From Text to Txting: New Media in the Classroom

From Text to Txting: New Media in the Classroom

From Text to Txting: New Media in the Classroom

From Text to Txting: New Media in the Classroom

Synopsis

Literary scholars face a new and often baffling reality in the classroom: students spend more time looking at glowing screens than reading printed text. The social lives of these students take place in cyberspace instead of the student pub. Their favorite narratives exist in video games, not books. How do teachers who grew up in a different world engage these students without watering down pedagogy? Clint Burnham and Paul Budra have assembled a group of specialists in visual poetry, graphic novels, digital humanities, role-playing games, television studies, and, yes, even the middle-brow novel, to address this question. Contributors give a brief description of their subject, investigate how it confronts traditional notions of the literary, and ask what contemporary literary theory can illuminate about their text before explaining how their subject can be taught in the 21st-century classroom.

Excerpt

This book is a response to two changes in humanities education since the 1980s: on the one hand, there has been an explosion of popular, paraliterary, and digital cultural forms, which have an increasing grip on our students; on the other hand (but not entirely unrelated), there is a need for humanities departments to change their tools for remediation in the face of demographic and textual sea changes. In an age when the word “text” is increasingly used as a metaphor (the text of the ----), when “read” can mean any interpretive act (a reading of a photograph), when screens have replaced books, emoticons have reintroduced the pictograph, and students are infinitely more familiar with the storylines of video games than the plots of Shakespeare’s plays, humanities departments risk becoming (even further) marginalized in the academy unless they retool. Academic literary critics who do not engage with the profound shifts in the delivery of narrative, verse, and argument stand on the cusp of becoming curators of an outdated print culture, antiquarians of the book. The contributors to this book believe that literary critics should be doing just the opposite: with our knowledge of literary history and form, our skills of close reading and cultural contextualization, literary critics should be interpreting, assessing, and explaining the effects that the remediation of print is having now to a populace that, for the most part, simply accepts these innovations as technological fashion. The chapters in this book, then, seek to address the question of the value of the skills that literary studies promote in an age when more people read “tweets” than essays and . . .

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