6 feb. 2011

Low Level Material

In teaching literature, there is no such thing as low-level material. The graduate seminar and the junior high school classroom are engaged in an identical enterprise, the reader's response to a literary work. I don't feel that I am doing anything different now than when I wrote a paper about Breakfast of Champions in 9th Grade or The Cocktail Party in 10th. The works I was studying were literary works, just like the ones I deal with now. Not only was my response to them somewhat nuanced and intelligent, but it was reading literature at that age that made me what I am today. The questions I was asking then are the same i am asking now. What makes a novel work, what makes one play better than another?

So the difference is institutional. It has to do with the demands of the classroom, not with the essential activity going on there. We measure outcomes differently, since the graduate student has to produce work that meets institutional requirements (theoretical frameworks, measures of scholarly rigor and bibliography).

As brilliantly original literary critic as Barthes wrote that literature is what gets taught as such. He could not envision it apart from its pedagogy, its ideological state apparatus, as it were. I've always thought it a happy accident that I could be payed as an employee of the state to do what I like to do anyway.

1 comentario:

Clarissa dijo...

"I've always thought it a happy accident that I could be payed as an employee of the state to do what I like to do anyway."

-I always said this too because it's true. Then, however, I heard an administrator reject the idea of faculty raises by saying that we get payed for pursuing our hobbies anyway, so why should we want to be paid more. It's sad that a really beautiful sentiment can be perverted in this way.