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Promoting Literature on Campus

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This post first appeared on January 13, 2015.

This year, in teaching my Shakespeare course, I used the 450th birthday as an excuse to get students to bring Shakespeare awareness to campus. To that end, I created an assignment that I called “Pop-up Shakespeare,” which I described like this:

You will be developing some sort of experience for your fellow Heidelberg students, whether it’s through chalking Shakespearean sonnets onto the sidewalks, developing a Shakespeare film festival, performing flash mob scenes, or creating a Shakespeare-related volunteer project (just to suggest some ideas). For this assignment you can work with a group or alone. You must document the event through pictures; you will also write a brief analysis of your work, explaining why you chose to do what you did.

The object of the assignment was to encourage students to have some fun with Shakespeare and to exercise some creativity in doing so. It was ultimately a small part of the final grade, but I wanted something that would make Shakespeare just a bit less intimidating and would make literature a bit more visible on campus.

The results were fun — and I heard from a number of colleagues in other departments how much they were enjoying the different things that students were posting around campus. We had some sidewalk chalk, we had a movie night in one of the residence halls, and mostly we had a lot of great signs.

About the Author
Emily Isaacson received her BA from Augustana College (Illinois) and her MA and PhD from the University of Missouri. Previously at Chowan University, where she was the coordinator of the Chowan Critical Thinking Program, Emily is now working as an assistant professor of English at Heidelberg University. She has presented her work on early modern literature and on teaching literature at meetings of the Shakespeare Association of America, the Renaissance Society of America, South Atlantic Modern Language Association, and the College English Association. She also frequently reviews books about teaching literature in the classroom.