Transitions and Transactions: Literature Pedagogy in Community Colleges - April 20-21 2012 - Proposals due November 15, 2011

full name / name of organization: 
Borough of Manhattan Community College, City University of New York

We invite proposals for papers exploring literature pedagogy at the community college level and welcome critical/theoretical approaches to teaching literature. This is an interdisciplinary call extended to teachers and graduate students. Suggested topics include:

1. Creating Relationships with Texts
2. Literary Theory at the Community College
3. Expository Writing using Literature
4. Teaching Literature in Interdisciplinary Humanities Courses
5. Academic Positions and Self Reflection
6. Assessment & Self-Evaluation in Teaching Literature
7. Re-imagining Teaching Literature
8. Pedagogically Informed Curriculum Choices
9. Research in the Teaching of Literature
10. Technology and Literature Pedagogy
11. Teaching Classical Literature
12. Game Theory and the Teaching of Literature
13. Gender Constructions in the Text and in the Classroom
14: Psychoanalytic Theories of Pedagogy
15: Race and Class in the Literature Classroom
16. Student Experiences in the Community College Literature Classroom

Additional topics are welcome.

Deadline for submissions is November 15, 2011. Send abstracts (minimum of 250 words) or inquiries to:

Dr. Margaret Barrow or Dr. Manya Steinkoler
Borough of Manhattan Community College/CUNY
English Department, Room N720
199 Chambers Street, New York, NY 10007
Telephone: (212) 220-8270 /Email or

In a media saturated environment where language is supposedly transparent and meaning unambiguous, the teaching of literature at the community college level becomes all the more crucial to developing critically-minded adults who are better equipped to read, understand and navigate the world around them. We propose a regional conference to address the rewards and challenges particular to teaching literature at the community college level. In addition to significant discrepancies in the levels of student preparation, we hope to address the ways that the contemporary cultural milieu has been for some a deterrent, and others, an encouragement to develop meaningful and dialogic conversations.

Literature allows for another kind of community that we are asking our students to subscribe to, but for which they are unprepared. To prepare them for that community, we need to re-imagine and rethink how we teach students who are inundated with societal demands that create barriers to learning. These include the demand for speed and for instant understanding to achieve rapid success. Furthermore, the issue of time is not just a metaphoric one for our students; many work full-time while also attending college full-time, leaving them little opportunity to engage in the reflective discovery process incited and sustained by the study of literature. Subsequently, the literature classroom becomes an important space where students, teachers and texts coexist, embodying ideas that converge and collide in an effort to create new understandings.

We recognize that literature pedagogy has been studied and researched considerably among our colleagues in elementary education and secondary education. However, very little attention has been given to literature pedagogy at the community college level. We hope the conference will highlight pedagogical inquiries, interests, experiences and research that will contribute to building scholarship in the field, as well as improve and enrich the teaching and learning of literature.