The Humanities Pedagogy Workshop

A Higher Education Reading and Discussion Forum

How do we teach? How would we like to teach? How were we taught? How do others teach? How could we teach differently? And whom do we teach – and to what ends? As lecturers in the Humanities, we find these questions endlessly fascinating, and we found that they are best explored in lively discussion.

The Humanities Pedagogy Workshop is a reading and discussion forum for regular discussion of practices, books and articles on teaching in higher education, with the aim of re-evaluating our own roles as educators, along with our objectives and methodology. We also frequently organise half-day workshops with invited colleagues

We want to establish a dialogue on educational practices and what could be termed a “teaching philosophy”, a space in which we can explore topics related to teaching and learning in higher education, debate the implications of particular readings on our practice, and think about teaching and learning in new ways.

Next Meeting

Date: tba

We will discuss: tba


What We Talked About

Extracts from bell hooks, "Teaching to Transgress"

Extracts from Paulo Freire, "Pedagogy of the Oppressed"

Elspeth Probyn, "Teaching Bodies: Affects in the Classroom" (Body and Society 10[4]: 21-33)

Bruce Burgett, "Teaching Interdisciplinarity" (Pedagogy 11 [3], 2011: 465-91)

Theresa Tinkle et al, "Teaching Close Reading in a Large Lecture Course" (Pedagogy 13[3], 2013: 505-35)

Mary Breunig,"Turning Experiential Education and Critical Pedagogy Theory into Praxis" (Journal of Experiential Education 28[2], 2005: 106-22))

Extract from Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, "An Aesthetic Education in the Era of Globalization"

Excerpts from Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, "Touching Feeling"

Excerpts from Jacques Rancière, "The Emancipated Spectator"

Excerpts from Jyl Lynn Felman, "Never a Dull Moment"

Jeffrey Jerome Cohen: Monster Theory (Chapter: ''Monster Culture (Seven Theses)''

Excerpts from Terry Eagleton: "Literary Theory: an Introduction" (Introduction)

Joan Kirkby: "'Remembrance of the Future': Derrida on  Mourning"

Excerpts from Elaine Showalter, "Teaching Literature" (Blackwell 2003)

- Chapter 2, "Theories of Teaching Literature"

- Chapter 3, "Methods of Teaching Literature"

Janey Gordon: "The Group, the Team and the Task Force: the enhancement of group work as a teaching methodology"

Excerpts from Robin Nelson: "Practice as Research"

Brecher, Bob: "Academics and Activists: a False Dichotomy"

Brecher, Bob: "Brighton's BA Humanities as Protest"

Brecher, Bob: "Is Critical Education Still Possible in UK Universities?"

Maxine Green: ''Countering Indifference: The Role of the Arts''

Nel Noddings: ''Renewing the Spirit of the Liberal Arts The Journal of General Education''

Mark E. Deschaine & Sue Ann Sharma: ''The Five Cs of Digital Curation: Supporting Twenty-First-Century Teaching and Learning''

Excerpts from Henry Glassie: ''Material Culture'' (Chapter 2)

Barry Freeman: ''Theatre for a Changeable World, Or Making Room for a Fire''

Patrick Finn: ''The Steam Roller''

Kathleen Gallagher & Barry Freeman: ''In Defence of Theatre''

- Chapter 4: ''Politics and Presence: A Theatre of Affective Encounters''

Judith Butler: ''Rethinking Vulnerability and Resistance''

Excerpts from: Anna Tsing: ''The Mushroom at the End of the World - On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins''

Previous Workshops

Josh Edelman (Manchester Metropolitan University), "Teaching (under) Rape Culture"

This workshop generated productive strategies for developing syllabi that address contemporary political issues, and discussed literary and performed portrayals of rape and approaches to critically examine these in seminars and lectures.

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Linda Tym (Assistant Professor of English at Southern Adventist University), ''Teaching Literary and Critical Theory''

This workshop will continue our discussion of socially and politically active teaching and of how to educate students to be responsible citizens. Dr. Tym facilitates discussion about topics such as how educators may balance unique institutional needs with wider discipline-specific concerns; negotiate the instruction of the "Canon" while ensuring exposure to more recent concepts and approaches; and embody a scocially and politically engaged practice within the classroom.

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Dr Aneta Mancewicz (Senior Lecturer, School of Performance and Screen Studies, Kingston University London), "Teaching Practice as Research"

This workshop responds to two challenges of Higher Education teaching: how to support students to act critically and how to encourage them to collaborate effectively. In order to address these challenges, the workshop explored the pedagogical potential of Practice as Research - PaR (Nelson 2013) and group work (Gordon 2008). We looked at selected case studies to review their methodological and institutional implications in a range of humanities subjects.

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Dr. Bob Brecher, (Centre for Applied Philosophy, Politics & Ethics CAPPE, University of Brighton), ''Philosophers and Activists: a False Dichotomy''

Prof. Brecher's workshop springs from the widely held conviction that activism and academic philosophy are different; that activism is inimical to the disinterestedness of philosophy. Prof. Brecher argues that all philosophy is carried out so we can do something. Certainly philosophy ought to be disinterested; but that is not to say it should be uninterested, unengaged or neutral.

Moreover, it’s not “knowledge for its own sake” with which neo-liberal instrumentalism should be contrasted, not least since there is no such knowledge. All knowledge is for the sake of action of some sort; none is neutral. It is on that basis that one can build an answer to the question, ‘What is activism for philosophers?’

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Stephanie Flores-Koulish, (Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, Loyola University Maryland), “Teaching Diversity: Syllabus Construction and Review”

Stephanie Flores-Koulish presented a workshop grounded in her teaching of critical media literacy education (CMLE). She began by demonstrating how CMLE allows 21st century students to “read their worlds” a la Paulo Freire, but as well, for the ways that CMLE can encourage what Maxine Greene calls a “radical imagination” and a connectedness to our students that Noddings would consider part of an “ethic of care.”

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Patrick Brugh (Affiliate Assistant Professor, Loyola University Maryland), “Managing Heteronormative, White, Male Privilege as a Feminist Pedagogue”

It may come as a surprise that advocates and purveyors of Black Feminist Theory such as bell hooks have a lot in common with the traditions of Jesuit education, yet they do. They share, for one thing, the common dedication to the psychic and spiritual integrity and the personal context of both student and instructor. In the tradition of the Jesuits, the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm links together the importance of experience, reflection, and action in education; similarly, hooks advocates for the centrality of personal narrative and experience in the development of an intellectual and spiritual self. For the study of masculinities (and studies of race, class, gender, and sexuality), nothing could be more important than the recognition that what we learn in class will and should impact the way we experience and act in our lives. This workshop will explore both the theories and practices of facilitating a feminist classroom by using both old (guided meditation and discussion) and new (technology driven) classroom activities. Readings include sociological, critical, and biological approaches to the study of masculinities.

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Zara Anishanslin, (Assistant Professor of History and Art History, University of Delaware): ''Material Culture Pedagogies''

Dr. Zara Anishanslin is Assistant Professor of History and Art History at University of Delaware. As an historian who specializes in working with "things", Dr. Anishanslin offered a workshop on integrating material culture research and archival methods and discoveries into the humanities classroom and beyond. Her monograph, Woman in Silk: Hidden Histories of the British Atlantic World was just published, and she is an accomplished director of public history projects and museum exhibits.

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Prof. Kim Solga (Professor of Theatre Studies, Western University Canada), "Performance, Pedagogy, and the Information Economy: Teaching in the Wake of Post-Industrialisation"

Dr. Kim Solga is Professor of Theatre Studies at Western University, London, Ontario, Canada. She is the current editor of Theatre Research in Canada / Recherches théatrâles au Canada. Her books include Theatre& Feminism (2015), Performance and the Global City (2013), and Violence Against Women in Early Modern Performance (2009). Since 2013, Professor Solga has been writing about pedagogy, performance, and activism in its broadest senses at theactivistclassroom.wordpress.com. The blog is followed by 1,275 readers. Professor Solga will offer a workshop that draws on her work on her teaching blog as well as on her latest teaching-research project. It will invite participants to think about the ways in which performance-driven pedagogies can contribute to the broad-spectrum training of workers in post-industrial economies, while also offering robust critiques of the assumptions (about creativity, “experience”, and the demographics of post-industrialisation) on which that economy is based. 

Humanities Institute at University College Dublin

The Dublin-centered workshop will include presentations by the Teaching and Learning Centre ,and a discussion of organizing and publicizing a regular program of lectures with faculty from the School of English, Drama, and Film, and the Humanities Center, looking at strategies for building a successful public impact. The respected pedagogical programs of the T&L Center are well attended by the faculty, while the School of English and the Humanities Institute have organized hugely popular podcasts, conferences, and public programs.

Dr. Timothy C. Baker (Senior Lecturer in Scottish and Contemporary Literature; University of Aberdeen)

He gave a workshop on the relationship between teaching ideas of

vulnerability (including perspectives from both disability and cultural

studies) and encouraging vulnerability in the classroom.

Dr. Trish Reid (Associate Dean of Education at Kingston University London's Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences)

A theatre scholar whose research interests are primarily in contemporary theatre, and in contemporary Scottish theatre in particular, she is interested in the ways contemporary identities are constituted through performance, especially national and gender identities. She is the author of "Theatre & Scotland" (Palgrave MacMillan, 2013) and "The Theatre of Anthony Neilson" (Methuen, 2017), and of various articles and chapters on the intersection between nationality and gender in contemporary theatre and performance. She will give a workshop on the relationship between unconscious bias in higher education and the conscious and proactive choice to construct and implement diverse and inclusive curricula across the board.

Regular Members

Julia Boll
University of Konstanz
Zukunftskolleg/Literary Studies

Kate Fama
University College Dublin
American Literature

Elliott Lash
University of Maynooth
Early Irish Studies

Emily Petermann
University of Konstanz
American Studies

Leila Whitley
University of Konstanz
Zukunftskolleg/Literary Studies