“Creative Pedagogies: Approaches to the Commonplace Book”

deadline for submissions: 
September 13, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Sarah E Parker/International Congress on Medieval Studies
contact email: 

Apologies for cross posting:

 Call for session proposals for the International Congress on Medieval Studies, 10-13 May 2018 in Kalamazoo, MI.

Title: “Creative Pedagogies: Approaches to the Commonplace Book”

Format: Roundtable Discussion (10 minute presentations with time for discussion)

Contact Person and Organizer: Sarah E. Parker (Jacksonville University; sparker6@ju.edu)

Co-organizer: Andie Silva (CUNY, York;            asilva@york.cuny.edu)

This roundtable will include five to six speakers who will each present practical strategies for using medieval and early modern reading practices in the modern classroom. Ann Blair’s Too Much to Know: Managing Scholarly Information before the Modern Age (2011) illustrates the ways that early modern scholars and readers developed a number of creative reading practices in order to manage the massive influx of information brought on by the development of the printing press. Creative and engaged reading practices certainly predate the development of the printing press, though. This session proposes in particular that the use of commonplacing, a reading practice that involved active note-taking, can be especially useful to the modern student encountering the challenges of reading medieval and early modern texts, which sometimes prove intimidating or seem foreign to students. At this particular juncture, when students are facing information overload in forms that often distract from the practice of reading, commonplacing provides students with innovative ways to focus on and make sense of classroom texts. Additionally, commonplacing offers students a sustained practice of experiential learning, encouraging the development a knowledge-creation community that aims to question textual authority and actively join critical conversations as confident scholars. Commonplacing skills such as gathering and organizing information, experimenting with new technologies, and leveraging new ideas from old texts are crucial to the modern-day job market, and therefore must be considered responsibly when creating assignments in the classroom.

 This roundtable invites teachers from across the disciplines to discuss concrete strategies for using commonplace books as a classroom assignment and teaching tool. The panel also welcomes pedagogical strategies outside of commonplacing but related to engaging students as critical and active readers. We encourage interdisciplinary and multimodal approaches, from Pinterest and blogs to journals, used books, and collage. Presentations might address new tools for commonplacing; discuss prompts and approaches for particularly successful student engagement; or address potential failures and challenges involved in project-based pedagogy.

Please send an abstract describing your presentation (no more than 300 words) to sparker6@ju.edu by September 13, 2017. Presentations will be about ten minutes with time for discussion at the end. All participants must fill out the ICMS Participant Information Form by September 15, 2017: https://wmich.edu/medievalcongress/submissions.