Thursday, November 04, 2010

NaNoBloMo 2010 -3

NaNoBloMo 3 -- I taught what today?

Today's classes included explanations of the following:

Hagia Sophia ➔ hagiography ➔ philo-sophy ➔philanthropy ➔Anglo-philia➔ bibliophilia

Carnivalesque and Bakhtin explained in part via Disney's Hunchback and how it worked with Hill's 'the world turned upside down' in reference to the idea of a pirate Utopia.

The last one kind of astounds me, given that I have no idea where I picked up anything about Bakhtin in the first place, let alone how to explain it to college undergraduates. But it was there in the article (well, the term 'carnivalesque' was, and I'm trying to get them to understand that they have to recognize allusions to scholarly arguments and theory in secondary sources, rather than simply reading at face value. But we unpacked phrases like "subverting the dominant structure," and I tried to explain things.

And the crickets chirped.

But this time, I asked if I needed to go over things a different way, and one of the students said, "I get it. I'm just thinking. This is ... deep. I didn't know that there was so much more to understanding something like this. " And heads nodded around the table.

So I took it further and said that it wasn't all that different from when I told them that they should all have a working knowledge of the Bible. And someone reminded me I'd also said they should be familiar with Shakespeare's major works. And then someone touched on Milton, and I pointed out that the Biblical allusions in Milton were pretty pervasive -- and that really, Pullman's His Dark Materials is far more interesting to people familiar with both Milton and the Bible (not to mention the history of the Reformation)...

I sometimes wonder what the hell it is I think I'm doing. But it's fun, whatever it is.


Steve Muhlberger said...

What you are doing: giving them a taste of education they are lucky to be experiencing.

Another Damned Medievalist said...

I hope so -- I worry I'm just confusing them!

Anonymous said...

Well, I just had a tutorial where I had to stop and look up the various Christological divisions in Byzantium, because I couldn't remember which way round Nestorianism and Monophysitism went, so I'd say you're doing better than me! The table I tried to draw to clarify matters, well, didn't.

Very much enjoying the regular blogging by the way!