Twice Removed? Strategies for Teaching Pre-Twentieth-Century Foreign Literatures and Cultures
In accordance with the liberal arts model, the core curriculum at most American universities includes required coursework in history, literature, and the arts. Many of today's American students, however, have only a limited knowledge of foreign cultures, and one which is often constructed from the stereotypes presented in popular culture. Moreover, their rudimentary knowledge of pre-twentieth-century history (whether political history or literary history) tends to be confined to the history of the United States. Lacking both historical understanding and cultural literacy, such students often feel twice removed from the subject matter presented in courses on pre-twentieth-century foreign literatures and cultures. Using two very different core curriculum courses (one on the Enlightenment, the other on the nineteenth-century German fairy tale) as case studies, this paper explores curricular design, assignment formats, and the use of technology and archival materials to engage students in studying "the old and the foreign."
Keywords: Humanities Pedagogy, The Enlightenment, Nineteenth-Century German Fairy Tales, Use of Archival Materials in Instruction, Curricular Design, Core Curriculum in US Higher Education
Dr Ann C. Schmiesing
Associate Professor, Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Colorado