Testimonials

All that you touch/You Change/All that you Change/Changes you 

Here we bear witness to our community’s touches, reflections, changes, and possibilities.

Toshi Reagon

By Dylan Richmond ’25

It was her voice. I had never known earth more— the sound an upheaval, a grounding. We
had been planted, roots stretching like newborns granted breath and sight and life all at once. Real
magic takes you by surprise. But takes its time taking you away… cool
kisses, blue smeared wishes, blue geared engines swelling and we were sliding on air, we
were air and we were inside of it. Like a careful cupping of hands, like a hug. To have left
my body, and the pine trees, and my body, and this school
and my body and all of Maine and the earth as a body. To return and feel we
were more at home in all of it than before.         It was the lurk 

of her humor only present in someone you’ve known forever: it is late
nights huddled around a guitar like it’s a fireplace, riffing poems as songs we
have always believed in. Your hum a hymn in action, enacting a lightning strike
with all that grinning power. Why is this a memory, birthed straight
from your laugh on top of mine on top of ours? When you sing, you create time (have we
met or is that just your silhouette). When you sing, you reinvent it— to sing,
and so you break it, too. It is to s i g n and to i s— to be, and it is to s i n
because to be Black and to laugh as wide as the horizon is profanity.         So don't stop. If you do we 

will pick up where you end like an ibis drinking rainwater from a hurricane oceans away, thin
beak rippling it just so that you might see the Milky Way in the reflection. One glass of gin,
one daughter, “one water” you had said, one voice and one truth that we hold like a hand. What we
cannot carry we will bury with the still loved and the pianos, and it will come up jazz
and periwinkles and cedar branches and kitchen dancing and warm food and the nineteenth of June;
rise as big love, more than big enough for the moon and the Folk and ourselves, regardless. We
will meet it with ready hands, will build bedrooms in our arms ‘cause we are our own homes, will die
leaving the door open for you, I, us.         It is her voice. So are you coming? We are leaving soon. 


Faculty Workshops

In June of 2022, faculty, staff, and community partners met for a two-day working group funded by the Office of Academic Affairs. Over meetings and meals, the group engaged with Butler’s Parable of the Sower with the goal of setting new standards for interdisciplinarity at Bowdoin while also highlighting Bowdoin’s commitment to the common good by forging new, creative, and lasting partnerships in our surrounding Maine community. 

“Like the protagonist sowed the seed through writing and imagination, so does the workshop through conversations and discussion. Thank you for organizing such an inspiring and thoughtful workshop.”
Shu-chin Tsui, Professor of Asian Studies and Cinema Studies

“I was so happy to get back to workshops and to meet many new colleagues, particularly staff members. I deeply appreciated the communal atmosphere and that it wasn’t stuffily academic. I began brainstorming new course ideas and ways to integrate Butler further into my existing courses.”
Hilary Thompson, Associate Professor of English

“I wanted to see how I could incorporate the parables into my pedagogy. It is true that computation is concrete and objective, but there are always ways of framing computational questions with stories. … It's clear that my areas of expertise (networks and game theory) are extremely relevant to the parables of the sower. In fact, the beginning of the book that says that one's change affects others and vice versa is a core concept in game theory. This book will serve well in my future courses.”
Mohammad T. Irfan, John F. and Dorothy H. Magee Associate Professor of Digital and Computational Studies and Computer Science

“Throughout the day, we as a group talked about many big ideas and macro initiatives that can take us out of our usual institutional siloes for wider, more impactful collaborations, which I’m very supportive of but can sometimes feel intimidated and exhausted by. So, I really appreciated Toshi’s closing remarks about continuing to do what we already do on a daily basis and integrating small things into that, a model of everyday micro-agency that I deeply believe in and try to make the basis of my own pedagogy. So, I came away with some big ideas for possible future endeavors (team-teaching, partnering with the McKeen Center and other faculty’s courses, organizing student-led panels, etc.), but also an affirmation in the power of the micro practices of everyday teaching: providing students with texts like Butler’s, inspiring in them a mindset that’s both critical and hope-oriented, and affirming their own sense of agency and capacity to enact positive change through even the smallest acts.”
Belinda Kong, Associate Professor of Asian Studies and English

“Toshi Reagon's presence and engagement with the text Parable of the Sower feels like an incredible opportunity for Bowdoin students, faculty, and staff to reflect on the change that feels imminent and that we all are undoubtedly are a part of. … I was left grappling with this question around the urgency of change, and how our identities and lived experiences shape that urgency, and how we may choose to engage with it, or need to engage with it as a mode of survival. Our small group discussion (in the afternoon) brought up this question of how we help to bring a whole community to feel urgency in a similar way, even across individual differences and "stakes," so to speak. This idea has been rumbling in my mind ever since. Thank you!”
—Monica Bouyea ’14, McKeen Center Associate Director 2021-22