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Reading the Classroom

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Organizer: Alexander Manshel

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This seminar invites participants to consider the curricula, institutions, and pedagogies of literary studies as objects of literary analysis. As Rachel Sagner Buurma and Laura Heffernan have argued persuasively, the archive of literary studies must include what they call “the teaching archive.” If it were possible to assemble such an archive, they argue, “all the syllabuses, handouts, reading lists, lecture notes, student papers, and exams…it would constitute a much larger and more interesting record than the famous monographs and seminal articles that usually represent the history of literary study.” Over the course of several days, this seminar will investigate that galvanizing claim!

Papers and discussions might consider…

The history of literary studies curricula and its relation to the history of literary criticism
Critical methods drawn from, or applied to, classroom practice
Methodologies for preserving and investigating “the teaching archive”
Classroom experience as a form of literary-critical evidence
The unexamined “teaching archives” of well-known writers and critics
Canon formation, deformation, and the culture wars of past and present
The changing university and its impact on critical and pedagogical methods
Connections between labor conditions and classroom practices
Para-disciplinary and para-academic institutions of literary study
Literary studies curricula at the primary and secondary levels
Depictions of literary study, literature teachers, and literature classrooms in fiction, film, and television

Graduate students and NTT scholars welcome! Please direct any questions or statements of interest to Alexander Manshel ( If you are interested in participating, please submit a brief bio (100-200 words) and abstract (200-400 words) by email.

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