“Much Depends on Dinner:” On Students, Food, and Foreigners

Most faculty organizing abroad programs know to have an opening dinner to help everyone to “bond” at the beginning of a group trip -- and most of us are equally aware of the advantages to having a final meal together before everyone returns home. But instructors do not tend to think about eating and student diet for the intervening weeks. Food and food culture, as we all know, are crucial parts of any ethnography. The food and dining habits of a nation tell us a great deal about its priorities, its lifestyle, and its history. To ignore the food of a nation is to leave that place untried, unknown, untasted. This essay will explore ways in which we can encourage an engagement with the culture in which our students reside by working certain food-oriented events into our field school syllabi and assignments.

Walking with Wordsworth and Waltzing with Third-Party Providers

In summer of 2014 I led nine students to the Lake District for a ten-day program on British Romantic literature, with a particular focus on long-time Grasmere residents William and Dorothy Wordsworth and Thomas De Quincey. I called the course “Walking with Wordsworth,” and the goal was both to introduce students to the places that inspired particular poetic and prose works of the Romantic period and to encourage students to question whether and how the geographical context matters to the reader’s interpretation of the texts themselves. Planning for the course began a year prior to departure and, per university regulations, required working closely with the coordinator of the study-abroad office at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), who strongly advised using a third-party provider based in Texas with whom UTEP has successfully partnered in the past. This article describes the classroom work prior to arriving in the UK, the lodging, travel, and instructional components of the trip itself, and the benefits of using a commercial provider in planning and managing the logistics of the program. The article concludes that while using a commercial provider adds a necessary bureaucratic layer to the instructor’s planning and comes at some additional cost to the students, its professional resources can offer significant time savings and peace of mind to faculty, especially those planning a study abroad for the first time.

Appendix B: Nineteenth-Century Literature: Literature Between Revolutions Syllabus

Appendix B: Nineteenth-Century Literature: Literature Between Revolutions Syllabus

Olivera Jokić
John Jay College, City University of New York

Appendix C: Repetitions of the Romantic: An Investigation into Romantic and Post-Romantic Art Syllabus

Appendix C: Repetitions of the Romantic: An Investigation into Romantic and Post-Romantic Art Syllabus

D.B. Ruderman
The Ohio State University, Newark

Appendix A: (Post-)Romantic Childhoods in British Literature Syllabus

Appendix A: (Post-)Romantic Childhoods in British Literature Syllabus

Sandra Dinter and Stefanie John
RWTH Aachen University and the University of Muenster

Zonkey Romanticism

This essay considers the benefits of incorporating creative writing assignments into literary studies curricula, taking the Romantic literature classroom as its key example.

Affect in the Age of Terror

This essay explains the rationale behind a willfully anachronistic creative writing prompt: if one of the British Romantics were alive today, how would he or she craft a literary response to 9/11 and the ensuing War on Terror? Instead of asking what makes the twenty-first-century experience of terror new, my assignment encourages students to approach today’s affective environment through the medium of British Romantic literature. The following discussion offers a pedagogical framework and theoretical justification for inviting undergraduates to map the untimely affects that fuse the contemporary age of terror with its Romantic-era double. The essay concludes with a survey of exemplary student work.

Against Utilitarianism: Two Hundred Years of “Useful Knowledge”

This essay challenges students to think about how we might make the case for the public value of the humanities by grounding our own debates about these issues in a close reading of Percy Shelley’s “Defence of Poetry.” It argues that Shelley’s argument against the primacy of utilitarian pragmatism is not, despite its apparent rhetoric, a lofty and off-putting retreat into elitist claims for the arts, but quite the contrary, a radical and politically engaged account of why the arts ultimately matter more than applied forms of “useful knowledge,” even within the context of social reform.

Legacies of the Romantic Child: Teaching Post-Romantic Constructions of Childhood in Contemporary British Fiction

This article discusses the theme and methodology of the course “(Post-)Romantic Childhoods in British Literature” as previously taught at Bielefeld University in Germany. The course covered constructions of childhood in British literature from the Romantic period and their appropriations in Victorian and contemporary fiction by Dickens, McEwan, Lessing, and Boyne. Reflecting upon the teaching goals and outcomes, we draw on two fields of research into contemporary literature: constructivist childhood studies and the critical study of Romantic legacies. After an introduction to our terminology, the cultural context, and its implications for classroom scenarios, we outline the syllabus in detail, adding handouts, activities, and tasks as illustrative examples.

Constellations, Contemporaneity, and Coltrane: A Conversation with Tres Pyle

In his latest book Art’s Undoing: In the Wake of a Radical Aestheticism (Fordham University Press, 2013), Forest (Tres) Pyle asserts that certain poetic texts “produce a radical engagement with the very processes by which we conceive of the aesthetic, those processes by which the world is not merely known, but felt—and felt as an effect of representation” (5). This model for a poetics of history draws on a rich web of sources, from Shelley, Benjamin, and de Man to John Coltrane, Todd Haynes, and Cy Twombly, in which constellations of aesthetic experience, not unlike signs and flowers, are self-originating. They “flash up” like flares in a night sky whose apprehension, always possible but never determined, is felt with something of a shiver. In this conversation, Tres and I discuss the poetry, music, painting, cinema, and scholarship that make him shiver, focusing on how this constellation of art, artists, philosophy, and criticism, which spans two centuries, has shaped his approach to understanding and teaching Romanticism. That which makes the Romantic poem particular, Tres says, those characteristics around which we have organized a canon and a name, are precisely what challenge periodization in the first place. If Ian Curtis exhibits a sense of possession that summons up Coleridge, then how are we to reconcile historical specificity with aesthetic continuity? What are the “strange subterranean force[s]” that exert themselves in “adventurous poetic forms, musical examples, cinematic forms, or the visual arts?” Since this conversation, Tres and co-editor Jacques Khalip have assembled a collection of essays that addresses these questions. With essays by Ian Balfour, Sara Guyer, and Gayatri Spivak, among many notable others, Constellations of a Contemporary Romanticism (Fordham University Press, 2016) inquires into the implications of Agamben’s notion of contemporaneity, as an adherence to one’s own time through disjunction and anachronism, for studies of Romanticism. As a constellation itself, the book not only illuminates certain shadows, or future anteriors, of Romanticism as they irrupt in Benjaminian now-time, but it also postulates Romanticism itself as a trope that dramatizes—or “detonates”—such now-time by forcing an experience precisely with that which has been passively deposited into the archives of historical time. It is this sense of Romanticism “with its tentacles extended into the future” that drives our conversation.