Culture, Critics, and the Classroom: The Dynamics of Textual Choice

By Ginger Rodriguez.

Published by The International Journal of Humanities Education

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: January 22, 2016 $US5.00

This study clarifies the interrelated components of change in literary canons—culture, critics, and classroom practice—to provide an enhanced view of canon formation and re-formation. Political and sociological concerns bring authors to critical consideration, as constructivist critics have made clear. Then, the interaction between the paradigm shifts of literary criticism and the more conservative editorial policies of anthologies shapes classroom practices. Over time, works that span critical paradigms become ensconced in the heart of the canon, while works that cannot be read profitably under different critical lenses eventually move to the fringes, a position from which they can fall out of the canon as Longfellow has done. This deeper understanding of canon formation will enable instructors to clearly identify the bases for choosing the works they assign in the classroom at a time when constructivism and multiculturalism have challenged the common consensus on texts that every student should know and technological changes provide virtually unlimited texts from which to choose.

Keywords: Canon Theory, American Literature, Literary History, Literature Pedagogy

The International Journal of Humanities Education, Volume 14, Issue 1, March 2016, pp.23-34. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: January 22, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 508.572KB)).

Dr. Ginger Rodriguez

Assistant Professor of English and Humanities, English Department, Calumet College of St. Joseph, Whiting, Indiana, USA