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Teaching with TendernessToward an Embodied Practice$
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Becky Thompson

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780252041167

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252041167.001.0001

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Why We Flee

Why We Flee

Chapter:
(p.63) 4 Why We Flee
Source:
Teaching with Tenderness
Author(s):

Becky Thompson

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5622/illinois/9780252041167.003.0005

“Why We Flee” chronicles multiple reasons why we leave our bodies in academic settings. It traces how racism and a backlash against feminist gains to stop sexual harassment have policed our attempts to stay embodied when we teach, compromising our abilities to thrive as orators, as compassionate listeners, as people excited about our research. The chapter offers examples of cues Thompson missed when students could not fully engage with the course material. And how recognizing trauma can help us become more alert to students’ courage as they grapple with difficult material. Thompson has often relied upon the creative writing by Yusef Komunyakaa, Rafael Campo, Sapphire, Edwidge Danticat, and other writers to teach about resilience in the face of war, homophobia, colonialism, and other violations. Thompson also examines what students have taught her about the risks involved in being present in the process. The chapter ends with discussion of the synergistic relationship between the qualities of the mind and the sheaths of the body, in particular how yoga might catapult us to a place of deep connection and joy.

Keywords:   political poetry, veterans, trauma survivors, racism, sexual harassment, dissociation, PTSD, homophobia, colonialism, yoga philosophy, somatic theory

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