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Reflections on Teaching Mrs Dalloway in Iraqi Kurdistan: An Interview with Steven Barfield (Part 1)

8 November 2021

Alan Ali Saeed, Sulaimani University, and Steven Barfield, London South Bank University

The following is the first of two parts of an interview between Steven Barfield and Alan Ali Saeed. Steven Barfield was a British academic for most of his career, teaching principally at the University of Westminster, London. More recently he has been an educational consultant and has taught, mentored, and advised throughout the middle east. He is a Visiting Research Fellow at London South Bank University. Alan Ali Saeed, the interviewer, lectures in Modern English Literature at Sulaimani University and Komar University of Science and Technology (KUST), Iraqi Kurdistan. In this part of the interview, the two discuss Steven’s experience of teaching Mrs Dalloway in Alan’s city in Iraqi Kurdistan, and the students’ interactions with the text and with modernism more broadly. Continue reading “Reflections on Teaching Mrs Dalloway in Iraqi Kurdistan: An Interview with Steven Barfield (Part 1)”

Book Review: Annotating Modernism

26th February 2021

Julie Irigaray, The University of Huddersfield

Amanda Golden, Annotating Modernism: Marginalia and Pedagogy from Virginia Woolf to the Confessional Poets (Abingdon: Routledge, 2020)

‘Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.’  After a year when teachers have had to adapt to online teaching, this adage sounds particularly insensitive and inappropriate. In the case of Sylvia Plath, John Berryman, Anne Sexton, and Ted Hughes, one can say that those who do can also be teachers. Great poets do not automatically become great teachers, but Amanda Golden’s Annotating Modernism demonstrates how these four put a lot of effort into designing and delivering courses that would enable their students to achieve a better understanding of modernism, as well as the creative process itself.

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Teaching Online Dialogue: Responses #3

We’re thrilled to continue our dialogue on online pedagogy with these two pieces. In our February issue, Lee Skallerup Bessette kicked off the dialogue with her piece ‘Teaching Online in Extraordinary Times,’ and the next week’s dialogue pieces, by Alexander Jones and Sean Michael Morris, reflected on the need for resilience and the paradoxical importance of knowing when to admit defeat. This week’s trio of responses, by Cai Lyons, Laura Biesiadecki and Paul Thifault, discuss specific pedagogical practices and tools that might make teaching in the upcoming weeks and months that bit more fruitful.

Continue reading “Teaching Online Dialogue: Responses #3”

Teaching Online Dialogue: Responses #2

We are delighted to share two further responses in our conversation on online pedagogies. In last month’s issue, Lee Skallerup Bessette kicked off the dialogue with her piece ‘Teaching Online in Extraordinary Times,’ and Naomi Milthorpe and Jessamy Perriam reflected on the importance of trying to make connections, and keeping pedagogy simple, in these testing times. These next two responses, by Alexander Jones and Sean Michael Morris, reflect on the need for resilience and the paradoxical importance of knowing when to admit defeat.

Continue reading “Teaching Online Dialogue: Responses #2”

The Modernist Review #18: Pedagogies

Over the past few weeks, academic Twitter has been ablaze with debates over the dos, don’ts and hows of pandemic teaching, ranging from the helpful (threads of tips and resources from zoom aficionados, encouragements to give up on unattainable perfection) to the very much not (debates on who has it harder, childless academics or academics with children). Frankly, it’s a mess. 

Continue reading “The Modernist Review #18: Pedagogies”

‘A Period of Intense and Feverish Activity’: Experimental Education in the Age of Modernism

Charlie Pullen, Queen Mary, University of London

If you were a child in the 1920s, and if your parents happened to be of means and a certain kind of bohemian persuasion, you might have ended up going to a school like Summerhill. Founded by A.S. Neill in 1921, Summerhill first opened its doors in Austria, before moving to England in 1923. Based at a redbrick farmhouse in rural Suffolk, where it remains today, Summerhill looks from the outside to be a charming, idyllic place for children to grow up.

Continue reading “‘A Period of Intense and Feverish Activity’: Experimental Education in the Age of Modernism”

Virginia Woolf and Divergent Education in the Twenty-First Century

William Bowden, University of Rhode Island

In an essay entitled Why’ (1934), originally published in Lysistrata, a magazine produced by students at Somerville, the women’s college at Oxford, Virginia Woolf satirises the practice of lecturing. She makes it abundantly clear that it is a painful experience both for the audience and for the lecturer himself. For the audience member, it is one of those ‘rare’ but ‘never-to-be sufficiently lamented occasions when in deference to friendship, or in a desperate attempt to acquire information […] it seemed necessary to attend a lecture.’[1] At the same time, the lecturer is described as ‘a harried-looking man, a man from whose face nervousness, vanity, or perhaps the depressing and impossible nature of his task had removed all traces of ordinary humanity’ (my emphasis).[2] Mustering up some sympathy for the lecturer, Woolf muses on the conditions that have perpetuated this (for her) obsolete custom. She writes, ‘why encourage your elders to turn themselves into prigs and prophets when they are ordinary men and women? Why force them to stand on a platform for forty minutes while you reflect upon the colour of their hair and the longevity of flies?’[3]

Continue reading “Virginia Woolf and Divergent Education in the Twenty-First Century”

Religious Eroticism and Pedagogy in Olive Moore’s Celestial Seraglio: A Tale of Convent Life

Benjamin D. Hagen, University of South Dakota

A pause; a quiet survey of the grave faces in the hushed room; a moistening of the lips as the climax approached . . . “You see children, she was blind. God does not forget.”[1]

Though Olive Moore’s Spleen (1930) has been the subject of excellent scholarship over the past decade,[2] her first novel Celestial Seraglio: A Tale of Convent Life (1929) remains out-of-print and (as far as I know) unread, unstudied, and unassigned. Presented in four chapters that Moore splinters into sections and subsections, the short novel employs an ironic free indirect style reminiscent of Joyce, Woolf, and Richardson. It rapidly cuts from character to character and scene to scene, perpetually re-situating its readers and resetting its action every few pages. The following sentences, for instance, drawn from the beginnings of just a few of the novel’s sections, drop us into the middle of schooltime conflicts and experiments for which we have little preparation: Continue reading “Religious Eroticism and Pedagogy in Olive Moore’s Celestial Seraglio: A Tale of Convent Life”

Teaching Online in Extraordinary Times

Lee Skallerup Bessette, Georgetown University 

This is, to put it mildly, not business-as-usual, not normal. These are not “ideal learning conditions” for anyone, faculty, staff, or students. These actions that we are undertaking, to wholesale move entire campuses’ worth of courses from in-person to distance learning, is unprecedented. We are all under tremendous stress and pressure to try and make what seemed like it would be impossible, not just possible, but effective. 

Continue reading “Teaching Online in Extraordinary Times”

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