Brutal Themes in Brutal Times: Teaching Edgar Allan Poe in a Culture of Violence
This panel seeks papers that explore pedagogical strategies for teaching the horror stories of Edgar Allan Poe and his contemporaries. With the looming, true-to-life violence bombarding us every day in the news and in other media outlets, the macabre tales of our favorite authors resonate too well. Teaching the violent and psychologically disturbing short stories of Poe, and others writing in this genre, can be challenging in the current climate of violence in America. Exploring the depths and darkness of humanity through literature can be traumatic for contemporary students who are bombarded with violent words and images every day through social media and news outlets. This panel seeks papers that explore pedagogical strategies devoted to travelling through dark literary themes while maintaining a safe atmosphere in the classroom. How can instructors align class discussions, specifically the ones that take a sociopolitical turn, to heal the contemporary student in an America riddled with nihilism, senseless violence, and psychological desperation? The significance of this panel is to uncover innovative teaching strategies when bringing students classic horror tales for discussion in the milieu of a terrorizing era in American history.