A letter from Joe Goode, incoming Department Chair

August 6, 2020

Dear TDPS Community,

I am stepping into very big shoes as our colleague and guiding light, Lisa Wymore, has done such a stellar job in the role of Chair. I must also say that it’s with a certain amount of trepidation that I accept this duty. In this moment of national awakening to racial injustice, why install a white cis male (albeit a queer male) in a leadership position? The explanation is that the role of chair is shared amongst the faculty as a service role, and it was my turn to take on the added responsibility so that more junior faculty members could have the time to focus on their research areas. I will be holding down the fort, so to speak, for the next two years. My goal is to make space for the next generation of department leaders to flourish as the department faces some important challenges. 

I want to dedicate my time in this leadership role to helping to develop TDPS as an entity committed to anti-racism. I have a lot to learn, and I’m looking forward to sharing that journey of learning with all of you. White privilege and white supremacy are undoubtedly embedded in our practices and institutional structures. That will not change overnight, but educating ourselves is the first step toward taking action that can actually make a difference. With the help and guidance of department manager, Jean-Paul Gressieux, I am initiating a series of anti-racism learning sessions for all faculty, staff, lecturers, and graduate students to set us on that path. 

I will also make it my personal mission to cultivate awareness about LGBTQ+ issues on campus and beyond. This particular focus has been at the core of my artistic work since the beginning, and I feel strongly that we can do better in making TDPS feel like a natural home for queer, trans, and non-binary folks, as well as all Black people, Indigenous people, and other people of color. 

As you all know, this is also the time of COVID-19, and remote teaching and learning is on everyone’s mind. Remote teaching and learning present an additional burden on us all. I will do my best to disseminate information as well as the most current thinking and best practices on how we can teach and learn efficiently while keeping an eye on the well being of our students, faculty, and staff. We must be resilient, and approach this time with a spirit of generosity.

And finally, let’s talk about art and what it can do. It can open eyes and change lives and reflect back to us our beautiful, fragile, imperfect humanity. We who call ourselves artists and artisans, or support art-making behind the scenes, or write and think about artistic practice, are fortunate people. We get to practice being intuitive. We get to delve into regions of the mind and heart that others seldom access or see. Lucky us. Even in this time of so much turmoil, let’s celebrate that.

— Professor Joe Goode

Professor Joe Goode