Jené Schoenfeld

Antioch College
Transcript
Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Index
Search this Index
X
00:00:23 - Professor Schoenfeld introduces herself

Play segment

Segment Synopsis: Prof. Jené Schoenfeld is an associate Professor English who teaches African and African American literature. She has been teaching at Kenyon since 2008.

00:01:46 - How did she start her interest in the African diaspora?

Play segment

Segment Synopsis: During her Berkeley undergraduate years, she took courses in African American literature as part of her requirements for her English degree.

00:02:37 - Realizing that race is real and relevant to our present day

Play segment

Segment Synopsis: In her youth, African American culture was more distant to her, growing up in white suburbs. In college, her exposure allowed her to see that her mother's experience as an African American woman was still relevant and real to our every day lives.

00:04:59 - Experience as a dissertation fellow (2004-'05)

Play segment

Segment Synopsis: In her year as a dissertation fellow, she taught Transgressive Friendships in American Fiction and the Mulatto in American Fiction. Appreciated that Kenyon students were intellectually curious.

00:06:24 - Interactions with African Diaspora (AFDS) program as a dissertation fellow

Play segment

Segment Synopsis: Came to know AFDS faculty as she became aware of Crossroads faculty group and was invited to their summer seminar. Crossroads group is a faculty learning community and social support network for those interested in African diaspora studies.

00:07:49 - Return to Kenyon in 2008

Play segment

Segment Synopsis: Excited to return to small liberal arts college teaching. Continued teaching mixed race literature.

00:08:29 - Teaching mixed race literature at Kenyon

Play segment

Segment Synopsis: Her courses think about how we construct race at the borders. Sees it as appropriate culmination for AFDS coursework. Notes that at Kenyon we have more students who identify as more than one race than students who identify as Black.

00:10:06 - How she became director of AFDS

Play segment

Segment Synopsis: Prof. Ted Mason and Prof. Kohlman have been directors over the years. Prof. Schoenfeld took over after she got tenure.

00:11:01 - Teaching Introduction to African Diaspora Studies course

Play segment

Segment Synopsis: Team-taught the Introductory course with Prof. Kohlman. Taught her much about interdisciplinary lenses, as she was approaching material as an English professor. Had guest lecture with Prof. Stephen Volz.

00:13:32 - Approaching interdisciplinary studies as an English professor

Play segment

Segment Synopsis: Sees it as a strength to cover history, sociology, art, and English, but it is difficult to cover them all. It is valuable and necessary to learn about African American culture from a variety of lenses.

00:14:47 - Students' approach to interdisciplinary studies

Play segment

Segment Synopsis: There is less focus on acquisition of facts and more the understanding of relationships. That understanding can transcend academic disciplines. Discusses importance of economics and Thomas Shapiro's the Hidden Cost of Being African American.

00:18:40 - Discussion of having a diversity requirement for students

Play segment

Segment Synopsis: Discussing if students should be required to take a class on some topic of diversity. There is a general desire to have students engage with topics that are different from their life experiences.

00:21:09 - Current state of the program

Play segment

Segment Synopsis: No students came to her table at Sophomore Day (academic fair for students to learn more about majors). Program could do more to publicize itself. There may be a deprioritization of program.

00:22:54 - Publicization of the program

Play segment

Segment Synopsis: Program is publicized online and in course catalog. Trying to offer the Crossroads course more often in order to introduce students to the breadth and depth of faculty and their topics.

00:23:55 - Currently only 1 concentrator in the program

Play segment

Segment Synopsis: Prof. Schoenfeld now has goal to increase number of concentrators.

00:25:28 - Administrative role in AFDS

Play segment

Segment Synopsis: Prof. Kohlman has been a good mentor for Prof. Schoenfeld's transition into directorship. Fairly simple responsibilities.

00:26:28 - Strengths and weaknesses of AFDS program

Play segment

Segment Synopsis: There are many professors who focus in African diaspora topics and many students who take their courses, but few students who see the AFDS program as a way to organize their course of study.

00:27:57 - Thoughts in her 10th year at Kenyon

Play segment

Segment Synopsis: Excited to have more of a stake in the program as the director. More comfortable as a tenured professor to contribute to both the English department and the AFDS program.

00:30:05 - Wonders if AFDS should develop more relationships with student groups?

Play segment

Segment Synopsis: Prof. Schoenfeld is also the advisor for the Black Student Union and think perhaps the group and AFDS could interact more.

00:31:25 - Multiracial identities at Kenyon

Play segment

Segment Synopsis: Prof. Schoenfeld discusses the overlap of AFDS program and multiracial identities at Kenyon.

00:32:16 - Expanding diasporic elements of AFDS

Play segment

Segment Synopsis: There is a need to expand the AFDS program to cover the Caribbean and African continent.