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TEACHING THE CONTEMPORARY GOTHIC Dr Xavier Aldana Reyes Department of English Manchester Metropolitan

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1 TEACHING THE CONTEMPORARY GOTHIC Dr Xavier Aldana Reyes Department of English Manchester Metropolitan

2 AIMS Outline of problems faced when teaching the Gothic genre in C21 context Curriculum design Practice influenced by academia Critical/Pedagogic journey of Gothic Studies

3 EXPERIENCE Gothic and Gender (MMU Cheshire, ) Level 5 / Y2 Convened, redesigned and taught Contemporary Literature in English (MMUC, ) Level 6 / Y3 Co-convened, co-redesigned and co-taught Gothic and Modernity (MMU, ) MA level – Gothic pathway Co-convening, co-redesigned and co-teaching Contemporary Gothic: Text and Screen (Lancaster ) Audited, taught by Catherine Spooner Contemporary Gothic reading group (MMU, 2013-)

4 Plus relevant blog entries

5 VERY BRIEF OVERVIEW

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9 DEVELOPMENTS IN TEACHING Presence at A-Level Important and increasing part of BA programmes Gothic MAs or MAs with Gothic Teaching guides and materials Outreach programmes  Open days Training programmes for teachers

10 GENERAL CURRICULUM RE/DESIGN Some general (ideal) aims Tools to understand context and knowledge of Gothic Liven up teaching To reflect current areas of debate To reflect what we research, but not at the expense of only what we know best (Spooner 2008) Practical considerations Texts that work well with students Availability Price Length

11 1. WHAT CONSTITUTES A GOTHIC TEXT? Collection of tropes, characters? Aesthetics? Mood? Intertextuality? Adaptation? Nomenclature?

12 2. CONTEMPORARY IS ILL-DEFINED AND UNSTABLE (WHEN?) Socio-historical approach? Cultural approach? Landmark text approach? Period approach? C21 is useful in delineating cut-off point, but sometimes texts needed that were written previously

13 3. RECEPTION PROBLEMS (WHY?) Popularity vs. Literary significance Low-brow vs. high-brow debate Raises problem of purpose

14 4. DISCIPLINE AND CONTEXT DETERMINES THE MEDIUM (WHAT? WHERE?) Fragmentation and explosion Challenge to student and teacher Area within discipline determines text Country determines text

15 5. GOTHIC AS SUBJECT OR AS CRITICAL TOOL? (HOW? / WHY?) Early Gothic criticism Common tropes, characters, situations, images, etc. Development of areas of study, throughout late twentieth century Psychoanalysis, Female Gothic, Postcolonial Gothic Research councils  Medical Gothic

16 Shaped by critical theory and practice ‘The teaching of the Gothic today is the product of a reactivated psychoanalysis, a post1950s feminism which has expanded into “gender studies”, a resurgent Marxism, a genuinely “new historicism” combining cultural anthropology with Derridean “deconstruction,” and several forms of “cultural studies” that have come to include “postcolonial” theory and criticism, among other strands. All of these together, challenging the standards set by New Criticism and high/low culture distinctions, have brought the Gothic forward as a major cultural force by the very nature of their assumptions and thereby drawn some Gothic “classics” … to the centre of what a liberal arts education must encompass if a college student is to be truly “literate” about what Western culture includes.’ (Hogle 2006)

17 CONCLUSIONS Genre vs. Mode Context of Gothic and Gothic Studies in the 2010s Challenges but benefits Exchange Continues to oppose a static canon Popularity Reading practices

18 TEACHING THE CONTEMPORARY GOTHIC Dr Xavier Aldana Reyes Department of English Manchester Metropolitan


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