

Reading and Assignment Schedule 

The following is a tentative schedule and is subject to change 

Empire and the Creation of New Orleans

Week 1

Tues, 9/13

Course overview 

Thurs, 9/15

“New Orleans, Louisiana,” Street Food USA 

Chronology from Joseph Campanella, Bienville’s Dilemma (skim for patterns) 

*Fri, 9/16

Snedeker, Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas (Maps 1-2) 

Week 2

Tues, 9/20

Sarah Broom, The Yellow House (excerpts) 

J. Mark Souther, “The Disneyfication of New Orleans: The French Quarter as Façade in a Divided City” 

Thurs, 9/22

Lafcadio Hearn, Inventing New Orleans (excerpts)

*Fri, 9/23

Solnit and Snedeker, Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas (Maps 3-4) 

Drawing Racial Lines and Consolidating Whiteness

Week 3

Week 3 Items Due

DUE: Respondent Feedback on Analytical Presentation by 11:59pm EST on 9/30 

Tues, 9/27

George Washington Cable, The Grandissimes (Ch. I-XV) 

Andy Doolen, Territories of Empire (Intro and Ch. 1) 

Thurs, 9/29

The Grandissimes (Ch. XVI-XXX)

Americans” (Ch. 4, Creole New Orleans

*Fri, 9/30

Solnit and Snedeker, Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas (Maps 5-6) 

Week 4

Week 4 Items Due

Analytical Presentation for 10/6 due Wednesday, 10/5 by 9pm EST

DUE: Respondent Feedback on Analytical Presentation by 11:59pm EST on 10/7

Tues, 10/4

The Grandissimes (Ch. XXXI-XLV) 

Virginia R. Dominguez, White by Definition: Social Classification in Creole Louisiana 

Thurs, 10/6

The Grandissimes (Ch. XLVI-End)

Fri, 10/7

Solnit and Snedeker, Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas (Maps 7-8) 

The Haunting Fear of Black Spiritual Practices

Week 5

Week 5 Items Due

Analytical Presentation for 10/11 due Monday, 10/9 by 9pm EST

Analytical Presentation for 10/13 due Wednesday, 10/12 by 9pm EST 

DUE: Respondent Feedback on Analytical Presentation by 11:59pm EST on 10/14

DUE: In-Progress Annotated Bibliography on Sunday, 10/17 by 11:59pm EST 

Tues, 10/11

Robert Tallant, Voodoo in New Orleans

Zora Neale Hurston, Of Mules and Men (excerpts) 

Freddi Williams Evans, Congo Square: African Roots in New Orleans (pp. 1-61) 

Thurs, 10/13

George Washington Cable, “The Haunted House on Royal Street”  

“Bitchcraft,” American Horror Story: Coven 

Barbara Rosendale Duggal, “Marie Laveau: The Voodoo Queen Repossessed” (Ch. 7 in Sybil Kein’s Creole)

Tiya Miles, “Madame LaLaurie: French Quarter Fiend,” Tales from the Haunted South: Dark Tourism and Memories of Slavery from the Civil War Era 

*Fri, 10/14

Solnit and Snedeker, Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas

The Codification of Creole Racialized Gender and Sexuality and Regulation of Race, Sex, and Desire

Week 6

Week 6 Items Due

Analytical Presentation for this 10/18 due Wednesday, 10/17 by 9pm EST 

Analytical Presentation for 10/20 due Wednesday, 10/19 by 9pm EST

DUE: Respondent Feedback on Analytical Presentation by 11:59pm EST on 10/21

Tues, 10/18

Angel Heart 

Ina J. Fandrich, “Yorùbá Influences on Haitian Vodou and New Orleans Voodoo”  

Thurs, 10/20

Alice Dunbar-Nelson, The Goodness of St. Rocque

James Nagel, “Alice Dunbar-Nelson and the New Orleans Story Cycle” 

Kenneth Aslakson, “The ‘Quadroon-Plaçage” Myth of Antebellum New Orleans: Anglo-American (Mis)Interpretations of a French-Caribbean Phenomenon”  

*Fri, 10/21

Solnit and Snedeker, Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas (Maps 11-12) 

Week 7

Week 7 Items Due

Analytical Presentation for 10/27 due Wednesday, 10/26 by 9pm EST 

DUE: Respondent Feedback on Analytical Presentation by 11:59pm EST on 10/28

Tues, 10/25

Emily Epstein Landau, Spectacular Wickedness: Sex, Race, and Memory in Storyville, New Orleans (Intro and Ch. 1) 

Guidebooks to Sin: The Bluebooks of Storyville, New Orleans (excerpts) 

Thurs, 10/27 

Natasha Trethewey, Bellocq’s Ophelia  

Alecia P. Long, The Great Southern Babylon: Sex, Race, and Respectability in New Orleans, 1865-1920 (Intro and Ch. 1) 

*Fri, 10/28

Solnit and Snedeker, Unfathomable City: A New Orleans

The Public Politics of Race and Sex

Week 8

Week 8 Items Due

Analytical Presentation for 11/1 due Monday, 10/31 by 9pm EST 

DUE: Respondent Feedback on Analytical Presentation by 11:59pm EST on 11/4 

DUE: Critical Dialogue on Saturday, 11/5 by 11:59pm EST 

TBA: Mapping Project Strategy Session (Wednesday, common time?) 

Tues, 11/1

Pretty Baby 

Mollie LeVeque, “The ‘White Slave’ and the Question of Ambiguity,” Images of Sex Work in Early Twentieth-Century America 

Thurs, 11/3

Mardi Gras documentary 

James Gill, Lords of Misrule: Mardi Gras and the Politics of Race in New Orleans (Ch. 2) 

*Fri, 11/4

Solnit and Snedeker, Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas

Week 9

Week 10 Items Due

Analytical Presentation for 11/8 due Monday, 11/7 by 9pm EST 

Analytical Presentation for 11/10 due Wednesday, 11/9 by 9pm EST 

Tues, 11/8

We Won’t Bow Down 

Cynthia Becker, “New Orleans Mardi Gras Indians: Mediating Racial Politics from the Backstreets to Main Street” 

Ana Paulina Lee, “Memoryscapes of Race: Black Parading Cultures of New Orleans

Thurs, 11/10

“You Can’t Stop Spirit” 

Kim Marie Vaz, The ‘Baby Dolls’: Breaking the Race and Gender Barriers of the New Orleans Mardi Gras Tradition (Intro, Ch. 1 and Ch. 2) 

Kim Vaz-Deville, Walking Raddy (excerpts) 

*Fri, 11/11

Solnit and Snedeker, Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas (Maps 17-end)

Week 10

Week 10 Items Due

Analytical Presentation for 11/15 due Monday, 11/14 by 9pm EST 

Analytical Presentation for this 11/17 due Wednesday, 11/16 by 9pm EST 

Tues, 11/15  

Trouble the Water  

Lynell Thomas, Desire and Disaster in New Orleans: Tourism, Race, and Historical Memory (Ch. 5) 

Thurs, 11/17

Patricia Smith, Blood Dazzler

Nicole Fleetwood, “Failing Narratives, Initiating Technologies: Hurricane Katrina and the Production of a Weather Media Event” 

Finals Week

Mon, 11/21

A Literary Guide to New Orleans entry, 5pm EST

Tues, 11/22

Mapping Presentations, 8:30am-11:00am

Wed, 11/23

Research Paper and Annotated Bibliography, noon EST