CCHR Journal Vol. 2, No. 2 (Spring 2018)

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, Volume 2, Number 2 of The Review is available via Amazon by clicking the link below. Additionally, more information about our Submission Guidelines can be found HERE.

CCHR Cover- Spring 2018
EBSCO logo, white on blue

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!

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
Lex Runciman:
“All Means All”

As 2017 has concluded and now a new year begun, a certain amount of distancing has been necessary for many of us. At least that has been the case for me. I have needed to figure out an internal way to blunt the worst of the current White House statements and actions, to at once resist but not be all-possessed by circumstance that, as one person, I have little immediate power to alter. Recent directly racist comments from the President have gotten through those defenses. As someone who spent an entire teaching career in the company of great American authors, I have, one way or another, often felt myself pointing to and emphasizing what I have understood as an American ideal, an American aspiration: to acknowledge and act and understand what it might mean to be a free person, with empathy for others as part of a shared, implicit and explicit agreement about what has been called “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”—with the full understanding that we are all endowed at birth with “certain inalienable rights.”

To illustrate, let me briefly discuss four texts that have been important to me over 35 years of teaching undergraduates. Though any number of novels suggest themselves, I’m thinking now of Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, Tom Kromer’s Waiting for Nothing, James Weldon Johnson’s Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man, and Molly Gloss’ The Jump-Off Creek.

In many ways, these four American works could not be more distinctly different, yet each revolves around a central character struggling to articulate an authentic voice, struggling to make at once an identity and a personal freedom each feels entitled to. In Hurston’s novel, that character is Janie Crawford, returning to her hometown, Eatonville, “a town [made] all outa colored folks,” after time away. Where’s she been? What’s she been doing? In her words, “Ah been a delegate to de big ’ssociation of life. Yessuh! De Grand Lodge, de big convention of livin’ is just where Ah been dis year and a half y’all ain’t seen me.” Hurston’s narrator, who knows Janie well, tells us, “Janie saw her life like a great tree in leaf with the things suffered, things enjoyed, things done and undone. Dawn and doom was in the branches.”

I’ve always thought of this novel as double voiced. Janie tells much of her story herself, with that narrator often enough providing an overview. The two voices combine to make a testament, a witnessing, a voicing of American life rare in 1937 when this book was first published.

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Sneak Peek
Billy Tooma:
“Biography & Documentary: Academia’s Evolution”

We are not just a Babel of voices. Nor is the culture that surrounds us.

—Lois W. Banner

History should not be viewed as an artless regurgitation of facts, figures, and dates. The story of humanity should be approached from a more humanistic perspective. The implementation of the study of biography and documentary can build bridges across time, creating connections, thoughts, and opinions among students in ways a standardized, oftentimes sterile, textbook cannot. But the two are, more often than not, viewed as oddities, unfit for classroom use. Academia does not receive them well. Jonathan Haslam writes that biography is, unfortunately, “seen as somewhat eccentric: a whimsical detour from well- travelled direct routes . . . ,” but it could not be any further from the truth. Biography is not a quirky genre meant to be seen as an alternative to a mainstream understanding of history. And documentary has suffered from what many films in other genres suffer from: an output of questionable titles of poor production quality. The reluctance to rely on it as a teaching tool has grown because people tend to focus on the negative results of working within its realm rather than on the positive. Geoffrey C. Ward says that it “really is a terrible shame that there should be any hostility between serious filmmakers and serious historians because the cause of informing the public about the past we all share is a great one” (Bernard and Robin 136-137). It becomes this constant Sisyphus-like struggle to push for the use of documentaries within education. Conservative academics like tangible teaching tools. Documentaries represent an intangible audio/ visual experience. This is what they are wary of. Students must be taught to understand that they do not exist within “a vacuum, and [that] the social, political, economic and historical forces” of their times were spawned over millennia by real people, not just printed names with birth and death dates next to them in parentheses (Fowler 54). History, if handled via a literary (not to be confused with fictional) experience (in this case through biography and documentary) can stimulate and reinvigorate the learning experience.

Biography embodies years of work. A scholarly paper does not, on average, do the same. Many academics look at the genre as time-consuming. One work produced within a three-year period gets outweighed by several shorter works within that same amount of time. Publish, publish, publish—this is what many conservative academics of today have had ingrained into their minds. Brian Jay Jones says that he is not exactly sure where the disdaining originates from but that perhaps biography is “viewed as navel-gazing” and that “there’s also a shaking of the head, too, when . . . [conservative academics] hear that someone is writing a three-volume biography of some Obscure Left-Handed Nearsighted Unappreciated Poet.” But no one should be allowed to judge the biographer working on that. Leave that individual alone. Once the work is completed and made available then judge it by its ability to teach. If it succeeds then no one should question its merits.

Want to continue reading? Please consider purchasing a print copy or becoming a member.

Sneak Peek
Andrew Bishop:
“Literary Cures for Common-Sense Thinking in the Composition Classroom”

For almost two years now, I have been teaching one of my favorite courses at Hudson County Community College (HCCC) in Jersey City: the English 102 Literature Variation. It is a college-level composition course focused on argument and research, but a variation designed, supposedly, for students who have a passion for literature. I say “supposedly” only because, when students enroll in the course, they do not always notice the “LIT” subject code we put by the course title to signify “Literature Variation.” So generally the class looks something like this: a number of students who are there by accident or for scheduling reasons; a handful of others who enjoy reading literature but are not pursuing a Liberal Arts English Option, the closest thing we offer at HCCC to an English major; and then perhaps the one or two students who have, indeed, enrolled in community college to study literature.

Naturally, this situation raises some questions: why am I having composition students read short stories, poems, and plays when they may never again, in any course they take in college, have to analyze similar material? Why at HCCC do we offer a Literature Variation of Composition II when the college has no English major, only an English “option” for students whose official major is still Liberal Arts? And more generally, why integrate literature into composition?

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Sneak Peek
Sydney J. Elliott:
“Where Are You From?”
A Conversation with Tina Schumann

Skin had hope, that’s what skin does. Heals over the scarred place, makes a road. Love means you breathe in two countries. And skin remembers—

-“Two Countries,” Naomi Shihab Nye

I wanted to begin this review with a pithy, thoughtful musing on the timeliness of this anthology. But I keep coming back to the simple fact that I can’t stop picking up this book. I have gone back to essays such as Angie Chaung’s essay, “Six Syllables,” Li-Young Lee’s poem, “Arise, Go Down,” and the poem with the best title by Melissa Castillo-Garsow, “Poem To The White Man Who Asks Me After Overhearing Me Speak Spanish Where To Find The Best Mexican Food And Then Is Shocked To Find Out I Am Mexican.” Nearly every page has pencil marks in the margins, underlines, and stars (which is my code for loving a line or section).

At the same time, this is an important and timely book. Tina Schumann brings together an anthology of poetry, essays, and flash memoir that highlight the immigrant experience from the voices of children growing up in America. In her introduction, Tina writes about living with the perpetual question, “Where are you from?” and our cultural impulse to categorize individuals even though “. . . the only box we all fit into is that of a human being.”

Each writer in Two Countries shares a heritage statement to accompany their work, which are, to me, as interesting as the writing itself. The anthology, as a whole, successfully celebrates pride and culture as well as highlighting the human experience we all share.

Tina and I graduated from the same MFA program, the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University, so I approached her with some questions about Two Countries:

Sydney Elliott: You give your heritage story at the beginning in your introduction. How did the idea for this anthology germinate? How did you get started?

Tina Schumann: I suppose in some ways a seed of the idea had been germinating with me since childhood, but I became much more conscious of it in middle-age, after the death of my mother. I was lucky in that I came of age (mostly) in a very ethnically diverse neighborhood in the Bay Area in the 1970’s. Most of my friends had one or more immigrant parent and English was not the only language spoken in their homes. My family was not seen as that unusual. As I grew into adulthood and moved around geographically, I recognized that many “American” families did not have that experience, and there were many instances in my life when I was treated as “other” once it was revealed that my mother was from El Salvador…

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