Teaching War, Teaching Hemingway

full name / name of organization: 
Alex Vernon / Hendrix College
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"Teaching War, Teaching Hemingway"

Rather than the typical single-text approach, Kent State University Press's Teaching Hemingway series will focus each new volume on pedagogical approaches to major issues in the author's works. As its title, the volume intends to explore the many intersections of teaching war, teaching war literature, and teaching the works of Ernest Hemingway. We are thus hopeful that our contributors and our audience will come to us from several academic disciplines. The target audience is teachers at the secondary, undergraduate, and graduate levels.

The editors of "Teaching War, Teaching Hemingway" invite essay proposals up to two pages in length (double-spaced). While the final organization will depend upon the accepted essays, we anticipate four general essay types:

Texts. These essays will treat the teaching of texts individually or comparatively. While most should engage teaching strategies, some are allowed to remain mostly interpretative as long as they are mindful of the volume's audience and purpose. We need essays to serve as models of literary criticism for our students. Studies of minor works are welcome (Across the River and Into the Trees, The Fifth Column, etc.), as are arguments for including in our war studies works not set during war or obviously about war and its consequences. In this and the other categories, you can certainly discuss the pedagogical challenges you have faced, and perhaps continue to face.

Contexts. For teachers who want to illuminate the texts through a more intensive examination of historical or cultural contexts, these essays will demonstrate ways of helping students see and write about the relationship between Hemingway's work and extratextual information and material. Can we read Hemingway's war writings in terms of the Havelock Ellis work on gender that Hemingway was familiar with? Alternatively, essays of this type might focus chiefly on the context itself. How can we help our students understand the murky 1940s literary period between modernism and postmodernism in a way that could shed light on Hemingway's Second World War writings? You might think of such essays as extremely condensed versions of books like Beth Linker's War's Waste: Rehabilitation in World War I America or Mark Thompson's The White War: Life and Death on the Italian Front 1915-1919.

Course Design. These essays will offer ways of incorporating Hemingway's work into an entire war-related course or significant unit of a course. They will address matters of the course's or unit's general design and aims, text selection, and emergent connective threads, and will of course spend a good deal of time studying Hemingway's place in the course. Assignment sequences and other methods for achieving the course goals are also welcome.

Other Pedagogical Approaches. What other pedagogical successes have you enjoyed, or could imagine enjoying? How, for example, might we engage and aid the individual student (rather than an entire class) pursuing an independent course of study or research project? Perhaps you could share a student essay and comment on its success and/or its process. Are there other ways you have fostered the students' critical imaginations on this subject, other resources that can be utilitized, that don't clearly fit into one of the other three categories?

As with everything in our profession, the boundaries between these categories are rather fluid. A juxtaposition of For Whom the Bell Tolls with Homage to Catalonia and L'Espoir could find a home in more than one of these categories, as could an investigation of the war books by others Hemingway most valued, an examination of Hemingway and Cather (or Gellhorn), or an influence study (Bierce to Hemingway; Hemingway to O'Brien). Propose the essay that you feel will be the most illuminating and instructive, the essay you most want to write, rather than worrying about fitting it to one of these draft categories. We will worry about volume organization later.

We hope to fill "Teaching War, Teaching Hemingway" with excellent essays by established, mid-career, and emerging scholars; by voices within Hemingway and war literature studies and those outside these circles; by professionals in literature as well as disciplines; by teachers at all the targeted levels.

Proposals are due 1 April 2012. Please email the proposal and a two-page version of your c.v. to both the volume editor and the series editor: Alex Vernon (vernon@hendrix.edu) and Mark Ott (mott@deerfield.edu).

After selection, full essays of ten to twenty pages
will be due 1 September 2012