Discussion Questions: Promoting Active Learning and Building Community

Discussion Questions: Promoting Active Learning and Building Community

Among the challenges we face in the undergraduate classroom are getting students to work actively with literary texts, to contribute meaningfully and purposefully to class discussions, and to develop the skills necessary to construct arguments and support these arguments with direct textual evidence either verbally or in writing. I’d love to write here that I […]

“Stop, Hey, What’s That Sound?”

"Stop, Hey, What's That Sound?"

Buffalo Springfield’s essential protest song “For What It’s Worth”  remains wholly relevant. Written by Stephen Stills in 1966 after he witnessed a Sunset Strip curfew protest, the song elicits a timely missive about listening to resistance in the face of violence. The eerie sounds and uneasy mood of the song cement the socially conscious voice […]

The 30th Annual English Graduate Conference: Literature as Activism

The 30th Annual English Graduate Conference: Literature as Activism

During the keynote address at this year’s English graduate conference here at Stony Brook University, guest speaker Lisa Duggan, Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at NYU, quipped that President Donald Trump reminded her of a particular member of her family (she did not mean this as a compliment). Duggan’s joke reveals an essential fact […]

Homer and Literature Instruction

Screenshot from Stony Brook People, Nov. 1973, Vol 4. No. 5

Not that Homer. I mean the one with two names: Homer Goldberg. I regret that I didn’t take the opportunity to add my two cents to his tribute when he passed last year. As you may know, he was a master teacher in the English Department for many years (see his obituary here). I was […]

Reevaluating Pedagogical Methods…for Grad Students? Alt-Ac and Intro to English Studies

Humanities PhD Employment Percentages for those who earned their PhDs between 1996-2011 (source: MLA)

“Now I don’t mean to point fingers,” began a Stanford University Career Center Coach in the audience of a Q&A held after a panel at MLA 2018, “But humanities PhD students historically under-participate every time we hold professional career workshops for paths both inside and outside academia and we don’t really know why.” The panel […]

Incorporating Lessons from the UPenn Shelley Seminar Series

Incorporating Lessons from the UPenn Shelley Seminar Series

Tucked comfortably into a well-lit corner conference room of the University of Pennsylvania’s Van Pelt Library, once a week from August through December a group of scholars, students, and poetry enthusiasts of varied backgrounds meet to discuss the lyrics of Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. The room is angular, modern, a cool and inviting multi-shaded […]

To Grade or Not to Grade: The Struggle to Assess

Brainstorming a Participation Rubric

Grades. Grading. Final Grade. Any variable of the word “grade” is likely to fill me with a confusing combination of panic, unease, and boredom. As a student, grades were fine. I did well enough in academic settings that I could choose to ignore my grades. My undergrad years were spent at a small liberal arts […]



[A version of this post also appears on the blog for EGL 608, the digital humanities seminar.] Christine L. Borgman provides a the following as her definition of scholarly communication: “By scholarly communication we mean the study of how scholars in any field…use and disseminate information through formal and informal channels.” 1 Although Borgman wrote this in […]

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