Literary Peace Project

This project provides a bank of pedagogical tools (such as suggested readings, suggested lesson ideas, video playlists, discussion questions, assignments, and worksheets) for college English teachers wishing to discuss extremism both in class and in online forums/blogs.

Sarmista Das talks about hate speech, freedom of expression, critical thinking and literature.

Course Materials and Pedagogical Tools

Research shows that critical thinking can be gained from discussing and writing about controversial issues in class.  When students are encouraged to write about a controversial topic, whether in an essay or creative piece like a poem, they work on their communication skills and critical thinking skills at once. The literature classroom is a natural environment in which to explore students’ expression and critical thinking skills because themes in literature often touch upon controversial issues like those they may encounter online and offline. 

 This project provides classroom activities for English teachers who wish to utilize the power of social media to harness the critical reading, writing, and thinking skills of their students.  The resource includes video and audio playlists, discussion questions, readings, essay topics, grading rubrics, and writing activities to help bring extremism and its effects to light.   

 The learning objectives of the course are: 

  • To introduce the topics of extremism and anti-extremism 
  • To apply critical thinking skills in online and classroom discussions 
  • To write critically about the topic of extremism and anti-extremism 
  • To introduce a variety of poems and literature relevant to the study of extremism and anti-extremism 
  • To write creatively based on extremism and anti-extremism

The Literary Peace Project pdf

Luis Carlos Tenorio Garcia performs his poem, The Wrath of Religion, which he wrote as part of the Literary Peace Project. 

The Wrath of Religion – poem (pdf)


Sarmista Das

Sarmista Das is an English literature professor at Champlain College St. Lambert, a writer, and an educational researcher.


Levelling (Up) the Playing Field: How Feminist Gamers Self-Identify and Learn in Online Communities.

Das, S. (2014). In V. Venkatesh, J. Wallin, J. C. Castro & J. E. Lewis (Eds.), Educational, Psychological, and Behavioral Considerations in Niche Online Communities (pp. 81-100). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

Abstract: This ethnographic study explores how feminist video game players mobilise in online environments. The main research questions of this chapter involve identity and learning. How are identities formed in online feminist gaming communities, how much of one’s identity is disclosed, what determines these choices in identity disclosure, and for what purpose? What kind of informal learning is promoted and produced in online feminist gaming communities, and how does this learning take place?  After analysing posts, articles, comments, and interview responses from members of feminist gaming blog The Borderhouse, it was found that feminist gamers prefer identity disclosure to concealment. While identity disclosure can be traumatic for some feminist gamers in non-feminist online gaming communities, identity disclosure is encouraged in feminist gaming online forums, as it contributes to a member’s credibility and garners trust from other members. The trust and credibility garnered affects the learning that takes place, as those who are trusted help influence the content and production of discussion. Furthermore, it was found that informal learning occurs with participants of the blog through regular informal feedback, networking, and the encouragement of critical thinking skills.

Link to chapter.