Reading American Romanticism with Students after the Election

"What is wanted is men, not of policy, but of probity--who recognize a higher law than the Constitution, or the decision of the majority. The fate of the country does not depend on how you vote at the polls--the worst man is as strong as the best at that game; it does not depend on … Continue reading Reading American Romanticism with Students after the Election

American Lit: Collaborative Writing & Group Work

This semester as I prepared my syllabus for the American Literature: Origins to the Civil War course, I wanted to get my students more engaged in collaborative multi-modal projects. One of these was to write a blog post comparing the American Puritans to one religious group from the HBO series The Game of Thrones. While students cringed … Continue reading American Lit: Collaborative Writing & Group Work

Hiking Like a Woman

Twenty-five percent of thru-hikers on the Appalachian Trail are women, and, let me tell you, these are hardcore women who take after the Mary Rowlandsons and Hannah Dustans of America. Before I reached the 100-mile mark, however, I had already heard several hikers use the phrase, "I'm going to take this mountain like a man," … Continue reading Hiking Like a Woman

“Leave No Trace”: When American Transcendentalism Leads to Wilderness Preservation

Having hiked over 500 miles of the Appalachian Trail this summer, dutifully carrying a copy of Thoreau's writings with me, there are certain habits I've cultivated with a now-ingrained daily routine that I'll take with me off the trail. The "Leave No Trace" policy of American hiker culture is what keeps the Appalachian Trail special for everyone … Continue reading “Leave No Trace”: When American Transcendentalism Leads to Wilderness Preservation

Addressing Despair in the Classroom: An Ecocritical Approach to Non-Canonical American Writers

Pedagogy and American Literary Studies (PALS) invited me last month to write a guest post on teaching the American Literature Survey Course. While collaborating and making edits, the wonderful team at PALS gave me an opportunity to write a second post about something else that happened in the course. Take a look:

Welcome to Pedagogy & American Literary Studies

PALS Note: This is the second post from Christina Katopodis about her novel approaches to the American literature survey. Read below for her ideas on combatting despair in face of the many injustices and tragedies in American literary history. And find her first post here

In my last post, I talked about building community in the classroom, something I value as a teacher because it means simultaneously establishing a safe and flexible learning environment. The community-building began with the nature walk and class blog, in shared experiential learning. The ecocritical framework to the course, from the walk to the readings, bolstered a sense of solidarity in the classroom that we discovered we needed later in the semester. One additional goal I had for “American Literature: Origins to the Civil War” was to center America’s origins around her founding mothers and people of color in addition to the “city on…

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A Week on the Appalachian Trail Reading Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau writes in "Walking," that every walk is a crusade, and declares sauntering an art. I set out this summer to hike about 1,000 miles of the Appalachian Trail, bringing a copy of Thoreau's A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers with me for the first 100 miles. I've spent more of … Continue reading A Week on the Appalachian Trail Reading Thoreau

Student-Driven Pedagogy in the Early American Survey Course

Teaching PALS was kind enough to let me write a guest post on Student-Driven Pedagogy in the Early American Survey Course for their blog. Check it out!

Welcome to Pedagogy & American Literary Studies

PALS Notes: PALS welcomes guest contributor Christina Katopodis, who is an Adjunct Lecturer at Hunter College and an English PhD student at the Graduate Center CUNY. Katopodis writes about her experience engaging students in the early American literature survey. Allowing students choice in syllabus and class design, asking students to find nature in the New York City spaces, and introducing soundscapes into the classroom have all become integral parts of her student engagement. Katopodis elaborates on her ecocritical approach to the survey here

Crafting a syllabus for my “American Literature: Origins to the Civil War” survey course last fall, I felt the challenge of pairing down a long list of readings and covering centuries of literature in one semester.

IMG_20160515_181809875 copyThere were three unique hurdles to this course for me: making the survey student-driven, getting all 31 students to participate in discussions, and bringing the American wilderness into an urban classroom. This post will offer my…

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Using BuzzFeed to Teach Melville

Teaching an American Literature survey course for the first time last semester, I wanted to take on Herman Melville's Moby-Dick both for myself and for my students. My students were mostly English majors, and had followed Hope Leslie and Hawk-Eye through the American wilderness with me earlier in the semester. The magnetic pull to read Moby-Dick and give the potential spiritual journey … Continue reading Using BuzzFeed to Teach Melville

Survey Expectations

The PDFs have been uploaded to Blackboard, the syllabi have been printed, stapled, and handed out, and names have been learned (well, mostly) as the daunting task of teaching a large survey course is underway this fall. We're merely scratching the surface at a breakneck pace, reading American literature from the early explorers to the … Continue reading Survey Expectations

American Survey: Getting Student Input

"...For his simple heart Might not resist the sacred influences, Which, from the stilly twilight of the place, And from the gray old trunks that high in heaven Mingled their mossy boughs, and from the sound Of the invisible breath that swayed at once All their green tops, stole over him, and bowed His spirit … Continue reading American Survey: Getting Student Input