Food For Thought With Prof. Harvey
Lunch is on us! Join us for the November Food for Thought with Professor Harvey. Seats are limited, so secure your spot now and sign up now!
My current research focuses on using modified theatrical methods in two related ways: First, as a means of both exploring and understanding the cultural attitudes that underpin political attitude in order to further enrich the Drama for Conflict Resolution (DCT) literature, and second; as a new type of qualitative research method for use in politically flammable and/or socially loaded situations. I often work in multi-media contexts, using social media and digital storytelling and/or role-playing platforms in pursuit of these activities.
This new type of “ethnographic theatre” intersects with my own “alter ego” as a working playwright and screenwriter, in that often I must either generate an original piece of theatre from the information collected during the research phase of the work, and/or guide members of the research population as they develop their own theatrical experiences. This fusion of cultural discovery and dramatic expression brings together two different aspects of my professional life, in ways that suggest exciting new ways of furthering empathy and understanding within and across conflicted groups.
The course I’m currently teaching As a Faculty Fellow in the University Honors program is based on this notion of melding media-based techniques with in-person cultural discovery, but focused specifically on the living legacy of Washington, D.C.’s unique relationship with human slavery. As the course syllabus describes it: “Digital Storytelling and D.C. Slavery” is an experientially-based Honors class that gives students a chance to conduct original research on race, identity, and cultural legacy while simultaneously exploring salient issues of past and present as they intersect in two places: Today’s national headlines and the surviving built environment of the neighborhood surrounding G.W.’s Mount Vernon campus. Specifically, this class offers Honors students the opportunity to investigate D.C.’s complex relationship with human slavery by unraveling historical information that has been coded into the very streets of the city, and by then taking to those streets in pursuit of new cultural and political data on the topic.
In doing this, the course addresses a set of timely and flammable issues related to race, politics, and deep-seated tensions in the American cultural biography that continue to echo with palpable urgency in today’s political discourse. Mount Vernon residents live in an area of particular resonance, since during its existence the Georgetown area has experienced especially numerous transformations in the racial composition and citizenship status of its population. The course will also examine the unique relationship with local Native American groups with whom self- emancipated slaves sometimes found refuge, acceptance, and status…or further enslavement.