A message from Prof. Caroline K. Hong, who taught the 2019-2020 English Honors Seminar
Welcome, all, to the 2020 Virtual English Honors Conference! I’m Prof. Caroline Hong, and I had the great privilege and pleasure of teaching this year’s English Honors Seminar, which focused on the topic of “The Power of the Popular.” Together we spent the past two semesters exploring the problems and possibilities of pop culture and collectively theorizing the very idea of the popular. bell hooks once said that “popular culture is where the pedagogy is, it’s where the learning is,” and that has certainly been true for us! I know that I for one have learned a lot from working with these amazing students.
Due to the pandemic, this year’s honors conference is happening virtually, here on this Qwriting site, but I promise that you will be no less engaged and impressed by the students’ work, which examines a wide range of popular literature and pop-cultural productions. We talked a lot in our honors seminar about critique as an act of love and care, and I hope you can feel that love and care in these virtual presentations. Please feel free to leave YOUR love and care, by posting comments and questions for the individual presenters.
Thank you to my colleagues, the faculty and staff of the Queens College English Department, for your support of our honors students. Extra special thanks to our department chair, Prof. Karen Weingarten; the Honors Committee faculty; and of course to Prof. Natalie Léger, the director of the English Honors Program, who firmly and patiently guided me and the honors students through this year.
And finally, to my beloved honors seminar students, CONGRATULATIONS!!! You completed the English Honors Program under the most extraordinarily challenging of circumstances, and you did it with your trademark brilliance and thoughtfulness and passion and good humor. This isn’t exactly how we planned on wrapping up our year together, and I really miss you and our conversations. But I’m so incredibly proud of you and can’t wait to celebrate with you virtually (and hopefully someday in-person too).
Thank you, everyone, and we hope you enjoy the virtual honors conference!