The things to come

Our winter term will be beginning a week from now, and so these days are all about giving my classes the final polish and think-through (or as much as one can do that before classes actually start, as some things come up and adjustments are often sensible things to make), to re-read the plays, poems and novels I’ll be covering one more time (the final read-through happens just before the class session that they actually come up in), and, you know, just doing stuff.

One of the classes I will be teaching is called by the lofty name “600 years of British Comedies” and where would such a class start but with the master himself?

So I spent parts of my workday today working my way through A Midsummer Night’s Dream, adding dozens of little post-its and working out lesson plans.

And, man, I’ve been missing Shakespeare. Don’t get me wrong, I love American Studies, but I am also really looking forward to my foray into British Literature. (And I think we’re generally dividing things from each other too much – we talk about globalization and internationalization on the one hand, but then often stick to national literary traditions and canons when teaching, or set up special ‘transnational’ classes – which is sometimes a bit bizarre, considering that ideas, thoughts, people and works of fiction crossed oceans and borders then as well as now.) Sometimes it makes more sense than others, and sometimes and for certain classes it does indeed make sense, but when you studied literatures from multiple points and places of origin being limited to in-depth working on just one is a bit unneccessarily constraining (specialization is all well and good, but not to the point of wearing blinders, eh?). So, you know, yay for smaller universities and colleagues and bosses that trust you when you say “with enough prep time, I can totally cover the missing ‘Brit Lit’ slot” (pretty please?).  (I think a major reason for the strict division is the prep-time-optimization-thing more often than not, really. [I’ve been reading a LOT of British Comedies from the last 500+ years this summer. And secondary literature. And history. It’s become a bit of a … thing.]).

My other classes are “An Introduction to American Literature” (I love being a ‘first contact’ person), “American Film Classics of the 30s & 40s” (Screwball! Noir! Western! Casablanca! Mr Smith in Washington! Rosebud! // Mise-en-scene! Angles! Genre! Hays Code! Joseph Breen! [And a class where the division makes sense] [Also: Popcorn!]) and “Children’s and Young Adult Fiction” (tailored to the state curricula, but other than that, totally international) and two projects (literature & tbd by the KSM students).


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