Reading in Santa Barbara: Syllabus Design

Spring Quarter marks the start of “Reading in Santa Barbara: Past, Present, and Future,” the third and final UCSB class in the Curriculum Lab’s pedagogical blog series for 2018-19. Each of the classes this year has examined humanities advocacy from a different angle. “Reading with Scientists: How to Export Literature,” in Fall 2018, explored connections […]

How to Solve Problems with Books: Final Showcase

To celebrate the last day of class, the students in “How to Solve Problems with Books” hosted a final showcase, open to guests. We met in the Digital Arts and Humanities Commons on UCSB’s campus, which gave us a bigger space to work with than our regular classroom. We arranged the tables in a horseshoe, […]

How to Solve Problems with Books: Voices of Industrialism

As a retrospective on the Winter Quarter, I’d like to share a series of lesson plans from “How to Solve Problems with Books.” These activities and conversations moved us through our assignment sequence (Research Memo, Advice from the Victorians, and Creating a Five-Year Plan) and helped us to structure a dialogue between the nineteenth and […]

How to Solve Problems with Books: Archives and Advocacy

This week marked a real treat for “How to Solve Problems with Books”: a chance to see Victorian print culture up close and personal in UC Santa Barbara’s Special Collections. Our goal was to reach a better understanding of how Victorian literature was originally produced and consumed. Of particular emphasis was the question of how […]

How to Solve Problems with Books: Creating a Five-Year Plan with the Victorians

How do we turn literary analysis into action? This question guides the final installment in a series of three assignments for “Uses of Literature: How to Solve Problems with Books.” The sequence has been designed to spark a dialogue between the nineteenth and twenty-first centuries. In our first assignment, the “Research Memo and Annotated Bibliography,” […]

How to Solve Problems with Books: Advice from the Victorians

How would the Victorians advise us if they could see the effects of industrialism today? The next assignment in “How to Solve Problems with Books” asks students to grapple with this question by inhabiting the perspectives of nineteenth-century figures (both historical authors and fictional characters). The assignment is the second in a sequence of three, […]

How to Solve Problems with Books: Explaining Ourselves to the Victorians

How would we tell the Victorians about ourselves? Specifically, how would we ask their advice about the legacies of industrialism that we face in the twenty-first century? These questions structure the first in a series of assignments for “How to Solve Problems with Books.” Taken as a whole, the assignment sequence is meant to enact […]

How to Solve Problems with Books: Syllabus Design

We are excited to kick off the Winter quarter here at UCSB! This term, I’ll be teaching a new class called “Uses of Literature: How to Solve Problems with Books.” I here share my syllabus and lay out some of the aims of the course. Like my Fall course, “Reading with Scientists,” “How to Solve […]

Reading with Scientists: The Time Machine and Environmental Science

What stories do both literary and scientific texts tell about the environment? This question motivated a “Reading with Scientists” unit that paired H. G. Wells’s famous novella, The Time Machine (1895), with four selections representing different aspects of environmental science: Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962), Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything (2014), and the websites of […]

Reading with Scientists: Ursula Le Guin’s Omelas and the Dystopia of Big Data

What should you do when you realize you’re living in a dystopia? The wisdom of Ursula Le Guin helped us to tackle this question in “Reading with Scientists.” We began by reading Le Guin’s classic short story “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas.” Coming in at only ten pages, the plot is simple, yet […]