Newsletter, April 2019

Pre-Texts News:

In April 2019, The Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning and Prof. Doris Sommer of Cultural Agents, invited Faculty and Teaching Fellows from across Harvard to participate in a 3-session Pre-Texts workshop.

15 participants played with an excerpt from the ‘Panopticism’ chapter of Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish.

Visit the Pre-Texts website for more details.

Pre-Texts, as part of the Language Out Loud (LOL) campaign across China, is being piloted as a literacy pedagogy in the Nord Anglia Chinese International School (NACIS), Shanghai. Using Pre-Texts strategies to teach Chinese to students in primary and middle school, the teachers have been able to build literacy, innovation, and citizenship in the classrooms!

The results of the students’ efforts shone through when they participated in a nation-wide short story competition on “Me & China” by Littlestar Magazine in 2019. Students from NACIS won the First and Second prize in the 10-12 year old category, and the third prize and an Excellence award in the below 9 age group!

We are so proud of the young readers, writers, and learners, and are excited to celebrate the love for languages with them!

Read reflections from the proud Principal, Sue Gu, and a winning student on our Website.


Cultural Agents News

The Humanities Institute at the University of Texas, Austin, and the Blanton Museum of Art, invited Prof. Doris Sommer of Cultural Agents to facilitate three days of lively engagement with Cultural Agents’ work from April 3 to 6, 2019.

A playful rendition of ‘Rapunzel’ was the outcome of a collaborative Pre-Texts and cartonera book-making session.

Watch the video of the performance at this link.

On April 19, 2019, The Central America and The Carribean Program at Harvard University’s David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS) in collaboration with Cultural Agents Initiative and other organizations hosted the Puerto Rico: Trouble in Paradise Film Series.

The featured films look at 21st century Puerto Rico, especially in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria and the preexisting crisis. The screenings were followed by conversation about the status quo and communities standing up when faced with social abandonment.

Read more about the day’s agenda on our Website.

Prof. Doris Sommer’s A Case for Culture was published recently in the Winter 2019 issue of MLA Profession.

“Today, our responses to urgent challenges, which include inequality, violence, climate change, and migration, should include care for people and for the planet. Sustainable care will depend on the sociability promoted by the arts and humanities… The case method is common in practically every field of academic research. Cases identify a problem and then evaluate intervention techniques. If we dared, we could use this method to respond to humanistic worries by designing hybrid essays that combine approaches from the humanities and social sciences.” – An excerpt from A Case for Culture (Sommer, 2019).

Read the article at this link.

In this highly anticipated gathering held on April 13, 2019, writers Renato Cisneros, José Carlos Agüero, and Lurgio Gavilán joined literary scholar Alexandra Hibbett and renowned political scientist Alberto Vergara to engage in a discussion on their respective works and on what they have learned from each other through the capacity of literature to open new spaces for reconciliation.

The conversation led to an intimate dialogue on April 15 between Renato Cisneros, Alberto Vergara, and Cherman (a graphic artist known for his portraits of more than 300 Peruvian icons) on “Reconciliation” as a keyword and the role of art in the process.

Featured News:

Argentine artist Raul Lemesoff’s ‘Arma de Instrucción Masiva’ or ‘Weapon of Mass Instruction’ is a repurposed 1979 Ford Falcon turned into a tank-like vehicle complete with a swiveling turret, a non-functioning gun, and space to store thousands of books – inside and outside of the vehicle.

Starting its journey in Buenos Aires, the Weapon brings free books to low-resource schools, remote rural settlements, slums, and all forgotten areas where books do not reach to encourage reading, generate interactions, and battle misinformation.

Read more about the Weapon of Mass Instruction’s cultural journey at this link.


The Bibliomotocarro

Antonio La Cava is a retired school teacher who converted his three-wheeled van into a mobile library to make books and reading more accessible!

Driving the hills and mountains of Basilicata, Italy, La Cava is able to reach children in remote villages like San Paolo Albanese.

Watch the video on Antonio’s journey with the Bibliomotocarro at this link.


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Caminos de Paz Cases for Culture Cultural Agents Opportunities Partners Pre-Texts Rennaisance Now
April 4, 2019
by Rodriguez