PALS Summer 2020 Post Retrospective

During the Before Times, academic summer, running roughly between the start of May and the week after Labor Day, represented a sparse time for PALS site viewership. Yes, we do share new pieces during the summer, but the posts don't always receive the same viewership as posts published outside of academic summer. One great thing … Continue reading PALS Summer 2020 Post Retrospective

Crowdsourced Online Resources for Teaching

Towards the end of the summer we put out a Twitter call for a crowdsourced list of online materials useful for teaching. We heard a wealth of responses from our followers. In the past, we would have turned all those tweets into a Twitter Moment. Alas the Twitter Moments feature is basically unusable. It has … Continue reading Crowdsourced Online Resources for Teaching

How Did Kurt Vonnegut Know There Would Be a Pandemic?

When we plan courses, our choices are deliberate, right? We conscientiously select texts and arrange them in meaningful ways to increase the odds of student engagement, and we envision particular learning outcomes based on the trajectories we spend months setting up. Yet, despite all the planning and preparation, sometimes the most profound moments of learning … Continue reading How Did Kurt Vonnegut Know There Would Be a Pandemic?

Teaching “To Kill a Mockingbird” as a Confederate Monument

Recent debates surrounding Confederate monuments, their relationship to the legacies of U.S. slavery and racism, and concerns about the “erasure of the history” crowd the headlines as colleges and universities, particularly in the American south, grapple with the presence of these monuments on today’s diverse campuses. Well before and certainly in the aftermath of the … Continue reading Teaching “To Kill a Mockingbird” as a Confederate Monument

Cookbooks Not Novels

I have kept a running list of things students have called novels: plays, essays, articles, both primary and secondary sources of all sorts, poems, textbooks, memoirs, and cookbooks. Given how often I teach cookbooks in the scope of the American Literary tradition I have perhaps encountered this term-swapping with “cookbooks” at a disproportionate rate. Before … Continue reading Cookbooks Not Novels

Teaching the Crucible in the Post-Truth Era

Actual still frame from The Crucible (1996). No alterations have been detected. “We burn a hot fire here; it melts down all concealment. Are you certain in your conscience, Mister, that your evidence is the truth?” - Deputy Gov. Danforth, The Crucible, ACT 3. Dear College Professor, As you may have read, I recently taught … Continue reading Teaching the Crucible in the Post-Truth Era

Making Room for BIG Books

Despite what some students might think, a semester is really short! All instructors know the feeling of wanting to cover more material than a semester can actually hold. As a result, perhaps especially in survey or genre courses potentially covering centuries of literature, we often opt to teach shorter-length works or excerpts from longer works. … Continue reading Making Room for BIG Books

Reflections on Teaching Poverty & Wealth through American Literature

PALS warmly welcomes a guest post by Leah Milne. Milne is assistant professor of multicultural American literature at the University of Indianapolis. In this post she writes about a recent literature course on the subject of poverty and wealth. Milne reflects below on the course trajectory and potential lessons for future iterations of the course. … Continue reading Reflections on Teaching Poverty & Wealth through American Literature

The Master Race? Xenophobia and Racism in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

PALS is pleased to have a returning guest post from Matthew Teutsch, who is currently a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Bergen in Norway. Teutsch's first post for PALS can be found here and his own academic blog here. In this post, Teutsch explores The Great Gatsby and race from the perspective of what a "Nordic" … Continue reading The Master Race? Xenophobia and Racism in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

When Aliens Invade the Classroom: Notes on Teaching Invasion of the Body Snatchers

“But…showers of small frogs, tiny fish, and mysterious rains of pebbles sometimes fall from out of the skies. Here and there, with no possible explanation, men are burned to death inside their clothes. And once in a while, the orderly, immutable sequences of time itself are inexplicably shifted and altered. You read these occasional queer … Continue reading When Aliens Invade the Classroom: Notes on Teaching Invasion of the Body Snatchers