Distressing Material in (and Beyond) the Classroom: Strategies and Resources for Responsible Engagement

Event Date & Time

  • December 11, 2019
    1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Event Description

How do we bring difficult and distressing material into the classroom in a way that is responsible and productive for our students, for ourselves, and for wider communities? How do we responsibly engage our students in community-based learning that involves narratives and representations of violence? What are some of the difficulties that we encounter in doing this work? What are some of the strategies and resources that can help us better support student (and faculty), as well as broader efforts towards responsible scholarship?

Our roundtable discussion is designed to build collective capacity in terms of methods, strategies and resources. 



In our session, we will: 

  1. Share our own experiences, current practices, and theoretical orientations as teachers and scholars doing this work
  2. Invite participants to share their own experiences and ongoing questions
  3. Connect participants to a range of resources, including key scholarly interventions as well as campus resources, such as CTLT’s Indigenous Initiatives, UBC’s Wellness Centre, the First Nations House of Learning, and various forms of peer support offered through the AMS. 



Co-facilitators Evan Mauro, Juliane Okot Bitek, and Fenn Stewart teach undergraduate courses (and publish scholarly and literary work) that include distressing and disturbing material, including representations and analyses of colonial violence and forms of genocide.

We welcome conversations with practitioners from across disciplinary fields and scholarly orientations; as co-facilitators, our own teaching and scholarly backgrounds are informed by literary and cultural studies, and anti-racist, critical race, and Indigenous studies scholarship.



  • Fenn Stewart, PhD UBC Department of English Language and Literatures; Douglas College Department of English
  • Evan Mauro, PhD Lecturer, Coordinated Arts Program, UBC 
  • Juliane Okot Bitek Department of English, Capilano University