Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

What I’m Teaching This Semester

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I have two classes this semester I’m very excited about. First, I’m repeating my post-Civil-War American literature sophomore survey with some slight tweaks based on what seemed to work best last time; the one major change is the addition of  Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland to the syllabus.

Second, I’m debuting my NEH “Enduring Questions” course Cultural Preservation, which in addition to being a bit out of my usual wheelhouse offers a more flexible and student-research-focused pedagogy than I’ve typically offered (as well as copious field trips and guest speakers!). It should be a blast. I’ve needed to wait to finalize much of the course schedule pending student availability for our trips, but the first four weeks of the course are up at the course blog.

After some reflection I’ve decided to scrap my original plan to lead with the thought experiment in chapter two of Red Mars (though we’ll be returning to some of its ecological questions later in the course) in favor of some metacommentary on the development of the course itself. So for Wednesday we’ll be reading my own grant proposal for the course, as well as Senator Jeff Sessions’s recent denunciation of this very grant. We’ll also read Natalia Cecire’s recent defense of the humanities as a counterpoint/antidote to Sessions…

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