Framingham State University Academic Diversity Lecture Series – 2011
In most classes in the humanities–and quite a few outside the humanities as well–the dual goals of a course are to teach a certain content area, and to teach the students to think more deeply and in new ways. These goals can occasionally feel hard to wed to each other, and often cohabit awkwardly. This talk will elaborate on the philosophy behind my design of my Approaches to Literature class, in which I’ve paired a well-known and canonical text with a less well-known or less canonical text. I have organized the course, subtitled “Literature of Rupture” thematically, including units on War, Conquest, Disease, and Slavery. Not only does this enable me to introduce some less frequently taught literature, it allows me to approach the canon in atypical ways–discussing The Tempest in terms of the age of conquest, or The Canterbury Tales in terms of the Black Death.