My New Book!

My New Book!
My New Book!

Friday, January 19, 2024

January 19, 2024: Spring Semester Previews: Grad Historical Fiction

[As this new semester gets underway, it does so amidst a particularly fraught moment for teaching & learning the Humanities. So for this week’s Semester Previews series I’ll highlight one thing from each of my courses that embodies the value of the Humanities for us all—leading up to a special weekend post on MLK Day and the Humanities!]

The first Graduate course I taught at Fitchburg State, in the summer after my first year there (Summer 2006), was my newly created American Historical Fiction: Theory and Practice course, and 19 students took it. It’s been quite a few years now since any of our Graduate English Studies courses have reached 10 students, the official number of a course to be considered sufficiently enrolled; I’m teaching my American Historical Fiction course again this Spring, and there’s literally no way it will get to 10 (5 is the likely maximum, and as of this writing it’s not there yet). When I took over as our Graduate Program Chair two and a half years ago, I wrote in this space about the serious enrollment crisis facing our program (and just about every MA program), and suffice to say those challenges have not in any way abated. We continue to pursue a variety of strategies for growing the program; for example, if you know anyone interested in the possibility of an MA in Literature or a Creative Writing Certificate, I would ask you to send them my way, and/or to encourage them to check out our upcoming webinar featuring past and present Graduate English Studies students that will be held on January 31st from 5-6pm and also recorded for folks to watch any time (for more, you or they can email me!). A significant percentage of our Graduate students (past and present) are secondary educators, and I don’t think I need to say anything else about what that community illustrates about the value of the Humanities. But the broader truth is, a society in which folks can’t afford to think deeply about the kinds of questions that literary and cultural works ask us to engage is a society that will fall prey far more easily to the kinds of authoritarian impulses we’ve seen over the last decade. No higher stakes than that!

Special post this weekend,


PS. What do you think?

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