Bringing Kashema Hutchinson’s Hip-Hop Pedagogy into the Early American Lit Survey

As a sound studies scholar, I am always looking for ways to bring sound into my classroom. I play recordings of wild birds, amphibians, and other animals for my students when we read early American authors writing about the "howling" wilderness, about dangerous adventures into the forest where goblins and witches seduce wandering souls into … Continue reading Bringing Kashema Hutchinson’s Hip-Hop Pedagogy into the Early American Lit Survey

Teaching LEMONADE in 19th-Century American Lit

I'm a 19th-century Americanist and my syllabi for courses taught in early American lit have covered a wide span of women's literature. I've always gone for non-canonical authors and approaches that critique a male-dominated, colonialist canon. But aside from teaching the usual suspects, slave narratives such as Harriet Jacobs' Incidents in the Life of a Slave … Continue reading Teaching LEMONADE in 19th-Century American Lit

How do we write at the intersection of race and gender?

My 8am class has turned into a hotbed of burning questions and research. How this happened since my last post about the grueling 8am time slot, I can barely tell... but I think it started when I canceled the reading for a day and assigned my students debate roles as "administrators" and "English faculty," tasking them with … Continue reading How do we write at the intersection of race and gender?

In Your Lecture, Research Together

As I've mentioned in previous blog posts, my 8 a.m. class this semester has been a challenge but by now (two months into the semester) my students have grown accustomed to me throwing questions like "Is feminism a privilege?" at them at 8:10 a.m. They talk in their listening dyad activity for two minutes each, … Continue reading In Your Lecture, Research Together

Teaching the Impossible Syllabus: “Women, Gender & U.S. Literature”

When I was assigned "Women, Gender, and U.S. Literature," a 5-week summer course that meets 4 days a week for 2 hours, I stared at my bookshelf ready to put 75% of its contents on the syllabus, then I went to Twitter and asked for suggestions, and then I went to colleagues for help who … Continue reading Teaching the Impossible Syllabus: “Women, Gender & U.S. Literature”

Education is the Practice of Freedom

"The vast majority of our professors...used the classroom to enact rituals of control that were about domination and the unjust exercise of power. In these settings I learned a lot about the kind of teacher I did not want to become." -- bell hooks, Teaching to Transgress When my observer asked me about letting my students … Continue reading Education is the Practice of Freedom

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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