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Margins in the Classroom

Margins in the Classroom: Teaching Literature

Kostas Myrsiades
Linda S. Myrsiades
Volume: 2
Copyright Date: 1994
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 232
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  • Book Info
    Margins in the Classroom
    Book Description:

    Brings together established scholars and emerging voices from diverse backgrounds to show how politics and theory can and do affect the most pressing problems confronting the contemporary teacher of literature. The essays in this volume go beyond questioning and examining existing practices to suggest fresh approaches to teaching the expanding literary canon within the context of the politics of the educational institution.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8538-7
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. vii-xii)
    Kostas Myrsiades and Linda S. Myrsiades

    Anticipating the needs of the 1990s in the literature classroom,Margins in the Classroom: Teaching Literatureacts as a catalyst for discussion and blends the work of established scholars and emerging voices not only to reexamine and question existing practices but to suggest fresh approaches to the expanding canon. Contributors present the points of view of teachers from small colleges as well as larger universities, from Ithaca College and Franklin and Marshall to Pennsylvania State, Oklahoma, Carnegie Mellon, Syracuse, and Johns Hopkins Universities. They address the issues of theory and politics from a range of areas of study, including educational...

  4. One Rethinking the Boundaries of Educational Discourse: Modernism, Postmodernism, and Feminism
    (pp. 1-51)
    Henry A. Giroux

    Chantal Mouffe’s comments suggest we have entered a new age, one that is marked by a crisis of power, patriarchy, authority, identity, and ethics.¹ This new age has been described, for better or worse, by many theorists in a variety of disciplines as the age of postmodernism.² It is a period torn between the ravages and beneits of modernism; it is an age in which the notions of science, technology, and reason are associated not only with social progress but also with the organization of Auschwitz and the scientific creativity that made Hiroshima possible (Poster 12-33). It is a time...

  5. Two Chances of Being Kind: Rorty, Irony, and Teaching Modern Literature
    (pp. 52-63)
    Paul F. Griffin

    Two tendencies marked Western cultural history in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. First, thinkers and artists realized that, in W. B. Yeats’s famous words, the center was no longer holding; the nihilism of Nietzsche, the psychoanalytic theory of Freud, and the horrors of World War I, to name only a few relevant developments of the period, led people to view religion, morality, and Enlightenment rationalism as relative and historically contingent values rather than unchanging absolutes. Second, and in response to this shift, many creative minds strove to reestablish a solid, universal intellectual footing for culture. Yeats’s creation of...

  6. Three The Political Responsibility of the Teaching of Literatures
    (pp. 64-73)
    Paul Smith

    The title with which I begin is not of my own choosing: except for the s at the end of “literatures,” this was the title of a session in which I was one of the speakers at the 1989 MLA meetings¹—meetings where, not for the first time, and no doubt not for the last, an urge within our profession to estimate (or sometimes affirm) our relation to “the political” emerged in many sessions marked by what I read as an anxiety stronger than it has been for some while. That anxiety is, by and large, a self-lacerating one: an...

  7. Four Literacy and Literature: Making or Consuming Culture?
    (pp. 74-88)
    Linda Shaw Finlay and Nathaniel Smith

    This essay locates the work of Brazilian philosopher-educator¹ Paulo Freire in relation to recent developments in epistemology and sociolinguistic pedagogical theory, presents a vision of educational reform that rests on Freire’s concept of literacy, and relates his work to the teaching of literature.²

    Freire came to the attention of North American scholars in the late 1960s as the designer and teacher of courses in which illiterate adults in the Third World learn to read and write amazingly quickly (see Brown). Becoming literate, for Freire, is inseparable from locating personal and communal histories in relation to the history and social practices...

  8. Five (Post)modern Critical Theory and the Articulations of Critical Pedagogies
    (pp. 89-101)
    Msa’ud Zavarzadeh and Donald Morton

    Since the early 1970s, there has been much talk in American universities about the need to change literary studies, especially the study and teaching of English. These discussions have been prompted by the impact of the works of those European philosophers, intellectual historians, anthropologists, and literary critics collectively known as structuralists and (post)structuralists. Initially there appeared a strong resistance in the United States to these thinkers, not only because their ideas were so unfamiliar but because they delivered them in a language unintelligible to the average American academic. Words and phrases such asaporia, mise-en-abyme, interpellation, pleasure, dissemination, articulation,and...

  9. Six The Politics of Teaching Literature: The “Paedagogical Effect”
    (pp. 102-120)
    Robert Miklitsch

    What is the difference between the politics of teaching and the teaching of politics? Assuming there is a difference (a genuine question, for some), does it reduce to the difference between teaching and politics? In other words, is teaching irreducible to politics (and vice versa), or is teaching always already, as some argue, an instance of politics?

    There is a certain vertiginous self-reflexivity to such questions. Which is not to say they are merely rhetorical; indeed, I will return to these questions below. Given the topic, however, it will be obvious by now that the above interrogative structure elides one...

  10. Seven Discipline and Resistance: The Subjects of Writing and the Discourses of Instruction
    (pp. 121-136)
    Suzanne Clark

    In the following pages I will argue that because liberal American culture situates the classroom in a hierarchical organization that is like colonization, the progressive ambitions of a poststructuralist pedagogy may shatter—or rigidity—in the resultant hall of mirrors. Authority and resistance double one another—and student resistance may appear not as a critical practice, but as a lack or even a refusal of theory’s progressive authority. American students, like the subjects of British colonization, produce partial knowledges that “make the signifiers of authority enigmatic.” Therefore the new pedagogy needs to address this complication by examining the enigmas of...

  11. Eight Subversion and Oppositionality in the Academy
    (pp. 137-152)
    Barbara Foley

    My topic in this essay is the rhetoric of subversion—or rupture, or disruption—that is so frequently encountered in critical discourse these days; my purpose is to raise some questions about the implications this rhetoric carries for a politically oppositional practice in the academy. I shall address some important features of poststructuralism and deconstruction, as well as certain components of feminist theory, but I shall try to minimize my focus on theory as such and instead stress a related concern that has increasing influence on our everyday critical practice and pedagogy—namely, the matter of challenging (whether opening up,...

  12. Nine Entitlement and Empowerment: Claims on Canonicity
    (pp. 153-171)
    Jerry McGuire

    The best academic work on poetry during the 1960s and 1970s dealt with questions of technical poetics, especially the discovery of systemic dimensions of linguistic and rhetorical structuration. In the early 1980s, work shifted toward larger, more abstract questions of generic and historical definition; the central question—how to define the characteristic poetic gesture of modernity—remained within the general arena of poetics. But the most interesting academic work on poetry these days is not in poetics—the study of the structure and structuring of verbal art—but in a radical challenge to the canon, which is defined variously with...

  13. Ten Canon: New Testament to Derrida
    (pp. 172-187)
    Michael Payne

    TheNew York Times Book Reviewrecently carried a clever piece by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., on canon formation titled “Canon Confidential: A Sam Slade Caper.” After splashing some bourbon into his coffee mug and putting his feet on the desk, Sam meditates:

    Seemed there was some kind of a setup that determined which authors get on this A list of great literature. Payout was all perks, so far as I could make out. If you’re on this list, they teach your work in school and write critical essays on you. Waldenbooks moved you from the Fiction section to the...

  14. Eleven Freud, Lacan, and the Subject of Cultural Studies
    (pp. 188-202)
    Robert Con Davis

    In a recent article titled “Being Interdisciplinary Is So Very Hard to Do,” Stanley Fish argues against what he takes to be overblown claims about the new cultural studies, especially its idea of engendering in education a new “liberation, freedom, [and] openness” (21). He is not against the enthusiasm generated by this new movement, but he nonetheless challenges the viability of cultural studies because the “impossibility of authentic critique,” he concludes, “is the impossibility of the interdisciplinary project” that constitutes cultural studies (21). Cultural studies cannot be done, and he argues that because we can never escape the confines of...

  15. Contributors
    (pp. 203-204)
  16. Index
    (pp. 205-213)