English professors address problems teaching literature

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Three English professors will address different aspects of teaching literature and issues that develop an English department at a Colloquium, today at 7:30 p.m. in Estill Building Room 305.”(The Colloquium) is an opportunity to discuss outside the classroom issues and problems that teachers and students confront,” Dr. Lee Courtney, English professor and Colloquium speaker, said. “By raising these issues, we get responses from other peoplefrom students, from teachers. I think this will be primarily about teaching and about problems that arise in teaching.”Courtney will speak on “Mobyphobia at SHSU: Literature Classes and Reading Aversion,” a problem he said is not limited to students, but is a generic problem.”(Mobyphobia is) a take-off on ‘Moby Dick,’ a very long novel that a lot of people have trouble getting through,” he said. “I’m using that to focus on the problem, that in an era of increasing dominance of electronic media, that reading sometimes seems to be endangered.”According to Courtney, reading works of literature could become increasingly problematic because of the electronic era.”That’s an issue that obviously is pretty important to teachers of literature because we have a vested interest, and we think it’s important, as well, that people should continue to read works of literary merit, old and new,” he said. “I’m going to be talking about thatnot so much about the evidence that people do read less, but what our responsibilities as teachers areto help people read more and to read better,” Courtney said.Dr. Shane Graham, assistant English professor, will speak on “Teaching Outside the Canon: A Report from Year One.””My specialty is world literature in English, or post-colonial literature, as it is sometimes called, which poses very different challenges to teaching American or English literature because it’s set in obscure African villages and places that most Americans don’t know very much about,” Graham said. “So I’m talking about the challenges I’ve experienced trying to teach the non-western literature to American students.”Dr. Paul Child will also speak on “‘I’m Not Kidding:’ Teaching Satire.”The Colloquium is open to all students. Students who may become teachers may be interested in the event, according to Graham.”Students who might be high school teachers some day might be facing this literature. It’s becoming more and more popular, more and more part of the standard curriculum to teach,” Graham said. “Chinua Achebe ‘Things Fall Apart,’ for instanceit’s a work of African literature that has been singled out because it sort of represents Africa before Europeans encountered them and then the changes that they went through.”So students who teach in high school or students who are interested in teaching in general might be interested in this. Students who are interested in non-western literature and learning more about it might be interested in it as well,” he said.A reception for SHSU faculty will follow in the English department lounge in the Evans Building.