Publication details [#595]

Froula, Anna and E. Thomson, Jr. Shields. 2012. Captive students and duelling podia: a collaborative approach to teaching the Frontier in American Literature and Film. Changing English 19 (1) : 33–42. 10 pp.
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Article in journal
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Place, Publisher


This article explains how metaphors for the frontier can be used to conceptualise both English studies as an interdisciplinary field and team teaching as a pedagogical activity by describing the authors’ own experiences as a case study. The course that the authors taught as part of a team included both literature and film, and the students came from different backgrounds, had different specialisations, and were either undergraduate or graduate students. The pedagogy was collaborative and interdisciplinary and the teaching consisted of free lectures together with classroom discussions. The idea of the frontier as an imprecise and liminal space was mapped onto the classroom situation and the course content. This includes the idea that although the frontier is influenced by traditional cultures it exists outside of them, just like English studies are influenced by traditional theories and disciplines but go beyond them. The interdisciplinary nature of the course was also related to liminality, for example in the fuzzy boundary between text and image. Thinking about team teaching and English studies in terms of the frontier opens up for a wide range of possibilities where there are no fixed answers, which can be reflected both in the content and the set-up of the course.