Faculty Highlight: Suzanne Scott Constantine
On November 11, New Century College Professor Suzanne Scott Constantine will co-present “Epistemologies of the Studio: Artists Re-Imagining the World,” with Lynne Scott Constantine as part of the 2014 Scholar’s Lecture Series coordinated by the Women and Gender Studies program. The lecture will include a small display of both artists’ visual art to demonstrate their research. The talk will begin at noon in George’s -- room 321 of the Johnson Center.
For Scott Constantine, the upcoming presentation and corresponding artwork bring together many of the common themes she has explored and questioned since her childhood in North Carolina including race, gender and the experience of marginalized people in American society.
Scott Constantine grew up in a progressive Southern home where she learned to love and respect all, regardless of racial differences. Despite this deeply-felt care and compassion, Scott Constantine noted that the sense of “white responsibility” impacted everyone’s sense of community and identity. This responsibility, although well-intentioned, reinforced the differences between groups and further emphasized the stark line between whites and blacks.
In the classroom, Scott Constantine employs visual art, literature, films and other media as tools to encourage her students to consider the feelings and experiences of marginalized groups. She wants students to question the role of “whiteness” and male dominance in both our overt and unconscious reactions to situations.
Referring to her students, Scott Constantine said, “I absolutely want them to understand that race, class and gender still matter. We enter a room with a thousand assumptions that we are hard-wired to make. We have to make an extra effort to examine our own blind spots and pre-conceived notions.”
Following the NCC course emphasis on learning communities rather than traditional classrooms, Scott Constantine said, “I want them to know that I’m right there with them in attempting to disrupt assumptions and reveal blindspots. My students point things out to me, and I am definitely a co-learner in the classroom. I have certain areas of expertise, but my students bring a whole set of life experiences that I know nothing about.”
In her 14 years at Mason, Scott Constantine has taught a broad range of classes from the introductory to advanced upper level courses, and weaves the themes of gender, race and the experience of the disenfranchised to her classroom. In Spring 2015, she will offer NCLC 475, a senior capstone “Creativity for Social Action and Transformation.”
Students in this course will partner with non-violent female felons who have completed their prison terms and are now living in a group home before transitioning to mainstream life. Students will work with their partners as they create their own books of photographs and writing to describe their own lives, which may be contrary to any labels or preconceived ideas others may have of them. For Scott Constantine, this course is another opportunity to give voice to those who generally are not heard. Those interested in enrolling in the class may do so when online registration opens in November.
November 07, 2014