Grace Nixon Institute
How to Apply
- NOTE: Priority deadline for scholarship consideration is April 1. The English Department will give funding priority to secondary teachers who apply for the Institute by this date. Please make sure we have your application form by that date, even if you haven’t yet completed an application to U of I.
- Check the Summer Session website for information about enrollment at U of I. Each course in the 2023 Institute is available in two tracks: degree credit and professional development. Degree Credit is available to students in degree-seeking programs. You must be either admitted to the MAT or MA-Eng program or actively applying to the MA-Eng program in order to receive degree credit. Degree credit scholarships will be reserved for those students actively seeking a degree; additional awards will be based on remaining scholarship funding. Students taking courses for degree credit will earn a letter grade, while students taking courses for professional development will be assessed in terms of pass/fail. Please note: students will not be able to convert professional development courses to degree credit at a later date.
For more information about the 2023 Institute, and to have the application emailed to you, email Jennifer Baillargeon-Hauck or call 208-885-6156.
In summer 2023, the Nixon Institute continues with its new format, which focuses on offering courses that will help participants (especially high school teachers) earn a Master of Arts degree.
This year’s institute includes both in-class and out-of-class portions, with the in-class portion being taught in person on the Moscow campus. Students will receive a syllabus and reading list for the course in April. The in-class component of the class will take place in Moscow from June 12-June 23, and after that students will work on their final projects with the mentorship of faculty members.
Overview of Summer 2023 Courses
- Ben James will offer "Film and Television Literacy." In 2021, US adults spent 167 minutes/day watching TV content, and 149 minutes/day watching digital video. We absorb more information via visual media (film, television, digital video) than ever before. Meaning-making happens in a flash, and without the tools to critically analyze this content we're left either to accept what we've seen at face value, or to let it wash over us in a state of bewilderment. In Film and Television Literacy we'll study how visual media (primarily films, but we'll also look at a variety of television and digital media) makes meaning, and the different ideological and political points of view it promotes or denigrates through its aesthetic and narrative elements. The following are a sample of some of the films that students should watch so that we can analyze them during the course:
- The Birth of A Nation - Griffiths, 1915
- Battleship Potemkim - Eisenstein, 1925
- The Bicycle Thieves - De Sica, 1948
- Psycho - Hitchcock, 1960
- Munich - Spielberg, 2005
- Pan's Labyrinth - Del Torro, 2006
- Zero Dark Thirty - Bigelow, 2012
- Get Out - Peele, 2016
- The Rider - Zhao, 2017
- Janis Johnson will offer "Teaching and Learning History with Literature." Writers of color often undertake a double burden of writing history and literature simultaneously. Their stories are a literature of witness that attempts to fill the gaps created by official histories that marginalize or omit minoritized voices. In telling history through literature, writers of color provide counter-histories to the official ones from which they have been erased. These counter-histories intervene in the historical amnesia that marks American society; they ask us to become "consciously historical" while deepening our capacities for critical thinking, empathy, and enjoyment. Some of these stories are currently under threat (e.g. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' banning of the College Board AP African American Studies course,) and teachers fear they will lose their jobs over what they teach. We'll read current theories of conscious remembering and forgetting, and some wonderfully imaginative and engaging texts through which, in this unsettling environment, our course will ask:
- What is historical amnesia and what cultural work does it perform?
- Why do writers of color in particular feel compelled to take on the double burden of writing both fiction and history?
- How to writers of color resist the historical amnesia and nostalgia of mainstream literature and culture?
- In what ways is the lived experience of minoritized writers so disturbing that it is often omitted from history texts and thus must be told through literary ones?
- What is a "just" ethics of remembering?
- What kinds of worlds and ethics do these texts attempt to create?
- How might literary texts function to make change in "the real world"?