Month: August 2017

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Active Learning in the Literature Classroom

Over the past few semesters, I began my early American literature course with Thomas Jefferson. Starting with Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence, Notes from the State of Virginia, and letter to Benjamin Banneker was important considering the recent events in Charlottesville, VA. Typically, I start the first class with David Walker then back track to Jefferson, but after reading Ibram X. Kendi’s “What would Jefferson … Read More Active Learning in the Literature Classroom

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Ernest J. Gaines’ “The Tragedy of Brady Sims”

Speaking with Jerome Tarshis in 1974, Ernest Gaines spoke about his desire to write a story with “that barber shop type of thing” where people gather around a community center and relate stories about the past and the present. Looking at James Joyce’s “Ivy Day in the Committee Room” as an example, Gaines told Tarshis, “I think is one of the greatest short stories that … Read More Ernest J. Gaines’ “The Tragedy of Brady Sims”

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Charles Chesnutt’s “Dave’s Neckliss” and the Psychological Effects of Slavery

I have written about the ways that texts illuminate the psychological effects of slavery and Jim Crow segregation on both the minds of white and blacks alike. Today, I want to take a moment and look at one of Charles W. Chesnutt’s conjure tales that foregrounds the psychological effects of slavery and Jim Crow from the outset. “Dave’s Neckliss” originally appeared in the Atlantic … Read More Charles Chesnutt’s “Dave’s Neckliss” and the Psychological Effects of Slavery

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How Can We Listen and Learn from Our Students After Charlottesville?

Last Friday, Marcia Chatelain’s “How Universities Embolden White Nationalists” in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Chatelain begins by talking about the white nationalists who descended upon Charlottesville and how some people see them and just say, “They’re just ignorant!” However, that is not the case. They are college educated, and as Chatelain notes, Richard Spencer went to UVa, Duke, and The University of Chicago. University … Read More How Can We Listen and Learn from Our Students After Charlottesville?

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Archive Project: Taking Students Out of the Classroom and Into History

Note: You can view the projects at engl2250.wordpress.com. Over the past year, I have constructed various projects for my literature survey courses. Last fall, I had students define a term related to Early American literature and present what they learned. In the spring, I had students read a novel or play by an author we were looking at in the course and present information … Read More Archive Project: Taking Students Out of the Classroom and Into History