Dr. Shameem Black
Acting Director, South Asia Research Institute
My fields of teaching experience lie in interdisciplinary Asian studies, gender and cultural studies, literary studies, and South Asian studies. I have regularly convened ASIA 1030 Asia and the Pacific in Motion and ASIA 2311 Gender and Cultural Studies in Asia and the Pacific. I also teach in the India Studies program.
I'm driven by the idea of the engaged humanities, where we think actively about how to put humanistic critical inquiry to work beyond the university classroom. A crucial part of this process is inviting students to experiment with unfamiliar tasks. While it's well-recognised that children learn best through open-ended play, we have all but evicted playful learning from the university. I think all of us learn most powerfully through creative experimentation. It's my goal to bring such serious "play" into the classroom to help find new ways to make humanistic inquiry matter in the twenty-first century.
The experience that has most transformed my teaching has been becoming a parent. Watching my children learn with all of their senses -- messing with finger paints, banging spoons, testing what happens if you stack the blocks higher and higher - was joyful and inspiring. I knew immediately that I wanted to bring in more of this kind of experimental energy to my classroom. One of the most validating comments I've received has been from a student who is herself a parent. She said that when she finished working on a non-traditional assessment in our class she felt just like her eight-year-old when he completed a really hard, challenging puzzle. You think it's not going to work - you want to give up - but if you let yourself try in a different way, sometimes a new door opens, and you find yourself on a surprising journey.
Name: Dr Shameem Black
School: School of Culture, History and Language (CHL)
College: College of Asia and the Pacific (CAP)
Department: Program in Gender, Media and Cultural Studies
Phone: (02) 6125 3180