Pre-Texts Workshop


Friday, October 11, 2019, 1:00pm to 4:00pm

Repeats every week every Friday until Fri Oct 25 2019


Science Center Room 418D, 1 Oxford St., Cambridge, MA

The Bok Center and Professor Doris Sommer, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures and African and African American Studies, invite Faculty and Teaching Fellows interested in creative ways of engaging with texts to participate in a 3-session workshop (including lunch) to explore Pre-Texts for adaptation in the Harvard classroom.

Pre-Texts is pedagogical acupuncture. With the single prompt: “Use this text to make art,” human capacities fire up and connect with one another. The acupuncture stimulates cognitive, creative, emotional, and communicative faculties. This innovative methodology dispels students’ fear of “difficult” texts because readers become users of the material. Classic literature or scientific documents turn into raw material for personal interpretations. Pre-Texts inverts the conventional order of learning that goes from basic information towards higher order understanding. Starting with the basics -- such as grammar and vocabulary— is boring, and we lose students before they scale up to understanding, interpretation, creativity. With Pre-Texts, students begin with the challenge to create something original from a difficult text. To do that, basic information turns into a useful resource that artists appropriate. Critical and creative thinking go together here. During the workshops, participants acquire a simple protocol that delivers profound results for teaching and learning practically anything and for negotiating difficult moments in everyday life.

Participation in the three sessions of Pre-Texts will be considered equivalent to one Bok Seminar for graduate students pursuing either a Bok Teaching Certificate or Bok Certificate in Teaching Language and Culture.

3 sessions (in sequence)
Fridays 11 October, 18 October, and 25 October, 1–4pm
Science Center Room 418D - 1 Oxford St. Cambridge, MA


pre-texts poster