A Few Reasons Why I Love Lists:
  • Text set off with bullet points is easier for my eyes, with their fading central vision, to see
  • They’re open-ended, always making room for another item
  • A love for lists inspired me to take a class only because it had list in the title, Please Add to this List, and enabled me to discover my love and need for poetry
MAKING LISTS/ Imtiaz Dharker

The best way to put
things in order is
to make a list.
The result of this
efficiency is that everything
is named, and given 
an allotted place.

But I find, when I begin,
there are too many things,
starting from black holes
all the way to safety pins.

And of course the whole
of history is still there.
Just the fact that it has 
already happened doesn’t mean
it has gone elsewhere.
It is sitting hunched
on people’s backs,
wedged in corners
and in cracks,
and has to be accounted for.
The future too.

But I must admit
the bigger issues interest
me less and less.

My list, as I move down in, 
becomes domestic,
a litany of laundry
and of groceries.
These are the things
that preoccupy me.

The woman’s blouse is torn.
It is held together
with a safety pin. 

troubling teaching portfolio lists

The bulk of my teaching portfolio is a series of lists. They come in 4 (at least) different forms:

  1. List of Demands: Declarations/Manifestos/Wish Lists
  2. How-to Guides: Ordered (?) steps of advice/directions
  3. Inventory Lists: Accounts/Receipts/list of items
  4. Syllabi: a collection of lists, organized around a theme

While a few, like the inventory of evidence of teaching trouble, resistance and exuberance, are explained at length, many of these lists are presented on their own, without any additional explanation. Other lists are sprinkled throughout a larger narrative about my teaching methods and approaches.

  • The Visions
  • The Values
  • Why Read?
how (not) to do
  • How to Teach Almost Three Quarters of the Department Course Offerings When You Only Have “Expertise” in One Quarter of those Courses
  • How to Endure But Not Survive a Class That You Despise, One Approach
  • How to actually deal with the student evaluations from the single worst class that you’ve ever taught
  • How not to deal with the student evaluations from the single worst class that you’ve ever taught
  • “What could you have done to be a better learner?,” Student responses
  • How to Read, One Strategy
  • Items Typically Found in a Teaching Portfolio
  • The Versions
  • Teaching Experience: An Abridged Inventory (Classes, Blogs, Movies/TV screened, Assignments, Readings, Goals, (Ir)responsibilities, Areas of Interest)
  • Mutating Teaching Methods and Assignments
  • What is Feminist Debate?
  • Reasons Why Students Enjoyed the Course Blog
  • Assignment Details
  • Questions to Consider
  • Troublemaking is…
  • Inventory of Evidence (of teaching trouble, resistance and exuberance)
  • Behaving Improperly in the Classroom
  • Passionate and Prolific Blog Participation
  • Memorable Reading Lists, Some which make me proud, others which make me shake my head in disbelief
  • Students who got me and helped me restore my faith in my teaching abilities
  • Some questions that should have been asked on the evaluation
  • Taking a Break: An Inventory
  • Making a Break: An Inventory
  • Some New and Old Things I Learned While Taking a Break
  • Some Questions that Haunt

Why Lists?

[taken from processing post, January 2016]

From the start, I’ve been jotting down lists in my green notebook and I always envisioned that I would include them in this project in some way. Over the past week, I’ve realized that they could be central to my format. Yesterday I spent more time adding resources to the “list” category on my Undisciplined Stories page and posted a list on my Trouble blog. And this morning I read and thought about how lists work and why we create them (Umberto Eco’s ideas are particularly compelling).

In the midst of this thinking, I made some connections between lists and the syllabus:

  • the etymology of syllabus is Late Latin syllabus or…”list”
  • syllabi include many different lists: reading lists, assignment lists, expectation lists, rules lists
  • both the syllabus and lists in general are designed to create order out of chaos, to give us focus and create boundaries and direction
  • both the syllabus and lists function as a sort of “account”…and giving an account is one of my purposes in this project

How do I want to format my lists? How pithy should they be? What is the point of lists? With this last question, I’m thinking about different types of lists and their origins: treatises/manifestos, to-do lists, top ten lists, how-to lists, etc.  Random thought/question: If lists create order out of chaos, do questions create chaos out of order? I see both of these things (lists and questions) as central to my pedagogy and this book. How do they function beside each other?


  • How to Read, one Strategy
  • What is an Education For?
  • Toxic Academic Values
  • Healthy Academic Values Made Toxic
  • Academics who resist the Academic Industrial Complex from within
  • What’s a Teacher?
  • What I am NOT giving; What I AM giving
  • Troublemaking Teaching Techniques
  • How to be…some useful virtues
  • How to be…a troublemaker and trouble-stayer
  • Be like a…
  • How-to guides: How to…cite, (not) think, tell stories online, pay attention, engage; ask questions, write, watch tv
  • Rules
  • Healthy Habits
  • Troublemaking role models
  • Ideas generated while reading in the bath

Lists and Manifestos, some resources