Author Archives: Jess

Dawn – Jess

眠れなくても 夜は明ける
それを僕は 眺めている

Even if I cant sleep, dawn will break as I gaze over it

(Lyrics from Yorugaakeru by Given)

This spring semester, I tried my hand at 2D animation for the first time. With no experience, it has been challenging (this GIF took several hours) but it gave me a new sense of joy. A lot has happened over this semester; I struggled with a lot of anxiety, stress and hopelessness…but I’ve found moments of happiness with new friends, new hobbies and imagining a bright future ahead.

夜は明ける literally translates to “the night will get light”

This song is really meaningful for me, and music in general has been a huge emotional support.

I currently feel a mix of apprehension and optimism.

Akihime Strawberries




Kitada Farms

When winter comes

Strawberry picking

This semester I’ve taught some of my gaming friends. When I told them about the Mushroom at the End of the World, one of them wrote this haiku:

Autumn has brown leaves

I must go outside to rake

It is such a chore

-Willie shi 

Week 10 CUNY Case Study

Next week, we will look into how institutional models, both those with and without funding, have impacted CUNY. These may be considered non-traditional models, but because of its non-traditional manner are more students being impacted? Truly think about how programs at CUNY work, why they work, and what makes them a success. What do you wish you could see? 

Below are the readings we will discuss, as well as some optional media if you’re interested:

  • David Rivera and Kevin Nadal -The Intersection of Queer Theory and Empirical Methods: Visions for the Center for LGBTQ Studies and Queer Studies (Link)
  • CUNY Digital History Archive (Take a look into the archives of CLAGS, Medgar Evers College, and Hostos Community College, or anything else that you like!)
  • Exploring College Students’ Identification with an Organizational Identity for Serving Latinx Students at a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and an Emerging HSI” (Link
    • (Highly Recommended) Optional: Lumina Podcast–”“Living up to the Designation” – Hispanic Serving Institutions” (Link)
    • Optional: Youtube Video: Understanding Hispanic Institutions: Background and Context for Serving Latinx Students (57:54-1:05:28) (Link)
  • CUNY Receives $10 Million Gift from Mellon Foundation to Boost Racial and Pandemic-Related Efforts (Link)
  • Optional: Stories of struggle: histories of childcare activism at CUNY (Link

Consider the following questions:

  1. What can we learn from these institutional and semi institutional models? Where are the failure points? Points of tension?
  2. How has the CUNY community resisted or failed to resist the given institutionalism?
  3. What does community control look like in the context of CUNY?
  4. What importance does funding have in the non-traditional sense? Does it matter where funding originates?
  5. In what ways have implemented programs supported or failed their students?

the university and Abolitionism

Moten and Harney critiqued the University in supporting a problematic society, to serve capital and the state. The university professionalizes students, converting them from social individuals to state agents, creating a labor force that serves the market and the state. Schools are ranked based on their ability to produce useful workers to the ends required by capitalism and the state. Rather than focus on a program’s intellectual quality, metrics are based on the universities ability to convert student’s into laborer in the market after graduating. The university is also a place for the social reproduction of denial, and like prisons, the reduction and command of the social individual.

“What is, so to speak, the object of abolition? Not so much the abolition of prisons but the abolition of a society that could have prisons, that could have slavery, that could have the wage, and therefore not abolition as the elimination of anything but abolition as the founding of a new society.” p 42

Foucault allowed an understanding of fundamental institutional structures; the clinic, the prison, the school. So it is not just the institution of prison, not just schools or clinics. A general abolition of all institutions is required for a new society.

“To be a critical academic in the university is to be against the university, and to be against the university is always to recognize it and be recognized by it. ”

The critical academic is constantly in antagonism with the university. If it’s not possible to extract the individual from the university, to subvert or rise above, what is the solution/alternative?

Week 8 poor queer studies

The field of queer studies is not excluded in classism; it overlooks scholars who have attended graduate or undergraduate schools that are not in the few top programs. Only those attached to the field’s prominent and privileged thinkers can be seen. It is sad to think that most women and queer scholars of color will not “write their way out of anywhere.” Most poor queer studies students will not leave an impact on the discipline like students in rich queer studies at elite institutions. However, it may be ‘poor queer studies’ that do more to translate and apply these transformative ideas into the real world, since it is the poor working-class students that go onto the non-academic workforce and community. They teach beyond the classroom, bringing queer studies to their coworkers, their family and friends. Mothers in queer studies want to bring the knowledge they learned in the classroom to their children and family. They are doing queer pedagogy in their own roles in life.

I wonder how the shift to distance learning through zoom, has affected these students., now that there is a lack of distance between the student and their home/family.


Knowledge is never objective. It comes from a viewpoint or different perspectives. Objectivity is seen in our culture as neutral or impartial. But that understanding of objectivity comes from a specific perspective (white, male, heterosexual). All other positions are made invalid and subjective, denying voice and subjectivity.

week 6

I love the idea of innovative scholarly work that can reach beyond universities. Traditional peer reviewed journal articles present barriers to many people. New research often is unlikely to make its way into public conversations since there is little access the general public has to academic research. Scholars who devote time and resources into sharing their research through innovative ways definitely deserve professional recognition. Especially in a time of fake news, disseminating knowledge is critical. (SexGenLab is doing great work sharing research through social media)

There is a very limited view of what is considered valued and successful. Focus on merit results in rewarding those with the most privilege. The wage gap shows how women and racial minority’s work is undervalued in comparison to white men. Outdated gender ideology and inflexible policies result in the disadvantage for women in the U.S. There is this ethos of individualism and principles of personal responsibility that underlie the country’s social policies. Oppressed groups who face additional barriers are left on their own to achieve herculean tasks. Working mothers, for example, end up having to decide between family or their career advancement. However, countries outside of the U.S show that work and family conflicts are not inevitable.


As a first-generation student, I can confirm the struggle to discover the hidden curriculum to navigating graduate school. Has anyone uncovered the secret code?

Week 5 Diversity and institutions

“What recedes when diversity becomes a view? If diversity is a way of viewing or even picturing an institution, then it might allow only some things to come into view.” Sara Ahmed draws on the experience of diversity workers and brings focus to what diversity obscures. The process of embedding diversity into their institutions becomes conflicting, as it prevents the habitualization of diversity. More specifically the action oriented approach, making it an explicit goal ends up disguising the issues, while making people feel better about difference. Diversity work seems to be often led by white people/institutions to alleviate their own conscience. The word itself, diversity, is softer and puts some distance with terms like institutional racism or injustice. While organizational values are attached to diversity, there is an indifference towards the steps that are executed to accomplish it. Documenting diversity is not transformational and to be truly effective there must be change.

Week 4 college app and SAT

I asked Gary Gan, a licensed school counselor/DOE educator about their thoughts on college applications and the SAT, they responded:

At the end of the day, standardized testing will always be skewed and there will always be factors that make them unfair. The SAT is not the only element that is considered when determining entrance into a school. If we rely on other methods, such as grades, portfolios and other measures which tracks a student’s entire school career rather than one test, how do we go about that exactly? A portfolio of a students math projects? It will not be as easy as removing a test. Private and public institutions are littered with issues; especially when they are aimed at profit rather than student-centered education. Schools still have varying criteria and accept certain students. How can scores be compared between a school in Texas and a school in New York, when their education standards are different? The current educational standards are a mess… Teachers are told what they can or can’t teach while having varying curriculum standards by state. There will be omissions in content, which means when students attend an out of state college, they end up confused about topics they are expected to have learned previously. We are taught quite a lot of useless content in school. What about important real life issues? Finances, retirement, how to do your taxes? What about people that don’t go through post-secondary? Where is the exploration into trade schools? America is just a problematic country, when it comes to education. A total reformation needs to be done for the Department of education but it isn’t realistic.