Friday, August 6, 2021

Decision-making and African American literary studies

This summer, in my graduate course on African American literature, I regularly posed questions to students about what they will teach and why. I wanted to make decision-making a primary focus of the course, since it is so central to the work I do as a college professor.

I'm constantly making decisions about this poem or that poem, this story or that story, and these authors rather than these. There's always the issue of time constraints, of too many authors and reading materials and too little time. 

For some reason though, the importance or pervasiveness of decision-making is under-discussed in the field. People speak frequently, with some annoyance, when an author that they prefer is left out of an anthology or is overlooked in the scholarly discourse. You also hear teachers and professors agnoize over preparing their syllabi. 

But you hear less specific talk about the decision-making processes involved in designing African American literature courses over time. By getting my students to think about decision-making, I was introducing them to a a central process for teachers. 


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