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.
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 Huamnities 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!
Sydney Elliott, Editor
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.
Please query CCHR’s editor, Sydney Elliott, at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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:
“The Last Bus Home” (Fiction)
My grandfather had died after a sudden diagnosis and quick decline, but I couldn’t afford to fly across the country for the funeral. Instead I carried around the only photograph I had of him, a black and white portrait, two inches square, taken during his last days in what was then Leningrad, just before he crossed the ocean to join his father, who’d already settled in New Haven. In the photo, shot in 1929, he was seventeen, dapper though unsmiling, with oiled hair, a strong jaw, imposing eyebrows.
I kept it just behind my New Jersey driver’s license, another relic from the past. Though by then—the early spring of 2000—I’d lived in Oregon for several years, I hadn’t yet updated it. I told myself I’d hung onto it because I didn’t know how long I’d stay here, and why should I take a number and sit for an hour at the DMV office if I didn’t have to. Plus, I didn’t drive much in Portland, usually riding the bus to my job downtown instead of paying for parking. My real reasons for keeping it are murky to me even now: a reluctance to let go of the life I’d mostly abandoned, perhaps, or a fear of losing some essential part of my identity. The image in the corner of the license showed me also at seventeen, though without anything close to my grandfather’s poise. My hair was long and bushy, a few dark wisps visible at the edges of my lips. A patch of acne marred my forehead, and stray pimples dotted my nose and chin. The smile I wore was half-cocked, a smirk at best, as if I knew the very night after I got the license I’d drink five cans of Meister Brau and back my father’s Plymouth into a telephone pole.
Now, at twenty-six, I kept my hair short. The only remaining signs of acne were a few faint scars on my left temple. Even when I shaved every day, a distinct shadow rose up my cheeks. I liked to think I was finally coming to look like my grandfather, had earned some of the toughened dignity he’d found so early, though by this age he was a father twice over, ran a business, owned a house and a beach cottage, while I was single and living in a rented basement, with two part-time jobs and hefty credit card debt.
The funeral was on a Sunday. Both my mother and my cousin Nina left me tearful messages afterward, saying they wished I could have been there, that it was so hard to say goodbye. “I miss him already,” Nina said on the tape of my old answering machine, her voice shaky and distorted. “He was such a good man, Chickle.”
I missed him, too, but hearing her call him good only irritated me. He’d often been imperious and brash, he’d had a temper, he’d belittled people for his own amusement. He’d been especially hard on Nina as an adolescent, picking on her when she gained weight, calling her lazy when she didn’t help her mother in the kitchen, telling her she’d never find a husband. Now she was married to a stock analyst, had recently given birth to her second child, spent every morning at the gym, all this in addition to working full-time as a speech therapist. And yet the last time I’d spoken to my grandfather on the phone he’d gone out of his way to criticize her for not knowing how to keep a house, for letting her older child make messes everywhere he went, for forcing her husband to help fold laundry. Nina was the only person who still called me Chickle, a nickname derived from “boychikul,” my grandfather’s pet name for me. I’d never heard him call her anything but Nina.
To describe him as good was to dismiss him, I thought, to kill him a second time by denying the person he’d been. I was determined to keep him alive in my memory in all his complexity—ugliness included—and after listening to the messages on the day of his funeral I decided to honor him by taking a bus to a downtown bar I frequented, where I ordered a double scotch, though he’d always favored bourbon. In fact, I spent most Sunday afternoons and evenings at this bar, an upscale place with a long polished counter, brass fixtures, frosted glass separating booths, first drinking coffee, then switching to beer with dinner, while grading student essays. One of my part-time jobs was teaching composition classes at a nearby community college, and all week I put off reading student work until the looming prospect of having to collect more papers and add to my overstuffed folders forced me to start. I worked more efficiently at the bar, I thought, and I was also smitten with a certain cocktail waitress who tapped her pen on my shoulder—affectionately, I hoped—every time she finished taking my order.
The first time I’d come in, the waitress, petite and gregarious, with cat-eye glasses and a silver stud in her lower lip, had laughed after she’d asked for I.D. and I’d shown her my old driver’s license, which would finally expire in another year. “You really need to get a new picture,” she’d said. “You’re much better looking than this now.” I took that as a good sign, as well as her friendly questions about the papers I was grading. I read her some of my students’ tortured sentences and pointed out their most egregious spelling errors—one of them wrote about pulling on “a pear of pants”—and she laughed again and tapped my shoulder with her pen. I usually stayed later than I meant to, despite my early class on Monday morning, and drank enough that I struggled to stay awake on the bus ride home.
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“Circle of Fire: A Life of Learning”
Student grit and student passions and interests have a symbiotic relationship, we as community college humanities faculty recognize and strive to enhance. Recently reflecting, after completing my twenty-fifth year of full-time college teaching, upon what brought me to the humanities classroom, and of the some seven thousand students who have experienced these history and Spanish classrooms, it is poignant to consider that it is through an examination of how grit and passion worked together in my education, that I heighten my ability to illuminate the paths my students walk as they forge their destinies.
In the wake of the Vietnam War when for many youth, confidence in America and in its traditional organizations was waning, the Boy Scouts of America nationally underwent a steep decline in membership. Chickasaw Council Troop 221, which when I joined in 1972, had four dozen scouts, dropped to less than one dozen by March of 1977, when, holding steadily to the course, and in keeping with a passion for trees inspired by the powerful context of the new environmental movement, I set about planting hundreds of pine saplings as my Eagle Scout project, earning that rank at a time when only some 1 1⁄2 % of active Boy Scouts were reaching Eagle. This grit soon reaped a rich reward.
For Eagle Scout Day, when Eagles spend the day with a professional in a career field that interests them, I asked historian Shelby Foote if he might oblige; he kindly accepted. An early spring morning Foote greeted me in his mellifluous Mississippi Delta voice at the door of his midtown Memphis home, ushering this teenaged guest into his study, where he talked of history, music, art, and literature—his young visitor relishing every moment. Foote then tooled me around East Memphis in his Fiat X/19 British sports car, touching base on his books at two bookstores off the Poplar Avenue corridor, and treating me to lunch at the Knickerbocker. At that night’s Eagle Scout Banquet, as other scouts sat next to lawyers, military men, bankers, or insurance salesmen, I felt proud to sit next to Shelby Foote—historian.
I did not choose to study history; two places pushed me to history. In that first place, Memphis, I was a first-grade student at Sea Isle Elementary when on April 4th, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. His visit to Memphis, and the sanitation workers’ “I Am A Man” fight for recognition of dignity, for which struggle Dr. King marched, made manifest that the city’s contemporary problems of discrimination and inequity of 1968 were the legacy of slavery, Civil War, an aborted Reconstruction, and the consequent decades of Jim Crow. Or, so it would become manifest to me as, growing up under the city’s shadow of the King assassination, I dug into the region’s history, listening to my mother tell of the segregation practices and attitudes in the West Tennessee town of Dyersburg in which she and my father had grown up, listening closely and painfully as mother described forced segregation in theaters, drinking fountains, swimming pools, and even clothing stores.
Second-grade year, a second place, located from Memphis on the opposite side of the globe—Vietnam—pushed me at age seven, in early 1969, when the United States was approaching its April 30, 1969, peak war troop levels of 543,400, to fear for my twenty-two year old brother, Bill’s life. This war in Indochina, that glowered interminably over my childhood and early teens, and about which during the war neither my elementary school teachers, nor junior high school teachers, nor in the wake of the war’s end, my high school history and social studies teachers, chose to say a single word, forced questions that, beginning in my last two years of high school, provoked a grappling with the war’s history through study and reading that has continued to the present day.
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Andrew Rusnak, Jr.:
“Finding Place: Writer and Professor Susan Muaddi Darraj”
. . . place in narrative, place as another character, as writer Susan Muaddi Darraj alludes—a vil- lage well, a sub shop in Philadelphia, Scheheraza- de’s chamber of stories. Place can slowly chisel and shape community or disrupt its spirit in seconds. Place can be stolen or traded away, historicized, claimed and reclaimed, fought over, annihilat- ed, rebuilt. It can welcome one home or alienate them from family. Place is you, you are your place. Know your place, deny your place, how it settles, defines, gathers and releases to a waiting world the tangled queries and incorruptible promises of a young girl’s intentions. Love, dreams, rage, soft breath, turning 16, hilarious laughter, collapse— are where locations resolve into place. If place is always beyond a simple isolated beginning or a conveniently tied ending, if it is beyond the fixed and arbitrary, beyond neutral, indifference, terri- tory, prejudice, accords, paradox, transition, and the implicit, if place is the unforgiving parent of the past and the older sibling of the present, it is “. . . because the place stays the same,” as Darraj says in a Fifth Wednesday Journal interview. And when the same becomes eternal, how warmly it cradles culture and conflict, reason and chaos, hunger and death—the magnanimous grand- mother who could be that place and all places where civilization struggles to find its high moral ground. After you are place, before it is somehow your place, after what some men do with it, place seems like it is a venerable mythical woman.
“So, what’s the story of this stranger?” Rabab asked, trying to change her mother’s mood. “Do we know anything?”
“He’s from the south. He may have run away from the army, so your father doesn’t want to ask too many questions.”
“He will live, at least?”
“Inshallah. There has been too much suffer-
ing. We have saved one soul, and God smiles upon that surely.”
“Does he want to go home?”
“I’m sure he does. Those who have a home, always long to return.”
—“The Journey Home,” A Curious Land, by Susan Muaddi Darraj
One day in the Palestinian Christian village of Taybeh, just northeast of Jerusalem in the West Bank, a young man named Farah, the second-eldest son of Abdallah Muaddi, went to his father with a life-altering proposition, the kind of challenge that could divert the fate of the Muaddi bloodline for generations to come.
It was the early 1960s, following more than a half-century of nationalist and ethnic conflict between Arabs and Jews, and more than a decade after the British mandate over Palestine had expired.
Named in the late 12th century by Salah ad-Din, the first sultan of Egypt who led Muslims in their fight against Christian Crusaders, Taybeh in Arabic means “goodly” or “good and kind.” Goodly emanates from the sincere hospitality expressed toward the appreciative Saladin by indigenous peoples of the region. Taybeh also is mentioned in the New Testament as the place where Jesus and his disciples withdrew after Lazarus was raised from the dead.
Six months prior to the May 1948 British departure from Palestine, due in part to the outcry for a Jewish homeland after the pogrom of WWII, the state was carved up by the U.N. into three Jewish and four Arab sections with the intent of creating two independent autonomous states. At first glance, these newly drawn territories resemble the racially gerrymandered voting districts that exist in some U.S. states today. Boundaries were, however, loosely delineated on where Jewish settlements already existed and what percentage of the land could be cultivated. It is hard to fathom however, how such sporadic and divergent geographical divisions could ever compel separate peoples with contrasting languages, religions, and ethnic histories to ally in a manner that fosters peaceful coexistence while simultaneously perpetuating two distinct cultures.
Surrounded by Arab nations—Egypt to the south, Jordan and Syria to the east, Lebanon to the north and the Mediterranean flanking the west—the newly parceled land was accepted by the Israelis, sanctioned by the U.N. General Assembly, and recognized by U.S. President Harry Truman. Palestinians, despite inheriting the coveted historical city of Jerusalem and despite the risk that war could cede even more territory, summarily rejected the new plan. In the power vacuum left by the British who wanted no part in enforcing the new boundaries, the 1948 War—which actually began in 1947 and persisted until 1949 and was defined by the Israelis as the War of Independence and by Arabs as the Nakba, or Catastrophe—ensued.
The resultant bloodshed was catastrophic for Arab Palestinians, more than half of the pre-war population now displaced and on the move. Losing their homes and livelihoods, some 700,000 war refugees fled the ravages and conflagration of military conflict directly, including Darraj’s grandfather Issa Dahdal on her mother’s side, who fled to Jordan following the ’48 conflict. Many others were outright expelled by Zionist troops, some were massacred.
When the dust settled, as much as it could in a region of the world now endemic to ethnic strife, a prevailing sense of economic deprivation, lost sovereignty, and fatigued dignity settled over the arable lands and wrestled for the resolute and resourceful spirit of the Palestinian people. The Israelis, of course, have their own rightful stories of diaspora, holocaust, homeland, and alterity.
This place . . . part of an historical human awakening suitably dubbed the Fertile Crescent . . . the Mid-East, where in more ancient times nomad hunter-gatherers for the first time ended their primal desultory wanderings and learned to domesticate crops, the feral progenitors to today’s barley, figs, wheat, flax, chick pea, and lentil, and went on to pacify wild cows, goats, sheep, and pigs this place . . . that claimed the birth of civilization, where irrigation, the wheel, and writing were invented, where imagination delivered culture and mitigated the indifferent forces of nature this place . . . that seemed to team with promise for civility and progress this place . . . had decayed into the lives of those who had power and those who did not, and it was under this cloud that Farah, whose eye was for the future and his mark upon it, approached his father.
“Yes Farah?” the conversation may have gone, like it has in many places of the world in the 20th and now 21st centuries, and in myth when the archetypal son leaves home to seek his fortune. Farah farmed land with his father, an older brother was secure in his profession as a school teacher.
“There is no future for me here, our family is suffering, everyone is talking about America.”