[This Wednesday, my summer hybrid grad course on 20th Century American Women Writers kicked off (we started with a discussion of Sui Sin Far’s Mrs. Spring Fragrance!). So this week I’ve AmericanStudied some exemplary such writers, leading up to this weekend post on some of what I’m most excited for with that summer course.]
A few of the many reasons I’m excited to start that hybrid grad course:
1) Sharing Sui Sin Far with grad students: I’ve taught Mrs. Spring Fragrance or excerpts from it in a few different settings, from the first iteration of my revised Ethnic American Literature course to at least a couple distinct Adult Learning classes. But I don’t believe I’ve had the chance to share Far and her writings with our graduate students yet—and besides being a favorite writer and voice of mine, I would say she’s a pitch-perfect example of an American author who should make her way onto high school syllabi much more frequently than she currently does. Most of our grad students are present or future teachers, and so I’m doubly excited to share Far with this course and see what they think!
2) Ditto with The House on Mango Street: Our last long/main reading is Sandra Cisneros’ short story cycle, and the same thing is true: I’ve taught excerpts of House in many different courses, but have never had the chance to work with it in a graduate class. My guess it that many more (if not all) of the students will have read some or all of Cisneros’ book than will be the case with Far, which yields its own kind of pleasure: the chance for all of us to return to a familiar author and work and find new depths and power in their richness. As I wrote in that hyperlinked post, I don’t know of any work that combines engaging readability with thematic depth better than House, and I can’t wait to see what the grad students do with it!
3) The hybrid days/Blackboard posts: When I taught my first hybrid course, last summer’s grad class on Analyzing 21st Century America, I wasn’t sure what to expect; students respond online in one way or another in almost every class I teach, but I had never had class “meetings” that were explicitly located in such online spaces and conversations. But those grad students rose to that challenge as well as they always do, and both worked with the online materials and created analytical conversations in response to them extremely impressively and provocatively. Now that the initial jitters are out of the way, I’m simply looking forward to reading their responses and conversations, contributing my own voice to the mix, and seeing how these hybrid meetings complement and enhance our in-person ones. As always, I’ll keep you posted!
Next series starts Monday,
PS. What do you think? Other women writers (20th century American or otherwise) you’d highlight?
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