I got an email yesterday which reminded me that I need to start thinking a bit about my fall classes. All of them. Okay, writing is pretty much going where it usually goes, and I don't actually have to preplan that right now. But I need to start preparing the others, and ordering some stuff, so I thought I'd share some of the fun.
If you're a grad student, or even if you're not, feel free to share the fun!
First, for early modernists! I'm teaching a senior class on early modern drama and the Other, or some such thing. One of my colleagues in history is an early modernist in a middle eastern culture/area, and is going to come talk to the class about Islam and Europe in the early modern period! So that's cool. And I've got some ideas for historical readings from her. BUT, I'm looking for a really good text to introduce Post-Colonial theory, to help us think about how early modern England uses conceptions of the Other in its texts. I'd love a short introductory text or anthology, or a group of essays; they need to be introductory, though, since at least some members of the class have had no introduction to Post-Colonial theory. (Some students will have taken one or more focused classes in more recent Post-Colonial lit, though!)
I'm also thinking about which early modern texts to teach. So far, I'm thinking of focusing on representations of Black, Islamic, and Jewish Others. And I'm planning to teach Oroonoko (because it's a cool text, though late for me, and not drama). I'd really love some other suggestions, especially those that might take us into interesting directions. Drama is the main focus, but some non-dramatic texts wouldn't hurt too much.
[NB. I would rather tear my hair out in one great yank than try to teach The Tragedy of Mariam/Miriam again. I'm sure some people have taught that with great success; heck, I'm sure some people have enjoyed the heck out of the text. I'm not that person. My students hated it when I tried to teach it, though we all enjoyed the biography, of course.]
Second, for the Chaucer and medieval types! Once again, I get the privilege of teaching Chaucer, because at this point, it's me or no Chaucer. And though I'm not a real Chaucerian, I love teaching the stuff.
The class is set at the junior level, which is totally new for here. So I want to totally avoid giving students an assignment to write a "research" paper for the class. Instead, I'd like to see the junior level class as building skills for writing a research paper, specifically skills in reading critical essays well and in asking good research questions. In order to work on developing reading skills, I'd like to choose two or three really top notch recent critical essays on some Chaucer piece that I can use to get the class to read, discuss, and work through. (We'll also be using Graff and Birkenstein's They Say / I Say to help with thinking about such things, and then they'll find another critical essay and write a response to it.) So here's your chance: suggest a really good critical essay on something suitable for a Chaucer class!
The best suggestion in each category will win something fun (and easy to mail) from Japan!
Category 1: Post-Colonial Theory introductory text
Category 2: Early Modern Text (appropriate for class on the Other)
Category 3: Recently published critical essay appropriate for a Chaucer class.