Teaching Innovation Projects


English Studies


A fundamental question at the heart of literary studies concerns the intangible—and unanswerable—question of what it means to be human. To pursue this question rigorously, literary studies has deployed methods from a range of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences; while interdisciplinary approaches to English have generated a wealth of important theoretical and “real-world” interventions crucial to the discipline’s ongoing development, we risk diminishing the ineffability that lies at the heart of critical inquiry. The reasons behind this disconnect are too expansive and complex to discuss here (cf. Day, 2007; Griffin, 2005), but this workshop proceeds from the premise that it is precisely by remaining open to uncertainty, contingency, and complexity that humanities research maintains its purchase; while confusion is intuitively thought of as a problem to be avoided in the classroom, I posit that it is vital to developing mastery of difficult concepts in English Literary Studies. Through a sustained engagement with Meyer & Land’s (2005) development of threshold concepts, this workshop deploys a short lecture, large group discussions, and individual and small group activities to invite participants to investigate “confusion” as a productive pedagogical tool under the aegis of threshold concepts.

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.