Two Georgia Tech professors are addressing office and social challenges by way of revolutionary instructing round well being and wellness.
Narin Hassan (proper), teaches a particular subjects course, Our bodies and Borders: Cultural Histories and Narratives of Embodiment and Well being, within the College of Literature, Media, and Communications. (Photograph by Jillann Hertel)
The previous couple of years have been layered with issues starting from navigating intense discussions about politics and race to managing nervousness throughout a world pandemic. These challenges usually have an effect on how we conduct ourselves at work, in school, and in social settings. This spring, two Georgia Tech professors — Narin Hassan and Tiffany D. Johnson — are addressing the challenges by way of revolutionary instructing round well-being, sustainability, work, race, and social justice.
Hassan, an affiliate professor within the College of Literature, Media, and Communication, is instructing a particular subjects course, Our bodies and Borders: Cultural Histories and Narratives of Embodiment and Well being. The seminar (which mixes LMC superior undergraduates with graduate college students from the MS-World Media and Cultures program) takes an interdisciplinary and world method to analyzing the physique and cultures of well being and wellness in relation to gender and nation. She additionally teaches a course on literature and drugs and conducts analysis on the connection between drugs, gender, and world tradition.
“With the intention to have cautious and nuanced conversations about well being and wellness, notably in relation to gender, race, and problems with social justice, it’s important to construct neighborhood and create an area within the classroom the place folks really feel protected entering into these messy areas,” Hassan mentioned. “Till you do this, folks might really feel tense when speaking about it.”
Hassan and Johnson each have backgrounds in yoga and meditation, which they discover useful once they’re main discussions on probably provocative topics.
“Being skilled in these practices helps us learn the classroom extra intuitively and helps us higher navigate the pedagogical areas through which we educate these tough subjects,” Hassan mentioned.
Hassan’s course examines subjects such because the intersections of gender, race, and empire inside histories of science and drugs, depictions of the physique inside nationwide and worldwide discourses, representations of the physique and its relationship to nation, and practices of medication and wellness in cross-cultural contexts. It can analyze narratives of sickness, contagion, and illness, conceptions of the physique as a website of oppression or resistance inside social/political discourses and social justice actions, cultural configurations of embodiment and mobility, and the circulation of standard wellness practices inside up to date tradition.
Readings and course supplies embrace fictional texts, memoirs, well being guides, journey narratives, movies, visible photographs, important essays, and historic sources to investigate how our bodies and notions of well being and well-being are and have been represented and conceptualized technologically, visually, scientifically, narratively, and politically in a wide range of world contexts.
Johnson, an assistant professor within the Organizational Conduct Space within the Scheller School of Enterprise, is instructing an undergraduate model of a graduate degree course that she taught beforehand referred to as Work, Fairness, and Wellness, which examines the historic intersection of the three areas. She conducts analysis on organizations and workplaces, and the way they will grow to be extra inclusive and equitable.
“The course seems on the historical past of labor and the historic basis of the sphere of administration,” Johnson mentioned. “We’ve got been socialized from the time we began faculty to simply work the best way we do with out query. For instance, take the phrase ‘professionalism.’ What does it imply to be skilled, and the place does that that means come from? Tracing it again traditionally helps us start to softly query the methods through which we could also be perpetuating inequity, even in small refined methods.”
In Johnson’s course, weekly discussions are supported by readings, podcasts, and documentaries. College students connect with the content material by sharing the way it resonates with their private and organizational experiences. They meet usually in small teams to replicate, share insights, and provide suggestions for one another’s class assignments. The category ends with college students presenting initiatives geared toward reimagining approaches to work, racial fairness, and wellness of their private lives and in a focal office of their selecting.
“In each ranges of lessons — MBA and undergraduate — college students understood it instantly, partially as a result of all of us have been influenced by work historical past,” Johnson mentioned. “We simply grow to be extra conscious of its prevalence on this class.”
Given the Institute’s rising concentrate on well-being, Hassan and Johnson have been collaborating for the previous three years and creating interdisciplinary experiences for his or her college students on subjects associated to well-being and social justice. This semester they are going to visitor lecture in one another’s lessons, they usually plan to share visitor audio system and convey their lessons collectively on associated subjects.