"Why do they hate us?": Teaching 9/11 Literature, NeMLA April 7-11, 2010, Montreal

full name / name of organization: 
Justine Dymond, Seminar Chair, Northeast Modern Language Association
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"Why Do They Hate Us?": Teaching 9/11 Literature
NeMLA, April 7-11, 2010
Montreal, Quebec

In light of the enthusiastic response to the 2009 NeMLA session on "The Literature of 9/11," this seminar aims to extend that conversation and more pointedly focus it on the questions and challenges that emerge from teaching 9/11 literature.

As the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, along with the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, writers from all over the world continue to create poetry, fiction, essays, and drama that explicitly depict the recent aftermath of 9/11 as well as the resulting violence. As teachers, we are faced with an ever-widening range of choices when considering which voices will represent the experiences of 9/11 and its aftermath in our classes. What accounts for our choices?

Some other questions that might be addressed by the seminar: How do teachers incorporate 9/11 literature into traditional survey courses that still separate the study of literature along national divisions? How do teachers develop a pedagogy that is responsive to the diversity of literary voices and attendant to the "living history" experienced by students in the classroom, such as family of 9/11 victims, U.S. veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq, and immigrants from the Middle East and South Asia? How do we address representations of Muslims and Arab Americans in multi-ethnic or culturally homogenous classrooms? How do we contextualize 9/11 literature—historically, sociologically, psychologically? How do our own identity-affiliations—-real or perceived—-influence our approaches to teaching 9/11 literature and student responses?

Because this is a seminar, rather than a panel or a roundtable, selected participants will be asked to present brief papers (approximately 5 pages) so that at least half of the session can be devoted to discussion.

Please send a 500-word abstract and a brief bio by September 30, 2009 to Justine Dymond at jdymond@spfldcol.edu.