What’s in a survey?

This spring I had a rare chance to teach a literature survey course that is required for our English majors and minors. I taught a similar course as a doctoral student at the University of Missouri nearly a decade ago, which has remained my favorite course for all of those years. Both then and now, … Continue reading What’s in a survey?

Yiddish Translations of American Literature in Your American Literature Class, Part II: Longfellow and Eliot

This post is the second by Jessica Kirzane about teaching Yiddish translations of American literature in American literature classes. Kirzane is an Assistant Instructional Professor in Yiddish at the University of Chicago. You can find part one here. In the last post, I shared with the PALS community some general thoughts about teaching American literature through … Continue reading Yiddish Translations of American Literature in Your American Literature Class, Part II: Longfellow and Eliot

Yiddish Translations of American Literature in Your American Literature Class, Part I: Uncle Tom’s Cabin

PALS is excited to welcome a post by Jessica Kirzane. Kirzane is an Assistant Instructional Professor in Yiddish at the University of Chicago. This is the first of two posts discussing how to incorporate Yiddish translations of American literature into the American literature classroom. You can find part two of the series here. I think … Continue reading Yiddish Translations of American Literature in Your American Literature Class, Part I: Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Arrrrrrr! It’s time to Treasure Hunt with Dickinson!

Avast, me hearties, and an ahoy to those of you whose distance-teaching semesters are winding down. Why are you reading this? Please go feed your sourdough starter instead. (And then, please help me to understand how to feed mine. That burping thing it’s doing right now—is that good? Bad? Oh why did I accept this … Continue reading Arrrrrrr! It’s time to Treasure Hunt with Dickinson!

Why I Built a Desktop PC

March 31, 2020 Greetings, #PalsNation. I hope this post finds you well. The post you’re reading is the first in a series focusing on the the computer I built earlier this year. I wanted to write a post on this topic for a few weeks now, but I haven’t had the time to do so. … Continue reading Why I Built a Desktop PC

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?

At Home with PALS: What We are Doing while Social Distancing

We hope you are all hanging in there! As we also try to hang in there during this covid-19 crisis, we thought we would break a bit from our regularly scheduled content and provide some insight into how our PALS writers are spending their days during social distancing. We provide the suggestions in the hope … Continue reading At Home with PALS: What We are Doing while Social Distancing

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

Try an “I”: Essayistic Narration for Journalists

I recently taught a short intensive course in creative writing—“Nonfiction Bootcamp.” My students traveled from Carleton University’s School of Journalism (Ottawa, Ontario) to spend five weeks in a Yukon-based experiential learning program, Stories North. The program addresses one of the most pressing issues in the Americas: that of Indigenous sovereignty. Stories North asks: how can … Continue reading Try an “I”: Essayistic Narration for Journalists

American Literary History and a Social Justice Walking Tour of Campus

In our uncertain political moment, students at the small, liberal arts college where I teach are looking for meaningful and productive ways to engage with the social justice issues that matter to them and to make a difference through their service and activism. Moreover, students on my “majority minority” campus do not always see the … Continue reading American Literary History and a Social Justice Walking Tour of Campus

Texting Thomas Paine: Connecting 18th-Century Politics and 21st-Century Students

Now that it’s just us American literature teachers here, we’re finally free to admit it. We find the works of Thomas Paine, Patrick Henry, Abigail Adams, Alexander Hamilton, and other American revolutionary-era authors the most exciting we have ever experienced. Their poetical expression of political ideals, their adept use of parallelism and synecdoche, and their … Continue reading Texting Thomas Paine: Connecting 18th-Century Politics and 21st-Century Students

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