Welcome to TR at RC

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At Romantic Circles, we've spent the past year thinking about how we might rework the Pedagogies site into something that is really dynamic and usable.  Phrases like "Web 2.0" "interactive classroom" or "digital literacy" get tossed around almost too frequently these days, but when discussing how best to reenvision Pedagogies, we found ourselves returning to the idea of the digital, interactive "Commons." As some of you might know, this is the name of the e-journal portion of the Pedagogies site, and we do have some great volumes of essays on specific pedagogical issues in the works.  But what about an online common: people moseying through with (virtual) book-filled satchels, their minds meandering between research ideas and recent class discussions, briefly stopping to talk shop about a particular author, topic, or situation, feeling connected and maybe re-energized to return to all the work tasks a week encompasses.

Teaching Romanticism ("TR") was designed with the hopes that many of the brief discussions had on NASSR-l or at conference dinner tables would be granted a larger space and thoughtful audience through which to percolate.  Often discussion of teaching methods, materials, or problems become opaque, abstract, or seem less pressing than other things on our plate, and so we temporarily put them at the bottom of our To Do list.  As a still-newbie Professor at a liberal arts college (Mount Holyoke) with an intense student population (en masse all-night study session/sleepovers in the library--be there or be square!), I admittedly have a certain obligation to my teaching.  Yet what happens when, even momentarily, we envision our praxis, our ideas, and our literary theories through the lens of pedagogy?  Does pedagogy need to have a greater or different role in our thinking, and if so how?

Under the guidance of Deidre Lynch, we have assembled a handful of scholars with a variety of interests, prerogatives, and experience. We hope you'll all pop-in occasionally with a comment or question.  Or just lurk through some of the discussions.  With the help of our bloggers, maybe making it through the semester will become a little easier if not virtually enjoyable.

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Pedagogies Blog


Kate, I love the idea of


I love the idea of "moseying" through the commons and discussing pedagogy. As a professor at Mount Holyoke, how do you feel that your students are different (or similar) to students at other colleges? I know that Crystal and I deal primarily with Engineering students. Crystal already mentioned in her post that this makes teaching at Georgia Tech very different than teaching at State Universities or Liberal Arts Colleges. I also feel that I teach a very different "Romanticism" than I would at other schools.

Any thoughts? Thanks for the great start!

Roger, Sometimes I feel as


Sometimes I feel as though I teach a different "Romanticism" each semester! I'd love to hear your definition of Georgia Tech Romanticism. I'm not sure how I'd generalize a comparison between Mount Holyoke students and others, but there are a few tendencies I've noticed in my fledgling Romanticists. First, teaching at a rural school is much different than an urban one. My students tend to understand the idealization and idolatry of the "forms" of nature and to sympathize with the retreat to the Lakes as, well, understandable, rather than apostasy. They also sometimes simmer so long in authenticity and sincerity that they have trouble reading Robinson's satire in "January, 1795." Second, they're generally eager to bandy about concepts, which makes it easier to teach Romanticism in terms of its intellectual history. Third, I find them anxious to receive a precise account of the history surrounding the period. They brook no historical generalizations even when they might be too quick to credit imprecision in their close readings. I've chalked this up to the general anxiety and scrupulousness of MHCers, but maybe this is true of other students as well? Finally, even if they are tired of talking about gender, they're already pretty far ahead on this category. I don't have to justify why I've included a woman writer on the syllabus, though I may have to force them to question the assumption that all women were oppressed and only a few actually wrote. I'd be interested to hear others' assessments of the kind of Romanticism they teach to specific types of student populations or proclivities....