Teaching Languages and Literature: Revisionist Mythmaking in the Classroom (due June 15, 2011)

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South Atlantic Modern Language Association (SAMLA) Convention in Atlanta, GA Nov. 4 - 6, 2011

"Statues Talking Back, Beauties Becoming Beasts, and Little Red Riding Hood Laughing at Wolves: Revisionist Mythmaking in the Classroom" (Teaching Languages and Literature Panel at the annual SAMLA Convention)
Alicia Suskin Ostriker defines "revisionist mythmaking" as "Whenever a poet employs a figure or story previously accepted and defined by a culture, the poet is using myth, and the potential is always present that the use will be revisionist: that is, the figure or tale will be appropriated for altered ends, the old vessel filled with new wine, initially satisfying the thirst of the individual poet but ultimately making cultural change possible." As instructors, when we ask students to put traditional myths and fairytales in conversation with modern retellings or re-visions of those conventional texts, we create opportunities for them to think about not only the stories we tell ourselves about how the world came to be, how men and women should act, and what is acceptable for the community as a whole but also what role literature and writing play in shaping how we understand and respond to the world. This panel aims to investigate how modern texts that "re-vision" traditional myths, fairytales, etc., such as poems by Carol Ann Duffy, Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill, and WB Yeats or short stories by Angela Carter and Garrison Keillor can be productively included in undergraduate literature as well as literature and composition courses. Please send proposals of no longer than 250 words along with a brief biographical sketch by June 15th to: Jennifer Martinsen (jennmartinsen@hotmail.com) Email submissions are preferred, but paper proposals may be mailed to: Jennifer Martinsen, Department of English, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, 29208