• Educator • Writer • Global Citizen

    BRET ADRIAN KAUFMAN

  • BIO

     

    "Reason in a creature is a faculty of widening the rules and purposes of the use of all its powers far beyond natural instinct; it acknowledges no limits to its projects. Reason itself does not work instinctively, but requires trial, practice, and instruction in order gradually to progress from one level of insight to another."

     

    Immanuel Kant,

    Idea for a Universal History

    from a Cosmopolitan Point of View (1784)

     

     

    Greetings and welcome to my site! I'm a dedicated English Instructor with over nine years of experience teaching students from myriad backgrounds, a creative writer and academic researcher interested in the promotion of social transformation through the written word, and a conscientious human rights advocate and community builder with a passion for social justice. I've been happily married for over eleven years to fellow educator, writer, and community builder, Sheiba Kian Kaufman, and we have a wonderful three-year-old boy named Tommy. My personal interests are vast, but my favorite passtimes include communing with nature, listening to music, taking road trips, and learning about everything. Sheiba and I also run a part-time editing business called Writing Reviser.

  • EDUCATION

    California State University, Northridge

     

    M.A., English Literature with Distinction (2009)

     

    B.A., English: Creative Writing with Minor in History (2007)

    Moorpark College

     

    Major in English (2006-2007)

    University of Tennessee, Knoxville

     

    Double Major in History and English with Minor in Religious Studies (1996-2001)

  • TEACHING

    I've taught everything from literacy to literature. My pedagogical training is in rhetoric and composition, but my main areas of expertise are critical thinking, fiction writing, and science fiction. I'm profoundly interested in discourse literacy, particularly the discourses of global citizenship, human rights, and social transformation.

    Assistant Professor of English:

    Cypress College (August 2016-Present)

    English 248: Science Fiction (Forthcoming Fall 2018)

     

    English 247: Fantasy Fiction (Developing)

     

    English 130: Introduction to Creative Nonfiction (Developing)

     

    English 128: Introduction to Short Fiction Writing (Developing)

     

    English 103: Critical Reasoning and Writing

     

    English 102: Introduction to Literature

     

    English 100: College Writing

     

    English 60: College Writing Preparation (Discontinuing)

    Adjunct English Instructor:

    California Lutheran University (2014-May 2016)

     

    English 111: Critical Reading and Writing II

     

    English 110: Critical Reading and Writing I

     

    English 110L: Critical Reading and Writing Lab

     

    English 110I: Critical Reading and Writing I for International Students

    Adjunct English Instructor:

    College of the Canyons (2014-2015)

     

    English 103: Critical Reading, Writing and Thinking

     

    English 101H: Honors English Composition

     

    English 101: English Composition

     

    English 091/101: Personalized Accelerated Learning (PAL) Program

     

    English 091: Introduction to College Reading and Writing

    Adjunct Writing Instructor:

    Irvine Valley College (2012-2014)

     

    Writing 2: Critical Thinking and Writing

     

    Writing 1: College Writing

     

    Writing 201: Introduction to College Writing

     

    Writing Specialist

    Adjunct English Instructor:

    Orange Coast College (2012-2014)

     

    English 102: Critical Reasoning

     

    English 100: Freshman Composition

     

    English 099: Fundamentals of Composition

    Adjunct Writing Instructor:

    Soka University (2011-2012)

     

    Writing 101: Communication Skills

     

    Writing Center Instruction

    Adjunct English Instructor:

    MiraCosta College (2011-2012)

     

    English 49: Introduction to College Writing

    Adjunct ESL Instructor:

    University of California, Irvine Extension (2010-2012)

     

    ESL Instruction:

    International Programs

    Adjunct Noncredit ESL Instructor:

    College of the Canyons (2008-2010)

     

    Noncredit ESL Instruction:

    Community Based English Tutoring (CBET) Program

  • WRITING

    Writing has been a lifelong passion of mine. In both my fiction and nonfiction, I explore the dynamics of social transformation. Although my current fiction would be categorized as almost exclusively speculative, I'm still keen on employing a neorealist narrative style. My nonfiction interests are primarily academic and aesthetic.  

     

    A story from my undergrad days that I put back out there to see what might happen. Published in The Eunoia Review. Click on the title above to read.

     

    In this short speculative fiction story published in Issue 15 (December 2014) of the now defunct Fast-Forward Festival, I employ a variety of themes, including postmodern disconnect, a disproportionate faith in technology, out of body experiences, the nature and purpose of consciousness, the evolution of life in this world and all worlds throughout the universe, punctuated equilibrium, and a little bit of time travel, just to name a few. These themes all serve to explore the true nature of love in this world and beyond.

     

    "For the men and women on the Telesphere floor circumambulating the sleek obsidian box at its center as if it were some sacred Kaaba, the event they eagerly anticipated promised a day that would never again be followed by night. But for Eckhart, it had been a sordid weekday morning like every other he could remember of late. He was drawn out of a dreamless sleep by a cacophony of crow caws as a local murder scavenged the dumpster below his third story Main Street apartment window. He sat up—heart thumping—and considered finally using the Red Ryder leaning against the sallow wall before him. But killing a bird with a BB gun takes focus, and he was all out of focus. He swung his skinny legs over the edge of the bed, deciding to get on with the day instead...

     

    While Eckhart was getting ready for work that morning—known then as the 21st day of the month of April in the 2021st year of the Common Era—engineers at the Telesphere, an advanced quantum telemetrics research facility located on the Rorschach inkblot Arctic island of Svalbard, powered up the facility's extended geomagnetic generator array. Lining the viewing platform of the orb-like structure, a ragtag cadre of onlookers—scientists, dignitaries, philosophers, and visionaries—stood poised to witness the culmination of their clandestine project, the first tachyonic antitelephone transmission in human history.

     

    The Telesphere—so named for both its geodesic frame and for housing a device that was to create an evolutionary leap in our ability to reach across space and time—was pregnant that morning with the possibilities conceived by some of the brightest minds the human race had ever known. Their theories were fringe. Their hypotheses, paradoxical. They sought to harness the faster-than-light speed of the tachyon as a medium of instant superluminal transmission. But the only way to prove the existence of a particle that can essentially travel backwards in time was to trap an evanescent luxon wave in a reflective capacitator until the near-field reached infinite radiation. They ventured that the tachyon field would then emerge and that if they could direct it as a wave through quantum tunneling, it would subsume present matter, rendering it capable of manipulating the present by alterations to the near past, thus indicating the success of the transmission. The litmus test would be the philosopher's stone itself, for the goal was to transmute the molecular composition of copper into gold. Our complete mastery over matter was supposed to bring about a transhuman revolution, a so-called technological singularity. But the heralds of this new dawn would learn that they had placed a heavy stock in a fiat currency...

     

    Eckhart's equilibrium tried to tell him that his mortal frame was falling, but his consciousness was already phasing out of the localized realm. With his last bit of physical agency, he leaned back against the shelf and watched through his eyeballs as his body slid to the concrete floor like a warm stick of butter on hot metal. Presently, he sensed a nonmaterial effervescence produced by the subspace oscillations in the tachyon field as he became a disembodied consciousness with pure vision and hearing.

                

    Eckhart's first instinct as a non-local being was to return to his body, but he realized quite quickly that he couldn't. Looking down upon the vessel of his corporeal existence, which was now sitting on the floor with its back propped up against a shelf and its neck cocked to the side in apparent unconsciousness, Eckhart was filled with an ineffable compassion.

     

    What a fragile thing, he thought. Yet, he also knew that this was a sacred thing, the temple of his being and the vehicle for the steady development of the faculties that he now possessed in full..."

    "Being, in E-Prime"

     

    Originally published in the Spring 2010 issue of The Northridge Review, "Being, in E-Prime" is my first attempt at experimental writing (whatever that means). My goal was to write a piece that explores the false dichotomy between doing and being. In this piece, I employ English Prime, a form of the English language that excludes all forms of the verb to be to aim for what I call radical subjectivity: a form of observer-based narration that avoids absolutism even while it strives to convey universal experiences. Here are some excerpts:

     

    "...A massive white cloud rises from the sea undulating toward the sky. It takes the observer a moment to recognize it as a flock of seagulls. Each seagull in this flock stays just close enough to the one next to it to avoid possible predators and just far enough away to avoid collision with its neighbors. Yet no one gull seems to lead.

     

    Some systems scientists say that human consciousness has appeared out of a serendipitous confluence of elements and that it is ultimately no more than the biochemical processes of the human brain while others dare to posit that it arises from a non-local dimension to organize the elements necessary for its manifestation in the individuated mind..."

     

    "...The Aboriginal Australians tell the tale of Wurugag and Waramurungundi, the first man and woman, who came into being by the power of the Unseen Spirit. Upon their advent, Waramurungundi taught the people language. She gave everything a name so they call her the mother of all things.

     

    Long ago, the children of men purportedly gathered to build a tower to heaven, but it reached a height beyond the ken of mortal minds to conceive and, confounded by the weight of such a premature construct, the people dispersed in every direction in search of some other way to God.

     

    Throughout my youth, I searched for the Realm of Being. It always seemed just out of sight. Then, one day, even as I began to give up and let go of love and hate and of all that I had ever known, I began to see with a new pair of eyes. Alas, in freeing myself from isness itself, I discovered a world without borders where truth shines like a resplendent sun above the horizon of certainty. Alas, I would only catch a glimpse of this world, but in that brief moment, the illumination released my mind from the captivity of nature and it has flown like a brilliant bird ever since..."

     

    Ridván

     

    Ridván is my forthcoming debut novel.

     

     

    "We headed south along the west bank of the Tigris as the muezzin’s call to afternoon prayer sounded from minarets high above the pregnant stillness that had encompassed Al-Kazimiyah. With every stride, my young client quickened his pace until we reached the end of the reed-lined path where he came to a sudden halt and set his grip upon the straps of his rucksack so tight his weathered bronze knuckles almost turned bone white. He held the verdant garden of Najib Pasha across the water in his gaze, captivated as it seemed by an insatiable stirring of sentiment. So enraptured by that lush spot was he that he paid no mind to the aftermath of the recent flood waters which had completely obliterated and washed away the dock and even the wood-planked road.

     

    Exactly twenty-four hours earlier, the whole bank side of Baghdad had been consumed in a cloud of obscuring dust and sorrow as throngs of people of every age, background and rank rushed to the river to pay homage to and catch one last glimpse of a most revered personage—some even say a prophet. The next day, the rain-soaked and muddied streets near my small but lucrative supply and trade store had been confounded by emptiness as most of my neighbors privately mourned the forced departure of that one who for a decade had been regarded by the inhabitants of this quarter as the very quintessence of every worldly attribute and heavenly virtue.

    The Sultan’s decree­—instigated by the combined ecclesiastical and temporal powers that be—had been cruel and unjust, but the people were too sunk in sorrow to be indignant. Of course, the news of this holy man’s exile had been most distressing to the Babis of the area, for—after the execution of their first master in Persia—they had come to regard that same righteous personage as their leader and chief. No! Even more. Their divine father.

     

    Tears flowed like rain as dark clouds drew in with unnatural swiftness from all quarters of the firmament to let loose the floods of heaven, sending the people back to their homes.

     

    I had been preparing to close up my shop early then—assembling the last of the tinderboxes and placing them on the back shelf above the canteens and lanterns—when the rain momentarily ceased and I sensed a presence behind me. Being no stranger to the untamed wilds of the world, I was accustomed to this sort of prescience and had theorized that it must be a kind of extrasensory perception, a once highly developed yet now residual faculty of our ancient nature, for I considered myself then a man of pure reason, enlightened for sure. Yet, I had come to accept that there must be more to reality than the mind is capable of grasping—a subtle force that cannot be comprehended by the intellect alone—and there was something about this feeling unakin to the one felt in the usual human presence, something I can only now describe as primeval."

    "Invoking the Global Citizen: Critically Thinking About the World In and Beyond the Classroom"

     

    An article I'm currently writing for submission to academic journals.

     

    "Instructors of college and university composition courses and other writing-based disciplines striving to empower their students with the capacity to navigate an increasingly complex globalized world will find it necessary to utilize discourses capable of manifesting the highest order of critical thinking skills...Ultimately, the theme of global citizenship and its attendant discourses create an opportunity for students to engage with an ever-evolving construct of active agency that is both holistic in its vision and capable of building capacity in the process of its actualization. In their engagement with global citizenship as a concept and a framework, students are empowered not only to transcend the limitations of oppositional constructs, but also to invoke a dynamic identity that engenders social transformation at both the local and global levels."

     

  • SERVICE

    I believe passionately in fostering community development through the democratization of education and community building, and I've witnessed firsthand how this mission is enhanced by establishing its importance within the context of service to an emerging global community.

    "Education is Not a Crime" (April 20, 2015)

     

    Panelist

     

    Human rights campaign at College of the Canyons highlighting the Iranian government's systemic efforts to deprive it's Bahá'í population of access to higher education and the Iranian Bahá'í Community's courageous establishment of the internationally recognized alternative underground university, The Bahá'í Institute of Higher Education. Featuring the film To Light a Candle directed by acclaimed journalist Maziar Bahari. Sponsored by the Associated Student Government.

     

    "Heightened Tensions in the Middle East" (April 24, 2012)

     

    Panelist

     

    An Interactive Panel on Contemporary Issues in Iran, Israel, and Syria sponsored by The International & Global Studies Club at UCI.

     

    "Education Under Fire" (April 9, 2012)

     

    Organizer

     

    Human rights campaign at UCI highlighting the Iranian government's systemic efforts to deprive it's Bahá'í population of access to higher education and the Iranian Bahá'í Community's courageous establishment of the internationally recognized alternative underground university, The Bahá'í Institute of Higher Education. Sponsored by the School of Law, the Department of Religious Studies, and the Persian Center.

     

     

     

    Read the letter of Nobel Laureates Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former President of East Timor Jose Ramos-Horta.

    The Ruhi Institute (2001-Present)


    Facilitator


    The Ruhi institute is a series of courses used internationally for individual empowerment and socioeconomic development. Developed in Cali, Columbia, the Ruhi Institute has been adopted by communities all across the globe as a catalyst for social transformation.