Community College Humanities Review Journal

Want a peek at the CCHR? See the teasers below!

The Community College Humanities Review Journal

The Community College Humanities Review (CCHR) journal, published biannually by the Community College Humanities Association (CCHA), has gone through an extensive redesign and reevaluation of editorial content. Along with the publication’s historical penchant for outstanding peer-reviewed scholarship, CCHR is now publishing essays on pedagogy, faculty profiles, book reviews, columns, fiction, poetry, and first-person reflections on life as a community college humanities professor. Further information on our Submission Guidelines below.

For “conventional” humanities disciplines such as history, philosophy, literary studies, composition, comparative religion, and ethics, CCHR provides the latest in research and pedagogy. The publication also leads the charge in expanding the definition of what studying the humanities may come to mean in the future. CCHR intends to explore, from a humanities perspective and with the intention of building bridges with other disciplines, such subjects as climate change, income inequality, environmental racism, terrorism, sustainability, media literacy, and biotechnology.

With expanded editorial content, CCHR is better able to serve CCHA’s members, as well as reach the larger higher education humanities community. CCHR is the go-to for the past, present, and future of humanities education in community colleges. Since the re-launch, CCHR has assumed its position as the signature publication of the Community College Humanities Association and be a welcome and important contribution for any individual and/or institution where the humanities are taught or explored.

Edited by Sydney Elliott, The Review is available via Amazon by clicking the link below. Additionally, more information about our Submission Guidelines can be found HERE.

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Get the Community College Humanities Review Journal (CCHR) delivered to your  library; it’s easy to do! Masyn Phoenix, Library Director at Tillamook Bay Community College, is here to tell you how just how easy it is. “Subscribing to the Community College Humanities Review is easy. Just ask your friendly neighborhood librarian to subscribe for you through EBSCONET. ISSN# 0748-0741.” Thanks, Masyn!

Want a peek at the CCHR? See the teasers below!

Contact information

Sydney Elliott, Editor

Submission guidelines

Community College


The Community College Humanities Review is published by the Community College Humanities Association (CCHA). The goal of the journal is to highlight the scholarly and creative work of community college humanities faculty. The editor encourages progressive approaches to writing about the humanities in community colleges, welcoming but also questioning conventional subject matter while inviting community college humanities faculty to take a fresh look at, for example, culture, the environment, the politics of food, climate change, genetic engineering, whatever new challenges a humanities mindset may help, in an integrated approach with other disciplines, to solve. The Community College Humanities Review strives to be the go to publication for community college humanities scholarship and creativity.

Submission Guidelines


Please query CCHR’s editor, Sydney Elliott, at Submissions will only be accepted through email in MS Word, 12 point, Times New Roman font, double spaced, left justified, with one-inch margins and page numbers in the upper right corner. There should be no headers or footers. CCHR rarely accepts any work over 7,000 words. Most texts should fall between the 2,000 – 7,000 word range. For additional format requirements concerning research submissions, see below.


CCHR accepts well-researched articles by community college humanities faculty. Along with the above writing guidelines, scholar writers should follow MLA format and use endnotes (not footnotes) when necessary. Please restrict the number of explanatory or digressive endnotes that are excessively long. Limit the total number of endnotes to bibliographic references. Use superscript Arabic numbers in text, avoid the use of other symbols like asterisks. Embed tables, figures, charts, graphs into the narrative as close to the in-text reference as possible. Limit the number of appendixes.

Creative Nonfiction

Essays – CCHR accepts well-written personal experience and critical essays as well as long-form, literary journalism written by community college humanities faculty. Essays on novel pedagogy and teaching experiences are encouraged.

Profiles – Creative profiles in the long-form tradition should focus on community college humanities faculty or those who are in some significant way associated with community colleges.


Interviews, in Q&A format, will be accepted as long as the interview subject has particular relevance to the teaching of humanities in community colleges. Please query Editor Sydney Elliott.


CCHR accepts well written short stories of any genre, generally 1,000 to 7,500 words. Higher consideration is given to quality writing and the ability to tell a good story. Both character- or plot-driven stories welcome for review. CCHR publishes one short story per issue, more depending on the discretion of the editor. Send your best work. No previously published material. Yes on simultaneous submissions.


Poets may submit up to five poems in any form. Publication design guidelines prohibit the guarantee of poet-designated line breaks. We’ll do our best to accommodate. Thoughtful, imaginative poems should resonate. Send your very best work. No previously published material. Simultaneous submissions are ok.



Subject to the editor’s discretion, The Community College Humanities Review accepts photography by community college humanities faculty. Photos may need to be conducive to the thematic content of a particular issue.

In This Issue:

Sneak Peek
Guillermo Gibens:
“Avatar and Colonialism Representation”

In 2010, as I was teaching a Communication class at the Institute of International Studies at Ramkhamhaeng University in Bangkok, Thailand, I was attracted to add the topic of colonialism. I was wondering if students in the class would be able to discern different characteristics of colonialism by watching a film. The film I chose to show was Avatar.

The film was already very popular in the United States and worldwide. I designed a questionnaire with a series of questions to trigger students’ responses about science-fiction films, computer-generated animation (CGI), film plots, as well as representations of social, political and economic issues in the movie.

To my surprise, many students were able to conclude that there were issues of colonialism present in the film. The discussion after watching the film was very dynamic and exciting as students showed clearly that they understood the symbolic representations in the film related to dominance, control, culture and racism.

I have never done the same inquiry with my students in the USA, but would US students be able to arrive at the same conclusion as the Asian students?

The present article does not pretend to have a rigorous examination of Avatar and its issue of colonialism based on quantitative data. This author’s goal is to just review one of the most successful films in US film productions, and how through its imagery it was able to recreate the colonial past of many European nations and the United States.

According to Internet Movie Database (IMDb, 2009), the film Avatar was released on December 18, 2009, in the United States. Its producer, director and writer was James Cameron. The movie production cost $237 million, and it became the “highest-grossing movie,” according to Reuters (2010); the film box office sales in US and Canada totaled $760,507,625, while worldwide the film made $2.847 million.

The storyline of the film is similar to movies that have portrayed the clash of people of different backgrounds and cultures due to political, economic and social differences.In this kind of movie, we can add Dances with Wolves (1990) and Elysium (2013).

In Avatar, a terrestrial nation with technological advances decides to invade a distant moon called Pandora. The year is 2154, and the Earth has already been depleted of natural resources. Pandora has a mineral called Unobtanium, which has an extraordinary value on Earth, and it is being exploited by a greedy corporation. However, in order to get the mineral, the corporation needs to remove the native people living around their rich woodland. The corporation had a number of scientists working on the project. The science team is intended to understand the native culture, learn from it, and help in the peaceful removal of the Na’vi people, the aboriginals of Pandora, so the invading nation gets to extract the mineral. Along with the corporate staff and the scientists, an army of tough soldiers under the command of “gung-ho Colonel (Miles) Quaritch” (IMDb, 2009) are ready to intervene militarily to remove the natives if the peaceful method fails.

Throughout this drama, the figure of paraplegic Marine Jake Sully is the voice, the narrator of the story. As he gets involved in the lives and culture of the Na’vi people and falls in love with Neytiri, he transforms himself into a bicultural individual, understanding the nuances of the White culture from which he comes and adapting himself to the native culture.

Through his storytelling, we eyewitness the plan for the invaders to take control of the mineral and displace the Na’vi people.

As the movie continued to be seen nationwide and worldwide, several studies and articles seemed to question and praise the film. The issue of colonialism and imperialism began to be present in scenes and dialogues, and the extraordinary use of CGI technology for the creation of the planet and its inhabitants was admired by viewers and critics.

Grinshpun (2013) in her article about Avatar indicates that greed, selfishness and naiveness are essential components of colonialism. One element that is always present in stories on colonialism is the representation of the people being oppressed or invaded as savages, with little or no intellectual abilities, and this is an aspect that is shown in fictional or real stories. Only very few films would depict the enemy (the oppressed) as people who can think intelligently and defend themselves strategically. Movies that come to mind in this style could include Zulu (1960) depicting the British-Zulu Kingdom’s first battle in 1879 that culminated with the defeat of the British (Britannica, 2019), and a few versions of the Battle of Little Big Horn where General George Custer along with his soldiers were killed in battle.

Lyubansky (2009) also made a case for the presence of colonialism in his article “The Racial Politics of Avatar.” Lyubansky wrote:
On a more subtle level, the film holds a mirror up to humanity and shows us both the folly of our greed and disregard for human life and what our own planet might have been like if its indigenous peoples were allowed to retain their cultures rather than being overrun by European colonialization.

Lyubanski also mentioned in his article a film of a similar tone: Dances with Wolves (1990). Likewise, Zacharek (2009) took a similar stand in his article “Avatar: Dances with Aliens.” The title of the article clearly established the connection between the two films.

Another element that is related to colonialism and oppression and is present in Avatar is the character of a White Savior (Cox, 2020). Jack Sully, the ex-marine that tells the story, fits into this category as representing a desire to help natives confront the invading forces and liberate themselves from the humans. He provides his ideas and logistics to confront the power of the mighty military machines with simple bows and arrows. The presence of White Saviors is also noticeable in other films, including Dances with Wolves, and according to Willuweit (2020), it is a display of Neo-Imperialism. Through the movies, the White members of an audience could experience the value of being a component of a racial group that distinguishes itself for its altruistic values to help others in need, especially minorities. Cammarota (2011) explains that the concept of the White Savior Syndrome serves as a guide for people of color to move beyond their own limitations and into the realm of their own goals in life. To a certain extent, the concept renders the people of color incapable of helping themselves, unless there is a White Savior leading. The Na’vis only way to confront the invasion was with the presence and participation of Jake’s intelligence and knowledge.

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Sneak Peek
Karen Marcotte:
“Legacy of Ancient Italy: Legacy of the Etruscans”

The Etruscans are not a theory or a thesis.
If they are anything, they are an experience
—D.H. Lawrence
Red, ripening cherries danced in the breeze at the end of their stems. Covering ancient walls, the scent of jasmine permeated the air. Fingers touched the cold stone of past underground tombs. Birds called to each other from tree tops at various archaeological sites. Centuries old Roman Forum dust, stirred by wind swirls, entered our mouths. All of the human senses and intellect were utilized by the members of the Community College Humanities Association (CCHA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Institute, “The Legacy of Ancient Italy: the Etruscans and Early Roman
City” in June, 2012.

For three weeks, 24 participants consisting of two graduate students, 11 community college faculty and 11 university faculty wove empirical and theoretical learning together into our quest for the Etruscans. We studied, read, debated, questioned and wondered about our topic: who were these elusive and difficult to decipher, Etruscans? Our on-going path to knowledge was guided by numerous scholars in the fields of Etruscan art, architecture, history, religion, politics, economics and social status.

This institute was so successful that I, even after 10 years, remember it vividly and with great fondness and academic appreciation. The high success was due to our leadership team. Our major scholar was Dr. Greg Warden, Associate Dean of Fine Arts and Director of the Poggia Colla Archaeological Site at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. The other co-director was Dr. Carole Lester, Dean of Instruction and Academic Enrichment at Richland College in Dallas, Texas. Our on-site triumvirate was completed by Marsha Anderson of North Lake College, Irving, Texas. Ms. Anderson was local arrangements coordinator, translator and institute associate. The Project Director, Professor David Berry of CCHA and Essex College, also visited the institute in Italy. It must be noted that a few things did not work as well as hoped and planned. Internet connections were frequently limited, some hotel food not typical Italian cuisine and one hotel did not have air conditioning during an unexpected heat wave. Considering how well other aspects functioned including the almost daily bus trips, the institute still remains a great success.

To study the Etruscans requires a unique structure. Having left us little or no written records, one must turn to archaeology and the material culture of this pre-Roman group. One of the highlights of this institute was the on-site learning that occurred from the various scholars who told of their discoveries through our readings but then showed us their academic findings at the sites. Our first and constant scholar was Dr. Greg Warden. For over 20 years, Dr. Warden led a team of renowned Etruscan scholars and students on an Etruscan archeological dig at Poggia Colla in the mountains between Bologna and Florence. We also visited the Etruscan Museum at Vicchio which houses many of the artifacts found over the 20 years of that important dig.

We were privileged to be shepherded by this Etruscan expert; our first days were spent in lectures by Dr. Warden to provide background on this early civilization which would greatly impact the more renowned Roman civilization. It is the Etruscans who gave western humanity the mounded tombs, metallurgy skills, city structure, political structures, architectural forms such as the arch and even the toga! To this day, their name graces a beautiful section of Italy that includes Tuscany, Umbria, Lazio, and the Mediterranean Sea.

In Orvieto, Italy, our home for the first nine days of the institute, we made underground visits to the area of the Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo. This would be the first of many Etruscan dwelling sites we would observe. The Etruscans buried their dead with many objects from life such as metal candelabra, eating utensils, metal plates, mirrors, pottery, and exquisite gold jewelry. These artifacts of material culture provide much of our knowledge on the group. Later that same day, we descended at least one and half stories under a medieval church to view the original Etruscan structure that had been built there. The church, San Andrea, had been one of the stops for Pope Urban II as he exhorted Christians to reclaim the Holy Land (Jerusalem) from the infidel Muslims. We literally stood on the layers of history.

The next day was entirely spent at the archaeological site of Tarquinia. We were met by Prof. Stephan Steingraber, the major excavator of these tombs. We had previously read his works on the site but now we could hear him explain the process by which he brought these tombs and their knowledge to the academic world. We would descend stories below ground and marvel at the beauty and brightness of the fresco tomb paintings that were over 2,000 years old.

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Sneak Peek
Harvey Strum:
“Kaddish for Abraham Lincoln”

Kaddish for Abraham Lincoln: Albany’s Jews. 1861–2021.
Jews settling in upstate New York created a community out of nothing, establishing their own institutions, and carved an identity as a small religious minority in an overwhelmingly, and not always welcoming Christian population. Fellow Americans viewed Jews as an odd if biblical religious group, “the other.” Historian Hasia Diner observed that for Christian Americans, “Jews served as a collective symbol of alienness, of being different from everyone else, and at odds with the ideals of Christian America.” Reaching the same conclusion, historian Gerald Sorin stressed the reluctance of Christian Americans to embrace Jews as fellow Americans since “hatred of Jews was carried to America at the very birth of the nation, and it was nourished by the myths that portray Jews as eternally alien to Christendom.” How did Jews neutralize their alienness? Jews walked a tightrope throughout American history—how to retain their identity as a small religious and ethnic minority and win acceptance as Americans. Orthodox Rabbi Hyman Lasker raised the question for all American Jews in 1909 while laying the cornerstone for Beth Israel, an Orthodox synagogue in Troy, ”Let us be patriotic, American patriots and Jewish believers. Let us teach our children to shed their last drop of blood for our country, America. Let them hold the Bible in one hand and the flag of the Stars and Stripes in the other.”

Jewish immigrants identified with their new country and sought acceptance as Americans. When national tragedies occurred, Jews joined with other Americans to show their loyalty. During the Civil War. Albany’s Jews enlisted in New York Volunteers. When Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, Congregation Beth El met on 18 April 1865 and agreed to hold special services for the fallen president. The synagogue was “draped in deep mourning for thirty days.” Resolutions adopted by the congregation included: “it is our duty as Israelites to abhor crime, and as citizens of the United States to love and respect the President.” At Anshe Emeth, Rabbi Max Schlesinger delivered a tribute to President Lincoln on 19 April 1865. A local newspaper praised the sermon for displaying “the true patriotism and sorrow of the Rabbi as well as of the congregation.’ Beth El Jacob led by Rabbi Isaac Ritterman held special services for Lincoln and like Beth El draped the synagogue in black for thirty days. Representatives of the German Literary Society, heavily Jewish, and members of Anshe Emeth participated in the funeral parade when Lincoln’s funeral train stopped in Albany. Lincoln’s assassination allowed Albany’s Jews to express their identify as Americans and Jews.

In other national tragedies, Albany’s Jews demonstrated their loyalty as Americans and self-identification as Jews, a distinct religious minority. When Charles Guiteau killed President James Garfield in 1881, Rabbi Max Schlesinger praised Garfield, ”the good, the noble, the illustrious,” as a large crowd of the city’s Jews listened. Congregations in Albany and other Capital District cities joined in a national day of mourning. Twenty years later, Leon Czolgosz, mortally wounded President William McKinley, Congregations across the country prayed for the wounded president. Rabbi Alexander Lyons at Beth Emeth delivered a special prayer on Erev Rosh Hashanah for McKinley’s recovery. When he died, Beth Emeth’s congregation joined with Trinity Methodist in commemoration services. More than 2,000 people attended the services at Beth Emeth. Separately, Reform and Orthodox Jews held a joint service at Beth El Jacob with “a special prayer in Hebrew” for the fallen president and his successor, Theodore Roosevelt. In 1923, President Warren H. Harding died of natural causes. All the congregations held a joint memorial service on 10 August 1923 at Sons of Abraham. Then, in 1945, President Franklin Roosevelt died in office. Members of all of Albany’s congregations held a joint memorial service on 15 April 1945 at Beth El Jacob, as all of the city’s churches and synagogues honored the late president. President John F. Kennedy’s murder in November 1963 produced a similar reaction. The Capital District Board of Rabbis issued a statement: “With all our fellow Americans who are overcome with mourning and grief at the death of this young gallant leader of our Republic” we pray for his family and support our new president, Lyndon Johnson. Each synagogue held special services for Kennedy. Beth Emeth draped its altar and pulpit in black as Rabbi Alvin Roth honored the late president. Rabbi Roth represented the Jewish community in city wide commemoration of the life of President Kennedy. Each of these events allowed Albany’s Jews to express their identity as Americans and Jews and show the acceptance by the larger community.

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