Faculty Earn NEH Grant for World Literature Workshop

Posted: September 27, 2005 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Amal Amireh, Joel Foreman, John Foster, Tamara Harvey and Alok Yadav of the English Department received a $68,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to organize a faculty humanities workshop on world literature. This is the second English faculty team to receive a grant from the NEH in the last year.

The workshop, called “Cultural Encounters in Global Contexts: Teaching World Literature in General Education English Courses,” will take place at George Mason over a week in May 2006.

Sixteen faculty members from around the country who teach general education courses in world literature will gather with five expert consultants to discuss teaching literature from five distinct geocultural regions: Latin America and the Caribbean (including Native American cultures); sub-Saharan Africa; North Africa and the Middle East; South Asia; and East Asia.

The project’s aim is to reconceptualize the traditional entry-level world literature course so that it responds to modern understandings of cross-cultural dynamics in the shaping and circulation of literature from different regions of the world. At the same time, it will prepare professors trained in some aspect of North American or European literary studies to grapple effectively with the global terrain.

Faculty at George Mason will use what they learn during these workshops and in their subsequent teaching of 200-level world literature courses to develop pedagogical materials and web resources to assist and enhance world literature teaching at George Mason and further afield.

Winnie Keaney, Robert Matz, Amelia Rutledge and Marilyn McKenzie of English earlier this year received a grant from the NEH for a summer seminar for middle and high school teachers. They also received a grant from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities for a one-week summer institute for area high school teachers called “Slavery, Literacy, Freedom: African American Literature, Folklore and Culture in the Secondary School Classroom.”

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