Author Archives: Matt Brim

Week 13: Abundance, Joy, Sustainability

For this week, please read excerpts from Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing’s, Mushroom at the End of the World (ch1, “Arts of Noticing”). An optional reading is “The Spark Bird” by CUNY professor Emily Raboteau.

Follow up on the reading(s) with the *real* assignment for the week: Do something that brings you life (take a walk, read poetry, have a new experience). Our first question for you is:

  1. What did you notice (on your walk, as you read, during your new experience)?

The second prompt for this week is an open-ended pedagogy round-up question:

  1. Who did you teach this semester?

Week 9: Writing Your Own Prompt about Black Study and the University

Next class (April 6) we’ll dive more deeply into Black Study and the University. The readings for that class are below. Please write your own prompt this time and then be ready to discuss your self-guided response with the class.

Need help? One idea: You may want to write a prompt that will help you connect these readings to your emerging final project (i.e., use this response as a form of pre-writing for that project).

Week 9, Apr 6 Black Study and the University

  • Toni Cade Bambara, Realizing the Dream of a Black University (Intro)
  • Fred Moten and Stephan Harney, The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Study (ch2)
  • Ruth Wilson Gilmore, “The Case for Abolition” (The Intercept, part 1 & 2)

Week 8: Poor Queer Studies, and, The Reorder of Things

For week 8, please read:

  • Matt Brim, Poor Queer Studies (Intro, ch4; optional reading: ch2)
  • Roderick Ferguson, The Reorder of Things (ch3)

You might consider the following questions:

  1. How does Ferguson understand the administration of “yes” as a new form of racist power exercised in higher education in response to new forms of “no,” including the student resistance movements at CUNY in the late 1960s?
  2. How would you re-title “Poor Queer Studies” to do some different class/race work in your discipline/field? Or a bit more broadly, do you see ways of rethinking ideas in PQS based on your experience in an academic discipline, as a teacher, as a CUNY community member?
  3. Reflect on the centering of ‘mothers’ in chapter 4. How does this connect with the idea of teaching beyond the classroom? How does it connect with what we’ve discussed regarding community vs individualism? I (Katina) am curious to hear what this strategy—centering mothers, specifically—brings up for you in conjunction with your own educational and life trajectories.

Related: You might take a look at the Interference Archive’s online exhibition on student organizing: — a number of CUNY-related documents are included.

Week 6: The Unspoken University — Blog Prompts

For week 6, we will be reading:

Discussion Questions

As always, you are welcome to select one or more of these questions to use as a framework for your response, or you may wish to reflect on a different topic or question.

  • How is success (or value) defined/redefined across the readings for this week?
  • How are Rogers, Posselt, and Matthew in conversation with each other?
  • If you could design a higher education space, what would it look like? What do you hope to make possible? Whose shoulders are you standing on for your vision, and how are you expanding their thinking (even just a bit)?
  • What questions do you have for Katina about the ideas in her book, or about publishing, writing, navigating the GC, working with foundations, pedagogy, etc.?

Check-in Survey for Week 5

Hi Everyone. We thought Week 5 might be a good time for a semi-formal check in. The questions below try to gauge how our class is going from several angles. Please post your feedback in the next few days, then we’ll take a few minutes during Week 5’s class to reflect together on your feedback. If there are questions you prefer to answer privately, please do so over email. Thank you for your help!

  1. What barriers exist for you in our class right now?
  2. What *all* do you envision us being capable of, together, in this class going forward in the semester?
  3. What course content questions do you have so far (i.e., questions about the readings)?
  4. What course process questions do you have so far?

Week 2 Responses: CUNY and COVID — DUE FEB 8

A prompt or series of questions can help focus your responses to our weekly readings. We encourage you to craft your own prompts and write them at the top of your responses, but we will also suggest prompts to you, as below.


  • What kind of texts did we read for today (Feb 9)? (note sources & their conventions)
  • Why begin our course with these kinds of academic writings? (consider teaching/learning context)
  • How are you located in relation to this mini-archive of readings? (name your perspective)


  • What patterns (e.g., repeated terms, places, rhetorics) do you see across today’s readings? (analyze the data, i.e., remake the parts into a new whole)
  • What key tensions mark/motivate these writings? (set the stakes)
  • What critical frameworks help you engage with these writings, at least partially? (adopt/adapt a theory, methodology, or disciplinary viewpoint)


  • THE REAL QUESTION: What do you most want to say to our class in response to today’s readings, given your considerations of the prompts above?

Critical Vocabulary around Equity, Elitism, and Public Higher Education

EQUITY: COVID, race, class, gender, fairness, equality, access, opportunity, level playing field, bias, diversity, decolonizing, debt, adjunctification, pipeline, Indigeneity, sustainability

ELITISM: COVID, hierarchy, selection, racism, meritocracy, class stratification, race sorting, ranking, tiers, structures, altac, tacit knowledge, lower ed, privileged poor, white supremacy, classism, ivy league, private,

PUBLIC HIGHER EDUCATION: COVID, CUNY, institutionalization, public good, community college, free college, Black university, critical university studies, austerity, queer studies

How to post your weekly responses

  1. Hover over “+New” at the top of the POSTS page, then select “Post.”
  2. Use the title: “YOUR NAME + title of response”
  3. Click in the “Start writing or type” block beneath the title. Paste your paragraph into this block.
  4. Click the blue “Publish” box at the top right (you will need to click “Publish” twice). You can “Preview” your post first if you’d like.
  5. The video below takes you through these steps (note: Matt originally created this demonstration for another class, but the steps are the same for ours).