Reading Communities: The Social Life of Literature in a Time of Social Distancing

As a way of documenting the experience of teaching during COVID-19, I want to share the WE1S-affiliated class that I am currently adapting to an online format: “Reading Communities: The Social Life of Literature.” The topic of “reading communities” has been a surprisingly poignant one to examine within a quarantined environment. I ask my students […]

Reading in Santa Barbara, Future: Building the Utopian University

To close out the term for “Reading in Santa Barbara,” we mobilized our insights into past and present reading communities in order to consider possible futures. The final assignment, called “The Utopian University,” asked students to consider the ideal ways that literature could build social relationships on campus and beyond. I share the assignment sheet […]

Reading in Santa Barbara, Present: Students Plan a Public Humanities Showcase

The climactic moment of our syllabus this quarter in “Reading in Santa Barbara” was a student-run showcase, put on in partnership with the UCSB Reads program. The showcase was an opportunity for students to design and host their own public humanities event, inspired by our quarter-long theme of “reading communities,” the social connections fostered by […]

Reading in Santa Barbara, Past: Finding Archival Communities

The backbone of “Reading in Santa Barbara” was a series of four archival sessions in UC Santa Barbara’s Special Research Collections. These sessions have allowed us to position our own experiences as readers at UCSB in conversation with the experiences of historical readers more broadly. Throughout, we were concerned with the “reading communities” – or […]

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, […]