“The events in our lives happen in a sequence of time but in their significance to ourselves they find their own order…the continuous thread of revelation”
“My deepest impulses are optimistic; an attitude that seems to me as spiritually necessary and proper as it is intellectually suspect”
Write You Are! represents the culmination of Rachel Rosekind’s pedagogical endeavors, education, professional pursuits, creative work, life experience, and a healthy dose of inspiring vistas, narrowed pathways, detours, and left turns.
At an early age, I was exposed to the interdisciplinary model of intellectual engagement~ this approach revolutionized my way of thinking and learning about the world, and subsequently, writing and teaching about it. I learned to view fields of inquiry, traditionally bifurcated into academic subject areas, and discrete cultural forms, such as books and paintings, as dynamic and interconnected rather than static and bounded. Consequently, I posed questions and proposed solutions that leapt across disciplinary boundaries and made learning feel interactive and expansive rather than self-contained and parochial. This fluidity of inquiry and interconnectedness registered on an instinctive level with me, and I embraced this dynamic process of learning and unfettered exploration as my own.
I graduated from New York University’s Gallatin School for Individualized Study in 1997 with a concentration in literature and social and political theory. In my interdisciplinary senior thesis, I examined how individuals’ navigation of social spaces and political spheres is represented and defined in literature and the visual and applied arts. In 2006 I earned a dual PhD in African American Studies and American Studies from Yale University. In my dissertation I explored the relationship between self and space, both physical and fictional, in the work of Henry James and Gwendolyn Brooks and drew upon the fields of architecture, sociology, painting, literature, history, and philosophy to frame my investigation. My interest in critical and creative inquiry led to the completion of a Masters in Library and Information Sciences degree from San Jose State University in 2016, during which time I honed my research savvy and attention to detail and precision. I possess a clarity of purpose, a strong work ethic, and a solid background in pedagogy, problem solving, editorial experience, creative exploration, and literary composition.
One of my core strengths lay in a natural propensity to think interdisciplinarily and to understand that perspective shifts depending on what we are looking at and what angle we are looking at it from. I thrive on blurring the boundaries to produce provocative questions and new understandings. This broad and mutable frame of reference enhances my ability to address multiple audiences and to assist writing students and editorial clients in doing so as well. I have a talent for moving seamlessly between the micro-environment of the written word and the larger context of its production and reception without losing sight of either’s distinctiveness. I bring this inquisitiveness and acute focus to my work as we explore the relationship between content and form, the alignment of authorial intent and audience, and other key questions that move writing toward precision and potency.
I am passionate about cultivating human empathy, curiosity, and creativity, in the classroom, on the page, and in my community. I spent fifteen years in various roles and environments to empower young adults through creative exploration and expression. I have taught writing, African American literature, and Cultural Studies at Yale University and Wesleyan University. I served as a high school English instructor at an independent school in the Bay Area and in public schools in New England. I have also worked as a grantwriter for a large school district, advocating for the needs of an urban, ethically and economically diverse student population. During this time, I secured funding for a variety of initiatives to update facilities and equipment, create professional development opportunities for teachers, provide after-school enrichment, and enhance opportunities for English Language Learners throughout the city. It was rich and rewarding work. I have also written grants and been the lead organizer/liaison for an international literary conference celebrating the work of the poet Langston Hughes, featuring theatrical, dance, and musical performances on Yale’s campus and parallel programming and book giveaways at a local public school.
As a teacher and writing coach, I facilitate my students’ learning process in tandem with my own through conversations that challenge our respective interpretive and experiential horizons. My students push me to ask questions that are unique to their way of looking at the world and to look for answers in places that are part of their cultural and educational landscape rather than the one native to me. I advocate for the importance of multiple perspectives and heterogeneous knowledge platforms and communities by encouraging students to reflect upon and express their unique stories and attune to those of others.
Experiential and mistake-based learning have been my most powerful teachers, intellectually and ethically. We learn from doing, and invariably we both succeed and fail in the process. We refine as we go, make adjustments when our methods or our mediums have outworn their usefulness, and we reflect on our experiences as they have transformed us and the ways in which we view the world. The practice of reflection, one which is both intuitive and learned, is sharpened by the moments when we are confronted with newness, with what is foreign to us, and when we face our own prejudices, errors, and inconsistencies. I have learned the most when I have been shown how much I still have to learn.
In all of my work, I strive to formulate the right questions, locate the pathways to their investigation, and distill meaning from the stimulation of curiosity and journey of discovery.
I am currently working on two manuscripts. The first explores the role of women in the performance, documentation, and legacy of the Grateful Dead. In the second book, I examine women’s broader contributions to the diverse Bay Area countercultural movements of the 1960s and 1970s. You can learn more about those projects by following the link to my writing samples.
I have expanded the margins of my sensibilities, expertise, and experiences by pursuing varied forms of creative writing for many years.
“Early on, I learned to disguise myself in words, which really were clouds”
~ Walter Benjamin
© Rachel Rosekind, PhD, MLIS